Harnessing Curiosity to Increase Correctness in End-User Programming
A. Wilson, M. Burnett, L. Beckwith, O. Granatir, L. Casburn, C. Cook, M. Durham, and G. Rothermel
Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, April 2003, pages 305-312.

Abstract

Despite their ability to help with program correctness, asertions have been notoriously unpopular -- even with professional programmers. End-user programmers seem even less likely to appreciate the value of asserrions; yet end-user programs suffer from serious correctness problems that assertions could help detect. This leads to the following question: can end users be enticed to enter assertions? To investigate this question, we have devised a curiosity-centered approach to eliciting assertions from end users, built on a a surprise-explain-reward strategy. Our follow-up work with end-user participants shows that the approach is effective in encouraging end users to enter assertions that help them find errors.