Analysis of Source Code Reading

Difficulty of source code reading is different for programmers with various skills. Programmers – experts have their own habits how to read a code which makes algorithm friendlier for them. These habits are probably very similar. But novices don’t have these habits. Their methods of source code reading are more random. And this is what is interesting for me. In my research I’ll try to find some patterns in their thinking and understanding of the code. For this purpose, I am planning to use eye-tracker and record their eye gaze while they solve short tasks written in C programming language. These tasks will consist of short source codes (up to 30 lines) and the participant should read and comprehend it and specify the output of the program’s execution. I should be able to collect enough data for analyze and hopefully I’ll be able to find some pattern in their scan-paths.