First Advisor

George G. Lendaris

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Systems Science: Business Administration


Systems Science: Business Administration




Problem solving -- Data processing



Physical Description

v, 4, 234 leaves: ill. 28 cm.


Examination of the literature on methodologies for verifying and validating complex computer-based Problem Solving Systems led to a general hypothesis that there exist measurable features of systems that are correlated with the best testing methods for those systems. Three features (Technical Complexity, Human Involvement, and Observability) were selected as the basis of the current study. A survey of systems currently operating in over a dozen countries explored relationships between these system features, test methods, and the degree to which systems were considered valid. Analysis of the data revealed that certain system features and certain test methods are indeed related to reported levels of confidence in a wide variety of systems. A set of hypotheses was developed, focused in such a way that they correspond to linear equations that can be estimated and tested for significance using statistical regression analysis. Of 24 tested hypotheses, 17 were accepted, resulting in 49 significant models predicting validation and verification percentages, using 37 significant variables. These models explain between 28% and 86% of total variation. Interpretation of these models (equations) leads directly to useful recommendations regarding system features and types of validation methods that are most directly associated with the verification and validation of complex computer systems. The key result of the study is the identification of a set of sixteen system features and test methods that are multiply correlated with reported levels of verification and validation. Representative examples are: • People are more likely to trust a system if it models a real-world event that occurs frequently. • A system is more likely to be accepted if users were involved in its design. • Users prefer systems that give them a large choice of output. • The longer the code, or the greater the number of modules, or the more programmers involved on the project, the less likely people are to believe a system is error-free and reliable. From these results recommendations are developed that bear strongly on proper resource allocation for testing computer-based Problem Solving Systems. Furthermore, they provide useful guidelines on what should reasonably be expected from the validation process.


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