Andy Ko and the semblance of objectivity in numbers

Andy Ko blogged yesterday about having a paper rejected at FSE, the Foundations of Software Engineering Conference, because it used qualitative research methods. His post includes depressing snippets from his reviews, and his replies are fitting and well worth reading:

Transforming empirical observations into numbers does NOT make them objective, nor does it prevent bias and misinterpretation.

I’ve written about this before. As a community, our excessive focus on quantitative methods is preventing us from developing the right constructs to study. It’s a shame that when researchers address this fundamental problem they’re shot down by their peers.


About Jorge Aranda

I'm currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at the SEGAL and CHISEL labs in the Department of Computer Science of the University of Victoria.
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2 Responses to Andy Ko and the semblance of objectivity in numbers

  1. Neil says:

    FSE is certainly the wrong venue to try, anyway. I think their mandate is to be as unrelated to the reality of software development as possible (your paper possibly being the exception that proves the rule).

    And while I’m biased as the author, I’ve had a few papers rejected where I’m positive the reviewers are simply ignorant of other research methodologies (and quite possibly *all* research methodologies).

  2. Galax says:

    It occurs in every field; i.e.: You are elected by the quantity of votes, not by the quality of the voters.

    Infiltrate, I say; first get into the Conference; then go your own way.

    Easier said than done, I guess.

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