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Hypothesis Preregistration

In an effort to address pressing issues facing society, researchers pose questions to fill our gap in knowledge, develop studies to answer those questions, and make educated guesses (usually based on theory) for how the studies will turn out (i.e., hypotheses). 

However, many times hypotheses are not confirmed by the data and those “null” results can be deemed less interesting to report and to publish. With increasing pressure to publish in scholarly journals, researchers sometimes explore the data searching for significant results (i.e., p-hack) even if those results do not answer the initial question or address the original hypothesis. Recent research shows that even common, widely-accepted research practices and behaviors can lead to the inadvertent publication of mistaken results. Such behaviors have significant implications for the interpretation of statistics and for researchers attempting to replicate prior findings. 

To address these issues, the Open Science movement has called for greater transparency from researchers by asking them to preregister their studies. Preregistered hypotheses are hypotheses documented in the public domain and time-stamped prior to data collection. The purpose of preregistering is to reduce the potential that researchers may bias the outcome of a study if data does not confirm the initial hypothesis. 

HxA Research & Preregistration

HxA is currently launching a research initiative to develop a toolkit of metrics and interventions. Metrics will be aimed at evaluating the psychosocial and cognitive factors that influence whether college students support/demonstrate/apply the principles of open inquiry, viewpoint diversity, and constructive disagreement on campus. Interventions will be aimed at bringing about change on campuses where HxA assessments, current events, or requests from administrators have indicated that students are struggling with open inquiry, viewpoint diversity, and constructive disagreement. 

To that end, numerous research studies will be undertaken to determine the best assessments and interventions HxA can offer in the toolkit. In support of the Open Science movement and in an effort to be transparent in our aims for and expectations from this research, HxA will house a list of preregistered hypotheses for studies conducted by HxA and independent research collaborators, and will preregister those hypotheses using the Open Science Framework.

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