User dyads in software testing: bypassing the need for expert observers

Foster, G. (2005) User dyads in software testing: bypassing the need for expert observers. British Journal of Educational Technology, 36 2: 205-216. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8535.2005.00453.x

Author Foster, G.
Title User dyads in software testing: bypassing the need for expert observers
Journal name British Journal of Educational Technology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0007-1013
Publication date 2005-03
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/j.1467-8535.2005.00453.x
Volume 36
Issue 2
Start page 205
End page 216
Total pages 12
Place of publication Oxford
Publisher Blackwell Publishing
Collection year 2005
Language eng
Subject C1
1303 Specialist Studies in Education
Abstract This paper arises out of a research study into the online help facilities provided in popular software applications such as word processors. Its particular focus is on experimental methods of evaluating the effectiveness and usability of those facilities. Focus groups, questionnaires, and online surveys had already been used in other phases of the study, but it was judged that these approaches would be unsuitable for measuring effectiveness and usability because they are susceptible to respondents' subjectivity. Direct observation of people working on set word-processing tasks was ruled out initially because of a lack of trained observers; it would have taken too long for the investigator to observe a large enough sample by himself. Automatic recording of users' actions was also rejected, as it would have demanded equipment and/or software that was not available and seemed too expensive to acquire. The approach and techniques described here were an attempt to overcome these difficulties by using observers drawn from the same population of students that provided the test subjects; as a by-product, this may also have enhanced the acceptability (and hence possibly the validity) of the experiments by reducing the exam pressure perceived by participants.
Keyword Education & Educational Research
Q-Index Code C1

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: 2006 Higher Education Research Data Collection
School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering Publications
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Created: Wed, 15 Aug 2007, 06:23:25 EST