Call to Requirements Empiricists!


WANTED: Live Study Proposals


The REFSQ conference has a tradition of a special plenary session for conducting a “live study” involving the conference attendees on a voluntary basis (an estimated 50% or more of the attendees). Historically, a live study has been a (controlled) experiment relevant to requirements engineering. An “online survey” has also been conducted during the conference days. The live study, conducted in a 90-minute session, engages all the conference attendees present in the session.


For REFSQ 2018, we add a new event -- the possibility of conducting a 90-minute “focus group” study where qualitative research in requirements engineering is carried out by interviewing a group of people about their perceptions, opinions, beliefs, and attitudes on the subject matter of interest. All participants present in the session should be involved in some manner, e.g., as one large group, or two or more smaller groups in parallel whose results are then possibly integrated and shared with the plenary group. The study objective, group partitioning (if any), result integration (if any), result-sharing with the attendees, the process mechanics, etc., are part of study design.


The study authors will introduce their study to the participants and conduct the study according to the proposed plan. Preliminary results of the experiment or focus group study will be shared with the participants within the 90-minute session. Summary results or observations will be shared with the conference attendees in a plenary session before the end of the conference.


This Call thus invites submissions of proposals for conducting a live study within the framework defined above.



Critical Dates


Live Study Submission

October 17, 2016

Notification of Acceptance of 
a Study

December 11, 2017

Proposal Submission

·         By email to: madhavji(at)



Proposal Length and Template

For submission purposes, proposals have no page limit. However, the final version is limited to 6 pages. Proposals should address the following items at least:

·           Title of the proposal

·           Research problem

·           Motivation to conduct the study

·           Research goal

·           Relevance of study for research and/or for practice

·           Research questions, including any hypothesis

·           Population of interest (i.e., target of generalisation)

·           Type of study (e.g., experiment, online survey, questionnaire, focus group study, etc.)

·           Study design and logistics, e.g.:

  • For an online survey: sample questions, rationale, survey length (time), etc.
  • For a focus group study: sample questions, group partitions if any, coordination, etc.
  • For an experiment: research question, hypothesis, control, treatment, variables, randomisation, etc

·           The type of data that would be gathered

·           The type of analysis that would be carried out on the gathered data

·           Study methods and procedures

·           Benefits to the subjects of participating in the study, including incentives

·           Description or profile of the intended subjects: prerequisites for being a subject, such as experience, background, etc.

·           Anticipated “Threats to the validity of the results” and any mitigation procedures to counteract that

·           Ethical issues: informed consent, confidentiality & privacy, fair treatment of subjects, absence of harm to subjects

·           Name, organisation, and contact details of proposal submitters

·           Record of past empirical studies performed by the submitters

·           Role of the proposed study in a generic research plan (e.g., it is expected to test a theory, to explore an emergent research topic, …)

·           How you plan to make publicity of your study if selected, and how do you plan to attract respondents to your study during the conference

·           How preliminary and summary results will be shared with attendees during the conference

·           How polished results will be disseminated to the conference attendees following the conference

·           Equipment and infrastructure needed for performing the experiment: PCs, software, flipcharts, Internet, etc.

·           A link to a complete description of the protocol is recommended.



Live Study Program Committee


Nazim Madhavji (Chair) – University of Western Ontario, Canada

Dan Berry – University of Waterloo, Canada

Maya Daneva - University of Twente, Netherlands

Xavier Franch, Polytechnic University of Catalonia, Spain

Erik Knauss, University of Gothenburg, Sweden

Krzysztof Wnuk, Blekinge Institute of Technology, Sweden

Andriy Miranskyy, Ryerson University, Canada