Systematic literature studies: Database searches vs. backward snowballing

Document type: Conference Papers
Peer reviewed: Yes
Full text:
Author(s): Samireh Jalali, Claes Wohlin
Title: Systematic literature studies: Database searches vs. backward snowballing
Conference name: 6th ACM-IEEE International Symposium on Empirical Software Engineering and Measurement, ESEM
Year: 2012
Pagination: 29-38
ISSN: 1949-3770
Publisher: ACM/IEEE
City: Lund
URI/DOI: 10.1145/2372251.2372257
Organization: Blekinge Institute of Technology
Department: School of Computing (Sektionen för datavetenskap och kommunikation)
School of Computing S-371 79 Karlskrona
+46 455 38 50 00
Language: English
Abstract: Systematic studies of the literature can be done in different ways. In particular, different guidelines propose different first steps in their recommendations, e.g. start with search strings in different databases or start with the reference lists of a starting set of papers. In software engineering, the main recommended first step is using search strings in a number of databases, while in information systems, snowballing has been recommended as the first step. This paper compares the two different search approaches for conducting literature review studies. The comparison is conducted by searching for articles addressing "Agile practices in global software engineering". The focus of the paper is on evaluating the two different search approaches. Despite the differences in the included papers, the conclusions and the patterns found in both studies are quite similar. The strengths and weaknesses of each first step are discussed separately and in comparison with each other. It is concluded that none of the first steps is outperforming the other, and the choice of guideline to follow, and hence the first step, may be context-specific, i.e. depending on the area of study.
Subject: Software Engineering\General
Keywords: Agile practices; Global software engineering; Snowballing; Systematic literature review