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Project: Developing a measure of query language experience


In the Database group, we like to learn more about students’ understanding of query languages. We often do this through user studies, in which we also ask questions about their prior experience with the language. This prior experience may have a large influence on students’ understanding, as one’s skills typically improve over time.

However, there is some debate on how to measure experience most accurately. In the paper that this thesis proposal is based on, the authors set out to understand how to best measure their participants’ experience of various programming languages, to see which correlates best with performance. They found that self-estimation seems to be a reliable way to measure programming experience.

In this project, you will take the basis laid by Siegmund and translate this into questions and exercises to measure query language experience. You will then test which factors accurately predict performance for users of various experience levels.

This new survey has the potential to become a new standard in measuring query language experience, and will be used in later studies on query language comprehension.

Further reading:
  • Siegmund, J., Kästner, C., Liebig, J., Apel, S., & Hanenberg, S. (2014). Measuring and modeling programming experience. Empirical Software Engineering, 19(5), 1299-1334. pdf
  • Siegmund, J. (2016, March). Program comprehension: Past, present, and future. In 2016 IEEE 23rd International Conference on Software Analysis, Evolution, and Reengineering (SANER) (Vol. 5, pp. 13-20). IEEE. pdf
George Fletcher
Secondary supervisor
Daphne Miedema
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