Reproducible Social Research by Vernon Gayle

There is increasing concern across a wide range of academic disciplines that empirical results cannot be reproduced because of a lack of transparency in the research process. Over the last decade there has been increasing anxiety that it is impossible to verify the results presented in many research papers.

There is a growing interest in the need for researchers to provide additional materials alongside traditional publications to enable other researchers to understand, evaluate and build upon previous research work. The purpose of these materials is to provide sufficient information for a third party, that is unconnected with the original work, to reproduce results without any additional information being provided by the original authors.

Transparency is a central tenet in reproducible research, because without it research cannot feasibly be reproduced. Increasingly transparency in statistically orientated social science research is intrinsically attractive for a number of reasons.

Greater transparency will

  1. Increase the capacity to understand how the research was conducted
  2. Help other scholars evaluate the analyses undertaken
  3. Aid the detection of errors and inconsistencies
  4. Facilitate the incremental development of work
  5. Contribute to limiting negative research practices
  6. Provide extra safeguards against nefarious practices
  7. Improve confidence in results within and beyond the academic community

This resources introduces the concepts of transparent and reproducible social research. It includes a 25-minute video, the associated PowerPoint slides and a list of further reading.