Concerns about replication failures can be partially recast as concerns about excessive heterogeneity in research results. Although this heterogeneity is an inherent part of science (e.g., sampling variability; studying different conditions), not all heterogeneity results from unavoidable sources. In particular, the flexibility researchers have when designing studies and analyzing data adds additional heterogeneity. This flexibility has been the topic of considerable discussion in the last decade. Ideas, and corresponding phrases, have been introduced to help unpack researcher behaviors, including researcher degrees of freedom and questionable research practices. Using these concepts and phrases, methodological and substantive researchers have considered how researchers’ choices impact statistical conclusions and reduce clarity in the research literature. While progress has been made, inconsistent, vague, and overlapping use of the terminology surrounding these choices has made it difficult to have clear conversations about the most pressing issues. Further refinement of the language conveying the underlying concepts can catalyze further progress. We propose a revised, expanded taxonomy for assessing research and reporting practices. In addition, we redefine several crucial terms in a way that reduces overlap and enhances conceptual clarity, with particular focus on distinguishing practices along two lines: research versus reporting practices and choices involving multiple empirically supported options versus choices known to be subpar.
- Questionable research practices
- Researcher degrees of freedom
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychology (miscellaneous)