Title: Empirical Methods in Programming Language Research and Software Engineering

Speaker: Stefan Hanenberg (University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany)

Host: Ralf Lämmel, Inst. for Software Technology and CS

Date/Time: 26 Jan 2012 (Thursday), 4pm (ct)

Room: E 427


Disciplines such as programming language research as well as software engineering typically provide artifacts and abstractions which require additional or different interactions with the developers: New programming language constructs need to be understood and applied by the developers, new modeling notations require the usage of new abstractions and new software processes require a new behavior of software developers while developing software. An interesting observation is, that the developer hardly plays any role in nowadays research methods. Consequently, for a huge number of artifacts there is no evidence whether they improve the development of software or whether they even have a negative impact on the development of software — just because the artifact's effect on the developer is hardly studied. This talk discusses the necessity (and existing problems) of applying empirical methods in the mentioned domains in order to include software developers in the research process. It furthermore argues that a number of changes are necessary in the research community as well as in teaching in order to apply empirical methods that permit to give some evidence about the benefit of a new artifact.


  • Slides (.pdf)
  • Paper "Faith, hope, and love: an essay on software science's neglect of human factors" DOI


Stefan Hanenberg finished his dissertation at the University of Duisburg-Essen in 2006 in the area of aspect-oriented software development. After this, he started designing and performing experiments in the area of aspect-oriented programming as well as type systems. Stefan Hanenberg is now working at the University of Duisburg-Essen as a "akademischer Oberrat" (which might be comparable to "senior lecturer"). While his works in the area of aspect-oriented programming were mainly published in conferences such as AOSD, the works on empirical research appeared in conferences such as ICPC and OOPSLA.