Questionable and Open Research Practices: Attitudes and Perceptions among Quantitative Communication Researchers

Journal of Communication
Questionable research practices (QRPs) and open research practices (ORPs) in Communication

Neil Fasching


October 22, 2021


Recent contributions have questioned the credibility of quantitative communication research. While questionable research practices (QRPs) are believed to be widespread, evidence for this belief is, primarily, derived from other disciplines. Therefore, it is largely unknown to what extent QRPs are used in quantitative communication research and whether researchers embrace open research practices (ORPs). We surveyed first and corresponding authors of publications in the top-20 journals in communication science. Many researchers report using one or more QRPs. We find widespread pluralistic ignorance: QRPs are generally rejected, but researchers believe they are prevalent. At the same time, we find optimism about the use of open science practices. In all, our study has implications for theories in communication that rely upon a cumulative body of empirical work: these theories are negatively affected by QRPs but can gain credibility if based upon ORPs. We outline an agenda to move forward as a discipline.

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