Research Overview

My research goals are to improve interpretation and understanding of textual data, and to make software development better for participants. I want to facilitate the exchange of knowledge between practitioners and researchers, and to understand and generalize processes and practices.

Research Area I: Improving Textual Data Analysis

My research in this area is concerned with improving the process of analyzing textual data, and with improving the quality of the results. Important work in this area has dealt with exploring natural language processing to improve the consistency of qualitative data analysis (Kaufmann, Barcomb and Riehle, 2020) and using qualitative data analysis in requirements engineering (Kaufmann, Krause, Harutyunyan, Barcomb and Riehle, 2021). We also produced technical reports on using qualitative data analysis techniques to add rigor to the development of patterns (Riehle, Harutyunyan and Barcomb, 2020) and on using a distributed team for inter-rater agreement in qualitative data analysis (Kaufmann, Barcomb and Riehle, 2016).

Research Area II: Participation in Software Development

I am interested in learning more about episodic participation in software projects, including why people participate episodically, how their episodic participation relates to their participation in other projects, and how communities or organizations can support and make use of episodic participants. My most important work in this area consists of three papers which were part of my doctoral dissertation (Barcomb, 2019); the papers examined the presence of episodic participation in free/libre and open source software development (Barcomb, Kaufmann, Riehle, Stol and Fitzgerald, 2018), retention of episodic participants in free/libre and open source software (Barcomb, Stol, Riehle and Fitzgerald, 2019), and practices for managing episodic participation in free/libre and open source software (Barcomb, Stol, Fitzgerald and Riehle, 2020). My work on episodic participation has also been the focus of my outreach activities. I published two practitioner articles and presented at five practitioner conferences between 2017 and 2020.

Recent work in this area has also considered company participation in free/libre and open source software (Schwab, Riehle, Barcomb and Harutyunyan, 2020; Weikert, Riehle and Barcomb, 2019).

Research Area III: Software Developer Attributes

Research in this category has considered how software developers acquire skills which are used in free/libre and open source software contributions (Barcomb, Grottke, Stauffert, Riehle and Jahn, 2015), and evaluating team members through multi-criteria decision aiding (Olteanu, Meyer, Barcomb and Jullien, 2017; Barcomb, Jullien, Meyer, Olteanu, 2019). We have also examined the effect of autonomy on motivation in software development (Noll, Beecham, Razzak, Richardson, Barcomb and Richardson, 2017). I also looked at whether identification with free software ideology affects business decisions (Barcomb, 2015).