Cognitive aspects of conceptual modeling diagrams : an experimental study

Kılıç, Özkan
This thesis is about diagrammatic reasoning and error-finding in conceptual modeling diagrams. Specifically, the differences of the cognitive strategies and behaviors of notation-familiar participants versus domain-familiar participants working on conceptual modeling diagrams are inspected. The domain-familiar participants are experienced in the topic being represented, but they do not have any formal training in software development representations. On the other hand, the notation-familiar participants are educated in software representations, but unfamiliar with the topic represented. The main experiment and the follow-up experiment also aim to study how some properties of diagrams affect the error-finding behaviors. The participant groups’ performances in the main experiment are investigated and compared by the analysis of verbal protocol data and eye movement data. The combination of the two different methods enhances detailed analyses. In the follow-up experiment, only eye movement data is involved to evaluate how some properties of diagrams affect problem-solving. By means of both experiments, it is concluded that diagrammatic complexity has a negative effect on reasoning whereas the degree of causal chaining improves diagrammatic reasoning. In the main experiment, some differences in the diagrammatic reasoning processes between the groups are observed, too. The notation-familiar participants are observed to be more successful in error-finding although they are unfamiliar with the topic. This study underlines the interaction of cognitive science and software engineering by integrating eye movement data, verbal protocol analysis and performance data into the cognitive inspection of software engineering notations.


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Citation Formats
Ö. Kılıç, “Cognitive aspects of conceptual modeling diagrams : an experimental study,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2007.