Gender differences in end-user debugging strategies Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/k35698612

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  • There has been little prior research reporting strategy usage in end-user problem solving, and even less using gender as a factor. Without this type of information, enduser programming systems cannot know the “target” at which to aim, if they are to support male and female end-user programmers’ debugging. As a background to the thesis, an experiment was conducted by our group members, where the participants were given a post session questionnaire that had an open-ended question about what debugging strategies they adopted in finding and fixing errors. It was found that among the mentioned strategies, testing and code inspection had significant statistical differences among male and/or female success groups. This thesis’s goal is the investigation of the behavioral evidence of the two primary strategies, testing and code-inspection using gender as a factor. Using quantitative and qualitative methods, we analyzed the two strategies reported, and looked for relationships among participants’ strategy choices, gender, and debugging success. Our results indicate that males and females debug in quite different ways, and the debugging strategies that worked well for the males were not the same ones that worked well for the females. Our results also reveal that tools currently available to end-user debuggers may be especially deficient in supporting debugging strategies used by females.
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