• Corpus ID: 14252807

An Empirical Study of End-User Behaviour in Spreadsheet Error Detection & Correction

@article{Bishop2008AnES,
  title={An Empirical Study of End-User Behaviour in Spreadsheet Error Detection \& Correction},
  author={Brian Bishop and Kevin McDaid},
  journal={ArXiv},
  year={2008},
  volume={abs/0802.3479}
}
Very little is known about the process by which end-user developers detect and correct spreadsheet errors. Any research pertaining to the development of spreadsheet testing methodologies or auditing tools would benefit from information on how end-users perform the debugging process in practice. Thirteen industry-based professionals and thirty-four accounting & finance students took part in a current ongoing experiment designed to record and analyse end-user behaviour in spreadsheet error… 

Figures from this paper

Spreadsheet debugging behaviour of expert and novice end-users
TLDR
A simple debugging tool was developed by the authors, and its effects on debugging performance were investigated by means of a controlled experiment.
Expert and Novice End-User Spreadsheet Debugging: A Comparative Study of Performance and Behaviour
TLDR
The performance and behaviour of expert and novice end-users in the debugging of an experimental spreadsheet is investigated, and a debugging tool is developed, and its effects on debugging performance are investigated.
Spreadsheet End-User Behaviour Analysis
TLDR
The design and application of a novel data acquisition tool, which can be used for the unobtrusive recording of end-users mouse, keyboard and Excel specific actions during the debugging of Excel spreadsheets, and developed a "spreadsheet cell coverage feedback" debugging tool.
Evaluating the Effectiveness of Static Analysis Programs Versus Manual Inspection in the Detection of Natural Spreadsheet Errors
TLDR
The results showed that while manual human inspection results for this study were consistent with previous research in the field, the performance of the static analysis programs at detecting natural errors was very poor for every category of spreadsheet errors.
Unobtrusive data acquisition for spreadsheet research
TLDR
The design and application of a novel, custom built, data acquisition tool, which can be used for the unobtrusive recording of end-users mouse, keyboard and Excel specific actions during the debugging of Excel spreadsheets is detailed.
Can Named Ranges Improve the Debugging Performance of Novice Spreadsheet Users?
This paper analyses the suitability of certain refactoring methods, in particular those concerning naming, to spreadsheet development, and the effect they can have on both spreadsheet quality and the
An Exploratory Analysis of the Impact of Named Ranges on the Debugging Performance of Novice Users
TLDR
It is suggested that novice users debug on average significantly fewer errors if the spreadsheet contains named ranges, and this paper describes an exploratory empirical study of the effect of named ranges on spreadsheet debugging performance.
How do Range Names Hinder Novice Spreadsheet Debugging Performance?
TLDR
Range names are investigated in a more structured and controlled manner the effect they have on the debugging performance of novice spreadsheet users.
No half-measures: A study of manual and tool-assisted end-user programming tasks in Excel
TLDR
This paper studies end-user programmers completing four tasks with and without tools, observing that neither tool use nor tool rejection was consistently more accurate or efficient.
Accountants’ Perceptions of the Use of Excel Spreadsheet in Financial Reporting: A Survey of Accounts Personnel in Manufacturing Firms
Spreadsheet, a widely accepted critical business application tool with its benefits and unavoidable inadequacies is relied on by many accountants for financial reporting and operational processes
...
...

References

SHOWING 1-10 OF 18 REFERENCES
Quantitative and qualitative errors in spreadsheet development
TLDR
It is shown that spreadsheet errors can be difficult to detect during "what-if" analysis (i.e. when design parameters are changed) when the spreadsheets are not properly designed, and that most students do not take due care in designing their spreadsheets.
Applying Code Inspection to Spreadsheet Testing
  • R. Panko
  • Business
    J. Manag. Inf. Syst.
  • 1999
TLDR
Findings were that subjects were overconfident when inspecting alone, that certain types of errors are especially difficult to detect, and that the benefits of the group phase is greatest for these difficult-to-detect type of errors.
An experimental study of spreadsheet presentation and error detection
TLDR
Students sought eight errors planted in a single-page spreadsheet to discover if differences in the presentation format would facilitate error-finding performance, and found the on-screen treatments were clearly inferior to the paper treatments whether or not formulas were presented.
End-user software visualizations for fault localization
TLDR
This paper describes several fault localization visualization techniques for spreadsheets and reports the results of a formative study---using tests created by end users---to investigate how these fault localization techniques compare.
Quality control in spreadsheets: a software engineering-based approach to spreadsheet development
TLDR
The principles and techniques of tree-based formula representation, unique definition of spreadsheet elements, and separation of data and operations are among the main features explored.
A methodology for testing spreadsheets
TLDR
A testing methodology that adapts data flow adequacy criteria and coverage monitoring to the task of testing spreadsheets is presented and it is found that test suites created according to the methodology detected, on average, 81% of the faults in a set of faulty spreadsheets, significantly outperforming randomly generated test suites.
What we know about spreadsheet errors
TLDR
Although spreadsheet programs are used for small "scratchpad" applications, they are also used to develop many large applications, and error rates are in line with those in programming and other human cognitive domains.
Integrating automated test generation into the WYSIWYT spreadsheet testing methodology
TLDR
Two techniques for generating test cases are described, one involving random selection and one involving a goal-oriented approach, and their integration into the testing environment, and results of an experiment examining their effectiveness and efficiency are reported.
Factors Affecting the Ability to Detect Spreadsheet Errors
TLDR
The subject of spreadsheet error detection is examined in detail and an experiment designed to identify those factors influencing the error-detection capabilities of a sample of spreadsheet users is described.
...
...