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CQMI presents: Macartan Humphreys

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Macartan Humphreys, Columbia University

The case for the pre-registration of research designs lies in the distinction between ex ante and ex post hypothesis testing. According to this view, investigations only amount to strong tests if authors can demonstrate that their hypotheses predate the collection of data and their analysis. According to this view, ex post research is inherently limited to being exploratory, for example to generate hypotheses. Any ideas which are generated by such investigations then need to be subjected to strong tests, where the hypotheses and the design to investigate them are laid out ex ante, before the tests are conducted.  This temporal requirement has an institutional corollary. Just as the mandate to provide evidence for replication creates a need for domain repositories, so recording the trajectory of research through time requires a registry where scholars can record, and evaluators can check, temporal sequence.  The credibility and legitimacy of social science research depends on openness about any part of its process which can affect evidence-based conclusions. That includes the sequence of research. 

Views about the need for registration (and hence a registry) originated, and have gained most ground, in experimental research traditions. A more expansive view of registration, however, would argue that it is equally well-suited to both large-n and (most controversially) small-n observational studies. 

Macartan Humphreys of Columbia University will be making the case for pre-registration in a talk before lunch. He will take a few questions from the audience. Following a 45 minute break, the program will continue with a roundtable.

Roundtable Participants (partial list):

Macartan Humphreys, Columbia University

James Johnson, University of Rochester

Harvey D. Palmer, University at Buffalo, SUNY

Adam Levine, Cornell University

Please register here:

Sponsored by the Center for Qualitative and Multi-Method Inquiry Center at the Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs

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