Course Syllabus for

Introduction to Case Studies in Software Engineering
Introduktion till fallstudier i programvaruteknik

EDA085F, 3 credits

Valid from: Spring 2023
Decided by: Maria Sandsten
Date of establishment: 2022-10-28

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 introduction to case study methods 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 assess when case study is a feasible method.

Competences and Skills

For a passing grade the doctoral student must through a practice case show the ability to define and plan case studies.

Judgement and Approach

For a passing grade the doctoral student must understand pros and cons of case study research and be aware of ethical issues when conducting case study research

Course Contents

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

Course Literature

P. Runeson and M. Höst. Guidelines for conducting and reporting case study research in software engineering. Empirical Software Engineering, 14(2):131–164, 2009..

Instruction Details

Types of instruction: Seminars, exercises

Examination Details

Examination format: Written assignments
Grading scale: Failed, pass

Admission Details

Course Occasion Information

Contact and Other Information

Course coordinators:

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