An empirical study of novice program comprehension in the imperative and object-oriented styles

Vennila Ramalingam, Susan Wiedenbeck
1997 Papers presented at the seventh workshop on Empirical studies of programmers - ESP '97  
The objective of this study was to determine whether the mental representation of object-oriented programs differs from imperative programs for novice programmers. In our study novices who had little or no previous programming experience studied and answered questions about three imperative and three object-oriented programs. The questions targeted information categories making up the program model and the domain model representations of the programs. It was found that there was a sharp
more » ... between the mental representations of the imperative and object-oriented programs. While the comprehension of the imperative programs was better overall than that of the object-oriented programs, the mental representations of the imperative programs focused on program-level knowledge. On the other hand, the mental representations of the objectoriented programs focused more strongly on domain-level knowledge. The results tend to support the view that language notations differ in how well they support the extraction of various kinds of information.
doi:10.1145/266399.266411 fatcat:j74hunefjfd43nimotvcp7inqa