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Repeatable Software Engineering for Comparing Defect-Detection Techniques

: Lott, C.M.; Rombach, H.D.


Empirical Software Engineering 1 (1996), Nr.3, S.241-277 : Lit.
ISSN: 1382-3256
Fraunhofer IESE ()
code reading; controlled experiment; empirical software engineering; functional testing; stepwise abstraction; structural testing

Techniques for detecting defects in source code are fundamental to the success of any software development approach. A software development organization therefore needs to understand the utility of techniques such as reading or testing in its own environment. Controlled experiments have proven to be an effective means for evaluating software engineering techniques and gaining the necessary understanding about their utility. This paper presents a characterization scheme for controlled experiments that evaluate defect-detection techniques. The characterization scheme permits the comparison of results from similar experiments and establishes a context for cross-experiment analysis of those results. The characterization scheme is used to structure a detailed survey of four experiments that comapred reading and testing techniques for detecting defects in source code. We encourage educators, researchers, and practioners to use the characterization scheme in order to develop and conduct furth er instances of this class of experiments. By repeating this experiment we expect the software engineering community will gain quantitative insights about the utility of defect-detection techniques in differenct environments.