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  • Winter ICSE-NIER2019 - preprint

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Towards a Systematic Study of Values in SE: Tools for Industry and Education

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This paper reports on the development of ongoing research into the systematic study of human values in software engineering (SE). Firstly, we outline the rationale for this work, highlighting the significance of human values in SE and the need for both a more structured approach to their study and tools to support their articulation in the SE domain. We then explain our theoretical framework, which draws on social psychology research on values. Secondly, we introduce tools designed in line with this framework and the context of their use so far. Our tools adopt a variety of research methods, including structured mixed-method techniques, such as the ‘Values Q-Sort’ (V-QS), and more open design-based methods, such as the ‘Values Probes’. Given the multi-faceted nature of the topic, we argue that a combination of qualitative, quantitative and design thinking techniques is a necessary step for the study of human values in SE; and that these methods should be both a) robust and replicable, and b) creative and provocative. Finally, we highlight the potential applications of our tools in SE industry and education.