Franca Agnoli, Anna Giorgia Carollo

Use (and abuse) of questionable research practices in psychology

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Questionable Research Practices; Research Credibility; Scientific Transparency; Italian Research Psychology.

Questionable research practices (QRPs) increase the likelihood of finding evidence in support of an hypothesis, but the evidence may be spurious. Such practices have been implicated in the low rates of reproducible results found in large scale replication studies in psychology. What are the causes and the prevalence of QRPs? In the present paper we present the work by John, Loewenstein, and Prelec (2012) who surveyed academic psychologists at U.S. universities and found that a surprisingly large percentage had engaged in QRPs. We investigated the prevalence of the same QRPs studied by John et al. among Italian psychologists (members of the Association of Italian Psychologists). The results were strikingly similar to those obtained for U.S. psychologists, showing that QRPs are about equally widespread in both research communities. The similarity of results obtained in the United States, this Italian study, and a related study conducted in Germany, suggests that adoption of these practices is an international phenomenon and is likely due to systemic features of the international research and publication processes.

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