Successful information systems (IS) development requires the under- standing of the real world domain in which the IS is situated in and of which it is a representation. Developing such an understanding is the role of systems analy- sis, the first major step in IS development. Conceptual models developed during systems analysis are used to support understanding of and communication about the real world domain. Recent years have seen the emergence of the object-oriented approach in general and UML special cally for IS design and implementation. However, no generally accepted modelling language has been proposed for use during IS analysis. This study will examine the suitability of UML as a conceptual modelling lan- guage. This study comprises two parts. The first part studies UML from an ontological perspective, attaches real- world semantics and derives ontologically grounded rules for applying UML to conceptual modelling. It is argued that by following these rules, modellers will improve the performance of the resultant models. In a second step, the derived rules and proposed advantages must be empirically supported. An experimental study is designed for this purpose.