Research and Advances
Computing Applications

A controlled experiment in program testing and code walkthroughs/inspections


This paper describes an experiment in program testing, employing 59 highly experienced data processing professionals using seven methods to test a small PL/I program. The results show that the popular code walkthrough/inspection method was as effective as other computer-based methods in finding errors and that the most effective methods (in terms of errors found and cost) employed pairs of subjects who tested the program independently and then pooled their findings. The study also shows that there is a tremendous amount of variability among subjects and that the ability to detect certain types of errors varies from method to method.

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