From Silver Bullets to Philosophers’ Stones: Who Wants to Be Just an Empiricist?
For a long time scientists have been committed to describe and organize information acquired by observations from the field. To improve the comprehension and testability of the observed information, Bacon’s works proposed to organize the way that the experiences should be structured and somehow formalized, starting with the experimental method idea. From that point in time, the ideas regarding experimentation have been explored and evolved into different scientific areas, including physics, agriculture, medicine, engineering and social sciences among others. It has not been different in Software Engineering. By applying the scientific method to organize their experimental studies, software engineers have intensively worked to understand the application and evolution of software processes and technologies. Acquiring knowledge through different categories of experimental studies has supported researchers and practitioners to build a Software Engineering body of knowledge. Families of studies start to be planed and shared among the research community, composing a common research agenda to enlarge such body of knowledge. Based on this, evidence based software engineering is becoming a reality. Nowadays, besides the experimental studies, the experimentation approach represents an important tool to allow the transfer of software technology to the industry and to improve software processes.