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The role of replication studies in theory building

Irvine, Elizabeth ORCID: 2021. The role of replication studies in theory building. Perspectives on Psychological Science 16 (4) , pp. 844-853. 10.1177/1745691620970558

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At least since Meehl’s (in)famous 1978 article, the state of theorizing in psychology has often been lamented. Replication studies have been presented as a way of directly supporting theory development by enabling researchers to more confidently and precisely test and update theoretical claims. In this article I use contemporary work from philosophy of science to make explicit and emphasize just how much theory development is required before “good” replication studies can be carried out and show just how little theoretical payoff even good conceptual replications offer. I suggest that in many areas of psychology aiming at replication is misplaced and that instead replication attempts are better seen as exploratory studies that can be used in the cumulative development of theory and measurement procedures.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: English, Communication and Philosophy
Publisher: SAGE
ISSN: 1745-6916
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 8 September 2020
Date of Acceptance: 5 September 2020
Last Modified: 09 Nov 2022 14:59

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