Program comprehension levels of abstraction for novices

Amal Shargabi, Syed Ahmad Aljunid, Muthukkaruppanan Annamalai, Shuhaida Mohamed Shuhidan, Abdullah Mohd Zin

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

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Although various program comprehension models exist, their levels of abstraction and the related terminologies do not fit the programming pedagogy perspective. In this study, we proposed five abstraction levels for novice's program comprehension: statement, block, module, program and domain. The expansion and the terminologies of the proposed abstraction levels are inspired by the application of decomposition concept in programming pedagogy. To comprehend a program, novices understand decomposed parts (i.e. statements, blocks, and modules) of that program and chunk those parts into a meaningful whole (i.e. program) within a specific domain. We supported our revised abstraction levels with a user study. The revised abstraction levels are able to describe hierarchical levels of novices' program comprehension that map appropriately with their mental model. The proposed abstraction levels can be applied in designing empirical studies of novices' program comprehension that distinctly capture their different abstraction levels.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationI4CT 2015 - 2015 2nd International Conference on Computer, Communications, and Control Technology, Art Proceeding
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Pages211-215
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)9781479979523
DOIs
StatePublished - 24 Aug 2015
Externally publishedYes
Event2nd International Conference on Computer, Communications, and Control Technology, I4CT 2015 - Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia
Duration: 21 Apr 201523 Apr 2015

Publication series

NameI4CT 2015 - 2015 2nd International Conference on Computer, Communications, and Control Technology, Art Proceeding

Conference

Conference2nd International Conference on Computer, Communications, and Control Technology, I4CT 2015
Country/TerritoryMalaysia
CityKuching, Sarawak
Period21/04/1523/04/15

Keywords

  • abstraction level
  • mental model
  • novices
  • program comprehension
  • programming pedagogy

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