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SEGRESS: Software Engineering Guidelines for REporting Secondary Studies

TitleSEGRESS: Software Engineering Guidelines for REporting Secondary Studies
Author(s)Barbara Kitchenham, Lech Madeyski & David Budgen
DetailsArticle: IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, 49(3), 1273-1298, 2023
AbstractContext: Several tertiary studies have criticized the reporting of software engineering secondary studies.
Objective: Our objective is to identify guidelines for reporting software engineering (SE) secondary studies which would address problems observed in the reporting of software engineering systematic reviews (SRs).
Method: We review the criticisms of SE secondary studies and identify the major areas of concern. We assess the PRISMA 2020 (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) statement as a possible solution to the need for SR reporting guidelines, based on its status as the reporting guideline recommended by the Cochrane Collaboration whose SR guidelines were a major input to the guidelines developed for SE. We report its advantages and limitations in the context of SE secondary studies. We also assess reporting guidelines for mapping studies and qualitative reviews, and compare their structure and content with that of PRISMA 2020.
Results: Previous tertiary studies confirm that reports of secondary studies are of variable quality. However, ad hoc recommendations that amend reporting standards may result in unnecessary duplication of text. We confirm that the PRISMA 2020 statement addresses SE reporting problems, but is mainly oriented to quantitative reviews, mixed-methods reviews and meta-analyses. However, we show that the PRISMA 2020 item definitions can be extended to cover the information needed to report mapping studies and qualitative reviews.
Conclusions: In this paper and its Supplementary Material, we present and illustrate an integrated set of guidelines called SEGRESS (Software Engineering Guidelines for REporting Secondary Studies), suitable for quantitative systematic reviews (building upon PRISMA 2020), mapping studies (PRISMA-ScR), and qualitative reviews (ENTREQ and RAMESES), that addresses reporting problems found in current SE SRs.
author = {Barbara Kitchenham and Lech Madeyski and David Budgen},
doi = {10.1109/TSE.2022.3174092},
journal = {{IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering}},
keywords = {evidence-based software engineering; reporting guidelines; systematic reviews, risk of bias},
number = {3},
pages = {1273-1298},
title = {{SEGRESS}: {S}oftware {E}ngineering {G}uidelines for {RE}porting {S}econdary {S}tudies},
volume = {49},
year = {2023},
bdsk-url-1 = {}}
Topicsevidence-based software engineering, reporting guidelines, systematic reviews, quality reviews, mapping studies, mixed-method reviews, threats to validity, risk of bias, quality assessment, PRISMA 2020