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Software Engineering Experimentation


Status Archive
School Computer and Information Science (CIS)
Division SAS
Owner Jeff Offutt
Homepage http://www.cs.gmu.edu/~offutt/classes/see/

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Course plan

No of lectures

15 (flexible)
About 4 weeks of lectures, delivered online *asynchronously*. About 8 weeks of reading, presenting, and discussing research papers. About 3 weeks of student presentations of their projects.

Recommended for

Graduate students in all aspects of computing who will carry out empirical studies as part of their research.

The course was last given

Fall 2008 at George Mason University (never at Linkoping).


How to design computing experiments, while handling bias, confounding factors, and threats to validity
How to evaluate empirical studies
How to document and write a research paper
How to present research results




This course will be multi-university, online, and asynchronous. The host university will be George Mason University and students from Skövde University and Linköping University will be welcomed.

Lectures will be recorded and posted online for the first portion of the course for asynchronous viewing by students.

The next portion of the course will use online, asynchronous discussion forums.

The final portion of the course will have students presenting their projects in a classroom, face-to-face with the professor and local students.


General knowledge of science and experimentation.
Experimentation in computing and software engineering.
Specific empirical papers will be read and discussed.


Papers will be taken from the recent literature, most prominently Springer's journal of Empirical Software Engineering and IEEE journals and conferences. The exact papers are now posted on the website:


Jeff Offutt


Jeff Offutt


Students will be evaluated
1) A semester-long empirical research project, culminating in a conference-style paper. Students will be offered pre-defined projects, and free to choose their own projects related to their research interests.
2) An oral conference-style presentation of the project.
3) Written evaluations of published empirical papers.
4) Participation discussion and other aspects of the course.


6 hp


A classroom or seminar room will only be required for the final project presentations, although a kickoff meeting at the beginning of the semester might be helpful.

The exact number of weeks allocated to each part of the course will depend on the total number of students enrolled.

Page responsible: Director of Graduate Studies