The Evolution of Empirical Methods in Software Engineering

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writing good software engineering research papers revisited

  • Michael Felderer   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0003-3818-4442 3 , 4 &
  • Guilherme Horta Travassos   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0002-4258-0424 5  

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Empirical methods like experimentation have become a powerful means to drive the field of software engineering by creating scientific evidence on software development, operation, and maintenance, but also by supporting practitioners in their decision-making and learning. Today empirical methods are fully applied in software engineering. However, they have developed in several iterations since the 1960s. In this chapter we tell the history of empirical software engineering and present the evolution of empirical methods in software engineering in five iterations, i.e., (1) mid-1960s to mid-1970s, (2) mid-1970s to mid-1980s, (3) mid-1980s to end of the 1990s, (4) the 2000s, and (5) the 2010s. We present the five iterations of the development of empirical software engineering mainly from a methodological perspective and additionally take key papers, venues, and books, which are covered in chronological order in a separate section on recommended further readings, into account. We complement our presentation of the evolution of empirical software engineering by presenting the current situation and an outlook in Sect. 4 and the available books on empirical software engineering. Furthermore, based on the chapters covered in this book we discuss trends on contemporary empirical methods in software engineering related to the plurality of research methods, human factors, data collection and processing, aggregation and synthesis of evidence, and impact of software engineering research.

Guilherme Horta Travassos is a CNPq Researcher.

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Acknowledgements

We thank all the authors and reviewers of this book on contemporary empirical methods in software engineering for their valuable contribution.

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Michael Felderer

Department of Software Engineering, Blekinge Institute of Technology, Karlskrona, Sweden

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Felderer, M., Travassos, G.H. (2020). The Evolution of Empirical Methods in Software Engineering. In: Felderer, M., Travassos, G. (eds) Contemporary Empirical Methods in Software Engineering. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-32489-6_1

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Few books on software project management have been as influential and timeless as The Mythical Man-Month . With a blend of software engineering facts and thought-provoking opinions, Fred Brooks offers insight for anyone managing complex projects. These essays draw from his experience as project manager for the IBM System/360 computer family and then for OS/360, its massive software system. Now, 20 years after the initial publication of his book, Brooks has revisited his original ideas and added new thoughts and advice, both for readers already familiar with his work and for readers discovering it for the first time.

The added chapters contain (1) a crisp condensation of all the propositions asserted in the original book, including Brooks' central argument in The Mythical Man-Month: that large programming projects suffer management problems different from small ones due to the division of labor; that the conceptual integrity of the product is therefore critical; and that it is difficult but possible to achieve this unity; (2) Brooks' view of these propositions a generation later; (3) a reprint of his classic 1986 paper "No Silver Bullet"; and (4) today's thoughts on the 1986 assertion, "There will be no silver bullet within ten years."

  • ISBN-10 9780201835953
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  • Edition Anniversary
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  • Language English
  • Dimensions 9.07 x 6.11 x 0.75 inches
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Still as relevant today as it was 40 years ago.

"Brooks lays out a formalism to how to approach [people and process problems] that let teams deliver on the technology, a formalism that is as relevant now as it was 40 years ago, and I suspect, 40 years (or 400, if we are still around then) in the future as well." —Michael McIntyre, Silently Failing blog

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Frederick P. Brooks, Jr., was born in 1931 in Durham, NC. He received an A.B. summa cum laude in physics from Duke and a Ph.D. in computer science from Harvard, under Howard Aiken, the inventor of the early Harvard computers.

At Chapel Hill, Dr. Brooks founded the Department of Computer Science and chaired it from 1964 through 1984. He has served on the National Science Board and the Defense Science Board. His current teaching and research is in computer architecture, molecular graphics, and virtual environments.

He joined IBM, working in Poughkeepsie and Yorktown, NY, 1956-1965. He is best known as the "father of the IBM System/360", having served as project manager for its development and later as manager of the Operating System/360 software project during its design phase. For this work he, Bob Evans, and Erick Block were awarded and received a National Medal of Technology in 1985.

Dr. Brooks and Dura Sweeney in 1957 patented a Stretch interrupt system for the IBM Stretch computer that introduced most features of today's interrupt systems. He coined the term computer architecture . His System/360 team first achieved strict compatibility, upward and downward, in a computer family. His early concern for word processing led to his selection of the 8-bit byte and the lowercase alphabet for the System/360, engineering of many new 8-bit input/output devices, and providing a character-string datatype in PL/I.

In 1964 he founded the Computer Science Department at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and chaired it for 20 years. Currently, he is Kenan Professor of Computer Science . His principal research is in real-time, three-dimensional, computer graphics-"virtual reality." His research has helped biochemists solve the structure of complex molecules and enabled architects to "walk through" buildings still being designed. He is pioneering the use of force display to supplement visual graphics.

Brooks distilled the successes and failures of the development of Operating System/360 in The Mythical Man-Month: Essays in Software Engineering , (1975). He further examined software engineering in his well-known 1986 paper, "No Silver Bullet." He is just completing a two-volume research monograph, Computer Architecture , with Professor Gerrit Blaauw. Now, 20 years after the initial publication of his book, Brooks has revisited his original ideas and added new thoughts and advice within The Mythical Man-Month, Anniversary Edition .

Brooks has served on the National Science Board and the Defense Science Board. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has received the the IEEE John von Neumann Medal, the IEEE Computer Society's McDowell and Computer Pioneer Awards, the ACM Allen Newell and Distinguished Service Awards, the AFIPS Harry Goode Award, and an honorary Doctor of Technical Science from ETH-Zürich.

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Deo soli gloria or Soli Deo Gloria -- To God alone be the glory. Chapel Hill, N.C., F.

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About the author

Frederick p. brooks, jr..

Frederick P. Brooks, Jr., is Kenan Professor of Computer Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He was an architect of the IBM Stretch and Harvest computers. He was Corporate Project Manager for the System/360, including development of the System/360 computer family hardware and the decision to switch computer byte size from 6 to 8 bits. He then managed the initial development of the Operating System/360 software suite: operating system, 16 compilers, communications, and utilities.

He founded the UNC Department of Computer Science in 1964 and chaired it for 20 years. His research there has been in computer architecture, software engineering, and interactive 3-D computer graphics (protein visualization graphics and "virtual reality"). His best-known books are The Mythical Man-Month (1975, 1995); Computer Architecture: Concepts and Evolution (with G.A. Blaauw, 1997); and The Design of Design (2010).

Dr. Brooks has received the National Medal of Technology, the A.M. Turing award of the ACM, the Bower Award and Prize of the Franklin Institute, the John von Neumann Medal of the IEEE, and others. He is a member of the U.S. National Academies of Engineering and of Science, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Royal Academy of Engineering (U.K.) and of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.

He became a Christian at age 31 and has taught an adult Sunday school class for 35 years. He chaired the Executive Committee for the 1973 Research Triangle Billy Graham Crusade. He and Mrs. Nancy Greenwood Brooks are faculty advisors to a graduate student chapter of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. They have three children and nine grandchildren.

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The classical scientific method has been settled through the last centuries as a cyclic, iterative process of observation, hypothesis formulation, and confirmation/refutation of hypothesis through experimentation. This “experimental scientific method” was mainly developed in the context of natural sciences dealing with the physical world, such as Mechanics, Thermodynamics, Electromagnetism, Chemistry and so on. But when we try to apply this classical view of the scientific method to the various branches of Computer Science and Computer Engineering, among which Software Engineering, we find two kinds of obstacles. First, Computer Science is rooted both in formal sciences such as Mathematics and experimental sciences such as Physics, therefore an excessive emphasis on the experimental side is not appropriate to give a full account of this kind of scientific activity. Second, the production of software systems has to deal not only with the behavior of complex physical systems such as c...

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COMMENTS

  1. Writing Good Software Engineering Research Papers: Revisited

    With the goal of helping software engineering researchers understand how to improve their papers, Mary Shaw presented "Writing Good Software Engineering Research Papers" in 2003. Shaw analyzed the abstracts of the papers submitted to the 2002 International Conference of Software Engineering (ICSE) to determine trends in research question type, contribution type, and validation approach. We ...

  2. Writing Good Software Engineering Research Papers: Revisited

    Computer Science. Stellenbosch University. Matieland, South Africa. [email protected]. Abstract —With the goal of helping software engineering. researchers understand how to improve their ...

  3. Writing good software engineering research papers

    Writing good software engineering research papers: revisited. ICSE-C '17: Proceedings of the 39th International Conference on Software Engineering Companion . With the goal of helping software engineering researchers understand how to improve their papers, Mary Shaw presented "Writing Good Software Engineering Research Papers" in 2003. Shaw ...

  4. Writing Good Software Engineering Research Papers: Revisited

    Writing Good Software Engineering Research Papers: Revisited. Christopher Theisen, Marcel Dunaiski, +1 author. W. Visser. Published in IEEE/ACM 39th International… 20 May 2017. Computer Science. 2017 IEEE/ACM 39th International Conference on Software Engineering Companion (ICSE-C) TLDR.

  5. PDF Writing Good Software Engineering Research Papers

    In software engineering, research papers are customary vehicles for reporting results to the research community. In a research paper, the author explains to an interested reader what he or she accomplished, and how the author accomplished it, and why the reader should care. A good research paper should answer a number of questions:

  6. Writing Good Software Engineering Research Papers: Revisited

    A not-for-profit organization, IEEE is the world's largest technical professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity. With the goal of helping software engineering researchers understand how to improve their papers, Mary Shaw presented.

  7. PDF Writing Good Software Engineering Research Papers: Revisited

    [1] M. Shaw, "Writing Good Software Engineering Research Papers," Proceedings of 25th International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE'03), pp. 726-736, 2003.

  8. Writing Good Software Engineering Research Papers: Revisited

    The goal of this paper is to aid software engineering researchers in designing better research projects and writing better papers through an analysis of the abstracts of the ICSE 2016 submitted papers to determine trends in research question type, contribution type, and validation approach.

  9. Understanding peer review of software engineering papers

    Shaw M (2003) Writing good software engineering research papers: minitutorial. In: ... Theisen C, Dunaiski M, Williams L, Visser W (2017) Writing good software engineering research papers: revisited. In: Proceedings of the ACM/IEEE international conference on software engineering.

  10. Understanding peer review of software engineering papers

    Shaw M (2003) Writing good software engineering research papers: minitutorial. In: Proceedings of the ACM/IEEE international conference on software engineering, pp 726-736. Shepperd M, Ajienka N, Counsell S (2018) The role and value of replication in empirical software engineering results. Inf Softw Technol 99:120-132.

  11. Writing good software engineering research papers

    The abstracts of research papers submitted to XSE 2002 were analyzed in order to identify the types of research reported in the submitted and accepted papers, and the program committee discussions about which papers to accept were observed. Software engineering researchers solve problems of several different kinds. To do so, they produce several different kinds of results, and they should ...

  12. Writing good software engineering research papers

    I analyzed the abstracts of research papers submitted to XSE 2002 in order to identify the types of research reported in the submitted and accepted papers, and I observed the program committee discussions about which papers to accept. This report presents the research paradigms of the papers, common concerns of the program committee, and ...

  13. Writing good software engineering research papers: revisited

    With the goal of helping software engineering researchers understand how to improve their papers, Mary Shaw presented "Writing Good Software Engineering Research Papers" in 2003. Shaw analyzed the abstracts of the papers submitted to the 2002 International Conference of Software Engineering (ICSE) to determine trends in research question type ...

  14. The Evolution of Empirical Methods in Software Engineering

    Theisen C, Dunaiski M, Williams L, Visser W (2017) Writing good software engineering research papers: revisited. In: Proceedings of the 39th international conference on software engineering companion. IEEE, Piscataway, pp 402-402. Google Scholar

  15. Software Engineering Research at the International Conference on

    M. Shaw, "Writing Good Software Engineering Research Papers," Proceedings of 25th International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE'03), pp. 726-736, 2003. Google Scholar Digital Library J. Singer and N. G. Vinson, "Ethical issues in empirical studies of software engineering," IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, vol. 28, pp. 1171 ...

  16. Mini-tutorial: Writing Good Software Engineering Research Papers

    Request PDF | On Jan 1, 2003, M. Shaw published Mini-tutorial: Writing Good Software Engineering Research Papers | Find, read and cite all the research you need on ResearchGate

  17. Writing good software engineering research papers: minitutorial

    The abstracts of research papers submitted to ICSE 2002 were analyzed in order to identify the types of research reported in the submitted and accepted papers, and the program committee discussions about which papers to accept were observed. Software engineering researchers solve problems of several different kinds. To do so, they produce several different kinds of results, and they should ...

  18. Software engineering

    Software engineering is an engineering approach to software development. A practitioner, a software engineer, applies the engineering design process to develop software.. The terms programmer and coder overlap software engineer, but they imply only the construction aspect of typical software engineer workload.. A software engineer applies a software development process, which involves the ...

  19. Mythical Man-Month, The: Essays on Software Engineering, Anniversary

    Chapter 16 reprints "No Silver Bullet: Essence and Accidents of Software Engineering," a 1986 IFIPS paper that grew out of my experience chairing a Defense Science Board study on military software. My co-authors of that study, and our executive secretary, Robert L. Patrick, were invaluable in bringing me back into touch with real-world large ...

  20. PDF 2017 IEEE/ACM 39th IEEE International Conference on Software

    [Il M. Shaw, "Writing Good Software Engineering Research Papers," Proceedings of 25th International Conference on TALK DESCRIPTION Mary Shaw published "Writing Good Software ... Writing Good Software Engineering Research Papers: Revisited . Created Date: 10/22/2019 9:44:51 PM ...

  21. Software prototyping

    Software prototyping is the activity of creating prototypes of software applications, i.e., incomplete versions of the software program being developed. It is an activity that can occur in software development and is comparable to prototyping as known from other fields, such as mechanical engineering or manufacturing.. A prototype typically simulates only a few aspects of, and may be ...

  22. Knec / Tvet Cdacc Study Materials, Revision Kits and Past Papers

    DIPLOMA MATERIALS. KNEC NOTES - Click to download. TVET CDACC PAST PAPERS - Click to download. CERTIFICATE MATERIALS. KNEC CERTIFICATE NOTES - Click to download. (Visited 109,430 times, 35 visits today)

  23. Writing good software engineering research papers

    Writing good software engineering research papers: minitutorial; Article . Share on. Writing good software engineering research papers: minitutorial. Author: Mary Shaw. Carnegie Mellon University ...

  24. Writing good software engineering research papers

    See Full PDFDownload PDF. Proceedings of the 25th International Conference on Software Engineering, IEEE Computer Society, 2003, pp. 726-736. Writing Good Software Engineering Research Papers Minitutorial Mary Shaw Carnegie Mellon University [email protected] Abstract Software engineering researchers solve problems of several different kinds.

  25. PDF Writing Good Software Engineering Research Papers Mary Shaw

    Writing Good Software Engineering Research Papers. Minitutorial. Mary Shaw. Carnegie Mellon University [email protected]. Abstract. Software engineering researchers solve problems of several different kinds. To do so, they produce several different kinds of results, and they should develop appropriate evidence to validate these results.

  26. Passive confinement of reinforced concrete members revisited

    Structural Concrete is a structural engineering journal publishing research on all aspects of concrete structures, including design, construction, demolition, and sustainability. Abstract Passive confinement provided by transverse reinforcement is taken into account in the design of reinforced concrete structures subjected to high compressive ...

  27. Writing good software engineering research papers

    Software engineering researchers solve problems of several different kinds. To do so, they produce several different kinds of results, and they should develop appropriate evidence to validate these results. They often report their research in conference papers. I analyzed the abstracts of research papers submitted to XSE 2002 in order to identify the types of research reported in the submitted ...