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Dr. Michael P. O'Brien


Dr. Michael P. O'Brien is a lecturer in Information Management in the Department of Management & Marketing at the Kemmy Business School, University of Limerick. He teaches on undergraduate and postgraduate modules in the area of Information and Knowledge Management. Michael is Course Director for the MA in Business Management programme. He holds a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Limerick and both an honours BSc degree in Information Systems and an MSc degree in Computer Science (by research & thesis). His research interests include inter alia, data analytics, cognitive and educational psychology, software comprehension strategies, empirical studies of programmers and software evolution. His award-winning research has been published at international conferences, workshops & seminars in this domain. Michael, a past winner of the prestigious 'AGB Dwyer Memorial Award for Excellence in Education' is a Member of the Irish Learning Technology Association, the Psychology of Programming Interest Group and the Computer Science Education Research Network.

Research Interests

* Data Analytics
Cognitive and Educational Psychology
* Software Evolution
* Software Comprehension Strategies
* Empirical Studies of Programmers
* Technical Communication
* Instructional Design

Current Projects:

* Learning Analytics
(Ongoing since 2016): Working on a project to examine Google analytics for YouTube instructional videos (collaborators: Dr. John Walsh & Dr. Darina Slattery).

* Engagement Analytics (Ongoing): Received seed funding in 2017 from the Kemmy Business School to examine Sakai engagement analytics with a view to detecting at-risk students (collaborators: Dr. John Walsh & Dr. Darina Slattery).

* Flipped Classrooms (2017-Present): Collaborating on a project to explore the benefits of the flipped classroom for improving the learning experiences of international students. This project also received seed funding from the Kemmy Business School (collaborators: Dr. John Walsh & Dr. Darina Slattery).

Professional Activities


  • MA in International Entrepreneurship Management Course Board,
  • MA in Business Management Course Board,
  • KBS Postgraduate Forum,
  • The Student Journey & Student Engagement working group,


  • Member, Institution of Analysts & Programmers
  • Member, Irish Learning Technology Association
  • Member, Psychology of Programming Interest Group
  • Fellow, Irish Guild of Organists & Choristers


  • Dr. Michael P. O'Brien is President and Co-founder of Limerick Choral Festival. Limerick Choral Festival (in association with the Irish World Academy at the University of Limerick) aims to promote the development of choral music with special emphasis on the realm of sacred music in the city, wider region and throughout the country. The event takes places annually over the first weekend of March attracting over 50 choirs to the city.

Research Collaborators

  • Prof. Vaclav Rajlich - Wayne State University -USA


Conference Publication


19th European Conference on E-Learning
O'Brien, M.P., Walsh, J.N., Costin, Y.
DOI: 10.34190/EEL.20.078


17th European Conference on e-Learning
O'Brien, M., Slattery, D., & Hyland, P.


12th Annual SIG Cognitive Research Workshop
O'Brien, M. P., Buckley J.


3rd Annual Conference on Student Retention
Twomey, T. and O'Brien, M. P.


1st Symposium on Research & Writing Practices
Farrell, V. and O'Brien, M. P.

Other Publication


Empirically Refining a Model of Programmers' Information-Seeking Behaviour during Software Maintenance
Buckley, J., O'Brien, M. P. and Power, N.
Proceedings of the 18th Annual Psychology of Programming Interest Group Workshop


Software Comprehension – A Review & Research Direction
O'Brien, M. P.
Technical Report UL-CSIS-03-3


An Open-Source Analysis Schema for Identifying Software Comprehension Processes
O'Brien, M. P., Shaft, T. M. and Buckley, J.
Proceedings of the 13th Annual Psychology of Programming Interest Group Workshop


Identifying Software Comprehension Processes
O'Brien, M. P. and Buckley, J.
The Irish Scientist Year Book


Pilot Study Refinement of a Software Comprehension Based Experiment
O'Brien, M. P. and Buckley, J.
Proceedings of the 5th Science & Computing Research Colloquium


Software Comprehension of Familiar Systems
O'Brien, M. P.
The Irish Scientist Yearbook (Millennium Edition)

Peer Reviewed Journal


Information Seeking & Documentation as Communication: A Software Engineering Perspective
O'Brien, M. P.
Communication and Language at Work - Bridging Theory and Practice


Expectation-based, inference-based, and bottom-up software comprehension
O'Brien, MP; Buckley, J; Shaft, TM
Journal of Software Maintenance and Evolution: Research and Practice DOI: 10.1002/smr.307