Exploring Web Search Engines to Find Architectural Knowledge

Mohamed Soliman, Marion Wiese, Yikun Li, Matthias Riebisch, Paris Avgeriou

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
73 Downloads (Pure)


Software engineers need relevant and up-to-date architectural knowledge (AK), in order to make well-founded design decisions. However, finding such AK is quite challenging. One pragmatic approach is to search for AK on the web using traditional search engines (e.g. Google); this is common practice among software engineers. Still, we know very little about what AK is retrieved, from where, and how useful it is. In this paper, we conduct an empirical study with 53 software engineers, who used Google to make design decisions using the AttributeDriven-Design method. Based on how the subjects assessed the nature and relevance of the retrieved results, we determined how effective web search engines are to find relevant architectural information. Moreover, we identified the different sources of AK on the web and their associated AK concepts.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings - IEEE 18th International Conference on Software Architecture, ICSA 2021
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-7281-6260-7
ISBN (Print)978-1-7281-6261-4
Publication statusPublished - Mar-2021
Event18th IEEE International Conference on Software Architecture, ICSA 2021 - Virtual, Stuttgart, Germany
Duration: 22-Mar-202126-Mar-2021


Conference18th IEEE International Conference on Software Architecture, ICSA 2021
CityVirtual, Stuttgart


  • Architecture knowledge
  • Architecture design decisions
  • Search engines

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