Using Non-Verbal Expressions as a Tool in Naming Research

Omer Regev, Michael Soloveitchik, Dror G. Feitelson

Variable and function names are extremely important for program comprehension. It is therefore also important to study how developers select names. But controlled experiments on naming are hindered by the need to describe to experimental subjects what it is they need to name. Words appearing in these descriptions may then find their way into the names, leading to a bias in the results. We suggest that this problem can be alleviated by using emojis or other small graphics in lieu of key words in the descriptions. A replication of previous work on naming, this time including such emojis and graphics, indeed led to a more diverse and less biased choice of words in the names than when using English descriptions.

Knowledge Graph

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