Entity Relationship Model - ER Model

Entity Relationship Model - ER Model

Entity Relationship Model (E-R Model)

The process of database design is an iterative process. The ER Model is used at the conceptual design stage of the database design.ER diagram is used to represent this conceptual design. The requirement analysis is modeled in this conceptual design. The ER model is very expressive so that people can easily understand the requirement. The data modeler prepares  the ER diagram and is verified with the functional domain experts to ensure that all the requirements are properly incorporated in the conceptual design. The process is repeated until the end users and designers agree that the E-R diagram is a fair representation of the requirement. We can easily map an ER diagram to a relational schema.

The basic constructs of  ER Model are Entity, Attributes and Relationships. An Entity is an object that exist in the real world and is distinguishable from other entities.

  • Conceptual Design
  • ER Diagram
  • Entities
  • Attributes
  • Relationships


An entity is a thing or object in the real world that is distinguishable from all other objects. For example 'Person'  in an organization is an entity. An entity has a set of properties. At the E-R modeling level an entity actually refers to an entity set. In other words, entity in ER model corresponds to a table.

  • Entity
  • Entity Set

An entity may be concrete such as a person, book etc or may be abstract such as account,loan etc. The ER model refers to a specific table row as an entity instance or entity occurrence. Collection of similar entities (Entity Set) often corresponds to a table. Each entity set has a key.All entities in an entity set have the same set of attributes. Thus entity set is a set of entities of the same type that share the same properties or attributes. An entity is represented by a rectangle containing the entity name, which is a noun usually written in capital letters.



An entity is represented by a set of attributes. It corresponds to a field in a table.For each attribute there is a set of permitted values called the domain or value set of the attribute. Attributes are represented by ovals and are connected to the entity with a line. Each oval contains the name of the attribute it represents.


A relationship describes an association among entities. In ER model the association among entities is described as one-to-one, one-to-many, many-to-many. Relationships are represented by a diamond connected to the related entities. The relationship name (an active or passive verb), is written inside the diamond.