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Journal of Information Systems Education

Abstract

Should all business students be taught information systems (IS) documentation techniques? If IS documentation are taught which one is preferable? Current textbooks used in the core management information systems (MIS) course includes material on IS documentation techniques. The majority of the students in the MIS class are non-computer majors. An exploratory study was conducted to evaluate different techniques of information systems (IS) documentation according to three ergonomic criteria. The subjects were business students (91 percent non-computer majors) enrolled in upper division and graduate management information systems (MIS) core courses. Students answered questions about key characteristics of an information system that was documented with a narrative, data flow diagram, systems flow chart, and system component matrix. After answering these questions, the students evaluated the four techniques of IS documentation. Results indicated a strong preference for narrative form of documentation. The relationship between the student's ability to recognize key characteristics of an information system, and their preference for narrative documentation showed direct statistical significance. The study results may suggest that simple techniques of narrative documentation maybe sufficient for use by predominantly non-computer majors in required MIS courses and as a method of communicating with business and managerial end-users.

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