Today, I’m presenting a short paper at ESEM 2017 on research I conducted together with my colleagues at Lund University over the past year! We spent over a year reading and discussing papers on Design Science, to understand how design science may be a useful lens for understanding and reflecting on software engineering research. We furthermore suggest using a visual abstract template as a way to communicate software engineering research contributions through this design science lens. We see this as a first step in terms of the benefits of using a visual abstract in our community. Initial feedback has been very positive and we welcome feedback and ideas from others in the community.

Visual abstract template


Using a Visual Abstract as a Lens for Communicating and Promoting Design Science Research in Software Engineering


Margaret-Anne Storey, Emelie Engstrom, Per Runeson, Martin Host, Elizabeth Bjarnason (Lund University, Sweden and University of Victoria, Canada)


Empirical software engineering research aims to generate prescriptive knowledge that can help software engineers improve their work and overcome their challenges, but deriving these insights from real-world problems can be challenging. In this paper, we promote design science as an effective way to produce and communicate prescriptive knowledge. We propose using a visual abstract template to communicate design science contributions and highlight the main problem/solution constructs of this area of research, as well as to present the validity aspects of design knowledge. Our conceptualization of design science is derived from existing literature and we illustrate its use by applying the visual abstract to an example use case. This is work in progress and further evaluation by practitioners and researchers will be forthcoming.

A preprint of our paper is available here. A template for the visual abstract can be found at, if you use it, please share your experience with us!

Thanks to Greg Wilson for suggesting the visual abstract idea to us.

Using a Visual Abstract as a Lens for Communicating and Promoting Design Science Research in Software Engineering from Margaret-Anne Storey
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Margaret-Anne Storey



Margaret-Anne Storey

Professor of Computer Science, University of Victoria

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