This paper presents three empirical studies of software engineering behaviour during systems analytic and analogical reuse tasks. The motivation behind these studies was to inform the design of support tools for the early stages of software development. A first study investigated inexperienced software engineers during a systems analytic task and revealed that they encountered considerable difficulties. The second and third studies investigated analogical software reuse as one means of overcoming these difficulties. The second study involved an experimental investigation of the effectiveness of specification reuse on analytic performance. Reuse proved beneficial, although it appeared to lead to mental laziness manifest as specification copying. In contrast, a third study investigated analogical specification reuse by expert software engineers, to determine how successful analogical comprehension and reuse may best be achieved. Implications of findings from all three studies for the design of support tools during software development are reported. © 1991.
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