| tags: [ QRP reproducibility roadmap reproducibility crisis ] categories: [talk ]

QRPs in non-hypothesis testing research

QRP research is NHST focussed

To date, there has been limited research on QRPs and other aspects of reproducibility for non-NHST research.

Partly because: The majority of QRP research has been undertaken in Psychology, where almost all statistical testing is NHST. But this is not true for other fields eg, in applied ecology and conservation, my area of expertise, where we often use predictive modelling to systematically inform environmental decision-making. Instead, we use decision-theoretic frameworks, return-on-investment analyses, Bayesian Network models.

Painting Positive Findings? Reproducibility issues plague non-hypothesis testing research

Definition of SDM:

-> So I think this shows, in conjunction with Hannah’s research as well as other initial meta-research in ecology and evolution, demonstrates that we likely have a problem with QRPs in applied ecology and conservation.

Lack of appropriate conceptual framework?

However, there are objections that some analytical frameworks are immune or less prone to QRPs.

Evidence 1: For example, Bayesian inference is proffered by many as a cure-all for QRPs.

many of us believe that other ways of summarising the data, such as Bayes factors or other posterior summaries based on clearly articulated model assumptions are preferable to P values.

Evidence 2: Anecdotally, you’ll hear a good proportion of applied ecologists and conservation scientists say things like “but pre-registration can’t be done for the sort of work that I do, or I don’t do hypothesis testing so this doesn’t apply”.

Why is this the case? I think this is because there is a lack of conceptual framework for thinking about QRPs and their impacts on non-hypothesis testing research.

This is what my research aims to address.

QRP Roadmaps

The first chapter of myresearch aims to generate “roadmaps” of potential QRPs in 3 comon modelling tools used to inform ecological managemnet and conservation decisions.

Much like this figure here, which many of you will have seen before. This is an idealised NHST workflow of with the common types of QRP superimposed.

Generalised workflow

  • I used a similar approach to what we saw in the previous slide, where took a:
    • a generalised workflow for one of the those areas, Bayesian Modelling.

Mapping QRPs

  1. Me + HF ran a workshop with ecologists, generated lists of QRPs for the three methods / analytical approaches common in ecology and conservation. And then I supplemented this list by searching the literature.
  2. And then mapped we mapped QRPs onto the workflow. Then coded each of the QRPs according to the broad classes of QRPs already identified for NHST-research.

Expanded the definition of p-hacking to S-hacking or statistic hacking — there are different types of statistical threshold tests undertaken at various points in the modelling workflow.


non-NHST research is just as at risk of QRPs and the associated impacts on reproducibility as NHST research is.

Many opportunities for undisclosed “Researcher Degrees of Freedom” QRPs can occur multiple times in the entire process, at all decision points The same class of QRP can occur at multiple decision points Multiple QRPs can occur at each decision point Direct analogues between NHST and non-NHST research.

Next Steps

  1. How to measure the impact of QRPs on reproducibility when we don’t have an equivalent of a false positive in non-NHST research?
  2. How to measure their prevalence?
  3. We need to work out what the language is to define QRP impacts in a non-NHST framework. Unjustified confidence in the accuracy and the precision of the model outputs?