Political Science Now

Research Preregistration in Political Science: The Case, Counterarguments, and a Response to Critiques

The need for transparency in political science research is as clear now as it ever has been. To address this concern, this article presents the current debate on the practice of preregistration in political science, or publicly releasing a research design before observing outcome data. The case in favor of preregistration maintains that it can curb four potential causes of publication bias, distinguish deductive and inductive studies clearly, add transparency to researchers’ motivations, and liberate researchers who may face pressure to find specific results. Concerns about preregistration are that it is less suitable for the study of historical data, could reduce data exploration, may not allow for contextual problems that emerge in field research, and may increase the difficulty of finding true positive results. This article makes the case that these concerns can be addressed in preregistered studies, and offers advice to anyone who would like to pursue study registration in their own work.

Research Preregistration in Political Science: The Case, Counterarguments, and a Response to Critiques by James E. Monogan, III appears in PS: Political Science & Politics / Volume 48 / Issue 03 / July 2015, pp 425 – 429.