Advertisement

How Do Quantifiers Affect the Quality of Requirements?

  • Katharina WinterEmail author
  • Henning Femmer
  • Andreas VogelsangEmail author
Conference paper
  • 38 Downloads
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 12045)

Abstract

[Context] Requirements quality can have a substantial impact on the effectiveness and efficiency of using requirements artifacts in a development process. Quantifiers such as “at least”, “all”, or “exactly” are common language constructs used to express requirements. Quantifiers can be formulated by affirmative phrases (“At least”) or negative phrases (“Not less than”). [Problem] It is long assumed that negation in quantification negatively affects the readability of requirements, however, empirical research on these topics remains sparse. [Principal Idea] In a web-based experiment with 51 participants, we compare the impact of negations and quantifiers on readability in terms of reading effort, reading error rate and perceived reading difficulty of requirements. [Results] For 5 out of 9 quantifiers, our participants performed better on the affirmative phrase compared to the negative phrase. Only for one quantifier, the negative phrase was more effective. [Contribution] This research focuses on creating an empirical understanding of the effect of language in Requirements Engineering. It furthermore provides concrete advice on how to phrase requirements.

Keywords

Requirements syntax Natural language Reqs. quality 

References

  1. 1.
    Atoum, I.: A novel framework for measuring software quality-in-use based on semantic similarity and sentiment analysis of software reviews. J. King Saud Univ. Comput. Inf. Sci. 32(1), 113–125 (2020)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Berry, D.M., Kamsties, E.: The syntactically dangerous all and plural in specifications. IEEE Softw. 22(1), 55–57 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Chen, H., Cohen, P., Chen, S.: How big is a big odds ratio? Interpreting the magnitudes of odds ratios in epidemiological studies. Commun. Stat. Simul. Comput. 39(4), 860–864 (2010)MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Christensen, K.R.: Negative and affirmative sentences increase activation in different areas in the brain. J. Neurolinguist. 22(1), 1–17 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Cirilo, R.K., Foss, D.J.: Text structure and reading time for sentences. J. Verbal Learn. Verbal Behav. 19(1), 96–109 (1980)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Cohen, J.: Statistical Power Analysis for the Behavioral Sciences. Routledge, New York (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Femmer, H., Vogelsang, A.: Requirements quality is quality in use. IEEE Softw. 36(3), 83–91 (2019)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Femmer, H., Mèndez Fernàndez, D., Wagner, S., Eder, S.: Rapid quality assurance with requirements smells. J. Syst. Softw. 123, 190–213 (2017)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Glanzberg, M.: Quantifiers, pp. 794–821. Oxford University Press, Oxford (2006)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Graesser, A.C., Hoffman, N.L., Clark, L.F.: Structural components of reading time. J. Verbal Learn. Verbal Behav. 19(2), 135–151 (1980)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Keenan, E.L., Stavi, J.: A semantic characterization of natural language determiners. Linguist. Philos. 9(3), 253–326 (1986)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Klare, G.R.: The measurement of readability: useful information for communicators. ACM J. Comput. Doc. 24(3), 107–121 (2000)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    MacKay, D.G.: To end ambiguous sentences. Percept. Psychophys. 1(5), 426–436 (1966)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Wohlin, C., Runeson, P., Höst, M., Ohlsson, M.C., Regnell, B., Wesslén, A.: Experimentation in Software Engineering: An Introduction. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Norwell (2000)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Technische Universität MünchenMunichGermany
  2. 2.Qualicen GmbHGarchingGermany
  3. 3.Technische Universität BerlinBerlinGermany

Personalised recommendations