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In-Class Data Analysis Replications: Teaching Students While Testing Science

Forthcoming. Now Available: Just Accepted Version.
Published onJun 06, 2024
In-Class Data Analysis Replications: Teaching Students While Testing Science


Science is facing a reproducibility crisis. Overcoming it would require concerted efforts to replicate prior studies, but the incentives for researchers are currently weak, as replicating prior studies requires considerable time and effort without providing the same level of recognition as de novo research Previous work has proposed incorporating data analysis replications into classrooms as a potential solution. However, despite the potential benefits, it is unclear what the involved stakeholders—students, educators, and scientists—should expect from it. What are the costs and benefits? And how can this solution help benchmark and improve the state of science?

In the present study, we incorporated data analysis replications in the project component of the Applied Data Analysis course (CS-401) taught at EPFL (N=354N = 354 students). First, we report pre-registered findings based on surveys administered throughout the course. We find discrepancies between what students expect of data analysis replications and what they experience by doing them along with changes in expectations about reproducibility. Second, we provide information for educators about how much overhead is needed to incorporate replications into the classroom and identify concerns that replications bring as compared to more traditional assignments. Finally, we discuss potential implications of the in-class data analysis replications for scientific communities, such as insights about replication barriers in scientific work that should be avoided going forward.

Overall, we demonstrate that incorporating replication tasks into a large data science class can increase the reproducibility of scientific work as a by-product of data science instruction

Keywords: reproducibility, data analysis, education, open science, citizen science

06/06/2024: To preview this content, click below for the Just Accepted version of the article. This peer-reviewed version has been accepted for its content and is currently being copyedited to conform with HDSR’s style and formatting requirements.

©2024 Kristina Gligoric, Tiziano Piccardi, Jake Hofman, and Robert West. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) International license, except where otherwise indicated with respect to particular material included in the article.

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