For instance , Exploratory testing can be labeled as a Test 'approach' and not a test technique like Boundary Value Analysis(BVA), Equivalence partitioning etc. Also, Context-driven testing is an approach, not a technique.

What are the basic differences between software testing approach and a technique? How can they be compared? Also what's a Testing style?

3 Answers 3


A Test Approach is the test strategy implementation of a project, defines how testing would be carried out. It is always followed by Test Techniques.

Test Techniques are the ways or methods required to follow the defined approach.

In laymen terms:-

Lets say you are in a war and your aim is to win that war (like every individual). Now, you will define an Approach to win that war e.g. create small circle, surrounding the enemies and destroy everyone inside that circle and move ahead (This is the approach). For achieving this Approach you will implement methods like First threw bombs inside that circle and then start firing the remaining enemies inside that circle (This is the technique). Here you have two methods two fulfill your approach (Bombing and Firing). This is the difference in Approach (Way of viewing/testing) and Technique (How to view/test).

Another example:

In soccer/football, teams use Approaches and Techniques. Some approach include double-teaming the opponent's most aggressive player, choosing a more defense-oriented lineup or keeping the game pace slow with a team known for rapid strikes. Techniques frequently define how this approach are implemented. For instance, having two mid-fielders, with one being more defense-minded. Continuously pushing the ball to the outside and leveraging short passes in the classic triangle is a technique for implementing a slower approach to the game.

Both testing Approach and Techniques are totally different terms intended for a different purpose. For the style I will say it is more closely related to the technique.


According to ISTQB (v2.3) "Standard glossary of terms used in Software Testing":

Test approach: The implementation of the test strategy for a specific project. It typically includes the decisions made that follow based on the (test) project’s goal and the risk ATM assessment carried out, starting points regarding the test process, the test design techniques to be applied, exit criteria and test types to be performed.

Test technique (Test design technique): Procedure used to derive and/or select test cases.

So the difference: approach is more project based and technique is more fundamental term, we define test techniques to be used in our test approach.

E.g.: Test approach is about project's scope, objectives, test types and tools, also about applied test techniques: structure-based, specification-based, people-based, coverage-based, problems-based, activity-based, evaluation-based whatever.

Also Exploratory testing is a test design technique as well as Boundary value analysis (BVA), Structure-based testing (context-based, less used term).

  • "as well as Boundary value analysis (BVA), Exploratory, Structure-based testing" so you mean "Exploratory" is one technique and "Exploratory testing" is another technique?
    – ilm
    Commented Feb 24, 2016 at 7:27
  • @ilm, no, just skipped word "testing" :) thanks for correction! Commented Feb 24, 2016 at 12:36

Test Approach is basically the entire prerequisites required for testing a module. It is a strategy used to fulfil all the testing demands of the project.

Test Technique is basically the steps or method followed to successfully test a module/project. There are various type of test technique such as:

1.Cause effect graphing

2.Equivalence partitioning

3.Boundary value analysis

4.Error guessing

5.Decision Tables

Testing Style is the methodology you follow or believe in for testing. Either manual or Automated! It is more or less related to testing technique.

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