Hypothesis selection strategies in a debugging task
Ashby, Alan Bradley
Lane, David M.
Master of Science
Previous research on the human process of debugging indicates that it can be described as a process of testing hypotheses. It is noted that Hypothesis Testing Theory (HTT) as proposed by Levine (1966) can provide a guiding framework to study debugging. Experiments 1 and 2 tested the following hypothesis: Given a very simple debugging task for which there is a clearly defined optimal strategy for solution, would people discover and use that strategy. Subjects tended to discover and use the optimal strategy in experiment 1, but not for the slightly more complex task of experiment 2. Experiments 3 and 4 tested the assumptions of HTT of domain sampling on a task similar to the ones used in Experiments 1 and 2. The assumptions of HTT were supported by the results of experiment 3. All of the subjects in experiment 4 used a sequential search strategy. The results of each experiment are discussed and additional research is proposed.
Experimental psychology; Computer science