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Context Checklist for Industrial Software Engineering Research and Practice


Kai Petersen , Jan Carlson, Efi Papatheocharous , Krzysztof Wnuk

Publication Type:

Journal article


Computer Standards & Interfaces Journal





The relevance of context is particularly stressed in case studies, where it is said that "case study is an empirical method aimed at investigating contemporary phenomena in their context". In this research, we classify context information and provide a context checklist for industrial software engineering. The checklist serves the purpose of (a) supporting researchers and practitioners in characterizing the context in which they are working; (b) supporting researchers with a checklist to identify relevant contextual information to elicit and report during primary and secondary studies. We utilized a systematic approach for constructing the classification of context information and provided a detailed definition for each item. We collected feedback from researchers as well as practitioners. The usefulness of the checklist was perceived more positively by researchers than practitioners, though they highlighted benefits (raising awareness of the importance of context and usefulness for management). The understandability was perceived positively by both practitioners and researchers. The checklist may serve as a "meta-model", forming the basis for specific adaptations for different research areas, and as input for researchers deciding which context information to extract in systematic reviews. The checklist may also help researchers in reporting context in research papers.


author = {Kai Petersen and Jan Carlson and Efi Papatheocharous and Krzysztof Wnuk},
title = {Context Checklist for Industrial Software Engineering Research and Practice},
month = {May},
year = {2021},
journal = {Computer Standards {\&} Interfaces Journal},
publisher = {Elsevier},
url = {}