International Advanced School on Empirical Software Engineering (IASESE) 2019
Observation as a Data Collection Technique
for Software Engineering Research
Wednesday, 18 September 2019
Porto de Galinhas, Pernambuco, Brazil
Facilitator: Carolyn Seaman from the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), USA
Summary: This full-day school will cover several different observation techniques, including think-aloud,
shadowing, and participant observation, in particular how they can be used to study software
development teams. We will also talk about choices to be made in the design of an observation study,
specific data collection and analysis techniques, and some common pitfalls. There will be some lecture,
but also a lot of open discussion and hands-on exercises.
All IASESE participants must be sure to bring some paper or a notebook, pen or pencil, and a laptop if possible (not mandatory, but highly recommended).
Who’s in the room?
What is observation and why are we spending a day on this topic?
9:30am Overview of Observation Methods
Design Decisions and the Observation Protocol
10:30am Exercise: Creating a protocol
1:30pm Participant Observation
2:15pm Think-aloud observation
3:30pm Observation data analysis
Basics of coding
Exercise: Analysis of field notes
Exercise: Analysis of video