Date of Award

Summer 8-2010

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Computer Information Systems

First Advisor

Balasubramaniam Ramesh

Second Advisor

Veda Storey

Third Advisor

Mark Keil

Fourth Advisor

Julia Hilliard


The term ontology is defined as the explicit specification of a conceptualization. While much of the prior research has focused on technical aspects of ontology management, little attention has been paid to the investigation of issues that limit the widespread use of ontologies and the evaluation of the effectiveness of ontologies in improving task performance. This dissertation addresses this void through the development of approaches to ontology creation, refinement, and evaluation. This study follows a multi-paper model focusing on ontology creation, refinement, and its evaluation. The first study develops and evaluates a method for ontology creation using knowledge available on the Web. The second study develops a methodology for ontology refinement through pruning and empirically evaluates the effectiveness of this method. The third study investigates the impact of an ontology in use case modeling, which is a complex, knowledge intensive organizational task in the context of IS development. The three studies follow the design science research approach, and each builds and evaluates IT artifacts. These studies contribute to knowledge by developing solutions to three important issues in the effective development and use of ontologies.