Experiences in Using Practitioner’s Checklists to Evaluate the Practitioner’s Relevance of Experiments Reported in Requirements Engineering

Maya Daneva, O.N. Condori Fernandez, Klaas Sikkel, Andrea Herrman

Research output: Chapter in Book / Report / Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Background: A grand challenge for Requirement Engineering (RE) research is to help practitioners understand which RE methods work in what contexts and why. RE researchers recognize that for an RE method to be adopted in industry, RE practitioners should be able to evaluate the relevance of empirical studies to their practice. One possible approach to relevance evaluation is the set of guidelines for reporting empirical studies which have been proposed in the empirical software engineering community. Kitchenham et al. proposed a set of perspective-based checklists, which is demonstrated to be a useful instrument for this purpose. Specifically, the checklist from the practitioner’s perspective seems to be a good candidate for evaluating the relevance of RE studies to RE practice. However, little is known about the applicability of this checklist to the RE field. Moreover, this checklist also requires a deeper analysis of its reliability. Aim: We propose a perspective-based checklist to the RE community that allows evaluating the relevance of experimental studies in RE from the practitioner’s/consultant’s viewpoint. Method: We followed an iterative design-science based approach in which we first analyzed the problems with a previously published checklist and then developed an operationalized proposal for a new checklist to counter these problems. We performed a reliability evaluation of this new checklist by having two practitioners apply the checklist on 24 papers that report experimental results on software requirements specifications’ comprehensibility. Results: We report first-hand experiences of practitioners in evaluating the relevance of primary studies in RE, by using a perspective-based checklist. With respect to the reliability of the adjusted checklist, 9 of out 19 questions show an acceptable proportion of agreement (between two practitioners). Conclusions: Based on our experience, the contextualization and operationalization of a perspective-based checklist helps to make it more useful for the practitioners. However, to increase the reliability of the checklist, more reviewers and more discussion cycles are necessary.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCESI '18
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the 6th International Workshop on Conducting Empirical Studies in Industry
Place of PublicationNew York, NY
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Pages5-12
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)9781450357364
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018

Keywords

  • experiments
  • software engineering
  • practical relevance

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