My PhD thesis, completed in 2006, explored whether data modelling was better characterised as analysis or design. Borrowing from a well-known framework used in creativity research, I looked at:
The Process of Data Modelling: Do data modelling methodologies and observed behaviour of data modellers better fit the analysis or design paradigm?
The Products of Data Modelling: Do data modellers faced with a common scenario produce similar or substantially different models?
The People involved in modelling: do they exhibit "styles" as we would expect of designers?
The Culture of modelling: what do academics, practitioners and thought-leaders believe they are doing or describing? What do widely used texts say or assume?
The research outlined below has been undertaken over the past 2 ½ years. Along the way, I am learning a great deal about what practising data modellers think and how they work.
Over 400 practitioners – primarily attendees at workshops and seminars as summarised below – have contributed to this research. (Click here to review the ethics statement for this research).
As I move from data collection to analysis and write-up, I want to meet my commitment to share my results with those contributors and with the practitioner community in general. So, through to mid-2005, when I expect to complete my thesis, I will be progressively posting results in what I hope is a practitioner-friendly form. “Practitioner-friendly” means I'm not dotting all the ‘i's and crossing all the ‘t's as I will in my thesis. And as I review and check results, I'll correct any errors which may have crept in.
I am interested in your feedback – what you think of the results, and any explanations you want to offer. I plan to incorporate such feedback in my thesis. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click on the topics below to view results
What is Data Modelling? (Survey Results) posted 2nd December 2004
Data Modeling - Analysis or Design? (Survey results and comparison with Accountants & Architects) posted 17th December 2004
What goes Where? Perceptions of Stages in the Data Modelling Process posted 4th February 2005