Research Practices That Can Prevent an Inflation of False-Positive Rates

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Abstract

Recent studies have indicated that research practices in psychology may be susceptible to factors that increase false-positive rates, raising concerns about the possible prevalence of false-positive findings. The present article discusses several practices that may run counter to the inflation of false-positive rates. Taking these practices into account would lead to a more balanced view on the false-positive issue. Specifically, we argue that an inflation of false-positive rates would diminish, sometimes to a substantial degree, when researchers (a) have explicit a priori theoretical hypotheses, (b) include multiple replication studies in a single paper, and (c) collect additional data based on observed results. We report findings from simulation studies and statistical evidence that support these arguments. Being aware of these preventive factors allows researchers not to overestimate the pervasiveness of false-positives in psychology and to gauge the susceptibility of a paper to possible false-positives in practical and fair ways

Link to resource: https://doi.org/10.1177/1088868313496330

Type of resources: Primary Source, Reading, Paper

Education level(s): College / Upper Division (Undergraduates)

Primary user(s): Student

Subject area(s): Applied Science, Social Science

Language(s): English