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      Flexibility in Research Designs in Empirical Software Engineering

      a , b , a , b , a , c
      12th International Conference on Evaluation and Assessment in Software Engineering (EASE) (EASE)
      Evaluation and Assessment in Software Engineering (EASE)
      26 - 27 June 2008
      Empirical software engineering, flexible research design, fixed research design, trustworthiness


            Problem outline: It is common to classify empirical research designs as either qualitative or quantitative . Typically, particular research methods (e.g., case studies, action research, experiments and surveys) are associated with one or the other of these types of design. Studies in empirical software engineering (ESE) are often exploratory and often involve software developers and development organizations. As a consequence, it may be difficult to plan all aspects of the studies, and to be successful, ESE studies must often be designed to handle possible changes during the conduct of the study. A problem with the above classification is that it does not cater for flexibility in design. Position: This paper suggests viewing research in ESE along the axis of flexible and fixed designs, which is both orthogonal to the axis of quantitative and qualitative designs, and independent of the particular research method. According to the traditional view of ESE, changes to the research design in the course of a study are typically regarded as threats to the validity of the results. However, viewing the study designs as flexible, practical challenges can provide useful information. The validity of the results of studies with flexible research designs can be established by applying techniques that are traditionally used for qualitative designs. This paper urges an increased recognition of flexible designs in ESE and discusses techniques for establishing the trustworthiness in flexible designs.


            Author and article information

            June 2008
            June 2008
            : 1-9
            [a ]Department of Software Engineering, Simula Research Laboratory, P.O. Box 134, NO-1325 Lysaker, Norway
            [b ]Department of Informatics, University of Oslo, P.O. Box 1080 Blindern, NO-0316 Oslo, Norway
            [c ]SINTEF ICT, NO-7465 Trondheim, Norway
            © Vigdis By Kampenes et al. Published by BCS Learning and Development Ltd. 12th International Conference on Evaluation and Assessment in Software Engineering (EASE)

            This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

            12th International Conference on Evaluation and Assessment in Software Engineering (EASE)
            University of Bari, Italy
            26 - 27 June 2008
            Electronic Workshops in Computing (eWiC)
            Evaluation and Assessment in Software Engineering (EASE)
            Product Information: 1477-9358BCS Learning & Development
            Self URI (article page): https://www.scienceopen.com/hosted-document?doi=10.14236/ewic/EASE2008.6
            Self URI (journal page): https://ewic.bcs.org/
            Electronic Workshops in Computing

            Applied computer science,Computer science,Security & Cryptology,Graphics & Multimedia design,General computer science,Human-computer-interaction
            Empirical software engineering,flexible research design,fixed research design,trustworthiness


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