Creating a Curriculum Centered on Reproducible Research for the Psychologists of the Future

McAleer, P. (2021) Creating a Curriculum Centered on Reproducible Research for the Psychologists of the Future. Project TIER 2021 Spring Symposium: Instruction in Reproducible Research, 05 March-21 May 2021.

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Within Psychology at the University of Glasgow, over the past few years, we have looked to refocus our research curriculum across all teaching levels to centre on reproducible methods, and to develop and improve academic communication practices consistent with the ideas of accountability and integrity in disseminating reproducible science. This change was partly based on the issues within our field, highlighted by the Replication Crisis, as well as on discussions and reflections about the necessary skills sought in a graduate researcher. In terms of our statistics and research method provision, the changes we have put in place mean our curriculum now promotes student independence in their research practice by emphasising traditionally overlooked skills, including, and in particular, data wrangling, visualisation, and dynamic reproducible report writing. In addition, students learn about concepts such as probability through simulation and how to work with data through "real and messy" open datasets, helping to build diverse practical skills and to develop their own competence and confidence in all areas of academic and data literacy. These developments have partly been made possible through a change of analytical software, and as such all our research methods classes are now taught in R, but fundamental to the approach has been the focus on the skills taught and not simply a change of software. Furthermore, we promote a focus on the importance of the research question and the hypothesis, as opposed to the outcome, by using assignments based on pre-registration and Registered Reports, as well as assessments discussing the benefits and limitations of open science practices, aiming to develop a more holistic view of the issues within our students and future graduates. Through honest discussions of different approaches and through developing a diverse skillset, we have looked to build a cohort that knows how research should be conducted, can discuss the reasoning behind those ideas, and has the skillset to implement that approach. That said, these developments have not been without issue and, throughout this talk, as well as highlighting what we have implemented and why, I will also discuss what has not worked and present advice on common implementation challenges, ranging from staff training to building an inclusive and supportive student community. In brief, I will share the rationale, experiences, and materials behind our approach to developing students as accountable practitioners of reproducible research with the hope that our experiences can be of benefit to a diverse range of fields. All our materials for teaching data wrangling and analysis are available at

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:McAleer, Dr Phil
Authors: McAleer, P.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Psychology
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