Title: Software engineers’ information behaviour and implicit relevance indicators

Authors: Adam Grzywaczewski; Rahat Iqbal

Addresses: Trinity Expert Systems Ltd., The Oaks, Westwood Way, Westwood Business Park, Coventry, CV4 8JB, UK ' Department of Computing and the Digital Environment, Coventry University, Priory Street, Coventry, CV1 5FB, UK

Abstract: Software engineering is a cognitively challenging process that requires continuous access to multiple sources of information. As a consequence Software Engineers spend a significant proportion of time (20–30%) searching for information and engaging in opportunistic programming practices, reusing the existing software elements. In this paper, we summarise the findings, discussing how software developers interact with information and information retrieval systems. Importantly we investigate to what extent a domain-specific search and recommendation system can be delivered in order to support their daily activities. Based on two user studies, a questionnaire and an automated observation of user interactions with the browser, we identify that software engineers engage in a finite number of work-related tasks and also develop a finite number of ‘work practices’/‘archetypes of behaviour’. Secondly we identify a group of domain-specific behaviours that can successfully be used for relevance feedback of a domain-specific and semi-collaborative information recommendation system that can support software engineers in performing their daily work-related tasks more effectively.

Keywords: domain-specific information retrieval; implicit feedback; collaborative filtering; retrieval contextualisation; software engineers; information behaviour; implicit relevance indicators; software engineering; software development; recommendation systems; recommender systems.

DOI: 10.1504/IJKWI.2011.044123

International Journal of Knowledge and Web Intelligence, 2011 Vol.2 No.2/3, pp.185 - 201

Published online: 09 Dec 2011 *

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