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Source code search is an important activity for programmers working on a change task to a software system. We are at the early stages of a research program that is aiming to answer three research questions: (1) How effectively can programmers express (using today’s tools) the information they are seeking? (2) How effectively can programmers determine which of the matches returned from their searches are relevant to their task? and (3) In what ways can tools be improved to support programmers in more effectively expressing their information needs and exploring the results of searches? To begin answering these questions we have conducted a study in which we gathered both qualitative and quantitative data about programmers’ search activities. Our analysis of this data is still incomplete, however this paper presents several of our initial observations about how programmers interact with the results from their searches.
http://www.wordle.net/ overview of the paper: