Improving Transparency in Observational Social Science Research: A Pre-Analysis Plan Approach
29 Pages Posted: 15 Feb 2016 Last revised: 4 Nov 2017
Date Written: October 30, 2017
Social science research has undergone a credibility revolution, but these gains are at risk due to problematic research practices. Existing research on transparency has centered around randomized controlled trials, which constitute only a small fraction of research in economics. In this paper, I discuss three scenarios in which study preregistration can be credibly applied in non-experimental settings: cases where researchers collect their own data; prospective studies; and research using restricted-access data. Finally, I outline suggested contents for observational pre-analysis plans, and highlight where these plans should deviate from those designed for experimental research.
Keywords: transparency, pre-registration, observational research
JEL Classification: A11, B41, C13
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation