Business Information Systems Cluster: Using Eye Tracking to Unravel the Cognitive Processes of Understanding Conceptual Models

12 December, 2014 - 10:30 to 12:00


In this paper, eye tracking technology is introduced as a tool to examine the mental processes involved in reading and understanding conceptual modeling scripts. Conceptual models are frequently used to communicate domain understanding during the development of IS. In two eye tracking studies, we demonstrate how eye tracking can help in understanding the processes by which readers use conceptual modeling scripts to perform problem-solving tasks. In the first study, we compare scripts generated using two process modeling grammars and demonstrate how attention paid to specific parts of a script (under modeling grammar variations) and information integration of these parts relate to task performance. In the second study, we demonstrate how users integrate information from specific parts of UML class diagrams with the rest of the diagrams to perform tasks. The paper demonstrates how task performance can be explained with different mental processes, where each script invokes different mental processes. Insights obtained from this research may be useful in providing guidance to developers and users of modeling grammars, both in devising rules for constructing grammars and in arranging constructs in creating scripts from a grammar.

Palash Bera, Saint Louis University

Palash Bera is an Assistant Professor at the John Cook School of Business, Saint Louis University, Saint Louis. His prior appointment was at Texas A&M International University. He has a Ph.D. and a Master’s degree in Management Information Systems from the University of British Columbia. His research interests are in empirical studies of information systems analysis and design and the use of eye tracking technologies as a research methodology. His recent research focuses on testing design principles of analytics dashboards. He has published in reputed information systems journals such as MIS Quarterly, Information Systems Research, and Requirements Engineering Journal. Palash has worked in executive and consulting positions in two multinational companies. His teaching interests are in Business Analytics, Big Data, and Database Design. He currently serves as the President of the AIS Special Interest Group on Systems Analysis and Design.