Short day

Another short day today. I read a few more pages of the Craigen, Gerhart, and Ralston study I mentioned yesterday. I got through the section on the research methodology. They used a "common sense" approach rather than any sociological method, so there's not much to talk about. They sent out surveys to the companies involved, read any relevant literature on the projects, and then went for an interview which was guided by another survey. Then they gathered their notes and reported on each case.

The general breakdown of the case studies is fairly intuitive. They were concerned focus on determining the type of company and project in question, what the goals of the project were, and formal methods applied. Point of interest include why formal methods were introduced and how the company introduced them into the process.

I also started thinking about my research outline today. Basically, I'm trying to outline a path for my research to take. The idea is to give myself some direction and impose some sort of sequence or natural progression on the whole research process.

So far, I'm thinking that I'll start by picking some promising case studies, then identifying the formal methods involved and getting some general material on them. I'm obviously starting with the 1992 International Survey, which I think is a good beginning source, by virtue of its volume, if nothing else (the two PostScript files occupy in excess of 300 pages). This obviously suggests several methods, with Z and Gypsy (which I remember from another paper) standing out for further investigation. The papers from Praxis also seem promising, so SPARK will no doubt be added to the list.

Those are the obvious ones, though. I think I need to try for a little diversity. The SRT and radiotherapy machine papers are nice for a start, but I think I'm going to need to hit the library again. I'd like to find something more recent and, if possible, something where safety and security are not necessarily critical features.

I'll start drawing up some sort of plan based on my research mindmap tomorrow. Hopefully I'll be able to pull out a few papers to at least give me ideas of other places to look.

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