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Diversity Awareness in Software Engineering Participant Research


Diversity Awareness in Software Engineering Participant Research

Dutta, Riya (2023) Diversity Awareness in Software Engineering Participant Research. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Diversity and inclusion are necessary prerequisites for shaping technological innovation that benefits society as a whole. A common indicator of diversity consideration is the representation of different social groups among software engineering (SE) researchers, developers, and students. However, this does not necessarily entail that diversity is considered in the SE research itself.
Our study examines how diversity is embedded in SE research, particularly research that involves participant studies. To this end, we selected 79 research papers containing 105 participant studies spanning three years of a renowned SE conference. Using a content analytical approach, we identified how SE researchers report the various diversity categories of their study participants and investigated: 1) the extent to which participants are described, 2) what diversity categories are commonly reported, and 3) the function diversity serves in the SE studies.
Our results demonstrate that even though most SE studies report on the diversity of participants, SE research often emphasizes professional diversity, such as occupation and work experience, over social diversity, such as gender or location of the participants. Furthermore, our results show that participant diversity is seldom analysed or reflected upon when SE researchers discuss their study results, outcomes, or limitations.
To help researchers self-assess their study diversity awareness, we propose a diversity awareness model and guidelines that SE researchers can apply to their research. Furthermore, our research contributes to the United Nations Sustainable Development’s Goals 5, 9, and 10. With this study, we hope to shed light on a new approach to tackling the diversity and inclusion crisis in the SE field.

Divisions:Concordia University > Gina Cody School of Engineering and Computer Science > Computer Science and Software Engineering
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Dutta, Riya
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A. Sc.
Program:Software Engineering
Date:March 2023
Thesis Supervisor(s):Shihab, Emad and Tajmel, Tanja
ID Code:992073
Deposited By: Riya Dutta
Deposited On:21 Jun 2023 14:31
Last Modified:21 Jun 2023 14:31
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