Case Studies in Industry – Fundamentals and Lessons Learnt


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Last year, I gave a tutorial on fundamentals and lessons learnt in conducting case study research in industry. The tutorial formed part of the international advanced school on empirical software engineering (IASESE), organised by Andreas Jedlitschka, Natalia Juristo and Oscar Dieste, and me, and co-located with ESEM 14.

The background of the lessons learnt is, obviously, the lessons I learnt in in-vivo-experimentation as part of industry collaborations I was able to work in over the last years and resulting in over 20 case studies (of which many remained unpublished).

The slides from the tutorial can be found here:

Now, the reason I post the slides here over a year after the tutorial is two-fold. First, I’m cleaning up my To-Do list before the seasonal break and updating this page forms one item in that list 😉 Second, and more important to me, I plan to extend the work to a guideline which shall help others who are confronted with case study research, e.g. as part of their PhD. The idea is to provide basic guidance for planning, designing, and conducting case studies in industry exclusively based on best practices. This shall help especially young scholars to avoid those mistakes I made myself during my first case studies. I myself very much appreciated the moment I was provided with a guideline to structure the fuzzy concepts and terms in that field and to structure the reporting of a case study. The last eventually made explicit many things to think about when conducting a case study (in that case, I’m referring in particular to the guideline for conducting and reporting case study research in SE by Per Runeson and Martin Höst).

I sincerely hope to be able to extend their valuable work in the future with practical (and pragmatic) recommendations. Therefore, should you have any recommendation or should you have some practical advice you would also like to share (or see in such a guideline), please reach out to me. It would be a pleasure to join our experiences!