Here’s an idea for a software engineering empirical study. My first thought was to use this to compare the productivity of web frameworks (e.g., Django, Rails, …), but really it could be used for any software development framework or language.
Pick a random sample of, say, Django developers and Rails developers. Send participants text messages at random times during the week (ask them in advance which range of times it’s OK to text them). The text message says:
Are you currently programming in the (Django|Rails) framework and banging your head against the wall?
- If yes, respond “1”
- If currently programming but not banging your head against the wall, respond “2”
- If not currently programming, respond “3”
At the end of the study, look at the ratio of “1” to “2” responses for each framework, to measure the odds ratio of “banging head against the wall : not banging head against the wall”.