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The Strathprints institutional repository is a digital archive of University of Strathclyde research outputs.

Strathprints serves world leading Open Access research by the University of Strathclyde, including research by the Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences (SIPBS), where research centres such as the Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC), the Cancer Research UK Formulation Unit, SeaBioTech and the Centre for Biophotonics are based.

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An Empirical Evaluation of Defect Detection Techniques

Roper, M. and Wood, M. and Miller, J. (1997) An Empirical Evaluation of Defect Detection Techniques. Information and Software Technology, 39 (11). pp. 763-775. ISSN 0950-5849

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Abstract

This report describes an empirical study comparing three defect detection techniques: (a) code reading by stepwise abstraction, (b) functional testing using equivalence partitioning and boundary value analysis, and (c) structural testing using branch coverage. It is a replication of a study that has been carried out at least four times previously over the last 20 years. This study used 47 student subjects to apply the techniques to small C programs in a fractional factorial experimental design. The major findings of the study are: (a) that the individual techniques are of broadly similar effectiveness in terms of observing failures and finding faults, (b) that the relative effectiveness of the techniques depends on the nature of the program and its faults, (c) these techniques are consistently much more effective when used in combination with each other. These results contribute to a growing body of empirical evidence that supports generally held beliefs about the effectiveness of defect detection techniques in software engineering.