Guide to Advanced Empirical Software Engineering

pp 285-311

Selecting Empirical Methods for Software Engineering Research

  • Steve EasterbrookAffiliated withDepartment of Computer Science, University of Toronto
  • , Janice SingerAffiliated withInstitute for Information Technology, National Research Council Canada
  • , Margaret-Anne StoreyAffiliated withDept. of Computer Science, University of Victoria
  • , Daniela DamianAffiliated withDept. of Computer Science, University of Victoria

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Selecting a research method for empirical software engineering research is problematic because the benefits and challenges to using each method are not yet well catalogued. Therefore, this chapter describes a number of empirical methods available. It examines the goals of each and analyzes the types of questions each best addresses. Theoretical stances behind the methods, practical considerations in the application of the methods and data collection are also briefly reviewed. Taken together, this information provides a suitable basis for both understanding and selecting from the variety of methods applicable to empirical software engineering.