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Replication success correlates with researcher expertise (but not for the reasons you might think)

13 January 2017

A new project has attempted to investigate the potential correlation between replication success and researcher expertise in psychology.

During the ongoing "replication crisis" in psychology, in which new attempts to replicate previously published results have failed, a common claim by the original authors has been that those attempting a replication have lacked sufficient experimental expertise.

This theory has been investigated in a recent "Reproducibility Project", in which 270 psychologists attempted to replicate 100 previous studies, with a success rate that dipped below 40 per cent.

The results of this project have been analysed in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology and, at first glance, there is indeed a correlation between replication researcher team expertise and the size of effect obtained in the replication attempt.

This is not the full picture, however, with further analysis suggesting that it could be because more experienced researchers are more likely to choose more robust studies to attempt to replicate.

Read more on our Research Digest blog


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