A paper accepted in ICSE2018

Centre for Research on Engineering Software Technologies

We are glad to announce that our ongoing collaboration with Software Institute Nanjing University has resulted in a paper accepted in a premier conference on software engineering, ICSE 2018.

Title: Synthesizing Qualitative Research in Software Engineering: A Critical Review


Synthesizing data extracted from primary studies is an integral part of the methodologies in support of Evidence-Based Software Engineering (EBSE) such as System Literature Review (SLR). Since a large and increasing number of studies in Software Engineering (SE) incorporate qualitative data, it is important to systematically review and understand different aspects of the Qualitative Research Synthesis (QRS) being used in SE.

Method: We have reviewed the use of QRS methods in 328 SLRs published between 2005 and 2015. We also inquired the authors of 274 SLRs to confirm whether or not any QRS methods were used in their respective reviews. 116 of them provided the responses, which were included in our analysis.

Results: We found eight QRS methods applied in SE research, two of which, narrative synthesis and thematic synthesis, have been predominantly adopted by SE researchers for synthesizing qualitative data.

Conclusion: Our study determines that a significant amount of missing knowledge and incomplete understanding of the defined QRS methods in the community. Our effort also identifies an initial set factors that may influence the selection and use of appropriate QRS methods in SE.