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Analysis of Mistakes as a Method to Improve Test Case Design


Publication Type:

Conference/Workshop Paper


International Conference on Software Testing, Verification and Validation(ICST)




Test Design – how test specifications and test cases are created – inherently determines the success of testing. However, test design techniques are not always properly applied, leading to poor testing. We have developed an analysis method based on identifying mistakes made when designing the test cases. Using an extended test case template and an expert review, the method provides a systematic categorization of mistakes in the test design. The two main classes of identified mistakes are (1) lack of comprehension (of the employed test design technique, target of test etc.) and (2) incomplete test case construction (due to lack of detail, missing clean-up, ambiguities, etc.). The detailed categorization of mistakes provides a basis for improvement of the Test Case Design, resulting in better tests. In developing our method we have investigated over 700 test cases created by novice testers. In a comparison with industrial test cases we could confirm that many of our mistake categories remain relevant also in an industrial context. Our contribution is a new method to improve the effectiveness of test case construction through proper application of test design techniques, leading to an improved coverage without loss of efficiency.


author = {Sigrid Eldh and Hans Hansson and Sasikumar Punnekkat},
title = {Analysis of Mistakes as a Method to Improve Test Case Design},
month = {March},
year = {2011},
booktitle = {International Conference on Software Testing, Verification and Validation(ICST)},
publisher = {IEEE},
url = {}