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Can we evaluate the quality of software engineering experiments?

Publiceringsår: 2010
Språk: Engelska
Sidor: 1-8
Publikation/Tidskrift/Serie: [Host publication title missing]
Dokumenttyp: Konferensbidrag
Förlag: ACM


Context: The authors wanted to assess whether the quality of published human-centric software engineering experiments was improving. This required a reliable means of assessing the quality of such experiments.

Aims: The aims of the study were to confirm the usability of a quality evaluation checklist, determine how many reviewers were needed per paper that reports an experiment, and specify an appropriate process for evaluating quality.

Method: With eight reviewers and four papers describing human-centric software engineering experiments, we used a quality checklist with nine questions. We conducted the study in two parts: the first was based on individual assessments and the second on collaborative evaluations.

Results: The inter-rater reliability was poor for individual assessments but much better for joint evaluations. Four reviewers working in two pairs with discussion were more reliable than eight reviewers with no discussion. The sum of the nine criteria was more reliable than individual questions or a simple overall assessment.

Conclusions: If quality evaluation is critical, more than two reviewers are required and a round of discussion is necessary. We advise using quality criteria and basing the final assessment on the sum of the aggregated criteria. The restricted number of papers used and the relatively extensive expertise of the reviewers limit our results. In addition, the results of the second part of the study could have been affected by removing a time restriction on the review as well as the consultation process.


  • Computer Science


ESEM '10: Proceedings of the 2010 ACM-IEEE International Symposium on Empirical Software Engineering and Measurement, September 16-17
  • Software Engineering-lup-obsolete
  • ISBN: 978-1-4503-0039-1

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