My PhD subject is the practical use of software Design Patterns, generally those defined in the original "Gang of Four" book by Gamma et al. from 1995. Design Patterns are wonderful things, but like many other methodologies they are (or at least have been) surrounded by a fair amount of religion. If you read Alexander's original book The Timeless Way of Building where he introduced the concept of Patterns (in architecture), you'll be struck by the somewhat religous undertone pervading it. One must believe!
A less religious introduction to software Design Patterns can be found in Linda Rising's The Patterns Handbook. While emphasizing the good points, it does include some caveats and is (in my opinion) still relevant.
I believe in empiricism and good science - good in the sense of being realistic, relevant and rigorous. My essay on empiricism in Software Engineering sets out my views. Norwegian readers may also be interested in my talk from IT-tinget, fall 2002 which says something on the same subject (in Norwegian).
My PhD work consists of a thesis that is mostly acollection of four published papers, together with an introduction to glue the whole thing together and present the major findings in a non-technical manner. The whole thesis can be found here in PDF format. My full publication list is available on the Simula pages.