Programmers' Performance on Structured versus Nonstructured Function Definitions

Klaas van den Berg, P.M. van den Broek

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    A control-flow model for functional programs is used in an experimental comparison of the performance of programmers on structured versus nonstructured Miranda function definitions. The performance is taken as a measure of the comprehensibility of functional programs. The experimental set-up is similar to the Scanlan study (1989). However, in the present study, a two-factor repeated measures design is used in the statistical analysis. The control-flow model appears to be useful in the shaping of the experiment. A significantly better performance has been found for structured function definitions on both dependent variables: the time needed to answer questions about the function definitions and the proportion correct answers. Moreover, for structured function definitions, a counter-intuitive result has been obtained: there are significantly fewer errors in larger definitions than in smaller ones.
    Original languageUndefined
    Pages (from-to)477-492
    Number of pages15
    JournalInformation and software technology
    Issue number7
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 1996


    • IR-57290
    • EWI-10094
    • Software metric
    • Structured programming
    • Functional Programming
    • SE-SMM: Software Measurement and Metrics
    • Comprehensibility

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