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Experience report - guidelines (Draft)

  • Experience report is a paper written by a person (persons) who participated in the work completed (being completed) in a context of a real-life organization. The work should have some practical goal, e.g. identification or analysis of existing problems, finding solutions, or implementing them in practice, or evaluating the results of implemented solutions. Work done with the pure research purpose does not fall in the category "Experience report". Additionally, in difference from a "case study", active participation of the author(s) in the project is part of the requirement.
  • Experience report should describe the business/social context of the work, methods or theories used in order to achieve the practical goal, outcomes, lessons learned (positive as well as negative) and present some conclusions derived from the experienced.
  • When some specific methods/theories were used, the report should explain why they where chosen. Any kind of explanation will do. For example, "the method was widely accepted inside the company and most of the workers were quite comfortable with it" is as good an explanation as any other. The same should be true for "as we have no reason to believe that any one on the list would better suite our goal than any other, we arbitrarily chosen this one"
  • The report should not be written as a "diary". The results should be presented in some generalized form, omitting small details that can be considered as very specific for the current business context. The results should be explained on the level of abstraction that is suitable for similar to the given one contexts, e.g., a social office of a local government, a sales department of a service-oriented company, a recruiting department of a trade-union.
  • Conclusions should logically follow from the outcomes of the project and lessons learned. They too should be presented in some generalized form so that they can be compared with the result from other experience reports or tested by researchers doing "case studies".
  • Reference requirement should be "relaxed". The experience report is to be "readable" for practitioners, not only for researchers. References in each statement should be avoided. The part of the paper that describes methods/theories chosen should have relevant references. However, references to not chosen methods/theories should not be mandatory. If the researcher chooses, there can be a separate "related works" section at the end of the paper (so that a practitioner can just skip it).
  • Novelty/Originality should be judged in several "dimensions":

    * Practical goal of the project (e.g., standard, new, unusual)
    * Novelty of the theory/method (e.g., standard, new, has not been applied before)
    * Business/social context (e.g., investigated many times before, less known)
    * Outcomes/Lesson learned/Conclusions (e.g., well known, new, contradictory to the well known)

  • Novelty in any of the dimensions should be sufficient for justification of publication. For example application of a well-known theory to an unusual (for this theory) context can be of interest to the others. As well as application of a "standard" method to a "standard" context with the results that contradict "well-known" opinion could be of interest as well.

Prepared by Dr. Ilia Bider