On Jul 16, 2010, at 2:20 AM, Alan Blackwell wrote:

Hi Richard,

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

I thought I already said explicitly that it was about
whether to use
 - runtogetherlowercasewords (like BSD 'getprogname')
 - well_separated_words (as recommended in AQ&S and Meyer OOSC3)
 - baStudlyCaps (asInJava)

The variants of each program are generated from a master.
Keywords are in bold and comments in italics, so that it isn't
any harder to find the keywords in any style than in any other,
and the indentation is identical.  The _only_ difference is
whether it's leftcapacity or left_capacity or leftCapacity
(or whatever the word is, that's an actual example).

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

Null hypothesis: no significant difference.
Preferred alternative: well_separated beats baStudly beats
runtogether.
The class is actually pretty homogenous this year, do I
don't expect age or experience effects to be detectable,
although I expect that in the wider world they exist and matter.

This is NOT intended to be the definitive experiment.
Its primary excuse for existence is to give the students
some experience of such experiments, with a research question
that I'd genuinely like to know the answer to, so it's "real"
in some sense.

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.

Excellent news.  You couldn't put that chapter up first?


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