Analysis and design of Information Systems (ISs) is the process of eliciting the system's requirements and transforming them into a model that can be
used to develop ISs. Analysis and design of Agent-Oriented Information Systems (AOISs) relates to the very same process using the multi-agent paradigm. A comprehensive and rigorous methodology for developing multi-agent systems is lacking (Elammari & Lalonde, 1999; Odell et al., 2000). Most existing multi-agent systems were developed in an ad-hoc manner, and systems developers paid little attention to requirements specification and the analysis process (Treur, 1999a).
The paper has two goals: (a) to provide an overview and (b) to discuss challenges and future research of the field. To address the first goal, we review different methodologies that are suitable for analysing and designing AOIS. This is done by examining, for each methodology, its suitability in supporting the early phases of the software engineering process (specifically analysis and design) as well as its capabilities for modelling agent-oriented systems. To address the second goal, we analyse the limitations of existing approaches, identify critical issues and point to what we think are possible future directions.