What is it about?

We interviewed 26 researchers, who conduct user studies of software engineers, and identified 18 barriers they encounter when running these studies. These researchers also shared 23 solution strategies that they use to help lower some of these barriers.

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Why is it important?

Software powers our modern lives, and understanding how software engineers work and how we can make them more successful is an important goal. But these types of studies are hard to plan and conduct -- and different researchers struggle with different parts, so no one solution fits every situation. In this article, we share both common challenges and clever solutions from a sample of 26 researchers that shared their experiences with us via both group and individual interviews.


This article helps to explain why user studies involving software engineers are important -- but also hard! Researchers can use table 4 to find a problem they are having and table 5 to find potential solution strategies. Overall, researchers can use this article as a guide to be more effective, efficient, and impactful in their important software engineering user study research.

Matthew Davis
Carnegie Mellon University

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: What’s (Not) Working in Programmer User Studies?, ACM Transactions on Software Engineering and Methodology, July 2023, ACM (Association for Computing Machinery),
DOI: 10.1145/3587157.
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