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Prof. Alessio Ferrari, CNR-ISTI - ITALY, "Empirical Methods in Software Engineering Research", 20, 22, 27, 29 September, 4, 6, 7 October 2022

20 hours (5 credits)


Aula Riunioni del Dipartimento di Ingegneria dell’Informazione, Via G. Caruso 16, Pisa - Ground Floor

To register to the course, click here

Short Abstract:

Empirical studies in software engineering provide a systematic way of evaluating theories, languages, concepts, tools or methodologies, considering the industrial context in which they are applied [1]. The course will prepare students by examining how to plan, conduct and report on empirical studies in software engineering. The course will cover all of the principal methods applicable to software engineering (controlled experiment, case studies, surveys, systematic literature reviews, and ethnography) and will describe quantitative and qualitative methods of analysis, including hypothesis testing and grounded theory. To showcase the different methods, the course will critically review representative examples of published work. At the end of the course, the students will be able to approach real-world research problems in a scientifically sound way, and contribute to theory building in software engineering research.
A previous version of this course was delivered for the MSc and Ph.D students of the University of Florence, School of Mathematical, Physical and Natural Sciences. The web version of the course has been made available on YouTube [2]. The reference book for the course is the handbook from Wohlin et al.

Course Contents in brief:

  1. Overview of Empirical Methods in Software Engineering Research
  2. Formulating Research Questions
  3. Data Types, Measurements, Scale
  4. Data Collection Techniques
  5. Building Theories in Software Engineering
  6. Research Strategies: the ABC Framework
  7. Controlled Experiments
  8. Hypothesis Testing and Statistical Tests
  9. Qualitative Research Methods: Ethnography, Interviews, Grounded Theory
  10. Survey Research in Software Engineering
  11. Case Studies
  12. Systematic Literature Reviews


  1. 20, 22, 27, 29 September 2020 h. 9.30-12.30
  2. 4, 6 October 2020 h. 9.30-12.30
  3. 7 October 2020 h. 9.30-11.30