The case for empirical studies of the practice of software development

Robinson, Hugh; Segal, Judith and Sharp, Helen (2004). The case for empirical studies of the practice of software development. In: Jedlitschka, Andreas and Ciolkowski, Marcus eds. The Future of Empirical Studies in Software Engineering. Workshop Series on Empirical Software Engineering, 2. Stuttgart, Germany: Fraunhofer IRB Verlag, pp. 98–107.

Abstract

In this paper, we argue that ethnographically-based field studies can make a unique contribution to empirical software engineering. We begin by discussing why such studies are important and what they entail. We then discuss the contexts in which they may inform empirical software engineering research (perhaps in combination with other types of study) and how they might be tailored to fit the needs of software engineers.

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