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

Abstract

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

Burlig, Fiona, Improving Transparency in Observational Social Science Research: A Pre-Analysis Plan Approach (October 30, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2731920 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2731920

Fiona Burlig (Contact Author)

University of Chicago ( email )

5757 S. University Ave
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

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