How to Crash a Party of Software Engineering Researchers

Michael Dorner
1 min readApr 23, 2020

Imagine you are invited to a party. The host is software engineering researcher, your companion is software engineering researcher, the other guests are software engineering researchers, all of the catering staff are software engineering researchers.

The conversations are about funding, collaborations with industry, lazy students, and the food is pathetic. So you want the party to be over as soon as possible or leave without anybody noticing. What do you do?

Here is my list of questions for parties or other gatherings of software engineering researchers you want to spice up, shorten, end, or crash.

  • What is the difference between a model and a theory?
  • What is the difference between a (research) method and methodology?
  • What is a survey?
  • What is the difference between a qualitative survey and a multiple-case study?

But sometimes you want to go deeper. Sometimes you want to see blood and thunder. Then pick one of those:

  • What is better: qualitative or quantitative research?
  • What is the point of a case study? Why and what for do we need them?
  • Grounded Theory according to Glaser or Strauss?
  • Is Action Research actually research?

Thanks, Klaas-Jan Stol and Brian Fitzgerald for bringing some light into the darkness of scientific terminology.

Maybe we as software engineering researchers inherited the old feud from socal science and this list (actually a theory — or is it a model?) works also social scientists parties.



Michael Dorner

Software developer and software engineering researcher