Beki Grinter

Qualitative Research in Software Engineering

In computer science, discipline, empirical, research on June 21, 2011 at 1:05 pm

A recent volume of Empirical Software Engineering was devoted to Qualitative Research in Software Engineering. Although it’s been over ten years since I did any qualitative reasearch in software engineering myself, I find myself drawn to knowing what’s going on.

And I was surprised.

Of the four articles that appeared in the journal, two used Grounded Theory. That wouldn’t shock me normally, but both of them used Glaserian Grounded Theory (referred to as “classical”), as opposed to the far more common Strasserian Grounded Theory seen in HCI papers. And both discussed some of the differences between the two, also something not seen in many HCI papers using Grounded Theory. I was very pleased at the level of detail at which they discussed the method that they were using, although surprised that it was the case in both that they had more access to people who knew the methods of “classical Grounded Theory” than Straussarian Grounded Theory (which one paper claimed was also more prevalent in Software Engineering.

Just struck me as interesting and different.

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