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Durham e-Theses
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An investigation into computer support for cooperative work in software engineering groups

Drummond, Sarah A. (1999) An investigation into computer support for cooperative work in software engineering groups. Masters thesis, Durham University.



The research of this thesis relates to Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW) in the context of software engineering, and in particular software engineering education. Whilst research into group working has tended to be directed towards CSCW, very little research has been undertaken on group working within software engineering. Linked with CSCW is groupware, which is the class of tools that supports and augments groupwork. This thesis represents an attempt to contribute to the understanding of the groupware needs of software engineers, and to identify and trial groupware that supports software engineering activities. An infrastructure has been developed providing virtual environments, for use by both collocated and geographically distributed software engineering students, to support their groupwork. This infrastructure comprises of synchronous and asynchronous groupware, in the form of desktop video conferencing, and a shared information workspace. This shared workspace has been tailored from the groupware tool, Basic Support for Cooperative Work (BSCW).Within this thesis, hypotheses have been formulated as to the student use of these virtual environments. These hypotheses concentrate on the areas of: organisation and coordination of tasks, the level of cooperation that occurs within the phases of the software lifecycle, the usage of the functions within a shared workspace, and what importance is placed on the role of synchronous communication within software engineering student groupwork. Through a series of case studies it was possible to determine the outcome of these hypotheses using various data collection methods. These methods include questionnaires, focus group meetings, observations, and automatic monitoring of workspace activities. The outcomes of this thesis are that the hypotheses regarding organisation and coordination, and, the role of synchronous communication within software engineering, have been proved. Whilst the determination of the level of cooperation during the phases of the software lifecycle has not been proved, the use of functions within the shared workspace has been partly proved.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Science
Thesis Date:1999
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:13 Sep 2012 15:48

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