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Soup or Art? The role of evidential force in empirical software engineering

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1 Author(s)
Pfleeger, S.L. ; Rand Corp., Arlington, VA, USA

Software project managers' decisions should be based on solid evidence, not on common wisdom or vendor hype. What distinguishes the science from the art is the way in which we as managers and practitioners make decisions, by forming rational arguments from the evidence we have - evidence that comes both from our experience and from related research. That is, we move from the part to the whole, examining the body of evidence to determine what we know about the best ways to build good software. This view isn't particular to software engineering or even to mathematical sciences; it's what characterizes good science in general. This article examines the ways in which careful understanding of argumentation and evidence can lead to more effective empirical software engineering - and ultimately to better decision making and higher-quality software products and processes.

Published in:

Software, IEEE  (Volume:22 ,  Issue: 1 )