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  • Simine Vazire
Improving the credibility of empirical legal research: practical suggestions for researchers, journals, and law schools
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Fields closely related to empirical legal research are enhancing their methods to improve the credibility of their findings. This includes making data, analysis code, and other materials openly available, and preregistering studies. Empirical legal research appears to be lagging behind other fields. This may be due, in part, to a lack of meta-research and guidance on empirical legal studies. The authors seek to fill that gap by evaluating some indicators of credibility in empirical legal research, including a review of guidelines at legal journals. They then provide both general recommendations for researchers, and more specific recommendations aimed at three commonly used empirical legal methods: case law analysis, surveys, and qualitative studies. They end with suggestions for policies and incentive systems that may be implemented by journals and law schools.

Subject:
Law
Material Type:
Reading
Author:
Alexander DeHaven
Alex Holcombe
Crystal N. Steltenpohl
David Mellor
Jason Chin
Justin Pickett
Kathryn Zeiler
Simine Vazire
Tobias Heycke
Date Added:
11/13/2020
Quality Uncertainty Erodes Trust in Science
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CC BY
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When consumers of science (readers and reviewers) lack relevant details about the study design, data, and analyses, they cannot adequately evaluate the strength of a scientific study. Lack of transparency is common in science, and is encouraged by journals that place more emphasis on the aesthetic appeal of a manuscript than the robustness of its scientific claims. In doing this, journals are implicitly encouraging authors to do whatever it takes to obtain eye-catching results. To achieve this, researchers can use common research practices that beautify results at the expense of the robustness of those results (e.g., p-hacking). The problem is not engaging in these practices, but failing to disclose them. A car whose carburetor is duct-taped to the rest of the car might work perfectly fine, but the buyer has a right to know about the duct-taping. Without high levels of transparency in scientific publications, consumers of scientific manuscripts are in a similar position as buyers of used cars – they cannot reliably tell the difference between lemons and high quality findings. This phenomenon – quality uncertainty – has been shown to erode trust in economic markets, such as the used car market. The same problem threatens to erode trust in science. The solution is to increase transparency and give consumers of scientific research the information they need to accurately evaluate research. Transparency would also encourage researchers to be more careful in how they conduct their studies and write up their results. To make this happen, we must tie journals’ reputations to their practices regarding transparency. Reviewers hold a great deal of power to make this happen, by demanding the transparency needed to rigorously evaluate scientific manuscripts. The public expects transparency from science, and appropriately so – we should be held to a higher standard than used car salespeople.

Subject:
Psychology
Material Type:
Reading
Provider:
Collabra: Psychology
Author:
Simine Vazire
Date Added:
08/07/2020
A consensus-based transparency checklist
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We present a consensus-based checklist to improve and document the transparency of research reports in social and behavioural research. An accompanying online application allows users to complete the form and generate a report that they can submit with their manuscript or post to a public repository.

Subject:
Psychology
Material Type:
Reading
Provider:
Nature Human Behaviour
Author:
Agneta Fisher
Alexandra M. Freund
Alexandra Sarafoglou
Alice S. Carter
Andrew A. Bennett
Andrew Gelman
Balazs Aczel
Barnabas Szaszi
Benjamin R. Newell
Brendan Nyhan
Candice C. Morey
Charles Clifton
Christopher Beevers
Christopher D. Chambers
Christopher Sullivan
Cristina Cacciari
Daniel Benjamin
Daniel J. Simons
David R. Shanks
Debra Lieberman
Derek Isaacowitz
Dolores Albarracin
Don P. Green
D. Stephen Lindsay
Eric-Jan Wagenmakers
Eric Johnson
Eveline A. Crone
Fernando Hoces de la Guardia
Fiammetta Cosci
George C. Banks
Gordon D. Logan
Hal R. Arkes
Harold Pashler
Janet Kolodner
Jarret Crawford
Jeffrey Pollack
Jelte M. Wicherts
John Antonakis
John Curtin
John P. Ioannidis
Joseph Cesario
Kai Jonas
Lea Moersdorf
Lisa L. Harlow
Marcus Munafò
Mark Fichman
M. Gareth Gaskell
Mike Cortese
Mitja D. Back
Morton A. Gernsbacher
Nelson Cowan
Nicole D. Anderson
Pasco Fearon
Randall Engle
Robert L. Greene
Roger Giner-Sorolla
Ronán M. Conroy
Scott O. Lilienfeld
Simine Vazire
Simon Farrell
Šimon Kucharský
Stavroula Kousta
Ty W. Boyer
Wendy B. Mendes
Wiebke Bleidorn
Willem Frankenhuis
Zoltan Kekecs
Date Added:
08/07/2020