Summer School on EBSE

I am extremely delighted to annouce that I have seized an opportunity to run a summer school for PhD students on Systematic Literature Reviews and Systematic Mapping studies, two of the fundamental research methodologies of Evidence Based Software Engineering. The story is something like this – Jason Zhang was coming to Europe from Australia to attend two conferences (Profes and ICSP) and had more than a week long break between the conferences. When I heard this, I invited him to visit me and we will find something to do interesting (No hanging around only). Suddenly we realized that it would be a good idea to run a week long summer school on something that we have been pursuing for the last a few years – Evidence-Based Software Engineering. Hence, I quickly sent around a few inquiries to make logistical arrangements and annoucements; and in just few days, we put together everything and made the annoucement. I also invited a few colleagues experienced in doing systematic literature reviews: Martin Host from Lund University Sweden and Oscar Dieste from UPM from Spain. It was nice surprise that both of them agreed to deliver lectures on a very short notice :-). More exciting surprise was when Barbara Kitchenham, one of the initiators of EBSE, kindly agreed to send a video recorded lecture on systematic mapping studies.

FIRST (Foundations for Innovative Research-based Software Technologies, and the research school) and the PhD school of IT University of Copenhagen have agreed to support the school. The attendees who will successfully fulfill the requirements will be awarded 2.5 ECTS and a completion certification. I am very much looking forward to running this course as we have already received ten registrants. The details of the course are below.

Systematic Literature Reviews and Mapping Studies in Software Engineering and Computer Science

A review of prior literature is a prerequisite for any research activity. PhD students are specifically expected to have a literature review chapter in their dissertations. However, most literature reviews are conducted in ad-hoc manners and badly written. Bem states in the Psychological Bulletin that “literature reviews are at risk of producing mind-numbing lists of citations and findings that resemble a phone book”. To address this state of practice, there is an increasing trend among researchers in many disciplines to conduct Systematic Literature Reviews (SLR).

An SLR is a defined and methodical way to summarise evidence concerning a particular technology (i.e., method, technique, tool) to understand the current direction and status of research or to provide background in order to identify research challenges. An SLR enables the assessment and interpretation of all available research pertaining to a research question, subject matter, or event of interest. Another form of SLR is called Mapping study, which aims to ‘map out’ the research on a particular topic in order to determine the potential gaps in the research. A mapping study is also considered a precursor to an SLR.

An increasing number of researchers are conducting SLR and mapping studies in software engineering and computer science. Hence, there is a vital need of providing researchers with sufficient scientific and technical knowledge of and skills in SLR. The objective of the course is to enable the participants to learn about the methodological details and practical considerations of designing, conducting, and reporting SLR and systematic mapping studies in computer science/software engineering.
After the course, the participants should:

1. Have the knowledge about various concepts and terminology underpinning systematic mapping studies and systematic reviews.
2. Gain detailed knowledge about different aspects of developing and validating protocols and pilot searches for conducting mapping studies and reviews.
3. Learn different aspects of manual and automatic searches.
4. be able to evaluate and select appropriate search strategies.
5. be able to design and apply criteria for selecting relevant literature.
6. Learn how to design and evaluate classification schemes for categorizing and building maps of the researched topics.
7. know as to how to identify, assess, and synthesize the available literature and evidence to answer the required research questions.
8. have the skills in synthesizing quantitative and qualitative data.
9. learn how to report system literature review in a journal quality publication.


Three (3) full days face-to-face lectures and exercises sessions, Wednesday through Friday (June 30, July 1 and 2, 2010). Two more days for online learning and exercises for PhD students, who wish to earn 2.5 ECTS and a course completion certificate.

Fee and Registration

The course is free of cost for all attendees. However, the participants are required to register by June 25 so we can make arrangements. You can register in the course by sending an email to Ali (

Organizer & Lecturer

Dr. Muhammad Ali Babar, IT University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

Professor Barbara Kitchenham (Video recorded lecture), Keele University, UK.

Dr. He (Jason) Zhang, National ICT Australia (NICTA), Australia.

Dr. Oscar Diesta, UPM, Spain.

Dr. Martin Höst, Lund University, Sweden.

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