Friday, April 14, 2017

Guides to pre-registered experiments

Guides to methodological pre-registration for experiments

If you're like me, you've considered doing a pre-registered study but put it off because you weren't sure what to expect or how much paperwork there would be. I've become a big proponent of open science [I'm working on a future blog post on the topic], as I think it's crucially important to make your materials, data, conclusions, etc. available to other researchers and to the wider public!

As Simmons, Nelson, & Simonsohn (2017) wrote, pre-registration and full methodological disclosure are crucial to the credibility of psychological research. If we want to be taken seriously as scientists, we should behave in accordance with the highest standards of scientific integrity...and that includes pre-registering our studies.

Why pre-registration? Two big reasons: 1) it prevents us from fooling ourselves about our own research findings, and 2) it gives us something we can point to and say "Yes, I planned to do that all along!"

And if we didn't actually plan it all along, it forces us to face the facts—which should serve to keep us humble.

Despite what some people may think, increased transparency is good for science. Period. Sanjay Srivastava gives the topic a thoughtful treatment here, and I agree with him. Our priority should be high-quality science first, PR/funding concerns a DISTANT second. If we have good science in the first place, many of the other concerns will evaporate.

So, here are two resources to give you a good overview of the pre-registration process, and to guide you through what's required:

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