Browsing by Subject "Experimentation"

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  • Falessi, Davide; Juristo, Natalia; Wohlin, Claes; Turhan, Burak; Münch, Jürgen; Jedlitschka, Andreas; Oivo, Markku (2018)
    [Context] Controlled experiments are an important empirical method to generate and validate theories. Many software engineering experiments are conducted with students. It is often claimed that the use of students as participants in experiments comes at the cost of low external validity while using professionals does not. [Objective] We believe a deeper understanding is needed on the external validity of software engineering experiments conducted with students or with professionals. We aim to gain insight about the pros and cons of using students and professionals in experiments. [Method] We performed an unconventional, focus group approach and a follow-up survey. First, during a session at ISERN 2014, 65 empirical researchers, including the seven authors, argued and discussed the use of students in experiments with an open mind. Afterwards, we revisited the topic and elicited experts' opinions to foster discussions. Then we derived 14 statements and asked the ISERN attendees excluding the authors, to provide their level of agreement with the statements. Finally, we analyzed the researchers' opinions and used the findings to further discuss the statements. [Results] Our survey results showed that, in general, the respondents disagreed with us about the drawbacks of professionals. We, on the contrary, strongly believe that no population (students, professionals, or others) can be deemed better than another in absolute terms. [Conclusion] Using students as participants remains a valid simplification of reality needed in laboratory contexts. It is an effective way to advance software engineering theories and technologies but, like any other aspect of study settings, should be carefully considered during the design, execution, interpretation, and reporting of an experiment. The key is to understand which developer population portion is being represented by the participants in an experiment. Thus, a proposal for describing experimental participants is put forward.
  • Kaljonen, Minna; Salo, Marja; Lyytimäki, Jari; Furman, Eeva (2020)
    Purpose The critical role of diet in climate change mitigation has raised behavioural approaches to the top of the agenda. In this paper, the authors take a critical look at these behavioural approaches and call for a more dynamic, practice-oriented understanding of long-term changes in sustainable food consumption and supply. Design/methodology/approach This approach is based on the experiences from a long-term experiment promoting sustainable eating in a workplace lunch restaurant using a series of informational and nudging techniques. In the experiment, the authors found that focussing solely on eating behaviours did not help to capture the multi-level change processes mobilised. The authors therefore propose a more dynamic, practice-oriented methodology for examining long-term changes in sustainable eating. The emprical data of the experiment are based on qualitative and quantitative data, consisting of customer survey, customer and kitchen personnel focus group discussions and monitoring data on the use of food items in the restaurant and their climate impacts. Findings The results draw attention to a series of practical challenges restaurants face when promoting sustainable eating. Directing analytical attention to tinkering helped to reveal the tensions brought about by labelling and nudging in menu planning and recipe development. The results show how tinkering required attentiveness to customers' wishes in both cases. Nudging offered more freedom for the restaurant to develop menus and recipes. In the case scrutinised, however, nudging customers towards tastier and more satiating vegetarian dishes included the use of dairy. This partly watered down the climate benefits gained from reduced meat consumption. Originality/value Rather than looking separately at changes in consumer behaviour and in the supply of food, the authors show how we need analytical concepts that enable the evaluation of their mutual evolution. Tinkering can assist us in this endeavour. Its adaptive, adjustive character, however, calls for caution. The development of praxis in food services and catering requires critical companions from the transdisciplinary research community. Research can provide systematic knowledge on the impacts of labels and nudges on kitchen praxis. However, research itself also needs to tinker and learn from experiments. This necessitates long-term speculative research strategies.
  • Matschoss, Kaisa Johanna; Heiskanen, Eva (2017)
    Local climate experimentation is a topical issue as cities and rural municipalities are increasingly engaging in various local energy experiments in order to act against climate change. There are high expectations toward experimentation among the policy makers, funders and local actors. Intermediary organisations have an important role as facilitators, brokers, instigators and network builders in low-energy and low-carbon experiments. However, there is still limited understanding of exactly what is the work of an innovation intermediary in contributing to local experiments. Our paper focuses on how intermediaries aggregate lessons and transfer knowledge across experiments. We study how the intermediary activities also help in going beyond existing practice and make a difference beyond the experimental context. Our analysis is based on three empirical case studies in Finland: Smart Kalasatama in Helsinki, Skaftkärr in Porvoo and HINKU with a focus on joint purchase of solar panels. Our research shows how intermediaries balance diverse demands, such as immediate benefits vs. radical change or societal learning, in order to render local climate initiatives more experimental.
  • Reckling, Moritz; Bergkvist, Goran; Watson, Christine A.; Stoddard, Frederick L.; Bachinger, Johann (2020)
    Crop production in Europe is intensive, highly specialized and responsible for some negative environmental impacts, raising questions about the sustainability of agricultural systems. The (re)integration of grain legumes into European agricultural systems could contribute to the transition to more sustainable food production. While the general benefits from legume cultivation are widely known, there is little evidence on how to re-design specific cropping systems with legumes to make this option more attractive to farmers. The objectives of this study were to describe the constraints and opportunities of grain legume production perceived by farmers, explain the agronomic impacts of current grain legume cropping, explore technical options to improve grain legume agronomy, and to re-design current grain legume cropping systems in a participatory process with farmers. A co-design approach was implemented with farmers, advisors and scientists on 25 farms in northern Germany, that were part of two large demonstration networks of about 170 farms supporting grain legumes across Germany. We used the DEED research cycle (Describe, Explain, Explore and Design) as a conceptual framework combining on-farm research, crop rotation modelling, and on-station experiments. From it, we identified nine agronomic practices that either were novel or confirmed known strategies under new conditions, to re-design grain legume cropping systems at the field and farm level. The practices included (i) inter-row hoeing, (ii) direct seeding into a cover-crop, (iii) species-specific inoculation, (iv) cover crops to reduce leaching, (v) reduced tillage, (vi) soybean for increased gross margins, (vii) cultivars for food and feed use, (viii) flexible irrigation, (ix) grain legumes with cover crop to enhance subsequent crop yields. We also demonstrate how to complement knowledge of farmers' perceptions (Describe step) and formal knowledge from classical on-station experiments and modelling (Explain step) with on-farm research including the local views of farmers (Explore step) to identify tailored options for specific farm contexts rather than prescriptive solutions (Design step) to intensify legume production. This approach therefore contrasts with traditional methods that are often solely participatory and qualitative or model/experimental-based and quantitative. Hence, our results provide new insights in how to re-design cropping systems using a combination of participatory and quantitative approaches. While participatory approaches are common in developing countries, this study shows their potential in an industrialized context with large-scale farmers in Europe. These novel findings can be used as a starting point for further adaptations of cropping systems and contribute to making grain legume production economically and environmentally more sustainable.