Choosing a research design – article highlight

Towards a decision-making structure for selecting a research design in empirical software engineering, by C. Wohlin and A. Aurum


Choosing a research design is often an task which impacts the results, the ability to draw conclusions and finally the usefulness of an entire research study. It is not easy for senior researchers and definitely painful for younger PhD students. Sometimes, it is a task which is dictated by the set-up of the study (e.g. access to industrial practitioners, artefacts, etc.). However, sometimes we have the possibility to choose a design!

As the authors of the paper state: The main objective of this article is to make researchers more aware of options in relation to the research design, and hence to support researchers in their selection of a research design.

The paper makes a great reading and provides useful research view on the topic of how to choose the design. It clearly describes the relevant decision points when choosing the design and outlines several potential building blocks for these decision points.

I sincerely recommend this work for all empirical researcher – if nothing else, it raises our awareness of the potential which we have!