Information systems development is not merely a technical intervention but involves social and ethical dilemmas that affect the human, social and organizational domains. To demonstrate this point, the authors conduct a thorough and substantive description and analysis of the conceptual and philosophical underpinnings of systems development. In particular they analyse a number of systems development methodologies including structured methods, prototyping, ETHICS and Soft Systems Methodology to reveal the underlying conceptual and philosophical foundations. The book provides an in-depth analysis of data modelling theory and its links with theories of language and cognition. It offers a framework to describe and analyse different systems development approaches and to explain their strengths and weaknesses. The book is aimed at graduate students taking courses in information systems and data modelling, but will also appeal to information systems managers and professionals for whom the summary of methodologies will be useful.