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Modeling Tool Impact on Defect Identification in IS Design

Michael A. Eierman (University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh)
Bruce C. Hungerford (University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh)

American Journal of Business

ISSN: 1935-5181

Article publication date: 28 October 2006


The Unified Modeling Language (UML) has received significant attention as the tool of the future for modeling information systems. However, prior to the development of the UML, IS modeling was done with tools such as Data Flow Diagrams (DFDs) and Entity‐Relationship Diagrams (ERDs). These tools have been developed over many years of information systems development and taught to thousands of information systems professionals. Many organizations continue to use these tools, and many other organizations use these tools but are considering switching to the UML. While the UML is being promoted as the future of IS modeling, there is little empirical evidence that suggests it is a better tool than the traditional approach. This research seeks to inform the decision to adopt the UML over traditional modeling tools by examining the efficacy of the two modeling tools in the identification of design defects in an information system model. The study involved MIS students attempting to find defects embedded in a model of an information system. The study finds that students using UML were able to find approximately twice as many of the defects injected in the model as those using traditional modeling tools.



Eierman, M.A. and Hungerford, B.C. (2006), "Modeling Tool Impact on Defect Identification in IS Design", American Journal of Business, Vol. 21 No. 2, pp. 33-42.



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