Mixing research methods to unveil work practices of dispersed Open Source communities: lessons learned from the PyPy study
(Conference paper, 2008)

Full reference:

Sigfridsson A., A. Sheehan, & G. Avram. “Mixing research methods to unveil work practices of dispersed Open Source communities: lessons learned from the PyPy study”, workshop, International Conference on Global Software Engineering, 17 August 2008, Bangalore, India.

IDC members among authors:
Anders Sigfridsson
Anne Sheehan
Gabriela Avram

Associated links:
PyPy community webpage

Abstract:

Open Source software development projects are based on collaboration within dispersed, multifaceted, and volunteer-based communities. Studying the work practices of such a community requires adherence to a plethora of methodological approaches and employment of several different research methods. In this paper we present a study of an Open Source community called PyPy. The focus of the paper is on the evolution of the study itself and how we have utilized several different research methods – including participant observation, virtual ethnography, and electronic questionnaires – to unveil the work practices of this community. We will conclude by discussing the issues we have experienced whilst doing this and some relevant lessons learned regarding studying Open Source communities.