Evidence-Based Software Engineering and Systematic Reviews: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Evidence-Based Software Engineering and Systematic Reviews

1st Edition

By Barbara Ann Kitchenham, David Budgen, Pearl Brereton

Chapman and Hall/CRC

399 pages | 54 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2015-11-05
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In the decade since the idea of adapting the evidence-based paradigm for software engineering was first proposed, it has become a major tool of empirical software engineering. Evidence-Based Software Engineering and Systematic Reviews provides a clear introduction to the use of an evidence-based model for software engineering research and practice.

The book explains the roles of primary studies (experiments, surveys, case studies) as elements of an over-arching evidence model, rather than as disjointed elements in the empirical spectrum. Supplying readers with a clear understanding of empirical software engineering best practices, it provides up-to-date guidance on how to conduct secondary studies in software engineering—replacing the existing 2004 and 2007 technical reports.

The book is divided into three parts. The first part discusses the nature of evidence and the evidence-based practices centered on a systematic review, both in general and as applying to software engineering. The second part examines the different elements that provide inputs to a systematic review (usually considered as forming a secondary study), especially the main forms of primary empirical study currently used in software engineering.

The final part provides practical guidance on how to conduct systematic reviews (the guidelines), drawing together accumulated experiences to guide researchers and students in planning and conducting their own studies. The book includes an extensive glossary and an appendix that provides a catalogue of reviews that may be useful for practice and teaching.

Table of Contents


The Evidence-Based Paradigm

What do we mean by evidence?

Emergence of the evidence-based movement

The systematic review

Some limitations of an evidence-based view of the world

Evidence-Based Software Engineering (EBSE)

Empirical knowledge before EBSE

From opinion to evidence

Organizing evidence-based software engineering practices

Software engineering characteristics

Limitations of evidence-based practices in software engineering

Using Systematic Reviews in Software Engineering

Systematic reviews

Mapping studies


Planning a Systematic Review

Establishing the need for a review

Managing the review project

Specifying the research questions

Developing the protocol

Validating the protocol

Searching for Primary Studies


Validating the search strategy

Methods of searching

Examples of search strategies

Study Selection

Selection criteria

Selection process

The relationship between papers and studies

Examples of selection criteria and process

Assessing Study Quality

Why assess quality?

Quality assessment criteria

Procedures for assessing quality

Examples of quality assessment criteria and procedures

Extracting Study Data

Overview of data extraction

Examples of extracted data and extraction procedures

Mapping Study Analysis

Analysis of publication details

Classification analysis

Automated content analysis

Clusters, gaps, and models

Qualitative Synthesis

Qualitative synthesis in software engineering research

Qualitative analysis terminology and concepts

Using qualitative synthesis methods in software engineering systematic reviews

Description of qualitative synthesis methods

General problems with qualitative meta-synthesis


With Lech Madeyski

Meta-analysis example

Effect sizes

Conversion between different effect sizes

Meta-analysis methods


Moderator analysis

Additional analyses

Reporting a Systematic Review

Planning reports

Writing reports

Validating reports

Tool Support for Systematic Reviews

With Christopher Marshall

Review tools in other disciplines

Tools for software engineering reviews

Evidence to Practice: Knowledge Translation and Diffusion

What is knowledge translation?

Knowledge translation in the context of software engineering

Examples of knowledge translation in software engineering

Diffusion of software engineering knowledge

Systematic reviews for software engineering education

Further Reading for Part I


Primary Studies and Their Role in EBSE

Some characteristics of primary studies

Forms of primary study used in software engineering

Ethical issues

Reporting primary studies

Replicated studies

Further reading

Controlled Experiments and Quasi-Experiments

Characteristics of controlled experiments and quasi-experiments

Conducting experiments and quasi-experiments

Research questions that can be answered by using experiments and quasi-experiments

Examples from the software engineering literature

Reporting experiments and quasi-experiments

Further reading


Characteristics of surveys

Conducting surveys

Research questions that can be answered by using surveys

Examples of surveys from the software engineering literature

Reporting surveys

Further reading

Case Studies

Characteristics of case studies

Conducting case study research

Research questions that can be answered by using case studies

Example of a case study from the software engineering literature

Reporting case studies

Further reading

Qualitative Studies

Characteristics of a qualitative study

Conducting qualitative research

Research questions that can be answered using qualitative studies

Examples of qualitative studies in software engineering

Reporting qualitative studies

Further reading

Data Mining Studies

Characteristics of data mining studies

Conducting data mining research in software engineering

Research questions that can be answered by data mining

Examples of data mining studies

Problems with data mining studies in software engineering

Reporting data mining studies

Further reading

Replicated and Distributed Studies

What is a replication study?

Replications in software engineering

Including replications in systematic reviews

Distributed studies

Further reading


Systematic Review and Mapping Study Procedures



Review management

Planning a systematic review

The search process

Primary study selection process

Validating the search and selection process

Quality assessment

Data extraction

Data aggregation and synthesis

Reporting the systematic review

A Catalogue of Systematic Reviews Relevant to Education and Practice

With Sarah Drummond and Nikki Williams

Professional Practice (PRF)

Modelling and Analysis (MAA)

Software Design (DES)

Validation and Verification (VAV)

Software Evolution (EVO)

Software Process (PRO)

Software Quality (QUA)

Software Management (MGT)



About the Originator

About the Series

Chapman & Hall/CRC Innovations in Software Engineering and Software Development Series

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
COMPUTERS / Programming / Games
COMPUTERS / Software Development & Engineering / General