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CERSE - Catalog for empirical research in software engineering: A Systematic mapping study
Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Computing, Department of Software Engineering.
Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Computing, Department of Software Engineering.
Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Computing, Department of Computer Science and Engineering. Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Computing, Department of Software Engineering.
2019 (English)In: Information and Software Technology, ISSN 0950-5849, E-ISSN 1873-6025, Vol. 105, p. 117-149Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Context Empirical research in software engineering contributes towards developing scientific knowledge in this field, which in turn is relevant to inform decision-making in industry. A number of empirical studies have been carried out to date in software engineering, and the need for guidelines for conducting and evaluating such research has been stressed. Objective: The main goal of this mapping study is to identify and summarize the body of knowledge on research guidelines, assessment instruments and knowledge organization systems on how to conduct and evaluate empirical research in software engineering. Method: A systematic mapping study employing manual search and snowballing techniques was carried out to identify the suitable papers. To build up the catalog, we extracted and categorized information provided by the identified papers. Results: The mapping study comprises a list of 341 methodological papers, classified according to research methods, research phases covered, and type of instrument provided. Later, we derived a brief explanatory review of the instruments provided for each of the research methods. Conclusion: We provide: an aggregated body of knowledge on the state of the art relating to guidelines, assessment instruments and knowledge organization systems for carrying out empirical software engineering research; an exemplary usage scenario that can be used to guide those carrying out such studies is also provided. Finally, we discuss the catalog's implications for research practice and the needs for further research. © 2018 Elsevier B.V.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier B.V. , 2019. Vol. 105, p. 117-149
Keywords [en]
Empirical methods, Empirical research, Mapping study, Decision making, Mapping, Software engineering, Assessment instruments, Empirical method, Empirical research in software engineering, Empirical Software Engineering, Knowledge organization systems, Mapping studies, Systematic mapping studies, Knowledge management
National Category
Software Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:bth-17108DOI: 10.1016/j.infsof.2018.08.008ISI: 000452586900008Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85054061108OAI: oai:DiVA.org:bth-17108DiVA, id: diva2:1255151
Available from: 2018-10-11 Created: 2018-10-11 Last updated: 2019-04-24Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Views of Research Quality in Empirical Software Engineering
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Views of Research Quality in Empirical Software Engineering
2019 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Background. Software Engineering (SE) research, like other applied disciplines, intends to provide trustful evidence to practice. To ensure trustful evidence, a rigorous research process based on sound research methodologies is required. Further, to be practically relevant, researchers rely on identifying original research problems that are of interest to industry; and the research must fulfill various quality standards that form the basis for the evaluation of the empirical research in SE. A dialogue and shared view of quality standards for research practice is still to be achieved within the research community.

 Objectives. The main objective of this thesis is to foster dialogue and capture different views of SE researchers on method level (e.g., through the identification and reasoning on the importance of quality characteristics for experiments, surveys and case studies) as well as general quality standards for Empirical Software Engineering (ESE). Given the views of research quality, a second objective is to understand how to operationalize, i.e. build and validate instruments to assess research quality. 

Method. The thesis makes use of a mixed method approach of both qualitative and quantitative nature. The research methods used were case studies, surveys, and focus groups. A range of data collection methods has been employed, such as literature review, questionnaires, and semi-structured workshops. To analyze the data, we utilized content and thematic analysis, descriptive and inferential statistics.

Results. We draw two distinct views of research quality. Through a top-down approach, we assessed and evolved a conceptual model of research quality within the ESE research community. Through a bottom-up approach, we built a checklist instrument for assessing survey-based research grounded on supporting literature and evaluated ours and others’ checklists in research practice and research education contexts.

Conclusion. The quality standards we identified and operationalized support and extend the current understanding of research quality for SE research. This is a preliminary, but still vital, step towards a shared understanding and view of research quality for ESE research. Further steps are needed to gain a shared understanding of research quality within the community. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Karlskrona: Blekinge Tekniska Högskola, 2019
Series
Blekinge Institute of Technology Doctoral Dissertation Series, ISSN 1653-2090 ; 7
Keywords
Research Quality, Quality Standards, Empirical Software Engineering, Research Methodology
National Category
Software Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:bth-17648 (URN)978-91-7295-372-7 (ISBN)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2019-03-05 Created: 2019-02-27 Last updated: 2019-04-24Bibliographically approved

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Molléri, Jefferson SeidePetersen, KaiMendes, Emilia

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