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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Towards a deeper understanding of modelling in information system analysis Sun, Wei


This dissertation defines modelling products in information system (IS) analysis in terms of IS analysis models. Motivated by better understanding these models, it identifies and solves some relevant issues, by method of studying relevant concepts and their connections, in the literature. This method is qualitative and requires our subjective interpretations. However, the utility of the research results have been extensively demonstrated. This dissertation consists of three studies. The first study focuses on concepts applicable to all types of IS analysis models. Previous views of modelling adopted in IS analysis suffer from being either generic for not tailored to the specific context of IS analysis, or limited in not applicable to the entire scope of IS analysis. To remediate, we propose a new view of modelling in IS analysis that is neither generic nor limited. We call it the generalized view. It can be used to distinguish IS analysis models from other models, to compare different types of IS analysis models, and to explain the representation and interpretation of IS analysis models. We apply it to compare two IS analysis models of an example project. The second study focuses on the connection among different types of IS analysis models. They were studied in different areas in isolation with inconsistent terminologies, hindering inter-area collaboration. To remediate, we propose another new view of modelling in IS analysis, to connect different types of IS analysis models in a comprehensive picture. We call it the consolidated view. It can be used to help stakeholders to determine whether two IS analysis modelling methods are substitutes or complements, to compare modelling methods that are substitutes, and to coordinate the use of multiple modelling methods that are complements. We apply it to evaluate and compare Gaia and Tropos, two agent-oriented modelling methods. The third study suggests how to apply the two views together to analyze modelling methods. It also discusses the differences and relationships between them in such applications. We apply them to analyze the GRAPPLE modelling method. Through the analysis, we test the generalizability of the two views, and identify and solve issues of GRAPPLE.

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