More effective contextualization of CS education research: A pair-programming example

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Department of Computer Science


This position paper discusses the need for greater inclusion of context in papers describing computer science education research. This inspiration arose from our efforts to compare our experiences with pair programming in an introductory computer science course with experiences described in the literature. We quickly observed that the behaviors associated with the term "pair programming" and the contexts can differ greatly between universities and yet the phrase pair programming is often used with no further explanation.

A brief literature survey is used to demonstrate differences in the implementation of pair programming and the context that might impact the results. We identify attributes that are likely appropriate for much CS education research, as well as specifically consider relevant attributes for research involving pair programming. This anchors our paper and demonstrates specific attributes that require consideration beyond the general computer science classroom.

Our goal is to foster conversations on providing appropriate context in computer science education research. We argue that by providing such context, studies can be more easily replicated or distinguished, a greater understanding of attributes influencing the research can be gained, and other educators can more easily determine the relevance of the research to their classroom environment.

Publisher's Statement

© 2019 Association for Computing Machinery. Publisher’s version of record:

Publication Title

ITiCSE '19 Proceedings of the 2019 ACM Conference on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education