A Recipe for Honest Consumer Research
31 Pages Posted: 23 Feb 2021
Date Written: February 16, 2021
In the past decade, consumer research using experiments has experienced a crisis of confidence. Research in our field has rightfully been criticized for p-hacking, Hypothesizing After the Results are Known, and other practices that lead to overestimation of the reliability and replicability of published results. Remediation has centered on more closely approximating the ideal hypothetico-deductive method. There has been a push towards forming, and registering, one or few hypotheses before running experiments, testing only those hypotheses, and testing each hypothesis with a single, preplanned analysis. We argue that doing better hypothetico-deductive experiments is not the (whole) solution and that p-hacking and HARKing are not the problem per se. The problem is that we misrepresent exploratory research as hypothetico-deductive. Forcing exploratory research into a hypothetico-deductive straightjacket leads to bad hypothesis testing. The straightjacket also leads to bad exploration, crowding out essential, good exploration that deserves space in our journals. We propose a recipe for more honest consumer research, in which authors report exploratory studies meant to generate hypotheses followed by truly hypothetico-deductive studies that test those hypotheses.
Keywords: preregistration, p-hacking, HARKing, exploratory research, consumer research, consumer psychology
JEL Classification: M3,B4
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation