Context: The requirements specification is a central arte- fact in the software engineering (SE) process, and its quality (might) influence downstream activities like implementation or testing. One quality defect that is often mentioned in standards is the use of passive voice. However, the con- sequences of this defect are still unclear. Goal: We need to understand whether the use of passive voice in requirements has an influence on other activities in SE. In this work we focus on domain modelling. Method: We designed an experiment, in which we ask students to draw a domain model from a given set of requirements written in active or passive voice. We compared the completeness of the resulting domain model by counting the number of missing actors, domain objects and their associations with respect to a specified solution. Results: While we could not see a difference in the number of missing actors and objects, participants which received passive sentences missed almost twice the associations. Conclusion: Our experiment indicates that, against common knowledge, actors and objects in a requirement can often be understood from the context. However, the study also shows that passive sentences complicate understanding how certain domain concepts are interconnected.

On The Impact of Passive Voice Requirements on Domain Modelling / Femmer, H.; Kučera, J.; Vetro', Antonio. - STAMPA. - (2014), pp. 21:1-21:4. ((Intervento presentato al convegno 8th International Symposium on Empirical Software Engineering and Measurement (ESEM) 2014 tenutosi a Torino, Italy nel 18-19 September, 2014 [10.1145/2652524.2652554].

On The Impact of Passive Voice Requirements on Domain Modelling

VETRO', ANTONIO
2014

Abstract

Context: The requirements specification is a central arte- fact in the software engineering (SE) process, and its quality (might) influence downstream activities like implementation or testing. One quality defect that is often mentioned in standards is the use of passive voice. However, the con- sequences of this defect are still unclear. Goal: We need to understand whether the use of passive voice in requirements has an influence on other activities in SE. In this work we focus on domain modelling. Method: We designed an experiment, in which we ask students to draw a domain model from a given set of requirements written in active or passive voice. We compared the completeness of the resulting domain model by counting the number of missing actors, domain objects and their associations with respect to a specified solution. Results: While we could not see a difference in the number of missing actors and objects, participants which received passive sentences missed almost twice the associations. Conclusion: Our experiment indicates that, against common knowledge, actors and objects in a requirement can often be understood from the context. However, the study also shows that passive sentences complicate understanding how certain domain concepts are interconnected.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11583/2561751
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