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Empirical research methods in software engineering

Wohlin, Claes LU ; Höst, Martin LU and Henningsson, K (2003) In Lecture Notes in Computer Science (Empirical Methods and Studies in Software Engineering) 2765. p.7-23
Abstract
Software engineering is not only about technical solutions. It is to a large extent also concerned with organizational issues, project management and human behaviour. For a discipline like software engineering, empirical methods are crucial, since they allow for incorporating human behaviour into the research approach taken. Empirical methods are common practice in many other disciplines. This chapter provides a motivation for the use of empirical methods in software engineering research. The main motivation is that it is needed from an engineering perspective to allow for informed and well-grounded decision. The chapter continues with a brief introduction to four research methods: controlled experiments, case studies, surveys and... (More)
Software engineering is not only about technical solutions. It is to a large extent also concerned with organizational issues, project management and human behaviour. For a discipline like software engineering, empirical methods are crucial, since they allow for incorporating human behaviour into the research approach taken. Empirical methods are common practice in many other disciplines. This chapter provides a motivation for the use of empirical methods in software engineering research. The main motivation is that it is needed from an engineering perspective to allow for informed and well-grounded decision. The chapter continues with a brief introduction to four research methods: controlled experiments, case studies, surveys and postmortem analyses. These methods are then put into an improvement context. The four methods are presented with the objective to introduce the reader to the methods to a level that it is possible to select the most suitable method at a specific instance. The methods have in common that they all are concerned with quantitative data. However, several of them are also suitable for qualitative data. Finally, it is concluded that the methods are not competing. On the contrary, the different research methods can preferably be used together to obtain more sources of information that hopefully lead to more informed engineering decisions in software engineering. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceeding
publication status
published
subject
in
Lecture Notes in Computer Science (Empirical Methods and Studies in Software Engineering)
volume
2765
pages
7 - 23
publisher
Springer
external identifiers
  • wos:000185939200002
  • scopus:35248860817
ISSN
0302-9743
1611-3349
ISBN
978-3-540-40672-3
DOI
10.1007/978-3-540-45143-3_2
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
f3a926e2-832a-4929-82e6-48f51b245aae (old id 298455)
date added to LUP
2007-12-18 12:36:30
date last changed
2018-10-07 03:43:39
@inbook{f3a926e2-832a-4929-82e6-48f51b245aae,
  abstract     = {Software engineering is not only about technical solutions. It is to a large extent also concerned with organizational issues, project management and human behaviour. For a discipline like software engineering, empirical methods are crucial, since they allow for incorporating human behaviour into the research approach taken. Empirical methods are common practice in many other disciplines. This chapter provides a motivation for the use of empirical methods in software engineering research. The main motivation is that it is needed from an engineering perspective to allow for informed and well-grounded decision. The chapter continues with a brief introduction to four research methods: controlled experiments, case studies, surveys and postmortem analyses. These methods are then put into an improvement context. The four methods are presented with the objective to introduce the reader to the methods to a level that it is possible to select the most suitable method at a specific instance. The methods have in common that they all are concerned with quantitative data. However, several of them are also suitable for qualitative data. Finally, it is concluded that the methods are not competing. On the contrary, the different research methods can preferably be used together to obtain more sources of information that hopefully lead to more informed engineering decisions in software engineering.},
  author       = {Wohlin, Claes and Höst, Martin and Henningsson, K},
  isbn         = {978-3-540-40672-3},
  issn         = {0302-9743},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {7--23},
  publisher    = {Springer},
  series       = {Lecture Notes in Computer Science (Empirical Methods and Studies in Software Engineering)},
  title        = {Empirical research methods in software engineering},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-540-45143-3_2},
  volume       = {2765},
  year         = {2003},
}