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Using academic courses for empirical validation of software development processes

: Ciolkowski, M.; Muthig, D.; Rech, J.

Steinmetz, R. ; European Association for Microprocessing and Microprogramming:
EUROMICRO2004. Proceedings of the 30th EUROMICRO Conference : 31 August - 3 September 2004, Rennes, France
Los Alamitos, Calif.: IEEE Computer Society, 2004
ISBN: 0-7695-2199-1
EUROMICRO Conference <30, 2004, Rennes>
Fraunhofer IESE ()

Software Process Improvement needs sound empirical data gathered from a range of empirical studies such as controlled experiments or case studies. However, conducting empirical studies is often costintensive; in particular in industrial environments. Therefore, we need to find a way to balance cost and value of empirical findings. In this paper, we discuss a way of gathering required empirical data in Software Engineering education programs. Although an academic setting is not representative of industrial organizations, the information gathered there can help organizations to decide upon alternatives to improve current software engineering processes. We describe how a practical software engineering course for graduate students at the University of Kaiserslautern was used as a platform for validating software development approaches. As there are specific restrictions and constraints defined by this context, we discuss how they influence the design of empirical studies. I n addition, we present a concrete example of comparing product line approaches.