Human values in software development artefacts: a case study on issue discussions in three Android applications

Arif Nurwidyantoro, Mojtaba Shahin, Michel R.V. Chaudron, Waqar Hussain, Rifat Shams, Harsha Perera, Gillian Oliver, Jon Whittle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Context: Human values such as inclusion, privacy, and accessibility need to be considered during software development to attract and maintain users. However, little effort has been made to study human values consideration in software development, particularly in software development artefacts. Objective: Issue discussion is potentially a rich source for human values analysis because it is a common place for users and developers to share and communicate their concerns. This paper aims to investigate the extent to which human values are discussed and whether the presence of values differs across projects. Method: We carried out a case study to discover human values in 1,097 issues collected from three Android projects: Signal, K-9, and Focus. Results: We identified 20 value themes and proposed a contextualised software engineering description for each of them. The analysis shows that privacy, freedom, usability, and efficiency were the prevalent value themes in the issue discussions of these three projects. Meanwhile, Self-direction - Action and Security - Personal are the common prevalent human values found in the projects. Moreover, we found that a statement of values from the apps and their functionalities could contribute to the presence of values. Conclusion: The results suggest that human values are present in software development artefacts, for which automated tools can be developed to extract and classify human values from them.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106731
Number of pages16
JournalInformation and Software Technology
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022


  • Human values
  • Issue tracker
  • Software artefacts
  • Software repositories

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