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  1. Whenever developers choose among alternative technical approaches, they make a design decision. Collectively, design decisions shape how software implements its requirements and shape non-functional quality attributes such as maintainability, extensibility, and performance. Developers work with design decisions both when identifying, choosing, and documenting alternatives and when later work requires following and understanding previously made design decisions. Design decisions encompass design rationale, describing the alternatives and justification for a design choice, as well as design rules, describing the constraints imposed by specific alternatives. This article summarizes and classifies research on these activities, examining different approaches through which tools may support developers in working with design decisions in code. We focus both on the technical aspects of tools as well as the human aspects of how tools support developers. Our survey identifies goals developers have in working with design decisions throughout the lifecycle of design decisions. We also examine the potential support tools may offer developers in achieving these goals and the challenges in offering better support. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 28, 2025
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 1, 2024
  3. Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 1, 2024
  4. A key goal of software engineering research is to improve the environments, tools, languages, and techniques programmers use to efficiently create quality software. Successfully designing these tools and demonstrating their effectiveness involves engaging with tool users — software engineers. Researchers often want to conduct user studies of software engineers to collect direct evidence. However, running user studies can be difficult, and researchers may lack solution strategies to overcome the barriers, so they may avoid user studies. To understand the challenges researchers face when conducting programmer user studies, we interviewed 26 researchers. Based on the analysis of interview data we contribute: (i) a taxonomy of 18 barriers researchers encounter; (ii) 23 solution strategies some researchers use to address 8 of the 18 barriers in their own studies; and (iii) 4 design ideas, which we adapted from the behavioral science community, that may lower 8 additional barriers. To validate the design ideas, we held an in-person all-day focus group with 16 researchers. 
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