Second-guessing in tracing tasks considered harmful?

Bhushan Chitre, Jane Huffman Hayes, Alexander Dekhtyar

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

1 Scopus citations


[Context and motivation] Trace matrices are lynch pins for the development of mission- and safety-critical software systems and are useful for all software systems, yet automated methods for recovering trace links are far from perfect. This limitation makes the job of human analysts who must vet recovered trace links more difficult. [Question/Problem] Earlier studies suggested that certain analyst behaviors when performing trace recovery tasks lead to decreased accuracy of recovered trace relationships. We propose a three-step experimental study to: (a) determine if there really are behaviors that lead to errors of judgment for analysts, (b) enhance the requirements tracing software to curtail such behaviors, and (c) determine if curtailing such behaviors results in increased accuracy. [Principal ideas/results] We report on a preliminary study we undertook in which we modified the user interface of RETRO.NET to curtail two behaviors indicated by the earlier work. We report on observed results. [Contributions] We describe and discuss a major study of potentially unwanted analyst behaviors and present results of a preliminary study toward determining if curbing these behaviors with enhancements to tracing software leads to fewer human errors.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRequirements Engineering
Subtitle of host publicationFoundation for Software Quality - 24th International Working Conference, REFSQ 2018, Proceedings
EditorsErik Kamsties, Jennifer Horkoff, Fabiano Dalpiaz
Number of pages7
StatePublished - 2018
Event24th International Working Conference on Requirements Engineering Foundation for Software Quality, REFSQ 2018 - Utrecht, Netherlands
Duration: Mar 19 2018Mar 22 2018

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume10753 LNCS
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Conference24th International Working Conference on Requirements Engineering Foundation for Software Quality, REFSQ 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018.


  • Empirical study
  • Requirements tracing
  • Study of the analyst
  • Trace vetting
  • User interface

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • General Computer Science


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