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Response to [How tagging helps …] by Treude et al.


This paper researches on how tagging can serve as an informal process that bridges social and technical aspects during software development. The research questions consist of how tagging is adopted by the software developers, what roles tagging plays and what is the difference from social tagging on the internet. The methodology toward answering these questions include a quantitative analysis of archival data as well as semi-structured interviews. Quantitative results show the increasing popularity of tag usage as well as the number of users involved. On the other hand, qualitative results explain reasons for using tags, the individual characteristics of using tag as well as the scenario in collaboration. These findings further lead to a comparison with tagging on internet and more implications for tool design.


Example of unfold the research question:

  1. How is the social tagging mechanism adopted by developers for annotating work items?
    1. How does the frequency of tag use vary over the lifetime of the project?
    2. How many different tags are used, and which tags are used more frequently?
    3. How many users tag and how does this number of users vary over time?
  2. What role does the tagging feature play in the work practices of individuals and team developers?
    1. Why do developers tag work items?
    2. How do developers use tags for work items?
    3. Which role do tags play in collaboration?
  3. How does work item tagging compare to social tagging on the Internet?
    1. What are the differences between work items and web content?
    2. How are tags adapted to meet the needs of software developers?


  1. It strikes me that we can use the quantitative results to support the qualitative findings or frame the qualitative findings to mirror the quantitative results.
  2. There are some nice ways of writing the paper such as stating the research questions at the beginning, thinking out of the box – comparing tagging on the internet and in software development, emphasizing motivation in the introduction.

About Xiang 'Anthony' Chen

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