Spreadsheet bibliography

Title An empirical study of end-user behaviour in spreadsheet error detection & correction
Authors Brian Bishop & Kevin McDaid
Year 2007
Type Proceedings
Publication EuSpRIG
Series  
Abstract

Very little is known about the process by which end-user developers detect and correct spreadsheet errors. Any research pertaining to the development of spreadsheet testing methodologies or auditing tools would benefit from information on how end-users perform the debugging process in practice.

Thirteen industry-based professionals and thirty-four accounting & finance students took part in a current ongoing experiment designed to record and analyse end-user behaviour in spreadsheet error detection and correction. Professionals significantly outperformed students in correcting certain error types.

Time-based cell activity analysis showed that a strong correlation exists between the percentage of cells inspected and the number of errors corrected. The cell activity data was gathered through a purpose written VBA Excel plug-in that records the time and detail of all cell selection and cell change actions of individuals.

Full version Available
Sample
Errors corrected over cells inspected
Errors corrected over cells inspected

An important research goal was to determine if there was a correlation between the number of cells inspected and error detection/correction performance.

A scatterplot for errors corrected versus coverage shows a moderate-strong linear relationship.

That is, the more cells that are inspected, the more errors are detected.