GTSE 2015


4th SEMAT Workshop on a General Theory of Software Engineering

Monday, May 18, 2015, Florence, Italy

In conjunction with

International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE 2015)



The 2015 General Theory of Software Engineering (GTSE 2015) workshop is planned to be held Monday, May 18, 2015 in conjunction with the International Conference on Software Engineering in Florence, Italy.


Tentative Key Dates

Paper submission deadline:

January 23, 2015 
***Extended to  January 30, 2015****

Paper acceptance notification:

February 18, 2015

Camera-ready accepted paper

February 27, 2015


May 18, 2015

Workshop Overview

Most academic disciplines emphasize the importance of their core, central or general theories. Examples of general theories include Big Bang theory, Maxwell's equations, the theory of the cell, the theory of evolution, the theory of demand and supply, the general theory of crime and the theory of marriage. Software engineering meanwhile, has not produced widely-accepted general theories. Lack of theory undermines the perceived scientific legitimacy of the field, curtails education and prohibits development of a cumulative body of knowledge. The GTSE workshop consequently supports attempts to propose, synthesizing, clarify and testing core, central and general theories in the software engineering domain. GTSE especially promotes attempts to answer fundamental questions, integrate ideas from diverse sources and propose revolutionary, contrarian and generally ambitious new theories.

Topics of interest include (but are not limited to):

  • New theories in software engineering

  • Groundbreaking extensions to existing theories

  • Groundbreaking synthesis of existing theories

  • Novel applications of theories from reference disciplines (e.g. sociology) to software engineering

  • Grounded theory, ethnography and qualitative approaches to theory building

  • Systematic literature reviews leading toward or generating insight into general theories

  • Empirical evaluation of general theories

  • Software engineering process theories

  • Research methodologies for general theory evaluation

  • Addressing core question for a general theory:

    • How can a general theory of software engineering be of practical use?

    • What core phenomena should it explain?

    • What questions should it address?

    • What should its main concepts be?

    • How are they related?

    • How should it be expressed?

    • How can it be tested?

    • How can it gain acceptance throughout both the academic community and industry?

  • Contrarian perspectives on software engineering theory

Possible Contributions include (but are not limited to):

  • Theory proposals with conceptual evaluations

  • Theory building empirical field studies including grounded theory, case studies and ethnography

  • Theory building, explorative lab studies, experiments and simulations

  • Empirical evaluations of general, central or core theories (any research approach welcome)

  • Systematic literature reviews

  • Conceptual contributions related to research methodology

  • Position papers on general theory topics


We welcome 12-page full papers and 4-page work-in-progress papers to allow submissions of both developed research and of early ideas. The papers must follow ICSE technical papers formatting guidelines: and they should be submitted to the workshop's EasyChair site: All papers will be published in the ACM and IEEE Digital Libraries.

Organizing Committee

Paul Ralph, University of Auckland, New Zealand

Ivar Jacobson, Ivar Jacobson International, Switzerland

Gregor Engels, University of Paderborn, Germany

Michael Goedicke, paluno, University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany

Contact information

To contact the organizers send email to