Information modeling is a technique by which a database designer determines the types of information that should be included in a database. Unknown to the database designer there are a variety of implicit metaphysical assumptions that guide the model construction and affect the quality of the resulting model. The broadest characterization of these assumptions is realism verses conceptualism. The realist believes that the object classes exist in the application domain waiting to be discovered. The conceptualist believes that object classes are abstracted from the application domain based on observations about the domain and the objectives of the information model. This paper explores these two dimensions of metaphysical assumptions and their implications.
Artz, John, "Information Modeling and the Problem of Universals: A Preliminary Analysis of Metaphysical Assumptions" (1998). AMCIS 1998 Proceedings. 272.