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|Title: ||EXPERTISE IN DEBUGGING COMPUTER PROGRAMS|
|Authors: ||Vessey, Iris|
|Issue Date: ||Dec-1984|
|Publisher: ||Stern School of Business, New York University|
|Series/Report no.: ||IS-85-12|
|Abstract: ||This paper reports the results of an exploratory study that
investigated expert and novice debugging processes with the aim of
contributing to a general theory of programming expertise. The method
used was verbal protocol analysis. Data was collected from sixteen
programmers employed by the same organization. First, an
expert-novice classification of subjects was derived from information
based on subjectsâ problem solving processes; the criterion of
expertise was the subjects' ability to effectively chunk the program
they were required to debug. Then, significant differences in
subjectsâ approaches to debugging were used to characterize
programmers' debugging strategies. Comparisons of these strategies
with the expert-novice classification showed programmer expertise
based on chunking ability to be strongly related to debugging
strategy. The following strategic propositions were identified for
1. (a) Experts use breadth-first approaches to debugging and, at the
same time, adopt a system view of the problem area.
(b) Experts are proficient at chunking programs and hence display
smooth-flowing approaches to debugging.
2. (a) Novices use breadth-first approaches to debugging but are
deficient in their ability to think in system terms.
(b) Novices use depth-first approaches to debugging.
(c) Novices are less proficient at chunking programs and hence
display erratic approaches to debugging.|
|Appears in Collections:||IOMS: Information Systems Working Papers|
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