Supporting Communicability with Use Case Guidelines: An Empirical Study

This source preferred by Keith Phalp

Authors: Phalp, K.T. and Cox, K.

Start date: 8 April 2002

Recent research into use cases advocates guidance in the composition and structuring of their descriptions. For example, the CREWS1 research project has proposed Use Case Authoring Guidelines. As such, this paper describes an experiment, which compares the utility of use-case writing guidelines, specifically our own (CP) guidelines with those from the CREWS group.

Replication of CREWS studies has indicated that use cases are improved through the application of guideline sets, but that their application is problematic. Further experimentation has focused on comparing our own (leaner) CP Rules to those of CREWS. Our pilot experiment appeared to show that the CP Rules performed as well as those from CREWS across two types of scenario or domain. We further noted from the pilot that the CP Structure Rules actually fared better for one of the scenarios. Hence, the pilot seemed to suggest that the CP Rules would perform at least as well as the CREWS Guidelines, whilst also flagging a possible need to consider the type of scenario.

The experiment now described thus attempts to confirm the findings of the pilot. In some senses, this has been successful, in that we conclude the CP Structure Rules either fare as well or better than those from CREWS. However, we also note that the improved CP scores seen were for the opposite scenario to those for the pilot. Hence, whilst being gratified by the general trend of the result we also consider the issues of combining studies in this way.

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