Replicating software engineering experiments: addressing the tacit knowledge problem
Recently the awareness of the importance of replicating studies has been growing in the empirical software engineering community. The results of any one study cannot simply be extrapolated to all environments because there are many uncontrollable sources of variation between different environments. In our work, we have reasoned that the availability of laboratory packages for experiments can encourage better replications and complementary studies. However, even with effectively specified laboratory packages, transfer of experimental know-how can still be difficult. A cooperation between Brazilian and American researchers addressing effective running of replications was formed in 1999. One of the specific issues being addressed is the problem of transferring tacit knowledge. We discuss what we learned about the tacit knowledge transfer problem and the evolution of laboratory packages in the description of a replication performed in Brazil using a PBR (Perspective Based Reading) laboratory package; also how further issues are addressed.