By Topic

The Role of the Tester's Knowledge in Exploratory Software Testing

Sign In

Cookies must be enabled to login.After enabling cookies , please use refresh or reload or ctrl+f5 on the browser for the login options.

Formats Non-Member Member
$33 $13
Learn how you can qualify for the best price for this item!
Become an IEEE Member or Subscribe to
IEEE Xplore for exclusive pricing!
close button

puzzle piece

IEEE membership options for an individual and IEEE Xplore subscriptions for an organization offer the most affordable access to essential journal articles, conference papers, standards, eBooks, and eLearning courses.

Learn more about:

IEEE membership

IEEE Xplore subscriptions

3 Author(s)
Juha Itkonen ; Aalto University School of Science, Espoo ; Mika V. Mäntylä ; Casper Lassenius

We present a field study on how testers use knowledge while performing exploratory software testing (ET) in industrial settings. We video recorded 12 testing sessions in four industrial organizations, having our subjects think aloud while performing their usual functional testing work. Using applied grounded theory, we analyzed how the subjects performed tests and what type of knowledge they utilized. We discuss how testers recognize failures based on their personal knowledge without detailed test case descriptions. The knowledge is classified under the categories of domain knowledge, system knowledge, and general software engineering knowledge. We found that testers applied their knowledge either as a test oracle to determine whether a result was correct or not, or for test design, to guide them in selecting objects for test and designing tests. Interestingly, a large number of failures, windfall failures, were found outside the actual focus areas of testing as a result of exploratory investigation. We conclude that the way exploratory testers apply their knowledge for test design and failure recognition differs clearly from the test-case-based paradigm and is one of the explanatory factors of the effectiveness of the exploratory testing approach.

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering  (Volume:39 ,  Issue: 5 )