The reporting of secondary studies should address both the process that was followed in conducting the study (including analysis), to provide confidence in the findings, and the findings themselves.
The SEGRESS guidelines (Software Engineering Guidelines for REporting Secondary Studies) are described in the paper by (Kitchenham, Madeyski & Budgen, 2023), and this is supported by additional supplementary material that provides illustrations of how these might be interpreted. SEGRESS has been derived by adapting a number of guidelines used in other disciplines, most notably the PRISMA 2020 guidelines used in healthcare and clinical studies (Page 2021).
A tabular summary of the guidelines is given below.
Influenced by PRISMA 2020 there are two significant changes in terminology to note:
- “Risk of Bias” (RoB) is used as a replacement for “Quality Assessment”
- “Limitations” is used in preference to “Threats to Validity”
Both of these are considered to be more appropriate terms to use in the context of a secondary study. (Fuller explanations are given in the paper referenced above.)