The Nature of evidence in empirical software engineering

Segal, Judith (2004). The Nature of evidence in empirical software engineering. In: 11th Annual International Workshop on Software Technology and Engineering Practice, 19-21 Sep 2003, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.



In this paper, we argue that the gap between empirical software engineering and software engineering practice might be lessened if more attention were paid to two important aspects of evidence. The first is that evidence from case or field studies of actual software engineering practice is essential in order to understand and inform that practice. The second is that the nature of evidence should fit the purpose to which the evidence is going to be put. One type of evidence is not per se better than another. For example, the evidence required to persuade a manager to change an aspect of practice might be totally different in nature from that required to deepen the academic community's understanding of such practice.

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