This paper was triggered by concerns about the methodological soundness of many RE papers. We present a conceptual framework that distinguishes design papers from research papers, and show that in this framework, what is called a research paper in RE is often a design paper. We then present and motivate two lists of evaluation criteria, one for research papers and one for design papers. We apply both of these lists to two samples drawn from the set of all submissions to the RE'03 conference. Analysis of these two samples shows that most submissions of the RE03 conference are design papers, not research papers, and that most design papers present a solution to a problem but do not validate this solution nor investigate the problems that can be solved by this solution. We end with a discussion of the soundness of our results and of the possible impact on RE research and practice.
- IS-Design science methodology