Is Software Engineering A Multi Disciplinary Field?

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Using qualitative methods and a qualitative analytical framework, it was found that communication and cooperation are the critical factors in developing large-scale software systems. Given the importance of this observation, it is perhaps surprising that research publications using qualitative methods are still scarce. Therefore, my goal in creating this paper is to make existing qualitative methods more visible and further the understanding of qualitative research and its importance in the software engineering community. This paper presents several qualitative methods for data collection and analysis and describes them in terms of how they might be incorporated into empirical studies of software engineering, in particular how …show more content…

For various reasons, systematic empirical studies employing strictly scientific methods are hardly practiced in software engineering. Thus there is an unquestioned need for developing improved and better-qualified empirical methods, for their application in practice and for dissemination of the results. e.g., for planning, performing, analyzing, and reporting such studies. A range of research approaches can generate different and richer information about a complex phenomenon such as software development. In particular, qualitative research methods have been advocated in this regard, although they still occupy a relatively marginal position in software engineering research compared to quantitative methods.
The reason that qualitative methods are used so infrequently in software engineering lies in its foundations as a scientific and engineering discipline. An inherited technical interest in improving practice is associated with a preference for quantitative research approaches that lend themselves to measuring causal relationships for successful software process improvement. However, studying software engineering is a complex undertaking not just because of its technical aspects, but also “from the awkward intersection of machine and human capabilities, and from the central role of human behavior in software development” (Seaman 1999, p.557).

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