There are huge amounts of structural coverage criteria (see e.g. ISTQB-Standard or ISO26262-Standard), ranging from control-flow to data-flow coverage, applied to source code or to specifications.

So which coverage criteria are NOT structural?

Details: I can think of some non-structural coverage criteria, but have no idea whether there are more, and do not have a citable reference that covers non-structural coverage criteria.

Exemplary non-structural coverage criteria:

  1. Coverage of requirements
  2. Coverage of input values
  3. Coverage of GUI elements
  • 1
    Anything environmental. For example, coverage of platforms or coverage of locales.
    – user246
    Jun 26, 2015 at 13:56
  • 2
    Who is defining structural vs non structural? Is there some industry definition or some specification that gives a definition? Maybe some more context would be helpful here
    – GKS1
    Jun 26, 2015 at 18:49
  • It is part of the question to get a citable reference that covers non-structural and structural coverage criteria. Structural coverage criteria are mentioned in many standards, I've added some to the question. I hope it is clear from my question that by non-structural coverage criteria, I mean coverage criteria that are NOT structural. Jun 26, 2015 at 20:38
  • it says: Coverage measures based on the internal structure of the component or system. Jun 27, 2015 at 1:16

2 Answers 2


There are the following types of test coverage criteria:

  • structural criteria

  • data criteria

  • fault-model criteria

  • requirements-based criteria

  • criteria based on explicit test case specifications

  • criteria based on statistical methods for random test data generation

  • criteria based on mutation-analysis

All criteria except the first one are non-structural.

Information sources:

  1. Practical Model-Based Testing: A Tools Approach book, page 109;
  2. Coverage Criteria for Testing DMM Specifications thesis, page 12;
  3. A Taxonomy of Model-Based Testing for Embedded Systems from Multiple Industry Domains article, page 9;
  4. Model-Based Testing article;
  5. Model-Based Testing lecture, page 2.
  • Thanks for the solid answer with references (+1). Is the list you gave from some article/book? Many articles oppose mutation-analysis/fault-models/ranndom testing to coverage criteria, so I wouldn't consider those as being coverage criteria. What kind of criteria based on explicit test case specification are there? Covering a set of exploratory testing tours? Jun 27, 2015 at 12:20
  • Okay, I found most of the items you listed in Uttings book. They are, however, test selection criteria, not necessarily COVERAGE criteria. Jun 27, 2015 at 12:26
  • The coverage criteria on meta models (see DMM paper) are either structural coverage criteria or input coverage criteria, applied to specifications. Jun 27, 2015 at 12:33
  • So filtering the list of test selection criteria from your cited articles/books to test coverage criteria results in requirements coverage and input coverage. I think covering GUI elements in testing through the GUI is also a relevant coverage criterion, and not part of the list. So I still wonder whether there are more. Jun 27, 2015 at 12:43
  • I still find your answer valuable, with very good references... Jun 27, 2015 at 12:44

Coverage of state transitions Coverage of environment combinations

It says, that structural is everything which is based un underlying code or alike.

But I don't really see any practical use of this division.

  • Coverage of environment combinations is quite interesting (+1). Do you know of an article/book that describes this? Jun 27, 2015 at 12:48

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