An Exploratory Study of the Cognitive Structures Underlying the Comprehension of Software Design Problems
Technical rept. 3 Oct 1977-3 Dec 1978
SCIENCE APPLICATIONS INC ENGLEWOOD CO
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An experiment was conducted to evaluate a framework for the study of software complexity and comprehension. Basic to this framework is the concept that a persons knowledge of, and experience with, software design affects that persons ability to comprehend a software problem and its potential solutions. Past research on software complexity and comprehensibility has largely been based on the assumption that complexity is a function of surface properties, such as variable names and flow of control. Such measures, however, ignore the effects of experience. Research on expert-novice differences in problems solving suggests that experts possess a large number of previously developed knowledge structures, or schemata, that can be used to understand or solve the current problem. Research on text comprehension provides theoretical concepts and experimental paradigms that are useful in determining the structure and content of these experience-related schemata.
- Computer Programming and Software
- Human Factors Engineering and Man Machine Systems