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Software Experimentation

FDA188, 2005HT

Status Archive
School National Graduate School in Computer Science (CUGS)
Division DRTS
Owner Jonas Mellin
Homepage http://www.his.se/templates/vanligwebbsida2.aspx?id=19778

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Course plan


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Recommended for

The course is suitable for IT and CS PhD students interested in how to design and carry out experimental research in Software Engineering and Computer Science, as well as advanced Software Engineering MS students and industrial participants. The course presents a horizontal look at a number of differentresearch areas in Software Engineering, with the view being on empirical validation.

The course was last given

The course has not previously been given in Linköping but has been given several times at George Mason University. The course was last given in fall 2001.


The course presents a horizontal look at a number of different research areas in Software Engineering, with the view being on empirical validation.


A strong background in software engineering and software development will be necessary. Although many of the papers will be quite specific in topic, extensive background in these topics will not be necessary -- we will extract the experimental techniques and procedures from the papers.
NOTE: Reading of papers listed under "Empirical Methods Overview" are considered prerequisites and they should therefore, be read BEFORE first seminar in August.


* Detailed study of the scientific process; particularly using the experimental method
* Examination of how empirical studies are carried out in software engineering
* Review of the distinction between analytical techniques and empirical techniques. When is experimentation required in software engineering, and what kinds of problems can be solved using experimentation
* How to control variables and eliminate bias in experimentation
* Analysis and presentation of empirical data for decision making

Students will learn how the scientific process should be applied, how and when to apply it in the software engineering area, and how to evaluate empirical evidence. The principles will be reinforced by examination of published experimental studies, and through designing and carrying out small experiments. On completion of the course students will be in a position to design and carry out experiments in ways appropriate for a given problem, and will acquire skills in analyzing and presenting experimental data.

This course will examine and critique experimental techniques to evaluate software engineering techniques and processes. Our method will be to read and discuss papers in the current literature, specifically focusing on the methods of the experiments as opposed to the background or the implications of the results. Specific topics to be explored include (but are not limited to) software quality and testing, human computer interaction, software design, maintenance, and software development techniques.


Lectures: 6 hours
Seminars: 13 hours
Project presentations: Approximately 9 hours


A tentative list that may be subject to changes is given at:


Jeff Offutt
Jonas Mellin


Sten F. Andler


Active participation in seminars + project



Organized by

DRTS group, University of Skövde



June-July 2005: Students read general papers. These can be found under
"Empirical Methods Overview" (section I on the reading

August, week 32, 2005: Tuesday 9/8, (13.15-17.00) Introductory lecture; Wednesday 10/8 (9.15-12.00) Discussion of general papers, (13.15-15.00),(15.15-17.00) Definition of projects; Thursday 10/8 (9.15-12.00) Reading and discussion of some experimental papers.

September-December 2005: Students read rest of papers, work on project, submit papers in December.

January, TBA, probably week 2 or 3, 2006: Day 1, (13.15-17.00) Discussion of remaining papers; Day 2, (9.15-12.00) Discussion of remaining papers, (13.15-17.00) Project presentations, (9.15-12.00) Project presentations

Page responsible: Director of Graduate Studies
Last updated: 2012-05-03