Title page for ETD etd-09082012-040548

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Stevens, K. Todd
URN etd-09082012-040548
Title A taxonomy for the evaluation of computer documentation
Degree Master of Science
Department Computer Science
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Arthur, James D. Committee Chair
Henry, Sallie M. Committee Member
Nance, Richard E. Committee Member
  • Software engineering
Date of Defense 1988-08-05
Availability restricted

Software quality is a highly visible topic in the software engineering community. In response to assessing the quality of the documentation of software, this thesis presents a taxonomy of documentation characteristics which can be used to evaluate the quality of computer documentation. Previous work in the area has been limited to individual characteristics of documentation and English prose in general and not organized in such fashion as to be usable in an evaluation procedure. This thesis takes these characteristics, adds others, and systematically establishes a hierarchical structure of characteristics that allow one to assess the quality of documentation. The tree structure has three distinct levels (viz. Qualities, Factors, and Quarzzüierr), with a root node (or highest characteristic) of Documentation Adequacy. The Qualities are abstract, non-measurable characteristics. The Factors are characteristics that support the assessment of the Qualities; Qualizier are decomposed into Factors. The Quantyiers, which are measurable document characteristics, support the assessment of the Factors. In the thesis, the levels are described and then the characteristics are each defined in terms of evaluation of documentation quality. Finally, an example application is presented as the evaluation taxonomy is tailored to a specific set of documents, those generated by the Automated Design Description System (ADDS).

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