Hi Richard,

A couple of clarifications - your primary experimental
manipulation is 'style', is that right? Could you explain what
this means?

And do you have a hypothesis, regarding the impact of 'style' on
your measures? (and the expected interaction of age/experience
with style).

With luck, we will soon have the Psychology of Programming book
available online, after which David Gilmore's chapter on
'Methodological Issues in the Study of Programming' will provide
useful guidance along these lines.


> I want to run a small readability experiment this semester
> as a class exercise.  I've done a lot of web searching looking
> for guidelines, but not found anything really helpful.
> My idea is
>       - 3 programs, about 2 pages each
>       - 3 styles
>       - Latin square
>       - record reading times + time to find mistakes +
>         confidence in answers + comprehension questions +
>         demographics (age, experience)
>       - students should criticise the experiment
> Looking at it dispassionately, the program size isn't really
> enough to evaluate the question I'm interested in, but it's
> about as much as I can ask people to do for an assignment.
> The point is to give the students experience with what a
> (toy) software engineering experiment is like.
> Anyone have any ideas on what good comprehension questions
> look like?
> The programming language is basically an imperative pseudocode
> to avoid the "if this is Java then it ought to be laid out/
> spelled/structured/ like this" effect.
> -- 
> The Open University is incorporated by Royal Charter (RC 000391), an exempt 
> charity in England & Wales and a charity registered in Scotland (SC 038302).

Alan Blackwell
Reader in Interdisciplinary Design, University of Cambridge
Further details from www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~afb21/

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