Selecting Empirical Methods for Software Engineering Research
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.
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- Calhoun, C. (1995) Critical Social Theory: Culture, History, and the Challenge of Difference. Blackwell, Oxford, UK.Google Scholar
- Chalmers, A. (1999) What Is This Thing Called Science? 3rd Edition, Hackett Publishing Co, Indianapolis.Google Scholar
- Creswell, J.W. (2002) Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative and Mixed Methods Approaches. 2nd Edition, Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, CA.Google Scholar
- Dittrich, Y. (2002) Doing Empirical Research on Software Development: Finding a Path Between Understanding, Intervention, and Method Development. In Social Thinking: Software Practice, Y. Dittrich, C. Floyd, and R. Klischewski, Eds. MIT Press.Google Scholar
- Glaser, B.G. and Strauss, A. (1967) Discovery of Grounded Theory: Strategies for Qualitative Research. Sociology Press, Mill Valley, CA.Google Scholar
- Gregor, S. (2006) The Nature of Theories in Information Systems, MIS Quarterly, 30(3), 611–642.Google Scholar
- Jørgensen, M. and Sjøberg, D.I.K. (2004) Generalization and Theory-Building in Software Engineering Research. IEE Proceedings, Workshop on Empirical Assessment in Software Engineering (EASE’04), at ICSE’04, pp. 29–36.Google Scholar
- Lincoln, Y.S. and Guba, E.G. (1985) Naturalistic Inquiry. Sage, Beverly Hills, CA.Google Scholar
- Littlejohn, S.W. and Foss, K.A. (2004) Theories of Human Communication. 8th Edition, Wadsworth Publishing, Belmont, CA.Google Scholar
- McGrath, J.E. (1995) Methodology matters: doing research in the behavioral and social sciences. In Human–Computer Interaction: Toward the Year 2000, R.M. Baecker, J. Grudin, W. Buxton, A., and Greenberg, S., Eds. Morgan Kaufmann Publishers, San Francisco, CA, pp. 152–169.Google Scholar
- Meltzoff, J. (1998) Critical Thinking About Research: Psychology and Related Fields. American Psychological Association, Washington DC.Google Scholar
- Menand, L. (1997) Pragmatism: A Reader. Vintage Press, New York.Google Scholar
- Morse, J.M., Barrett, M., Mayan, M., Olson, K. and Spiers, J. (2002) Verification strategies for establishing reliability and validity in qualitative research, International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 1(2), 1–19.Google Scholar
- Sandelowski, M. (1993) Rigor or rigor mortis: the problem of rigor in qualitative research revisited, Advances in Nursing Science, 16(2), 1–8.Google Scholar
- Simon, H. (1996) The Sciences of the Artificial. 3rd Edition, MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.Google Scholar
- Varkevisser, C.M., Pathmanathan, I., and Brownlee, A. (2003) Designing and Conducting Health Systems Research Projects: Volume 1–Proposal Development and Fieldwork. Chapter 10: Data Collection Techniques. Available online at http://www.idrc.ca/en/ev-56605–201-1-DO_TOPIC.html.
- Vinson, N.G. and Singer, J.A. (2004) Consent issues raised by observational research in organisations, NCEHR Communique, 12(2), 35–36.Google Scholar
- Wohlin, C., Runesson, P., Höst, M., Ohlsson, M.C., Regnell, B., and Wesslén, A. (2000) Introduction to Experimentation in Software Engineering. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Boston, MA.Google Scholar
- Yin, R.K. (2002) Case Study Research: Design and Methods. Sage, Thousand Oaks, CA.Google Scholar