Information and Software Technology 46 (13): 887-898 (2004)

On the Identification of Categories and Choices for Specification-Based Test Case Generation 1

T.Y. Chen 2 , P.-L. Poon 3 , S.-F. Tang 2 , and T.H. Tse 4

[paper from ScienceDirect | technical report TR-2004-02]


The category-partition method and the classification-tree method help construct test cases from specifications. In both methods, an early step is to identify a set of categories (or classifications) and choices (or classes). This is often performed in an ad hoc manner due to the absence of systematic techniques. In this paper, we report and discuss three empirical studies to investigate the common mistakes made by software testers in such an ad hoc approach. The empirical studies serve three purposes: (a) to make the knowledge of common mistakes known to other testers so that they can avoid repeating the same mistakes, (b) to facilitate researchers and practitioners develop systematic identification techniques, and (c) to provide a means of measuring the effectiveness of newly developed identification techniques. Based on the results of our studies, we also formulate a checklist to help testers detect such mistakes.

Keywords: Category-partition method, choice relation framework, classification-tree method, specification-based testing, test frame

1.   This research is supported in part by a grant of the Research Grants Council of Hong Kong (project no. 702901), an Australian Research Council Discovery Grant (project no. DP 0345147), and an Internal Competitive Research Grant of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (project no. A-PC30).
2. Centre for Software Analysis and Testing, Swinburne University of Technology, Hawthorn 3122, Australia.
3. School of Accounting and Finance, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom, Kowloon, Hong Kong.
4. (Corresponding author.)
Department of Computer Science, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong.


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