When bugs are found in source code, bug reports are created which contain relevant information for developers to locate and fix the bug. In large source code repositories, it can be difficult and time consuming for developers to manually analyze bug reports to locate a bug. The discovery of patterns between bug reports and source files has led to the creation of automated tools using various techniques. Automated bug localization techniques can reduce the amount of manual effort required by developers by ranking the most probable location of the bug using textual information from bug reports and source code. Although these approaches offer some assistance, the lexical mismatch between the bug reports and the source code makes it difficult to accurately locate the buggy source code file(s) using Information Retrieval (IR) techniques. Our research proposes a technique that takes advantage of the lexical and structural patterns observed in source code identifier names to help offset the mismatch between bug reports and their related source code files. Our observations reveal that there are lexical and structural identifier naming trends for different identifier types in the source code. Using two open-source projects, and collecting frequencies for observed identifier patterns across the project, we applied the observed frequencies to matched word occurrences in bug reports across our evaluation data set to modify the significance of that word. Based on observations discovered in our empirical analysis of open source repositories ElasticSearch and RxJava, we developed a method to modify the significance of a word by altering the weight of the matched word represented in the Term Frequency - Inverse Document Frequency (TF-IDF) vectorization of that particular bug report. The idea behind this approach is that if we come across a word perceived to be significant based on our observed identifier pattern frequency data, we can apply a weight to that word in the bug report vectorization to increase the cosine similarity score between the bug report and source file vectors. This work expands and improves upon previous work by Gharibi et al. [1], who propose a multicomponent approach that uses token matching, stack trace, semantic similarity, and a revised vector space model (rVSM). Specifically, our approach modifies the rVSM component, and our work is evaluated on the same three open-source software projects: AspectJ, SWT, and ZXing. The results of our approach are comparable to the results of Gharibi et al., and we achieve an improvement in some cases. It was observed that our work outperforms many existing bug localization approaches. Top@N, Mean Reciprocal Rank (MRR), and Mean Average Precision (MAP) are metrics used to evaluate and rank our work against other approaches, revealing some improvement in bug localization across three open-source projects.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Debugging in computer science--Automation; Vector spaces

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Software Engineering (MS)

Department, Program, or Center

Software Engineering (GCCIS)


Christian D. Newman

Advisor/Committee Member

Mohamed Wiem Mkaouer

Advisor/Committee Member

J. Scott Hawker


RIT – Main Campus

Plan Codes