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MS Final Examination – Charles Hill


Tuesday, August 15, 2017 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM

The Sum of its Parts: Investigating the Component Pieces of GenderMag
Previous work introduced the GenderMag method, a software inspection method used to help software creators identify features within their software that are not gender-inclusive. Inclusiveness of software (gender or otherwise) matters because supporting diversity matters—it is well-known that the more diverse a group of problem-solvers, the higher the quality of the solution. In this thesis, we investigate the two component parts of GenderMag: the customized cognitive walkthrough and the gendered personas. To investigate the cognitive walkthrough component, we analyze data collected from a field study that explores the experience of teams of software professionals using GenderMag. We pinpoint situations that we term “detours” during which teams were 6 times more likely to make errors on the cognitive walkthrough forms than they did outside of detours. To investigate the personas component, we present a lab study that investigates the tension between gendered personas and inappropriate stereotyping. We explore a new approach to personas: one that includes multiple photos (of males and females) for a single persona. Our results are encouraging about the use of personas with multiple pictures to expand participants’ consideration of multiple genders without reducing their engagement with the persona. Between the two studies, we find answers to the question: How does each component part of GenderMag contribute to (or detract from) its overall goal of helping to identify gender biases in software?

Major Advisor: Margaret Burnett
Committee: Carlos Jensen
Committee: Anita Sarma
GCR: Bryony Dupont

Location: KEC 1007


Calvin Hughes
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