Replication in the social sciences

Publication

FORS Guide Nº 16

How to cite

Heers, M. (2021). Replication in the Social Sciences. FORS Guide No. 16, Version 1.0. Lausanne (FORS). doi:10.24449/FG-2021-00016.

Abstract

In the social sciences in recent years, replication has received increased attention, as there has been a growing understanding that for research to be credible it is crucial that studies can be repeated. Replication allows for determining the validity of scientific conclusions. This FORS Guide provides an overview of the concept of replication. Moreover, it provides some practical recommendations to social science researchers regarding what replication materials should include and elaborates on the role of scientific journals in encouraging replications.

Recommendations

  • In your scientific article, provide an as detailed as possible description of the data and the methods.
  • Many scientific journals now offer the possibility to publish supplementary material along with the article. This goes beyond the actual written article and its main results. If the journal you publish in offers this option, it is recommended that you make available the code and any other documents that allow other researchers to replicate your study. This also includes information on the version of the data, as well as the software (and its version) used for the analyses.
  • When depositing your data in a repository, make sure the data is accompanied by high-quality documentation. For social science research in Switzerland, FORS can provide you with relevant guidance.
  • To increase the probability that a replication study will be published, make use of a pre-registration. This involves publicly registering a research plan before collecting the data and executing the analysis (Chambers, 2019).  More information on this is contained in the FORS Guide on pre-registration and registered report (Heers, 2020).
  • To stay up to date with the recent developments with regard to reproducibility in Switzerland, get in touch with the Swiss Reproducibility Network and check out their trainings and other activities (SwissRN, 2021).

Copyright

Copyright: © the authors 2021. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0)