Journal of Systems and Software 116: 206-219 (2016)

5W+1H Pattern: A Perspective of Systematic Mapping Studies
and a Case Study on Cloud Software Testing

Changjiang Jia 2, 3 , Yan Cai 4 , W.K. Chan 2 , Y.T. Yu 2 , and T.H. Tse 5

[paper from ScienceDirect | technical report TR-2015-02]


A common type of study used by researchers to map out the landscape of a research topic is known as mapping study. Such a study typically begins with an exploratory search on the possible ideas of the research topic, which is often done in an unsystematic manner. Hence, the activity of formulating research questions in mapping studies is ill-defined, rendering it difficult for researchers who are new to the topic. There is a need to guide them kicking off a mapping study of an unfamiliar domain. This paper proposes a 5W+1H pattern to help investigators systematically examine a generic set of dimensions in a mapping study toward the formulation of research questions before identifying, reading, and analyzing sufficient articles of the topic. We have validated the feasibility of our proposal by conducting a case study of a mapping study on cloud software testing, that is, software testing for and on cloud computing platforms. The case study reveals that the 5W+1H pattern can lead investigators to define a set of systematic, generic, and complementary research questions, enabling them to kick off and expedite the mapping study process in a well-defined manner. We also share our experiences and lessons learned from our case study on the use of the 5W+1H pattern in mapping studies.

Keywords:5W+1H pattern; cloud software testing; mapping studies; systematic literature review

1. This research is supported in part by the Early Career Scheme and the General Research Fund of the Research Grants Council of Hong Kong (project numbers 111313, 125113, 123512, 716612, and 717811).
2. Department of Computer Science, City University of Hong Kong, Tat Chee Avenue, Hong Kong.
3. Science and Technology on Information Systems Engineering Laboratory, National University of Defense Technology, Changsha, China.
4. State Key Laboratory of Computer Science, Institute of Software, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China.
5. (Corresponding author.)
Department of Computer Science, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong.


  Cumulative visitor count