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A Grounded Theory Analysis of Introductory Computer Science Pedagogy

Keywords: Qualitative Research , Novice Programmers , Planning , Grounded Theory

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Abstract:

Planning is a critical, early step on the path to successful program writing and a skill that is often lacking in novice programmers. As practitioners we are continually searching for or creating interventions to help our students, particularly those who struggle in the early stages of their computer science education. In this paper we report on our ongoing research of novice programming skills that utilizes the qualitative research method of grounded theory to develop theories and inform the construction of these interventions. We describe how grounded theory, a popular research method in the social sciences since the 1960’s, can lend formality and structure to the common practice of simply asking students what they did and why they did it. Further, we aim to inform the reader not only about our emerging theories on interventions for planning but also how they might collect and analyze their own data in this and other areas that trouble novice programmers. In this way those who lecture and design CS1 interventions can do so from a more informed perspective.

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