An Information Foraging Theory Perspective on Tools for Debugging, Refactoring, and Reuse Tasks Public Deposited

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This is an author's peer-reviewed final manuscript, as accepted by the publisher. The published article is copyrighted by the Association for Computing Machinery and can be found at:  http://tosem.acm.org/. © ACM, 2013. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of ACM for your personal use. Not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in ACM Transactions on Software Engineering and Methodology, VOL# 22, ISS# 2, (March 2013)  http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/2430545.2430551

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  • Theories of human behavior are an important but largely untapped resource for software engineering research. They facilitate understanding of human developers’ needs and activities, and thus can serve as a valuable resource to researchers designing software engineering tools. Furthermore, theories abstract beyond specific methods and tools to fundamental principles that can be applied to new situations. Toward filling this gap, we investigate the applicability and utility of Information Foraging Theory (IFT) for understanding information-intensive software engineering tasks, drawing upon literature in three areas: debugging, refactoring, and reuse. In particular, we focus on software engineering tools that aim to support information-intensive activities, that is, activities in which developers spend time seeking information. Regarding applicability, we consider whether and how the mathematical equations within IFT can be used to explain why certain existing tools have proven empirically successful at helping software engineers. Regarding utility, we applied an IFT perspective to identify recurring design patterns in these successful tools, and consider what opportunities for future research are revealed by our IFT perspective.
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  • Fleming, S. D., Scaffidi, C., Piorkowski, D., Burnett, M., Bellamy, R., Lawrance, J., & Kwan, I. (2013). An information foraging theory perspective on tools for debugging, refactoring, and reuse tasks. ACM Transactions on Software Engineering and Methodology (TOSEM), 22(2), 1-41. doi:10.1145/2430545.2430551
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  • description.provenance : Made available in DSpace on 2013-09-18T20:52:27Z (GMT). No. of bitstreams: 1 ScaffidiChrisEECSInformationForagingTheory.pdf: 1430906 bytes, checksum: 375c532432946e15245a21cd365b3f0c (MD5) Previous issue date: 2013-03
  • description.provenance : Submitted by Deanne Bruner (deanne.bruner@oregonstate.edu) on 2013-09-18T20:51:14Z No. of bitstreams: 1 ScaffidiChrisEECSInformationForagingTheory.pdf: 1430906 bytes, checksum: 375c532432946e15245a21cd365b3f0c (MD5)
  • description.provenance : Approved for entry into archive by Deanne Bruner(deanne.bruner@oregonstate.edu) on 2013-09-18T20:52:27Z (GMT) No. of bitstreams: 1 ScaffidiChrisEECSInformationForagingTheory.pdf: 1430906 bytes, checksum: 375c532432946e15245a21cd365b3f0c (MD5)

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