Increasing validity through replication: an illustrative TDD case

Adrian Santos, Sira Vegas, Fernando Uyaguari, Oscar Dieste, Burak Turhan, Natalia Juristo

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Software engineering (SE) experiments suffer from threats to validity that may impact their results. Replication allows researchers building on top of previous experiments’ weaknesses and increasing the reliability of the findings. Illustrating the benefits of replication to increase the reliability of the findings and uncover moderator variables. We replicate an experiment on test-driven development (TDD) and address some of its threats to validity and those of a previous replication. We compare the replications’ results and hypothesize on plausible moderators impacting results. Differences across TDD replications’ results might be due to the operationalization of the response variables, the allocation of subjects to treatments, the allowance to work outside the laboratory, the provision of stubs, or the task. Replications allow examining the robustness of the findings, hypothesizing on plausible moderators influencing results, and strengthening the evidence obtained.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)371–395
Number of pages25
JournalSoftware Quality Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 26 Mar 2020


  • Experiment
  • Moderator
  • Replication
  • TDD
  • Threats to validity

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