A Recipe for Honest Consumer Research

31 Pages Posted: 23 Feb 2021

See all articles by Stijn M. J. van Osselaer

Stijn M. J. van Osselaer

Cornell University - Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management

Chris Janiszewski

University of Florida - Department of Marketing

Date Written: February 16, 2021

Abstract

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

van Osselaer, Stijn M. J. and Janiszewski, Chris, A Recipe for Honest Consumer Research (February 16, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3786989 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3786989

Stijn M. J. Van Osselaer (Contact Author)

Cornell University - Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management ( email )

Ithaca, NY 14853
United States

Chris Janiszewski

University of Florida - Department of Marketing ( email )

Gainesville, FL 32611
United States

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