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Title: An investigation into program comprehensibility measures.
Author: Takang, Ako-Mbark Armstrong.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3496 2804
Awarding Body: University of Hull
Current Institution: University of Hull
Date of Award: 1997
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This study deals with a number of issues concerned with the derivation, use and interpretation of traditional software measures that are currently used as measures of program comprehensibility. One of the approaches that has been been suggested as a way of dealing with the software maintenance crisis is the use of software measures to assist in the management of software maintenance activities. The use of these measures has also been extended to the estimation of program comprehensibility - the level of effort needed to comprehend a program for maintenance purposes. In this thesis, it is argued that, despite the wide and continuous use of such program comprehensibility measures, they manifest a number of weaknesses that have been largely ignored despite their implications for both program comprehension and software maintenance activities. These concerns are inherent in the following characteristics of the measures: (i) inability to reflect the holistic nature of comprehension; (ii) insensitivity to the dynamic nature of the comprehension process, and (ill) insensitivity to software maintenance objectives. Furthermore, it is suggested that in order for these measures to become much more widely acceptable, valid and more representative of the phenomenon of program comprehension, these issues need to be addressed. This investigation talres the form of three studies. First, a survey of the literature and selection of measures currently used to estimate program comprehensibility. Second, a questionnaire survey of the impact of various factors on program comprehension. Finally, an observation and an experiment on programmers working on maintenance tasks, paying particular attention on the comprehension process and its outcome. The findings from these studies are discussed in the light of the weaknesses of traditional software measures as indicators of program comprehensibility. This thesis concludes by examining the wider implications of these findings and makes recommendations for further work in the area
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Computer software & programming