Empirical Track

Last year‘s edition of REFSQ, in 2011, featured a new Empirical Track, during which a Live Experiment about Risk-Estimation was conducted. The detailed results of this experiment will be reported at this year’s REFSQ on wednesday. In addition, the Empirical Fair tried to match (1) industrial sites that wanted experiments done with researchers willing to do them and (2) researchers proposing to do particular experiments with industrial sites willing to let the proposed experiments be done at their sites. After the success of last year, we decided to repeat the Empirical Track this year and to expand it. Therefore, we issued a call for the following kinds of submissions:

  • Alive Empirical Study: a controlled experiment, requiring no more than 90 minutes, that involves all REFSQ participants who want to participate, and
  • Online Questionnaire: an online questionnaire (survey), designed to require no more than 30 minutes, that is promoted at REFSQ and that can be filled out by all interested REFSQ participants, in their spare time at the conference.
    The online questionnaires are now available:

  • Empirical Research Fair Proposal: an empirical study that a researcher would like to conduct in an industrial setting or vice versa.

Alive Empirical Study

The discussion at recent REFSQs have confirmed the strongneed for empirical validation of the effectiveness for our RE methods, but the literature to date, including that of REFSQ, could show more of this validation. This lack is assumed to be at least partly due to the difficulty of finding and persuading the participation of a sufficient number of suitable experimental subjects. Therefore, REFSQ 2012 issued a call that offers an opportunity to conduct an empirical study during the conference itself. The goals of this opportunity, besides that of permitting to conduct the experiment, are to raise awareness for the necessity and benefits of empirical studies and to show that participating in them is not dangerous to one’s health. Furthermore, we want to bring together the community of researchers and practitioners who are interested in empirical studies.

Live Experiment: Do stakeholders understand feature descriptions? Organised by Rumyana Proynova and Barbara Paech, Software Engineering Group, University of Heidelberg, Germany.

This experiment aims to show how well a stakeholder can understand feature descriptions, and whether different forms of feature descriptions lead to different levels of understanding.

Benefits to Participants: The main benefit for the subjects will be new experience and new knowledge. As requirements engineers, they have a preset role in software development projects. By experiencing the role of stakeholders, they will be able to better understand their project partners. Also, due to the real-time evaluation, they will immediately see the feasibility of collecting requirements feedback with questionnaires.

Online Questionnaires

This is a new kind of empirical study in the REFSQ Empirical Track, inspired by submissions we received last year. An online questionnaire (survey) is designed to be filled out by all interested REFSQ participants, in their spare time at the conference (breaks, etc.). It will require no more than 30 minutes to participate.

The following online questionnaires were selected for REFSQ 2012:

  • Reliability and Perceived Efficacy of a Checklist for Experimental Reports in Requirements EngineeringNelly Condori-Fernandez, Maya Daneva
  • Requirements Engineering Techniques and Methods: An Online Questionnaire determining actual use in industry - Richard Berntsson Svensson, Tony Gorschek
  • A Survey on Requirements Engineering for Variability-intensive Software SystemsMatthias Galster, Paris Avgeriou, Christian Manteuffel

The URLs for accessing the online questionnaire will be provided in the plenary session, on posters at the conference, and on additional sheets in your bag.

Empirical Research Fair

It is clearly understood in the Requirements Engineering (RE) community that case studies of industry projects are critical for our in-depth understanding of both: (a) the phenomena occurring in projects, processes, systems, and services and (b) the impact of our RE methods on the quality, cost, and deliverability of systems. Therefore, in the Empirical Fair, practitioners can propose studies that their organizations would like to have conducted, and researchers can propose studies that they would like to conduct in industry. The Empirical Fair is a meeting point to match the demand and supply of empirical studies among researchers and practitioners. To encourage industry participation, the format of this session is a match-making session in which the authors of the accepted proposals present posters on their intended case studies and the audience can view them and enter a good discussion on the studies goals, benefits, and procedure. Seven proposals have been selected to be presented on posters during the fair. The posters will also be displayed throughout.

  • Tracing Requirements Interdependencies in Agile TeamsIndira Nurdiani, Samuel Fricker, Jürgen Börstler
  • What do you expect from Requirements Specifications? An Empirical Investigation of Information NeedsAnne Gross
  • Applying Creativity Techniques to Requirements Elicitation: Defining an Enhanced EPMCreate - Luisa Mich, Daniel Berry, Victoria Sakhnini
  • Supporting Client-Developer Feedback Loops in Agile Requirements Engineering by means of a Mobile Requirements Engineering ToolMaya Daneva, Nelly Condori-Fernandez, Norbert Seyff
  • Using E-mails and Phone Calls to Resolve Requirements Engineering Issues: Which Works Best and for Which Type of Issue? - Maya Daneva
  • Patterns of Requirements-Related CommunicationEric Knauss, Daniela Damian
  • Requirements Elicitation Driven by End-Users - Alessia Knauss, Daniela Damian

Important dates

Conference 19-22 March, 2012


Event co-chairs

Joerg Doerr, Fraunhofer IESE, Germany
Norbert Seyff, University of Zurich, Switzerland
Daniel M. Berry, University of Waterloo, Canada

Program Committee

Ian Alexander, Scenario Plus, UK
Claudia P. Ayala, Technical University of Catalunya, Spain
Brian Berenbach, Siemens AG, USA
Maya Daneva, University of Twente, The Netherlands
Deepak Dhungana, Siemens AG, Austria
Christof Ebert, Vector, Germany
Samuel Fricker, Blekinge Institute of Technology, Sweden
Thomas Gehrke, Siemens Rail Automation, Germany
Martin Herget, Siemens Corporate Technology, Germany
Andrea Herrmann, Infoman AG, Germany
Frank Houdek, Daimler AG, Germany
James Hulgan, Seilevel Inc, USA
Andreas Jedlitschka, Fraunhofer IESE, Germany
Natalia Juristo, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Spain
Søren Lauesen, IT-University of Copenhagen, Denmark
Nazim H. Madhavji, University of Western Ontario, Canada
Luisa Mich, University of Trento, Italy
Anne Persson, University of Skövde, Sweden
Gil Regev, EPFL and Itecor, Switzerland
Björn Regnell, Lund University, Sweden
Mehrdad Sabetzadeh, Simula Research Laboratory, Norway
Victoria Sakhnini, University of Waterloo, Canada
Camille Salinesi, Univ. Paris 1 – Panthéon Sorbonne, France
Erik Simmons, Intel, USA
Karen Smiley, ABB Corporation, USA
Roel Wieringa, University of Twente, Netherlands



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