Hi Linda, 

I have just completed a masters thesis on enhancing Java compiler error 
messages. The thesis in its entirety isn't online yet - I'm waiting for a 
few administrative hurdles to be jumped. What I do have that may help at 
the moment are the following:


   1. I have attached a pdf containing about 120 references, mainly on 
   novice programmer behavior and enhancing error messages, with a slight bias 
   towards Java, but there are plenty of references on other languages also. 
   Some of these took a long time to track down, and I only discovered some 
   later than I would have hoped, so I hope this gives you a jump start. There 
   are a number of references on software that enhances error messages and on 
   designing good error messages. There are several PhD and MSc theses 
   included that aren't always available on google scholar - some of them are 
   hiding in fairly dark corners of the net. If you have trouble tracking 
   anything in particular down let me know. I should have copies of all of 
   these.  
   2. I recently presented some of these results at SIGCSE: 
   (http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=2844584&CFID=602145466&CFTOKEN=63845132 
   
<http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=2844584&CFID=602145466&CFTOKEN=63845132>). 
   I found that for the groups that participated in my study and using my 
   software, enhancing errors did make a positive difference in terms of 
   number of overall errors committed, the number of errors per student, for 
   some error messages the number of errors per error message, as well as to 
   some extent the number of repeated (consecutive) errors. 
   
The software is now several years old and has reached its end of life in 
too many ways. I have a new PhD student starting next semester however who 
is going to hopefully expand upon this work, in addition to moving in a few 
new directions.


I'll send you an email as new information becomes available. I am very 
interested in this area, so please feel free to contact me at any time with 
questions or updates!


Kind regards,


Brett

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Attachment: Enhancing Compiler Error Messages References.pdf
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