Ad hoc testing

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Ad hoc testing is a commonly used term for planned software testing that is performed without initial test case documentation;[1] however, ad hoc testing can also be applied to other scientific research and quality control efforts.[2] Ad hoc tests are useful for adding additional confidence to a resulting product or process, as well as quickly spotting important defects or inefficiencies,[1][3] but they have some disadvantages, such as having inherent uncertainties in their performance[4][5] and not being as useful without proper documentation post-execution and -completion.[1][3] Occasionally, ad hoc testing is compared to exploratory testing as being less rigorous, though others argue that ad hoc testing still has value as "improvised testing that deals well with verifying a specific subject."[6]

Ad hoc testing of software

When testing software, that testing may be methodical or more improvisational. Methodical testing will include written test cases, which detail their own set of specified inputs, execution conditions, testing procedures, and expected results as a means of achieving a particular software testing objective.[7] Ad hoc testing may have a more "improvisational" feel to it as initial test cases are not documented and the tester's intuition, skillset, and experience are more relevant;[1][3] however, ad hoc testing of software is still largely a planned activity.[1] The tester still intends to apply—as part of the overall software development process—their own methodology to find bugs not anticipated for by planned test cases using any means that seem appropriate given the situation.[1][3] Ad hoc testing can, for example, be an extension of existing documented test cases but intend to apply invented variations of those test cases improvisationally without formally documenting the specifics beforehand.[3] However, as Desikan notes, to get the most from an ad hoc test and limit its downsides, the test should be properly documented post-execution and -completion, and the results report should address how any defects were identified in a step-by-step manner.[1]

Ad hoc testing in other scientific pursuits

Ad hoc testing is not limited to software development. Ad hoc testing has been applied in other scientific and quality management scenarios. For example, ad hoc testing has been applied in standardized on-site testing at healthcare facilities of "the electromagnetic immunity of medical devices and help identify interference issues that might exist with critical medical devices as a result of emissions from RF transmitters," using IEEE/ANSI C63.18-2014.[2][4][5][8] Other areas where ad hoc testing has been applied include:


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Desikan, Srinivasan (2006). "Chapter 10: Ad hoc testing". Software testing : principles and practices. Gopalaswamy Ramesh. Bangalore, India: Dorling Kindersley (India). ISBN 81-7758-121-X. OCLC 560339747.
  2. ^ a b Coletta, J.N.; Boivin, W.S.; Boyd, S.M.; et al. (April 2000). "Test Results from Using the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) C63.18 Ad Hoc Test Method for Estimating Radiated Electromagnetic Immunity of Medical Devices to Specific Radio Frequency (RF) Transmitters". Laboratory Information Bulletin. 16 (4). 4209. Retrieved 21 September 2022.
  3. ^ a b c d e Lewis, William E. (2009). Software testing and continuous quality improvement. David Dobbs, Gunasekaran Veerapillai (3rd ed.). Boca Raton: Auerbach Publications. pp. 68–71. ISBN 978-1-4398-3436-7. OCLC 471136117.
  4. ^ a b Turcotte, J.; Witters, D. (1998). "A practical technique for assessing electromagnetic interference in the clinical setting: ad hoc testing". Biomedical Instrumentation & Technology. 32 (3): 241–252. ISSN 0899-8205. PMID 9619253.
  5. ^ a b Nogueira-Neto, G.N.; Nohama, P.; de Moura, M.A.; de Paula, S.B. (2003). "Ad hoc test protocols for determination of electromagnetic interference caused by cell phones on electro-medical devices". Proceedings of the 25th Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (IEEE Cat. No.03CH37439). Cancun, Mexico: IEEE. pp. 3621–3624. doi:10.1109/IEMBS.2003.1280937. ISBN 978-0-7803-7789-9. S2CID 60581450.
  6. ^ "Systems VVT Methods: Testing", Verification, Validation, and Testing of Engineered Systems, Hoboken, NJ, USA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., p. 447, 2010-07-29, doi:10.1002/9780470618851.ch5, ISBN 978-0-470-61885-1
  7. ^ 24765-2010 - ISO/IEC/IEEE International Standard - Systems and software engineering -- Vocabulary. IEEE. 2010. ISBN 978-0-7381-6205-8. OCLC 1112398949.
  8. ^ "IEEE/ANSI C63.18-2014". American National Standards Institute. Retrieved 21 September 2022.
  9. ^ Spreen, Otfried (2003). "Chapter 5: Clinical Bedside Examination". Assessment of aphasia. Anthony H. Risser. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 46. ISBN 978-0-19-803225-0. OCLC 314216057.
  10. ^ Jeffery-Smith, Anna; Rowland, Thomas A J; Patel, Monika; Whitaker, Heather; Iyanger, Nalini; Williams, Sarah V; Giddings, Rebecca; Thompson, Leah; Zavala, Maria; Aiano, Felicity; Ellis, Joanna; Lackenby, Angie; Höschler, Katja; Brown, Kevin; Ramsay, Mary E (2021). "Reinfection with new variants of SARS-CoV-2 after natural infection: a prospective observational cohort in 13 care homes in England". The Lancet Healthy Longevity. 2 (12): e811–e819. doi:10.1016/S2666-7568(21)00253-1. PMC 8635459. PMID 34873592.
  11. ^ Powell, Andy; Baker-Austin, Craig; Wagley, Sariqa; Bayley, Amanda; Hartnell, Rachel (2013). "Isolation of Pandemic Vibrio parahaemolyticus from UK Water and Shellfish Produce". Microbial Ecology. 65 (4): 924–927. doi:10.1007/s00248-013-0201-8. ISSN 0095-3628. PMID 23455432. S2CID 253768828.
  12. ^ Holst-Jensen, A. (2012). "Chapter 37: Testing for genetically modified organisms (GMOs) revealed the real source of rice imported to Norway". Case studies in food safety and authenticity: Lessons from real-life situations. J. Hoorfar. Oxford: Woodhead Pub. p. 338. ISBN 978-0-85709-693-7. OCLC 805627736.
  13. ^ Ashford, Robert D.; Brown, Austin M.; Curtis, Brenda (2018). "Systemic barriers in substance use disorder treatment: A prospective qualitative study of professionals in the field". Drug and Alcohol Dependence. 189: 62–69. doi:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2018.04.033. PMID 29883870. S2CID 47011510.
  14. ^ Humphries, Romney M (2022-09-01). "Ad Hoc Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing from MALDI-TOF MS Spectra in the Clinical Microbiology Laboratory". Clinical Chemistry. 68 (9): 1118–1120. doi:10.1093/clinchem/hvac044. ISSN 0009-9147. PMID 35352088.


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