Course Syllabus for

Case Studies in Software Engineering
Fallstudier i programvaruteknik

EDA020F, 7.5 credits

Valid from: Autumn 2015
Decided by: FN1/Anders Gustafsson
Date of establishment: 2015-03-15

General Information

Division: Computer Science (LTH)
Course type: Third-cycle course
Teaching language: English


Provide doctoral students with research methodology competence. The course aims at providing an overview of case study methodology for software engineering research. The methodology will guide doctoral students in their research and provide a toolbox for conducting empirical research at the highest international level.


Knowledge and Understanding

For a passing grade the doctoral student must be familiar with and able to describe key characteristics of case study research methodology, and be able to compare case studies to experiments and and survey methodology, and to decide which methodology is feasible for different research questions.

Competences and Skills

For a passing grade the doctoral student must through practical excercises show the ability to define, prepare and review case study research.

Judgement and Approach

For a passing grade the doctoral student must

Course Contents

- Definitions: o What is a case study? What is actions research? Quantitative and qualitative aspects of a case study. Fixed and flexible factors in empirical studies. o When is case study a feasible research method? - Setting up a case study. o Defining scope and goal of a case study. Setting up contracts between the researcher and the studied organization. o Units of analysis, theoretical framework, research questions, propositions and hypotheses. o Legal, ethical and professional issues. - Data collection: o Defining procedures for data collection. Questionnaire design. Interviews. Metrics collection. Archival data collection. Focus groups. - Data analysis and interpretation: o Data filtering. Qualitative and quantitative analysis. Data interpretation in conjunction with the organization. - Tools for data analysis. - Reporting: o What should be reported in a case study? Issues of secrecy and publicity. Audience for different types of reports. - Validity issues: o Analysis of validity and actions to improve the validity of a case study. - Synthesizing case studies. - Report case study proposals. - Peer reviews of case studies.

Course Literature

tts-pru, tts-mho & tts-bre: Case Study Research in Software Engineering – Guidelines and Examples.

Instruction Details

Types of instruction: Seminars, exercises

Examination Details

Examination formats: Written assignments, seminars given by participants
Grading scale: Failed, pass

Admission Details

Course Occasion Information

Contact and Other Information

Course coordinators:
Web page:

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