Author ORCID Identifier


Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Kweku-Muata Osei-Bryson

Second Advisor

Dr. Victoria Y. Yoon

Third Advisor

Dr. H. Roland Weistroffer

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Manoj A. Thomas

Fifth Advisor

Dr. Brent C. Smith


This study is a design science research (DSR) project in which a description of the development and evaluation process for several novel technological artifacts will be communicated. Specifically, this study will establish: 1) an ontology of recommender systems issues, 2) an ontology of financial capability goals, and 3) a framework for a Personal Financial Recommender System (PFRS) application designed to improve user financial capability, called FinPathlight. The impetus for the RecSys Issues Ontology is to address a gap in the literature by providing researchers with a comprehensive knowledge classification of the issues and limitations inherent to recommender systems research. The development of a Financial Capability Goals Ontology will contribute domain knowledge classification for technological systems within the domain of finance and serves as a recommendation item knowledgebase for our PFRS. The FinPathlight framework provides the architecture and principles of implementation for a novel, financial-technology (FinTech) PFRS. FinPathlight is designed to improve the financial capability of its users through the recommendation, tracking and assistance with achieving financial capability enhancing goals.

This research is notable in that it expands the influence and furthers the relevance of information systems research by providing an explicitly applicable research solution to an area of significant socio-economic importance, financial capability, a heretofore unsolved “wicked problem” (Churchman 1967) domain. In light of current financial conditions, recommender systems research that addresses a problem such as consumer financial capability is a step towards ensuring that information systems research continues to matter and retain its influence and relevance in everyday practice.


© Lawrence Bunnell

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission


Available for download on Saturday, May 04, 2024