S13-Pre-4: Qualitative Methods for Test Design

Track: Pre-Conference Workshops

Many bugs are quite simple and we can find them using relatively simple techniques. For example, in the black box world, the most common family of techniques is “domain testing” (boundary and equivalence class analysis for one or a few variables). In the glass box world, the most common techniques help us achieve high levels of structural or data coverage. Techniques like these are blind to deeper bugs, failures that surface when you work the application harder. These include failures that involve timing or intermittent memory corruption (to hunt these, we use high-volume techniques) and design weaknesses that frustrate the experienced user who is trying to complete an appropriate but not-necessarily-everyday task. To hunt design weaknesses, we use scenarios that are based on a deeper analysis of the user/software/hardware/environment system. For that type of analysis, we use qualitative research methods, guided largely by the CHAT (cultural-historical activity theory) framework. This is frequently used in human factors research and in requirements analysis for many types of products and services. This tutorial will introduce you to using CHAT to guide requirements analyses that support scenario test design.

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Session Speaker:

Cem KanerCem Kaner – Professor of Software Engineering, Florida Institute of Technology
Cem Kaner J.D., Ph.D., is a Professor of Software Engineering at Florida Institute of Technology, and the Director of Florida Tech’s Center for Software Testing Education & Research (CSTER) since 2004. He is perhaps best known outside academia as an advocate of software usability and software testing.

Prior to his professorship, Kaner worked in the software industry beginning in 1983 in Silicon Valley “as a tester, programmer, tech writer, software development manager, product development director, and independent software development consultant.” In 1988, he and his co-authors Jack Falk and Hung Quoc Nguyen published what became, at the time, “the best selling book on software testing,” Testing Computer Software. He has also worked as a user interface designer. In 2004 he cofounded the non-profit Association for Software Testing, where he serves as the Vice-President for Publications.

Dr. Rebecca FiedlerDr. Rebecca Fiedler – President, Kaner Fiedler Associates LLC.
For the past 25 year years, Rebecca Fiedler has been teaching students of all ages – from Kindergarten to University. In the testing community, Dr. Fiedler works with Cem Kaner on the Black Box Software Testing (BBST) online professional development courses and was an active volunteer with the Association for Software Testing’s Education SIG. She is a regular attendee and presenter at the Workshop on Teaching Software Testing and has had numerous presentations at national and international conferences in education and educational technology.

Dr. Fiedler’s dissertation research used social science methods to evaluate software as used by real users for high-stakes tasks in education administration. She has also taught research methods classes to university students and advised doctoral students conducting qualitative studies.