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Four commentaries on the use of students and professionals in empirical software engineering experiments

: Feldt, Robert; Zimmermann, Thomas; Bergersen, Gunnar R.; Falessi, Davide; Jedlitschka, Andreas; Juristo, Natalia; Münch, Jürgen; Oivo, Markku; Runeson, Per; Shepperd, Martin; Sjøberg, Dag I.K.; Turhan, Burak


Empirical Software Engineering 23 (2018), No.6, pp.3801–3820
ISSN: 1382-3256
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IESE ()

The relative pros and cons of using students or practitioners in experiments in empirical software engineering have been discussed for a long time and continue to be an important topic. Following the recent publication of “Empirical software engineering experts on the use of students and professionals in experiments” by Falessi, Juristo, Wohlin, Turhan, Münch, Jedlitschka, and Oivo (EMSE, February 2018) we received a commentary by Sjøberg and Bergersen. Given that the topic is of great methodological interest to the community and requires nuanced treatment, we invited two editorial board members, Martin Shepperd and Per Runeson, respectively, to provide additional views. Finally, we asked the authors of the original paper to respond to the three commentaries. Below you will find the result. Even though we are under no illusion that these views settle the issue we hope you find them interesting and illuminating, and that they can help the empirical software engineering community navigate some of the subtleties involved when selecting representable samples of human subjects.