The Effects of Database Complexity on SQL Query Formulation
Taipalus, Toni (2020). The Effects of Database Complexity on SQL Query Formulation. Journal of Systems and Software, 165, 110576. DOI: 10.1016/j.jss.2020.110576
Published inJournal of Systems and Software
Embargoed until: 2022-08-01Request copy from author
© 2020 Elsevier
In Structured Query Language (SQL) education, students often execute queries against a simple exercise database. Recently, databases that are more realistic have been utilized to the effect that students find exercises more interesting and useful, as these databases more accurately mimic databases students are likely to encounter in their future work environments. However, using even the most engaging database can be counterproductive to learning, if a student is not able to formulate correct queries due to the complexity of the database schema. Scientific evidence on the effects of database complexity on student’s query formulation is limited, and with queries from 744 students against three databases of varying logical complexity, we set out to study how database complexity affects the success rates in query formulation. The success rates against a simple database were significantly higher than against a semi-complex and a complex database, which indicates that it is easier for students to write SQL queries against simpler databases. This suggests, at least in the scale of our exercise databases, that educators should also consider the negative effects of more realistic databases, even though they have been shown to increase student engagement. ...