Abstract: This paper outlines the needs for careful empirical-design choices during the study of software practitioners. It does this by presenting a documented, but unpublished, in-vivo, empirical, group study. The study was initially conceived as an experiment but was subsequently overwhelmed by human and other factors. As a consequence, only more observational comments could be derived from the study. In this paper, the study is analyzed and discussed, as a means of illustrating the conflict that often exists between in-vivo empirical studies and the experimental paradigm.
An experiential report on the limitations of experimentation as a means of empirically investigating software practitioners