Referential Integrity



  • Kathryn Lenth Westminster College


This activity gives students additional practice following foreign keys (through paper tables) and develops the concept of referential integrity. This activity does not reference a live database and can be done entirely on paper.

Before being given this activity, students should already be familiar with the concepts of primary key and foreign key, as well as the insert, update, and delete operations on relational tables. This activity is intended to be their first exposure to the term referential integrity, although some students will have already developed their own concept of it upon working with foreign keys.

This activity was developed with NSF support through IUSE-1626765. You may request access to this activity via the following link: IntroCS-POGIL Activity Writing Program

  • Level: Undergraduate
  • Setting: Classroom
  • Activity Type: Learning Cycle
  • Discipline: Computer Science
  • Course: Database
  • Keywords: Referential integrity, foreign key constraints, referential actions




How to Cite

Lenth, K. (2023). Referential Integrity: Database. POGIL Activity Clearinghouse, 3(4). Retrieved from



CS-POGIL Activity Writing Program