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Conceptual model

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For other uses, see Model (disambiguation) and Conceptual model (computer science).
A conceptual model is a representation of a system, made of the composition of concepts which
are used to help people know, understand, or simulate a subject the model represents. It is also a
set of concepts. Some models are physical objects; for example, a toy model which may be
assembled, and may be made to work like the object it represents.
The term conceptual model may be used to refer to models which are formed after
a conceptualization or generalization process.[1][2] Conceptual models are often abstractions of things
in the real world whether physical or social. Semantic studies are relevant to various stages of
concept formation. Semantics is basically about concepts, the meaning that thinking beings give to
various elements of their experience.

Contents

 1Overview
o 1.1Models of concepts and models that are conceptual
o 1.2Type and scope of conceptual models
o 1.3Fundamental objectives
 2Modelling techniques
o 2.1Data flow modeling
o 2.2Entity relationship modeling (Ontology oriented)
o 2.3Event-driven process chain
o 2.4Joint application development
o 2.5Place/transition net
o 2.6State transition modeling
o 2.7Technique evaluation and selection
 2.7.1Considering affecting factors
 2.7.2Considering affected variables
 3Models in philosophy and science
o 3.1Mental model
o 3.2Metaphysical models
o 3.3Conceptual model vs. semantics model
o 3.4Epistemological models
o 3.5Logical models
o 3.6Mathematical models
o 3.7Scientific models
 4Statistical models
 5Social and political models
o 5.1Economic models
 6Models in systems architecture
o 6.1Business process modelling
 7Models in information system design
o 7.1Conceptual models of human activity systems
o 7.2Logico-linguistic models
o 7.3Data models
 7.3.1Entity-relationship model
 7.3.2Domain model
 8See also
 9References
 10Further reading
 11External links

Overview[edit]
Models of concepts and models that are conceptual[edit]
The term conceptual model is normal. It could mean "a model of concept" or it could mean "a model
that is conceptual." A distinction can be made between what models are and what models are made
of. With the exception of iconic models, such as a scale model of Winchester Cathedral, most
models are concepts. But they are, mostly, intended to be models of real world states of affairs. The
value of a model is usually directly proportional to how well it corresponds to a past, present, future,
actual or potential state of affairs. A model of a concept is quite different because in order to be a
good model it need not have this real world correspondence.[3] In artificial intelligence conceptual
models and conceptual graphs are used for building expert systems and knowledge-based systems;
here the analysts are concerned to represent expert opinion on what is true not their own ideas on
what is true.
Type and scope of conceptual models[edit]
Conceptual models (models that are conceptual) range in type from the more concrete, such as
the mental image of a familiar physical object, to the formal generality and abstractness
of mathematical models which do not appear to the mind as an image. Conceptual models also
range in terms of the scope of the subject matter that they are taken to represent. A model may, for
instance, represent a single thing (e.g. the Statue of Liberty), whole classes of things (e.g. the
electron), and even very vast domains of subject matter such as the physical universe. The variety
and scope of conceptual models is due to the variety of purposes had by the people using them.
Conceptual modeling is the activity of formally describing some aspects of the physical and social
world around us for the purposes of understanding and communication."[4]
Fundamental objectives[edit]
A conceptual model's primary objective is to convey the fundamental principles and basic
functionality of the system which it represents. Also, a conceptual model must be developed in such
a way as to provide an easily understood system interpretation for the model's users. A conceptual
model, when implemented properly, should satisfy four fundamental objectives.[5]

1. Enhance an individual's understanding of the representative system


2. Facilitate efficient conveyance of system details between stakeholders
3. Provide a point of reference for system designers to extract system specifications
4. Document the system for future reference and provide a means for collaboration
The conceptual model plays an important role in the overall system development life cycle. Figure
1[6] below, depicts the role of the conceptual model in a typical system development scheme. It is
clear that if the conceptual model is not fully developed, the execution of fundamental system
properties may not be implemented properly, giving way to future problems or system shortfalls.
These failures do occur in the industry and have been linked to; lack of user input, incomplete or
unclear requirements, and changing requirements. Those weak links in the system design and
development process can be traced to improper execution of the fundamental objectives of
conceptual modeling. The importance of conceptual modeling is evident when such systemic failures
are mitigated by thorough system development and adherence to proven development
objectives/techniques.

Modelling techniques[edit]
Main article: Conceptual model (computer science)
As systems have become increasingly complex, the role of conceptual modelling has dramatically
expanded. With that expanded presence, the effectiveness of conceptual modeling at capturing the
fundamentals of a system is being realized. Building on that realization, numerous conceptual
modeling techniques have been created. These techniques can be applied across multiple
disciplines to increase the user's understanding of the system to be modeled.[7] A few techniques are
briefly described in the following text, however, many more exist or are being developed. Some
commonly used conceptual modeling techniques and methods
include: workflow modeling, workforce modeling,