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Scientific
reproducibility is the extent to which scientific data and results can be
replicated using the same methods outlined by the original researchers.
Reproducibility is important for adding support and meaning to scientific
findings and is the reliability of a finding. Significant results are
meaningless if they cannot be replicated because that would imply that the
original results were obtained due to error or chance. Systematic and/or random
errors can result in the lack of reproducibility of a study. If the methods and
conditions that the original researchers utilized are not clearly specified
this could also cause issues for replication of the study. False positives and
negatives are also possibilities and can jeopardize the integrity of the
results. The issue of reproducibility is not unique to Psychology, but is a
constant topic throughout all branches and fields of scientific research.

If
the original researchers are not completely transparent in their methods this
could result in problems with reproducibility. Random and systematic errors
present in a study can result in faulty data and the inability to replicate the
results. Other unforeseen factors such as environmental effects could impact
the results obtained and the observation of the original finding. Obtaining
results that are actually false positives or negatives can also jeopardize the
integrity of the results and their reproducibility. Results that cannot be
replicated can indicate that the original results were obtained due to error or
that the original researchers were not entirely transparent in their methods.
This could be due to such factors as selective reporting, selective analysis,
and other factors that could bias results. You can infer from a failed
replication that something is amiss with the methods and conditions outlined in
the original study or with the replication study. You could also infer that
there are unforeseen factors contributing to the observed results. Failure to
replicate a study could be due to a number of things.

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            In order to promote generalizability of the study and
decrease selection biases the researchers established a sampling frame and
selection process for determining which studies to replicate. The selection
frame included 2008 articles published in one of the three journals: Psychological Science, Journal of
Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, and Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
The sampling frame was determined in this manner to establish a quasi-random
sample and to minimize bias in the reproducibility estimates. The three
journals were chosen because they are very prestigious and important in the
field of psychology, and also because they would allow for studies across
various disciplines in psychology to be chosen that would be inexpensive and
realistic to replicate. The year 2008 was determined because it is current
enough to allow for the original authors to be contacted and original materials
obtained, but also allowed for enough time to have passed to determine the
influence of the article and findings. The researchers and project coordinators
also matched research teams with studies that aligned with their area of
research proficiency. For every article that was matched, only one study and
one research finding were replicated and analyzed.

            The results of this report showed that the majority of
studies that were replicated produced weaker results, seen through comparison
of effect sizes and P values,
compared to the original data. For each article that was chosen for
replication, only one study and only one finding within that study were
investigated for reproducibility. Also it is possible that there may have been
some selection bias since only feasible, inexpensive, and more simplistic
studies were chosen for replication. This article gave insight into the
importance of reproducibility overall and the need for reliability of results. It
showed that significant results should not be taken at face value and that
further studies should be conducted to try and replicate the results and
provide further evidence. These findings do not suggest that the original
studies were correct or were incorrect. Instead it shows that further
investigation and exploration of these hypotheses and findings are necessary to
determine the validity of the results.

            Researchers can be transparent with their methods and all
their data and try not to be selective in their analysis and reporting. The
article also emphasized the need for researchers and especially editors to not
disregard studies that appear to be “unoriginal” because they focus on a topic
or scientific question that has already been published. There is a need for
replicated results and studies to show the degree of reproducibility and
reliability of the original results. There is also a need for the publication
of studies that do not produce significant results. These findings would allow
the scientific community to see what has been tried in the past and how to
possibly improve and build upon these studies. The publication bias that is
present in all fields of science is limiting and deterrent to progress. The
authors of this article bring up a very profound point when they stated that
there is a need for both innovation and replication within all aspects of
scientific research. If we are constantly in search of novel findings and not
also in pursuit of supporting evidence of past findings, then science will not
progress.

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