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Software Engineers' Information Seeking Behavior in Change Impact Analysis: An Interview Study
RISE SICS AB, SWE.
Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Computing, Department of Software Engineering.
Lunds Universitet, SWE.
2017 (English)In: IEEE International Conference on Program Comprehension, IEEE Computer Society , 2017, p. 12-22Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Software engineers working in large projects must navigate complex information landscapes. Change Impact Analysis (CIA) is a task that relies on engineers' successful information seeking in databases storing, e.g., source code, requirements, design descriptions, and test case specifications. Several previous approaches to support information seeking are task-specific, thus understanding engineers' seeking behavior in specific tasks is fundamental. We present an industrial case study on how engineers seek information in CIA, with a particular focus on traceability and development artifacts that are not source code. We show that engineers have different information seeking behavior, and that some do not consider traceability particularly useful when conducting CIA. Furthermore, we observe a tendency for engineers to prefer less rigid types of support rather than formal approaches, i.e., engineers value support that allows flexibility in how to practically conduct CIA. Finally, due to diverse information seeking behavior, we argue that future CIA support should embrace individual preferences to identify change impact by empowering several seeking alternatives, including searching, browsing, and tracing. © 2017 IEEE.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
IEEE Computer Society , 2017. p. 12-22
Keywords [en]
case study, change impact analysis, information seeking, safety-critical systems, traceability, Computer programming, Information retrieval, Individual preference, Industrial case study, Information seeking behaviors, Safety critical systems, Test case specifications, Engineers
National Category
Software Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:bth-15046DOI: 10.1109/ICPC.2017.20ISI: 000414246900002Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85025149120ISBN: 9781538605356 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:bth-15046DiVA, id: diva2:1135017
Conference
25th IEEE International Conference on Program Comprehension, ICPC, Buenos Aires
Available from: 2017-08-22 Created: 2017-08-22 Last updated: 2018-01-13Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
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More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
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  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
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  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf