Information systems are understood as models or representations of an application domain. System analysis is a mode of inquiry for purposes of understanding the domain and effecting change in it. Scientific inquiry also aims for understanding and description of domain. In contrast to system analysis, scientific inquiry is based on a 4000-year history. Its processes and methods are well accepted and arguably successful. This paper explores the parallels between the two processes and shows implications of viewing system development as a kind of scientific inquiry. A descriptive survey of system development in organizations presents empirical indications as to whether these parallels are in fact observed in system development practice.