Effects of Graphical Versus Textual Representation of Database Structure on Query Performance

Effects of Graphical Versus Textual Representation of Database Structure on Query Performance

Wesley Jamison (University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg, USA) and James T.C. Teng (University of South Carolina, USA)
Copyright: © 1993 |Pages: 9
DOI: 10.4018/jdm.1993010102
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Abstract

A graphical form of representation for database structure was designed to make explicit aspects of database structure that users must discover in order to compose successful queries. In a laboratory experiment, subjects wrote queries using the graphic style of representation as well as the less explicit textual style of documentation. Graphic and textual database representations were compared in both less complex (i.e., three-file) and more complex (i.e., six-file) databases. Results showed that subjects were faster, more accurate, and generally experience less difficulty in writing queries when using the graphic style of representation than when using the textual style of representation. Style of representation did not interact significantly with the complexity of the database in determining query writing performance. The findings from ratings on the difficulty of using the documentation showed that subjects rated the graphic documentation as more helpful only when it made explicit information for writing queries. Implications of the findings for database administration and directions for future research are discussed.

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