Unit 33 Data Analysis and Design

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To provide learners with the knowledge and skills needed to understand, design, query and implement database systems.

Unit abstract

An understanding of database tools and technologies is key to many of today’s industries. Database systems are predominant in the world of IT, and continue to demand more complex data structures and interface, as applications get increasingly sophisticated. Databases provide the infrastructure to many organisations, and they offer support to key business applications and information systems. The most common database model used commercially is the relational one. The aim of this unit is to provide a knowledge and understanding of database systems including design principles, practical implementation and development skills for both the system designer and software engineer. The importance of structured query languages should be stressed, in terms of how they can be used to manipulate data and how they are used for a variety of tasks including querying and report writing. On completion of this unit the learner should be able to understand, design, query and implement a database(s). Learners will also have a theoretical insight into the requirement for designing a database that meets a given user or system requirement and that is functional, user friendly and robust

Learning outcomes

1 Understand data models and database technologies

  • Data models: Hierarchical; Network; Relational; data manipulation languages; data definition languages; data independence; data redundancy issues; data integrity; schema; eg tables fields relationships, views, indexes; conceptual scheme; physical scheme, data dictionary.
  • Approaches: top down and bottom up; tools and techniques eg entity analysis, Entity Relation Diagrams (ERDs), determinancy diagrams, data flow diagrams; entities; attributes and key identifiers; relationship types and enterprise rules; degrees of relationships; functional dependency; first, second and third normal forms
  • New developments: dynamic storage; data mining and data warehousing; web enabled database applications; other developments eg multimedia databases, document management systems, digital libraries.

2 Be able to design and implement relational database systems

  • Designs: data types; entity and referential constraints; conversion of logical database design to a physical implementation; tools and techniques; issues around the degree of normalisation chosen; verification and validity checks; data definition; control mechanisms
  • Requirements: requirements specification; relational requirements; other requirements eg need to integrate with legacy systems, future requirements, timescales, costs.
  • User interface: requirements eg functionality, reliability, consistency, performance, menu driven, HCI interface

3 Be able to use manipulation and querying tools

  • Data manipulation: query languages; visual tools; typical tasks eg for database maintenance, inserts, updates and amendments
  • Queries and reporting: query languages and query by example (QBE); formatting; functions/formulae; report writing tools

4 Be able to test and document relational database systems

  • Control mechanisms. example systems eg TQM(Total Quality Management); connection to requirements specification; sign off procedures.
  • Testing procedures: test plans; test models eg white box, black box; test documentation; other eg organisational requirements; user documentation eg help menu, pop-ups, hot-spots


  • Avison D and Fitzgerald G – Information Systems Development: Methodologies, Techniques and Tools (McGraw HillHigher Publishing Company, 2006) ISBN 0077114175
  • Chao L – Database Development and Management (CRC Press, 2006) ISBN 0849392381
  • Connolly T and Begg C – Database Systems: A Practical Approach to Design, Implementation and Management (Addison Wesley, 2004) ISBN 0321210255
  • Howe D – Data Analysis for Database Design (Butterworth-Heinemann Ltd, 2001) ISBN 0750650869
  • Kroenke D – Database Concepts, 2nd Edition (Prentice Hall, 2004) ISBN 0131451413
  • Ponniah P – Database Design and Development: An Essential Guide for IT Professionals: Visible Analyst Set (John Wiley & Sons Inc, 2006) ISBN 0471760943
  • Ritchie C – Relational Database Principles (Thomson Learning, 2002) ISBN 0826457134


  • www.deeptraining.com/litwin/dbdesign/FundamentalsOfRelationalDatabaseDesign.aspx
  • www.geekgirls.com/menu_databases.htm
  • www.smart-it-consulting.com/database/progress-database-design-guide/

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