Programmers as Reflective Practitioners


Andree Woodcock

The Design Institute, Coventry University

We have been awarded a small research grant to open up investigation of whether programmers are 'reflective practitioners'. We are focussing on those programmers who could be described as 'software authors'. Those who originate a software concept, and then design, code and test it, fit into this category. A good example being the shareware games author.

Many professions are regarded as producing reflective practitioners - e.g. architects, surgeons and educators. The essence of reflective practice is that the practitioner is able to apply a deeply embedded expertise to a novel set of circumstances, through the process of 'reflection in action'.

We will be particularly looking at how integrated the process of programming is in the process of design.

If the thesis, that the programming process itself is deeply associated with the design process is true, then this has implications for the efficiency of designer/programmer teams in relation to the sole software author - something which we would seek to research in depth in the future.