Just read: Yair Wand and Ron Weber (2002) Research Commentary: Information Systems and Conceptual Modelling – a Research Agenda. Although I appreciate the article very much for structuring sources and directions of the subject, I might not agree to their research framework in a quite fundamental way:
Their Framework for Research on Conceptual Modelling comprises four elements:
“1. A conceptual-modeling grammar provides a set of constructs and rules that show how to combine the constructs to model real-world domains. For example, the entity-relationship grammar has the constructs “entity” and “relationship”. A rule in the grammar specifies that two entities can be associated only via a relationship.
2. A conceptual-modeling method provides procedures by which a grammar can be used. Usually one major aspect of a method prescribes how to map observations of a domain into a model of the domain. Ideally methods provide procedures to identify instances of all phenomena that can be modeled via a grammar.
3. A conceptual-modeling script is the product of the conceptual-modeling process. For example, the scripts generated by the entity-relationship grammar are entity-relationship diagrams (ERDs). Each script is a statement in the language generated by the grammar.
4. The context is the setting in which conceptual modeling occurs and scripts are used. … [e.g. stakeholders]“ see the complete paper here.
Let me explain my view by referring to economics. On one hand there is the macro economical perspective, mainly analyzing “the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services” of economies empirically. On the other hand micro economics takes a structural approach, by studying models of game theory and others.
Analyzing production etc. of goods and services alone is ‘just’ some social science. What makes it economics, is that they are exchanged in a ‘cooperative’ way, as defined structurally by micro economical theory. Similarly, analysing grammars and behaviour alone is ‘just’ some (still valuable) research on engineering. However only based on a >structural< theory of modeling it will become research on modeling.
How might such a modeling theory look like? What might be its formal foundation, corresponding to game theory in economics? Perhaps Finite model theory? (as it has already done quite a good job as foundation of database theory)
To be precised further …