Having been living in the real world for many years I’ve assumed that code review means review of patches. I’ve hardly ever witnessed reviews of entire codebases. But now it’s just occurred to me that many people in the industry have no experience with patches – including those who only worked with tools like Visual Studio and those who do web programming directly on servers (no version control).

If the participants in my study have no experience with patches – looking at a graphical diff will be the same as looking at the structure of a complex molecule for them, and in effect their participation will be useless for my study. I am now considering only using full code (e.g. addition of one or more functions) in my study of code review, given that I can decide the results would be equally valid if a view of a patch were used.