DIT590 Research Methods & Technical Writing

Course was offered by: University of Gothenburg
Course responsible: Dr. Richard Berntsson Svensson
Credits: 7.5 ECTS
Level: Bachelor level
Course syllabus DIT590

The course prepares students for the course DIT565 Software Engineering and Management Bachelor project and for professions in the fields of software engineering and software management. It balance both theoretical and practical considerations of research. The course has two general themes and twelve sub themes:

  • Strategies and methods for software engineering studies with action research,case study research, grounded theory, interviews, surveys, experiments, and literature studies as sub-themes;
  • technical & scientific writing with organization, style, grammar, punctuation, and reference handling as sub themes.

  • Each of these sub-themes is associated with a study item based on three elements: read, apply, report. These items together constitute the course. Students will present both there own research plans as well as relevant topics for the course to gain practical experience both conducting research as well as defending their research.


    L1 - Introduction
    L2 - Designing Research
    L3 - Survey
    L5 - Software Experiment
    L6 - Case Study, Action Research, Design Research
    L7 - Writing
    L8 - Literature review, Systematic Literature Review, Systematic Mapping studies
    L9 - Introduction to statistics,


    Seminar 2 - Assignment 3
    Seminar 3 - Assignments 4 and 5

    Date Week Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri
    Jan. 19-23 1 (4) 9-12 L1 10-12 L2
    Jan. 26-30 2 (5) 10-12 L3 10-12 L4
    Feb. 2-6 3 (6) 10-12 L5
    Feb. 9-13 4 (7) 10-12 Sem1
    Feb. 16-20 5 (8) 10-12 L6 10-12 L7
    Feb. 23-27 6 (9) 10-12 L8 10-12 Sem2
    Mar. 2-6 7 (10) 10-12 L9
    Mar. 9-13 8 (11)
    Mar. 16-20 9 (12) 10-12 Sem3
    Mar. 23-27 10 (13) 10-12 Sem4
    Mar. 30-Apr. 3 11 (14)
    Apr. 6-10 12 (15)
    Apr. 13-17 13 (16) April 17
    Portfolio submission, 11.59pm

    Week Lect. Lecture Area Literature Seminare Assignment deadline
    W1 L1 Introduction CRES: 1, 7-10, [Qual]
    L2 Overview, Designing research CRES: 5,6, [GRSE], [EMSE], [TTiP]
    W2 L3 Survey CRES: 8
    L4 Software Experiment
    W3 L5 Software Experiment CRES: 8, [Expe], [SiSE], [ReSE]
    W4 Sem1 - Assignment 1 Assignment 1 Mon 8.00am
    W5 L6 Case studies/Action research/Design science [Case], [DSIS], [AR], [EMSE]
    L7 Technical Writing CRES: 4
    W6 L8 Systematic Literature Review/Systematic Mapping CRES: 2, [SLR], [SMS], [REMS] Assignment 2 Mon 8.00am
    Assignment 3 Mon 8.00am
    Sem2 - Assignments 2 and 3
    W7 L9 Guest Lecture - Richard Torkar: Statistics [Expe]
    W9 Sem3 - Assignment 5 Assignment 4 Mon 8.00am
    Assignment 5 Mon 8.00am
    W10 Sem4 - Assignment 6 Assignment 6 Mon 8.00am
    W13 All assignments (1-6) must be included Portfolio Fri 11.59pm


    All assignments and final submission of the portfolio should be sent directly to the examiner/teacher. Please see the slides from the introduction lecture.


    Database to look for peer-reviewed papers - Please note that you must be within Chalmers/GU network to have access to the papers.

    Overview of assignments
    All assignments include peer review of other individuals/groups assignments and discussions.

    Assignment 1 (MAX 5 pages): Survey/Questionare
    Assignment 2 (MAX 5 pages): Software Experiment
    Assignment 3 (MAX 5 pages): Case study
    Assignment 4 (MAX 5 pages): Statistical Analysis, Raw_Data.pdf, Raw_Data.xls, Experiment_Design
    Assignment 5 (MAX 5 pages): Systematic Literature review (SLR)
    Assignment 6 (MAX 6 pages): Research Methodology for your Bachelor Thesis

    Formatting for ALL Assignments
    All your assignments should be formatted using the IEEE Conference Proceedings format.

    Author Guidelines (IEEE Conference Proceedings format)
    Latest IEEE MS Word format file
    Latex format files
    Another package of Latex format files if you have troubles with the one above


    Course book
    [CRES] John W Creswell, Research Design - Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches, SAGE Publications, ISBN 9781452226101, 2013.

    Research papers
    [EMSE] Easterbrook, S, Singer, S, Storey, MA, Damian, D (2008) Selecting Empirical Methods for Software Engineering Research, Guide to Advanced Empirical Software Engineering, Eds. Shull, Forrest; Singer, Janice; Sjøberg, Dag I. K., pp. 285-311

    [Qual] Seaman, CB (1999) Qualitative Methods in Empirical Studies of Software Engineering, IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON SOFTWARE ENGINEERING, vol. 25(4), pp. 1-16.

    [GRSE] Shaw, M (2002) What Makes Good Research in Software Engineering?, International Journal of Software Tools for Technology Transfer, vol. 4(1), pp. 1-7.

    [TTiP] Gorschek T, Garre P, Larsson L, Wohlin C (2006) A Model for Technology Transfer in Practice, IEEE Software, vol. 23(6), pp. 88-95.

    [DSIS] Hevner, AR, March, ST, Park, J (2004) Design Science in Information Systems Research, MIS Quarterly, vol. 28(1), pp. 75-105.

    [Case] Runeson, P, Höst, M (2009) Guidelines for conducting and reporting case study research in software engineering, Empirical Software Engineering, vol 14, pp. 131-164.

    [AR] McKay, J and Marshall, P (2001) The dual imperatives of action research, Information Technology & People, vol. 14(1), pp. 46-59.

    [Expe] Juristo, N and Moreno, AM (2001) Basics of Software Engineering Experimentation

    [SiSE] Höst, M, Regnell, B, Wohlin, C (2000) Using Students as Subjects - A Comparative Study of Students and Professionals in Lead-Time Impact Assessment, Empirical Software Engineering, vol. 5(3), pp. 201-214.

    [ReSE] Juristo, N, Gomez, OS (2012) Replication of Software Engineering Experiments, Empirical Software Engineering and Verification, Eds. B. Meyer and M. Nordio, pp. 60-88.

    [SLR] Kitchenham, BA (2007) Guidelines for performing Systematic Literature Reviews in Software Engineering, Tech. Rep., EBSE-2007-001, UK

    [SMS] Petersen, K, Feldt, R, Mujtaba, S, Mattsson, M (2008) Systematic Mapping Studies in Software Engineering, 12th International Conference on Evaluation and Assessment in Software Engineering, pp. 71-80, Bari, Italy, June 26-27.

    [REMS] Wohlin, C, Runeson, P, Anselmo da Mota Silveira Neto, P, Engström, E, do Carmo Machado, I, Santana de Almeida, E (2013) On the reliability of mapping studies in software engineering, Journal of Systems and Software, vol. 86(10), pp. 2594-2610.