A Methodology for Eliciting Users Cognitive Models of Computer-Based Systems

  • Sven A. Carlsson


Over the past couple of years there has been a growing attention to mental models of artifacts like computer-based systems. It is assumed that research on mental models can enhance our understanding of computer-based systems uses; an understanding which can influence how we design and assess computer-based systems.

This paper presents an approach to mental modelling which is based on Kelly’s (1955) personal construct psychology. The primary purpose of this paper is to present and apply a version of the Role Construct Repertoire Interview, a methodology used to elicit a person’s mental model of a domain.

A study conducted in a natural setting of three spreadsheet program users are used to exemplify the applicability of the methodology. The more general use of the methodology in the information systems area is also discussed.


Mental Model Personal Construct Integrative Complexity Spreadsheet Program Construct System 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sven A. Carlsson
    • 1
  1. 1.Dept. of Information & Computer ScienceUniversity of LundLundSweden

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