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Defect-based Reading

In this page we describe the research already done as far as reading is concerned. This includes also a short description of two experiments which were done in order to check the efficiency of a new reading technique. For a detailed description see [PVB] As the defect-based reading technique is much more connected to perspective-based reading, we will explain this reading technique in greater detail than the previous ones.

The starting point for defect-based reading is a model of possible defects in requirements documents. For each defect class a set of questions was developed that would characterize the defect class, e.g. the class of data type inconsistencies. The questions also characterize a set of steps that should be performed while reading. The set of steps is called a scenario. While reading the document and following the different steps, the reader tries to answer the questions of the scenario.

Experimental validation of defect-based reading

Defect-based reading was validated in two experiments at the University of Maryland by comparing it to two other reading techniques:

Both techniques are non-systematic approaches towards reading. Non-systematic means that no description is given as to how the document should be read.
Defect-based reading is a technique which is less overlapping, more systematic and more distinct than these other two techniques. The hypothesis of the experiments was that this systematic approach of defect-based reading is better than the non-systematic ones.

From the two experiments the following conclusions were drawn:

  1. The defect detection rate of individuals and teams using defect based reading is superior to that obtained with ad-hoc or checklist methods.
  2. Scenarios really support reviewers focus on specific defect classes.
  3. The checklist method (the current best practice in industry) was no more effective than the ad hoc detection method.
  4. On the average, collection meetings contributed nothing to defect detection effectiveness.
The question is whether there are other more systematic techniques we can use in order to find defects in a software requirements document. This leads us directly to development of another reading technique called perspective-based reading.

next up previous contents
Next: Perspective-Based Reading Up: Reading Techniques and Previous: Active Design Reviews

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