Thoughts on Replication with a Case Study
Sociology lags neighbouring disciplines like psychology and economics in recognizing the urgency of replication. Replication is straightforward for experiments that claim to elicit universal human characteristics. It is more complicated when we are interested in social phenomena that depend on an unspecified array of contextual factors. Drawing lessons from literatures on field experiments and on civil wars, I draw a distinction between robustness and repeatability. I then test the robustness of a recent article from political science. I show how the result disappears when we add a few obvious additional variables and utilize a more suitable method of estimation. My conclusions are pessimistic. The proliferation of datasets facilitates replication but also encourages data mining. Because the profession rewards novelty rather than falsification, we can expect no diminution in the publication of results that are neither robust nor repeatable.
Date: 21 October 2019, 12:15 (Monday, 2nd week, Michaelmas 2019)
Venue: 42-43 Park End Street, 42-43 Park End Street OX1 1JD
Venue Details: Lecture Theatre - Sandwich lunch 12:15; seminar starts at 12:45. Please note that entrance to the building is via Tidmarsh Lane
Speaker: Michael Biggs (St Cross College)
Organising department: Department of Sociology
Organiser: Federico Varese (University of Oxford)
Part of: Department of Sociology Events
Booking required?: Not required
Audience: Public
Editors: Antoinette Moffa, Natasha Cotton