Evaluating the comprehension of means-ends maps

Jumana Nassour, Michael Elhadad, Arnon Sturm, Eric Yu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Information and software systems development is rapidly changing due to exponential technology development. This acceleration is also impacting other technology or engineering domains. Thus, there is a need to identify problems and their solutions, and to reason about new options so as to better arrive at the right decision of which technology or solution should be adopted among various alternatives. In this paper, we argue that such know-how information can be mapped, to ease such tasks. In particular, we examine the hypothesis that know-how mapping, using an approach we call Means-Ends Map (ME-MAP), facilitates analysis in technological domains. We design a controlled experiment to assess the comprehension of ME maps with that of textual summaries in two different domains. We find that subjects exploring a domain using ME maps were able to better identify solutions and better understand the tradeoffs among alternative solutions. Furthermore, these subjects gained that understanding faster compared to those using textual summaries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1885-1903
Number of pages19
JournalSoftware and Systems Modeling
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2019


  • Controlled experiment
  • Evaluation
  • Knowledge mapping
  • Literature review
  • ME-MAP


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