Most database textbooks on conceptual modeling do not cover domainspecific patterns. The texts emphasize notation, apparently assuming that notation enables individuals to correctly model domain‐specific knowledge acquired from experience. However, the domain knowledge acquired may not aid in the construction of conceptual models if it is not structured to support conceptual modeling. This study uses the Resources Events Agents (REA) pattern as an example of a domain‐specific pattern that can be encoded as a knowledge structure for conceptual modeling of accounting information systems (AIS), and tests its effects on the accuracy of conceptual modeling in a familiar business setting. Fifty‐three undergraduate and forty‐six graduate students completed recall tasks designed to measure REA knowledge structure. The accuracy of participants' conceptual models was positively related to REA knowledge structure. Results suggest it is insufficient to know only conceptual modeling notation because structured knowledge of domain‐specific patterns reduces design errors.

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