Evidence-Based Software Engineering

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Using Mapping Studies in Software Engineering

Author(s)David Budgen and Mark Turner and Pearl Brereton and Barbara Kitchenham
DetailsConference Proceedings: 2008

Background: A mapping study provides a systematic and objective procedure for identifying the nature and extent of the empirical study data that is available to answer a particular research question. Such studies can also form a useful preliminary step for PhD study.

Aim: We set out to assess how effective such studies have been when used for software engineering topics, and to identify the specific challenges that they present.

Method: We have conducted an informal review of a number of mapping studies in software engineering, describing their main characteristics and the forms of analysis employed.

Results: We examine the experiences and outcomes from six mapping studies, of which four are published. From these we note a recurring theme about the problems of classification and a preponderance of 'gaps' in the set of empirical studies.

Conclusions: We identify our challenges as improving classification guidelines, encouraging better reporting of primary studies, and argue for identifying some 'empirical grand challenges' for software engineering as a focus for the community.

DOINo DOI available
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TopicsMethodology, Secondary Study, Software Engineering

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