<XML><RECORDS><RECORD><REFERENCE_TYPE>3</REFERENCE_TYPE><REFNUM>7370</REFNUM><AUTHORS><AUTHOR>Purchase,H.C.</AUTHOR><AUTHOR>Welland,R.</AUTHOR><AUTHOR>McGill,M.</AUTHOR><AUTHOR>Colpoys,L.</AUTHOR></AUTHORS><YEAR>2003</YEAR><TITLE>Comprehension of Diagram Syntax:an empirical study of Entity-Relationship notations</TITLE><PLACE_PUBLISHED>Proceedings of Empirical Assessment in Software Engineering</PLACE_PUBLISHED><PUBLISHER>N/A</PUBLISHER><PAGES>213-231</PAGES><LABEL>Purchase:2003:7370</LABEL><ABSTRACT>Well-defined symbolic notations are essential for communication between teams of people working on any application. For large software implementations, UML is commonly used; for databases, entity-relationship diagrams are useful. However, the form of notation used in texts, papers, and documentation and learning materials is often different, and tends to reflect the personal preference of the author or publisher. The choice between semantically equivalent notations does not appear to be based on any consideration of the ease with which human readers could understand the notation. This paper addresses this notation comprehension issue by proposing an experimental methodology for determining which of two complete notations is easier to comprehend. The methodology also allows individual notational variants to be targeted. This methodology has been applied to two types of entity relationship notations: our experiment required subjects to indicate whether a supplied textual specification of objects and relationships matched each of a set of Chen [1] and SSADM [2] entity relationship diagrams. The results reveal both better performance and higher preference for the more concise overall notation, with partial results with respect to individual variants within the notations.</ABSTRACT></RECORD></RECORDS></XML>