Reproducibility & Replication

Here’s the abstract of a presentation I gave to the 10th European Conference for Social Work Research (ECSWR) on the 6th May 2021:


Quantitative research, reproducibility and replication: a guide for social work researchers

Professional journals share important knowledge (Gambrill, 2019). However, inappropriate use of quantitative methods can lead to claims which may not be warranted by the evidence.   Where such methods are used inappropriately, the contribution of social work research to practice, policy and social development may be compromised with unintended consequences for the specific research project and the broader social work research community. This paper therefore seeks to sensitise researchers to the challenges of conducting quantitative social work research whilst arguing that these challenges are not insurmountable. Advice is also given on how to do research which is reproducible and replicable by describing the process from reception of the data to delivery of the report using methods derived from computational research (Gandrud, 2015). The paper therefore provides practical advice on the content, evaluation and reporting of statistics based on the guidelines of the American Psychological Association. The paper also showcases ways of working with quantitative data which are methodologically innovative.   This approach will appeal both to those who have a broad overview of quantitative methods as well as to those who are new to this research tradition. The paper concludes with the recommendation that further research training for the social work community in quantitative methods is needed in order to ensure that findings are robust and ipso facto more likely to be impactful. Working within the post-positivist tradition, the author argues that quantitative and qualitative traditions can be mutually reinforcing.

Webb, P. (2021) Quantitative research, reproducibility and replication: a guide for social work researchers. In 10th European Conference for Social Work Research (ECSWR), University of Bucharest, Virtual Conference, 6th May 2021.