Basing software development decisions on research and controlled experiments currently has some challenges involved with it. One is that there is very little research available: In a survey of research literature, a set of researchers with the IEEE Computer Society found that in the decade from 1993 to 2002 only 103 scientific controlled experiments on software development was reported. In addition to that, a fair amount of these experiments has execution problems and often suffer from small sample sizes and non-significant results. Add that experiments often look into only a very small part of computer programming and the papers often take quite some time to read and digest, and it seems apparent why research and evidence-backing is so limited in the world of software engineering.

Meet SEED: The Software Engineering Evidence Database. This is a project from California Polytechnic trying to make empirical evidence-based research on software engineering easily accessible. Acknowledging that “software developers are known for adopting new technologies and practices based solely on their novelty, promise, or anecdotal evidence“, the university researchers have tried to put together a database of experiment summaries on topics of interest to software developers.

The database covers subject such as OO Metrics, Design Patterns, Testing and more, and the 200+ current summaries are written by graduate students and are provided with quality ratings. The goals of the project can be summarized as:

The concept of a community-driven Web database was proposed to engage Net generation students and softwareprofessionals with evidence-based software engineering. We deliberately chose the social networking approach of user-generated and reviewed content as a way to implement SEEDS since we thought that students would more easily relate to the course project and be more enthusiastic about it.

Also have a look at the project summary: “Engaging the net generation with evidence-based software engineering through a community-driven web database” by David S. Janzena¬† and Jungwoo Ryoob.

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