We are a group of interdisciplinary researchers led by Dr. Margaret-Anne Storey. Our offices are located in the Engineering/Computer Science building in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Victoria.

Our research interests include:

  • cognitive support and technology diffusion
  • human computer interaction
  • human and social implications of technology use
    (social informatics)
  • interface design
  • knowledge engineering
  • software engineering
  • technology and pedagogy
  • visualization

The CHISEL Group’s goal is to develop software that supports people performing complex cognitive tasks. Our projects benefit from collaborations with both academia and industry, and the application of innovative research techniques.

Contact us

We’re on eMail, Twitter, and Facebook.


We frequently work with several other groups in the department:

Dev jobs in Victoria

CHISELer David Rusk would like you to check out his Master’s project, GoodJobs4U!

The software development landscape consists of a confusingly large number of competing platforms.  What skills are in demand?  Where is the market trending next?  My MSc project, GoodJobs4U, helps answer these questions by archiving job postings from the VIATeC job board and performing analysis on them.  These analyses are specific to the Victoria, BC job market.

A preview version of my Website is available at: http://staging.goodjobs4u.com
Any and all feedback is welcomed.  Have an idea for a new feature?  Or some change to the UI?  Contact me at drusk@uvic.ca.

The Emergence of GitHub as a Collaborative Platform for Education

Our paper on the the emergence of GitHub as a collaborative platform for education has been accepted to CSCW 2015!

Preprint here!

Authors: Alexey Zagalsky, Joseph Feliciano, Margaret-Anne Storey, Yiyun Zhao, Weiliang Wang

Abstract: The software development community has embraced GitHub as an essential platform for managing their software projects. GitHub has created efficiencies and helped improve the way software professionals work. It not only provides a traceable project repository, but it acts as a social meeting place for interested parties, supporting communities of practice. Recently, educators have seen the potential in GitHub’s collaborative features for managing and improving—perhaps even transforming—the learning experience.

In this study, we examine how GitHub is emerging as a collaborative platform for education. We aim to understand how environments such as GitHub—environments that provide social and collaborative features in conjunction with distributed version control—may improve (or possibly hinder) the educational experience for students and teachers. We conduct a qualitative study focusing on how GitHub is being used in education, and the motivations, benefits and challenges it brings.

Papers accepted to CSCW 2015 and CASCON 2014!

Congratulations to the following CHISELers on their recent paper successes!

Elena Voyloshnikova and Margaret-Anne Storey’s paper titled “Towards Understanding Digital Information Discovery and Curation” has been accepted to CASCON 2014.

Alexey Zagalsky, Noel Feliciano, and Margaret-Anne Storey’s paper titled “The Emergence of GitHub as a Collaborative Platform for Education” has been accepted to CSCW 2015.

We are particularly excited about these venues as they’re both in Canada.

An Exploratory Study of the Adoption of Mobile Development Platforms by Software Engineers

MobileSoft 2014 accepted our paper on the adoption of mobile development platforms.

Preprint here!

Authors: Müller Miranda, Renato Pina, Cleidson De Souza, Fernando Figueira Filho, Leif Singer

Abstract: There are several mobile platforms that compete with each other to attract software developers. However, it is not yet well understood which factors developers take into account when deciding on a particular platform. We report on an exploratory study that aims to address this gap. Through semi-structured interviews that used diffusion of innovations theory as conceptual framework, we identified some of these factors. For instance, we uncovered that developers perceive the Android platform as more accessible and compatible with their existing knowledge, but that they fear its fragmentation. Some developers choose iOS simply because sales are more lucrative on that platform. Our preliminary findings can help developers to decide which platforms to use and platform vendors to optimize their offerings to developers.

The Promises and Perils of Mining GitHub

Our paper on using GitHub data for research got accepted by MSR 2014!

Authors: Eirini Kalliamvakou, Georgios Gousios, Kelly Blincoe, Leif Singer, Daniela Damian, Daniel German

Abstract: With over 10 million git repositories, GitHub is becoming one of the most important source of software artifacts on the Internet. Researchers are starting to mine the information stored in GitHub’s event logs, trying to understand how its users employ the site to collaborate on software. However, so far there have been no studies describing the quality and properties of the data available from GitHub. We document the results of an empirical study aimed at understanding the characteristics of the repositories in GitHub and how users take advantage of GitHub’s main features — namely commits, pull requests, and issues. Our results indicate that, while GitHub is a rich source of data on software development, mining GitHub for research purposes should take various potential perils into consideration. We show, for example, that the majority of the projects are personal and inactive; that GitHub is also being used for free storage and as a Web hosting service; and that almost 40% of all pull requests do not appear as merged, even though they were. We provide a set of recommendations for software engineering researchers on how to approach the data in GitHub.