Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title: Researcher bias: The use of machine learning in software defect prediction
Authors: Shepperd, M
Bowes, D
Hall, T
Keywords: Meta-analysis;Researcher bias;Software defect prediction
Issue Date: 2014
Publisher: Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Citation: IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, 40(6), 603 - 616, 2014
Abstract: Background. The ability to predict defect-prone software components would be valuable. Consequently, there have been many empirical studies to evaluate the performance of different techniques endeavouring to accomplish this effectively. However no one technique dominates and so designing a reliable defect prediction model remains problematic. Objective. We seek to make sense of the many conflicting experimental results and understand which factors have the largest effect onpredictive performance. Method. We conduct a meta-analysis of all relevant, high quality primary studies of defect prediction to determine what factors influence predictive performance. This is based on 42 primary studies that satisfy our inclusion criteria that collectively report 600 sets of empirical prediction results. By reverse engineering a common response variable we build arandom effects ANOVA model to examine the relative contribution of four model building factors (classifier, data set, input metrics and researcher group) to model prediction performance. Results. Surprisingly we find that the choice of classifier has little impact upon performance (1.3 percent) and in contrast the major (31 percent) explanatory factor is the researcher group. It matters more who does the work than what is done. Conclusion. To overcome this high level of researcher bias, defect prediction researchers should (i) conduct blind analysis, (ii) improve reporting protocols and (iii) conduct more intergroup studies in order to alleviate expertise issues. Lastly, research is required to determine whether this bias is prevalent in other applications domains.
Description: This is the author's accepted manuscript. The final published article is available from the link below. Copyright @ 2014 IEEE. Personal use of this material is permitted. Permission from IEEE must be obtained for all other users, including reprinting/ republishing this material for advertising or promotional purposes, creating new collective works for resale or redistribution to servers or lists, or reuse of any copyrighted components of this work in other works.
ISSN: 0098-5589
Appears in Collections:Computer Science
Dept of Computer Science Research Papers

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
Fulltext.pdf430.72 kBAdobe PDFView/Open
Supplementary Materials.pdf177.64 kBAdobe PDFView/Open

Items in BURA are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.