Systematic Literature Reviews in Software Engineering and Computer Science
IT University of Copenhagen
Rued Langgaards Vej 7; DK-2300 Copenhagen S
June 30, July 1 and 2, 2010
Organizers and Lectures
Dr. Muhammad Ali Babar, IT University of Copenhagen, Denmark
Dr. Jason Zhang, National ICT Australia (NICTA), Australia
A review of prior literature is a prerequisite for any research activity. PhD students are specifically expected to have a literature review chapter in their dissertations. However, most literature reviews are conducted in ad-hoc manners and badly written. Bem states in the Psychological Bulletin that “literature reviews are at risk of producing mind-numbing lists of citations and findings that resemble a phone book”. To address this state of practice, there is an increasing trend among researchers in many disciplines to conduct systematic reviews of the literature.
A systematic review is a defined and methodical way to summarize evidence concerning a particular technology (i.e., method, technique, tool) to understand the current direction and status of research or to provide background in order to identify research challenges.
A systematic review enables the assessment and interpretation of all available research pertaining to a research question, subject matter, or event of interest. An increasing number of researchers are conducting systematic reviews in software engineering and computer science. Hence, there is a vital need of providing researchers with sufficient scientific and technical knowledge of and skills in systematic reviews. The objective of the course is to enable the participants to learn about the methodological details and practical considerations of designing, conducting, and reporting a systematic review in computer science/software engineering.
After the course, the participants should:
- have the knowledge about various concepts and terminology underpinning systematic reviews.
- gain detailed knowledge about different aspects of developing and validating protocols and pilot searches for conducting systematic reviews.
- learn different aspects of manual and automatic searches.
- be able to evaluate and select appropriate search strategies.
- be able to design and apply criteria for selecting relevant literature.
- know as to how to identify, assess, and synthesize the available literature and evidence to answer the required research questions.
- have the skills in synthesizing quantitative and qualitative data.
- learn how to report system literature review in a journal quality publication.
2.5 ECTS as the required workload is expected to be around 70 hours including three (3) full days face-to-face lectures and exercises sessions as well as two more days for online learning and exercises for the PhD students.
Notes will be drawn from the literature on empirical software engineering including but not restricted to the following papers:
 B.A. Kitchenham, et al., Preliminary guidelines for empirical research in software engineering, IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, 2002. 28(8): pp. 721-734.
 A. Jedlitschka and D. Pfahl, Reporting Guidelines for Controlled Experiments in Software Engineering, Proceedings of the International Symposium on Empirical Software Engineering, 2005.
 B. Kitchenham, et al., Evaluating Guidelines for Empirical Software Engineering Studies, Proceedings of the International Symposium on Empirical Software Engineering, 2006.
 B. Kitchenham and S.L. Pfleeger, Personal Opinion Surveys, in F. Shull, J. Singer & D. Sjøberg (Eds.), Guide to Advanced Empirical Software Engineering, Springer-Verlag, 2008, pp. 63-92.
 D. Perry, S.E. Sim, and S. Easterbrook, Case Studies for Software Engineers, Proc. of the 26th Int'l Conference on Software Engineering, 2004.
 B. Kitchenham, L. Pickard, and S.L. Pfleeger, Case Studies for Method and Tool Evaluation, IEEE Software, 1995. 12(4): pp. 52-62.
 J. Singer and N.G. Vinson, Ethical Issues in Empirical Studies of Software Engineering, IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, 2002. 28(12): pp. 1171-1180.
 T.C. Lethbridge, S.E. Sim, and J. Singer, Studying Software Engineers: Data Collection Techniques for Software Field Studies, Empirical Software Engineering, 2005. 10: pp. 311-341.
 P. Brereton, et al., Lessons from applying the systematic literature review process within the software engineering domain, Journal of Systems and Software, 2007. 80: pp. 571-583.
. D. Sjøberg, T. Dybå and M. Jørgensen, The Future of Empirical Methods in Software Engineering Research, 29th International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE'07), Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, 20-26 May, Future of Software Engineering (FoSE’07), in L. Briand and A. Wolf (Eds.), IEEE Computer Society Press, 2007, pp. 358-378.
 T. Dybå, B. Kitchenham and M. Jørgensen, Evidence-based Software Engineering for Practitioners, IEEE Software, 2005, 22(1): pp. 58-65.
Chapters from the following book will also be used: F. Shull, J. Singer and D. Sjøberg (Eds.), Guide to Advanced Empirical Software Engineering, Springer-Verlag, London, 2008.