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Modern Code Reviews—Survey of Literature and Practice

May 26, 2023
Code Review

Background: Modern Code Review (MCR) is a lightweight alternative to traditional code inspections. While secondary studies on MCR exist, it is uanknown whether the research community has targeted themes that practitioners consider important.

Objectives: The objectives are to provide an overview of MCR research, analyze the practitioners’ opinions on the importance of MCR research, investigate the alignment between research and practice, and propose future MCR research avenues.

Method: We conducted a systematic mapping study to survey state of the art until and including 2021, employed the Q-Methodology to analyze the practitioners’ perception of the relevance of MCR research, and analyzed the primary studies’ research impact.

Results: We analyzed 244 primary studies, resulting in five themes. As a result of the 1,300 survey data points, we found that the respondents are positive about research investigating the impact of MCR on product quality and MCR process properties. In contrast, they are negative about human factor– and support systems–related research.

Conclusion: These results indicate a misalignment between the state of the art and the themes deemed important by most survey respondents. Researchers should focus on solutions that can improve the state of MCR practice. We provide an MCR research agenda that can potentially increase the impact of MCR research.

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Deepika Badampudi
Michael Unterkalmsteiner
Ricardo Britto
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