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Using empirical studies during software courses

: Carver, J.; Jaccheri, M.L.; Morasca, S.; Shull, F.

Conradi, R.:
Empirical methods and studies in software engineering : Experiences from ESERNET
Berlin: Springer, 2003 (Lecture Notes in Computer Science 2765)
ISBN: 3-540-40672-7
ISSN: 0302-9743
Aufsatz in Buch
Fraunhofer IESE ()

A number of empirical studies using students as subjects has been carried out in the last few years. These studies are usually conducted as pilot experiments that allow researchers to fine-tune an experiment before deploying it in an industrial environment. Though one of the issues usually taken into account with these experiments is their external validity, other issues need to be considered, such as the usefulness of these experiments in the context of a software engineering course. This chapter concisely reports on three empirical studies performed at the Universita degli Studi dell'Insubria during the ESERNET project and two other empirical studies that we carried out previously, all with students as subjects, so as to provide the context for a discussion on the research and the educational goals that should be taken into account when carrying out an experiment with students to make it successful from both an empirical and an educational viewpoint. Finally, we provide some advice on how to carry out empirical studies with students based on our experiences.