Research Methods and Theory in
Global Software Development

James Herbsleb
School of Computer Science
Institute for Software Research International

The talk will discuss the research methods that I have found to be useful in researching coordination issues in GSD, some of the challenges I've faced in addressing specific research questions, and ways of combining methods to address these problems. Finally, I will briefly present some current theoretical work that evolved from studies of GSD, that attempts to create empirically testable theory to characterize and make predictions about coordination of engineering decisions. I will argue that GSD provides a setting in which very general problems of coordination are naturally exposed to observation and experimentation.