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Manuscript deadline
30 April 2021

Cover image - Educational Research and Evaluation

Educational Research and Evaluation

Special Issue Editor(s)

Beng Huat See, Durham University
[email protected]

Thomas Perry, University of Birmingham
[email protected]

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A Call for Replication Studies in Education

A Call for Replication Studies in Education

The last two decades have seen many developments in education research, including the growth of robust studies testing education programmes and policies using experimental designs. However, little attention is given to replicating the important results. Makel and Plucker (2014) analysed articles in the top 100 education journals and found that only 0.13% of articles were replications. Of these only 29% were direct replications of previous studies rather than conceptual replications where researchers use different methods to test the same hypothesis. Moreover, almost half of these replications were performed by the same researchers that produced the original study. In such cases, replications produced the same results 89% of the time. Where replications were conducted by different research teams, the success rate was only 54%. This raises numerous methodological and practical questions, and casts doubt on even large, well conducted studies, constraining the confidence that one has in their findings.

Replications are essential to validate the veracity of scientific findings. They control for sampling errors and can expose fraudulent practice by researchers who are often keen to show positive results. Yet replication studies in education remain rare.

One barrier to replication studies is that journals often stipulate that articles submitted should be original, employing new datasets or analytical techniques. Studies that present novel and exciting results are often prized over studies that corroborate or refute previous studies. It is also the case that many experimental studies in education have been small-scale. These tend to produce big effect sizes. It is therefore useful to replicate these small studies using much larger samples. Cramer et al. (2018) demonstrated in their replication of 21 studies using much larger samples than the original studies that failure to replicate suggests false positives or inflated effect sizes. Replications are useful in enabling results to be aggregated, synthesised and compiled in trial databases or added to continually-updated living systematic reviews. If many small studies are replicated, their results could be combined. This can help validate the results of small studies, confirming, refining and refuting existing findings in an area.

This Special Issue of Educational Research and Evaluation provides an outlet for the publication of replication studies and/or methodological pieces, enabling education research to meet the scientific standard of replicability, a common practice in natural sciences. This Special Issue will provide a platform for researchers and academics to validate or refute previous research, and explore the benefits and challenges of doing so.

We welcome studies that replicate original research using similar datasets, methodological pieces, conceptual pieces or rigorous synthesis of replication studies.

We expect that studies being replicated have already been published either as peer-reviewed journal articles or as reports. However, unpublished articles, such as in conference proceedings, working papers or books that are widely cited may be considered if they are highly visible and their results have already made impact in policy and practice. Where possible, replication papers should demonstrate the influence of the replicated studies.

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Submission Instructions

Proposed timeline

Deadline for abstracts:                                    30 October 2020

Deadline for full paper:                                  30 April 2021

Deadline for initial reviewing:                       30 June 2021

Deadline for revision and resubmission:        31 July 2021

Deadline for publication                                 30 October 2021

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