Kitchenham, B, Madeyski, L and Brereton, P (2019) Meta-analysis for families of experiments in software engineering: a systematic review and reproducibility and validity assessment. Empirical Software Engineering. ISSN 1573-7616

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Previous studies have raised concerns about the analysis and meta-analysis of crossover experiments and we were aware of several families of experiments that used crossover designs and meta-analysis.

To identify families of experiments that used meta-analysis, to investigate their methods for effect size construction and aggregation, and to assess the reproducibility and validity of their results.

We performed a systematic review (SR) of papers reporting families of experiments in high quality software engineering journals, that attempted to apply meta-analysis. We attempted to reproduce the reported meta-analysis results using the descriptive statistics and also investigated the validity of the meta-analysis process.

Out of 13 identified primary studies, we reproduced only five. Seven studies could not be reproduced. One study which was correctly analyzed could not be reproduced due to rounding errors. When we were unable to reproduce results, we provide revised meta-analysis results. To support reproducibility of analyses presented in our paper, it is complemented by the reproducer R package.

Meta-analysis is not well understood by software engineering researchers. To support novice researchers, we present recommendations for reporting and meta-analyzing families of experiments and a detailed example of how to analyze a family of 4-group crossover experiments.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the final published version of the article (version of record). It first appeared online via Springer at - please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Evidence-based software engineering, Systematic review, Meta-analysis, Effect size, Families of experiments, Reproducible research
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA76 Computer software
Divisions: Faculty of Natural Sciences > School of Computing and Mathematics
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 07 Aug 2019 15:18
Last Modified: 07 Aug 2019 15:22

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