It will never work in theory: New blog on empirical software engineering

July 11, 2011 at 3:21 pm Leave a comment

New blog from Greg Wilson and Jorge Aranda on empirical studies on software development.  Really interesting!  These kinds of reports are important for progress in computing education, because they help us understand better what expertise in computing looks like.

People have been building complex software for over sixty years, but until recently, only a handful of researchers had studied how it was actually done. Many people had opinions—often very strong ones—but most of these were based on personal anecdotes, or on the kind of “it’s obvious” reasoning that led Aristotle to conclude that heavy objects fall faster than light ones.

To make matters worse, many of the studies that were done were crippled by lack of generality, artificiality, or small sample sizes. As a result, while software engineering billed itself as a “hard” science, rigor was much less common than in “soft” disciplines like marketing, which has gone from the gut instincts of Mad Men to being a quantitative, analytic discipline.

via It will never work in theory – Software development research that is relevant in practice.

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