A Systematic Literature Review of Software Defect Prediction: Research Trends, Datasets, Methods and Frameworks

Romi Satria Wahono


Recent studies of software defect prediction typically produce datasets, methods and frameworks which allow software engineers to focus on development activities in terms of defect-prone code, thereby improving software quality and making better use of resources. Many software defect prediction datasets, methods and frameworks are published disparate and complex, thus a comprehensive picture of the current state of defect prediction research that exists is missing. This literature review aims to identify and analyze the research trends, datasets, methods and frameworks used in software defect prediction research betweeen 2000 and 2013. Based on the defined inclusion and exclusion criteria, 71 software defect prediction studies published between January 2000 and December 2013 were remained and selected to be investigated further. This literature review has been undertaken as a systematic literature review. Systematic literature review is defined as a process of identifying, assessing, and interpreting all available research evidence with the purpose to provide answers for specific research questions. Analysis of the selected primary studies revealed that current software defect prediction research focuses on five topics and trends: estimation, association, classification, clustering and dataset analysis. The total distribution of defect prediction methods is as follows. 77.46% of the research studies are related to classification methods, 14.08% of the studies focused on estimation methods, and 1.41% of the studies concerned on clustering and association methods. In addition, 64.79% of the research studies used public datasets and 35.21% of the research studies used private datasets. Nineteen different methods have been applied to predict software defects. From the nineteen methods, seven most applied methods in software defect prediction are identified. Researchers proposed some techniques for improving the accuracy of machine learning classifier for software defect prediction by ensembling some machine learning methods, by using boosting algorithm, by adding feature selection and by using parameter optimization for some classifiers. The results of this research also identified three frameworks that are highly cited and therefore influential in the software defect prediction field. They are Menzies et al. Framework, Lessmann et al. Framework, and Song et al. Framework.

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