Evaluating the Pedagogical Effectiveness of Study Preregistration in the Undergraduate Dissertation

Abstract

Research shows that questionable research practices (QRPs) are present in undergraduate final-year dissertation projects. One entry-level Open Science practice proposed to mitigate QRPs is “study preregistration,” through which researchers outline their research questions, design, method, and analysis plans before data collection and/or analysis. In this study, we aimed to empirically test the effectiveness of preregistration as a pedagogic tool in undergraduate dissertations using a quasi-experimental design. A total of 89 UK psychology students were recruited, including students who preregistered their empirical quantitative dissertation (n = 52; experimental group) and students who did not (n = 37; control group). Attitudes toward statistics, acceptance of QRPs, and perceived understanding of Open Science were measured both before and after dissertation completion. Exploratory measures included capability, opportunity, and motivation to engage with preregistration, measured at Time 1 only. This study was conducted as a Registered Report; Stage 1 protocol: https://osf.io/9hjbw (date of in-principle acceptance: September 21, 2021). Study preregistration did not significantly affect attitudes toward statistics or acceptance of QRPs. However, students who preregistered reported greater perceived understanding of Open Science concepts from Time 1 to Time 2 compared with students who did not preregister. Exploratory analyses indicated that students who preregistered reported significantly greater capability, opportunity, and motivation to preregister. Qualitative responses revealed that preregistration was perceived to improve clarity and organization of the dissertation, prevent QRPs, and promote rigor. Disadvantages and barriers included time, perceived rigidity, and need for training. These results contribute to discussions surrounding embedding Open Science principles into research training.

Publication DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/25152459231202724
Divisions: College of Health & Life Sciences
College of Health & Life Sciences > School of Psychology
Additional Information: © The Author(s) 2023. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/) which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/open-access-at-sage).
Uncontrolled Keywords: Open Science,dissertations,preregistration,reproducibility,research training,undergraduate training,Psychology(all)
Publication ISSN: 2515-2467
Last Modified: 23 May 2024 07:29
Date Deposited: 09 Jan 2024 09:44
Full Text Link:
Related URLs: http://www.scop ... tnerID=8YFLogxK (Scopus URL)
https://journal ... 152459231202724 (Publisher URL)
PURE Output Type: ["eprint_fieldname_pure_output_type_contributiontojournal/registered_report" not defined]
Published Date: 2023-12-21
Accepted Date: 2023-09-01
Authors: Pownall, Madeleine
Pennington, Charlotte R. (ORCID Profile 0000-0002-5259-642X)
Norris, Emma
Juanchich, Marie
Smailes, David
Russell, Sophie
Gooch, Debbie
Evans, Thomas rhys
Persson, Sofia
Mak, Matthew h. c.
Tzavella, Loukia
Monk, Rebecca
Gough, Thomas
Benwell, Christopher s. y.
Elsherif, Mahmoud
Farran, Emily
Gallagher-Mitchell, Thomas
Kendrick, Luke t.
Bahnmueller, Julia
Nordmann, Emily
Zaneva, Mirela
Gilligan-Lee, Katie
Bazhydai, Marina
Jones, Andrew
Sedgmond, Jemma
Holzleitner, Iris
Reynolds, James (ORCID Profile 0000-0003-1536-1557)
Moss, Jo
Farrelly, Daniel
Parker, Adam j.
Clark, Kait

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