Accession Number : ADA183797

Title :   An Empirical Study of Plan-Based Representations of Pascal and Fortran Code.

Descriptive Note : Technical rept.,

Corporate Author : RUTGERS - THE STATE UNIV NEW BRUNSWICK NJ COGNITION AND COMPUTING LAB

Personal Author(s) : Robertson,Scott P ; Yu,Chiung-Chen

PDF Url : ADA183797

Report Date : Jun 1987

Pagination or Media Count : 64

Abstract : The first step in program modification is comprehension. Several researchers have argued recently that programmers utilize a plan-based representation when composing or comprehending program code. In a series of studies we are testing the psychological validity of this proposal and examining the nature of plan-based program representations. Here we report the results of our first study in which programmers segmented code and sorted programs. The segmenting data showed the programmers agree on the major components of a program and that these components are defined by goals in a plan representation. Pascal and Fortran programs that employ the same plan structures were segmented into similar components. These components were labelled with similar subgoal descriptions. The majority of subgoals described were abstract, with few being task-specific. Program sorting data also shows clustering into plan groups, however some secondary dimensions, like the type of data used (in Pascal programs), may also be important parts of program representation. Keywords: Man computer interface; Software psychology.

Descriptors :   *FORTRAN, *MACHINE CODING, COMPREHENSION, PLANNING, SORTING, PROGRAMMERS, SEGMENTED, MAN COMPUTER INTERFACE, MODIFICATION, PSYCHOLOGY, VALIDATION, COMPUTER PROGRAMS

Subject Categories : Computer Programming and Software

Distribution Statement : APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE