Setting up a replication workshop – suggestions needed

I’m starting a replication workshop with my statistics students. During my lectures in basic statistics I found that students were most engaged in lab sessions when we worked with data sets. I want to build on that and use replication as a new teaching tool, and I will report about this on my blog. My first challenge: How to pick a paper that’s simple enough for statistics beginners?

Most students that signaled interest in replication have done Bivariate Statistics in R with me last term, and just finished my class Regression in R. Since I’m new to this, I will mainly follow the guidelines for replication as an educational tool by political scientist Gary King at Harvard. I have opened a Dataverse (which right now includes a dummy example) that ideally would look like King’s dataverse some day.

This would be the first replication workshop in Cambridge Social Sciences, as far as I know, therefore I’m eager to get feedback by scholars who have done this – especially with statistics beginners. Right now, I have planned for 8 two-hour-sessions.

What papers to pick?

King suggests, if one starts with articles with “less advanced methods (such as only linear regression)” one can then select a “more advanced method that makes sense to use” to be able to “extract more information” from the data. Statistics modules at the Social Sciences Research Methods Centre at Cambridge are usually 4 weeks long. This means that the ‘cohort’ of students that I’ve been teaching have done statistics at a minimum in 16 hours of teaching, plus 2 hours introduction in R, plus hopefully many hours practicing for our weekly quizzes and the final exams. For this replication workshop we will need only articles with “less advanced methods” I would think.

The first step, it seems, is to find articles that have used bivariate statistics and OLS regression. Bivariate correlation tables can be found practically everywhere because of multicollinearity issues. I’m thinking of letting students reproduce these tables in R as a start. For OLS regression I was less successful in finding suitable studies yet – most articles I know of deal with panel data (time series cross section). Here, I need help urgently on how to find studies that can work for stats beginners. Ideally these studies would be fairly recent, otherwise I’m not sure if students see the point in looking at ‘old’ work.

So my strategy is to get help finding such articles on Facebook, twitter, and shamelessly use this blog to get comments and feedback. I’m also planning to follow anyone who has done replication with their students before – so please get in touch!

These are my current guidelines on how to pick a paper (based on Gary King):


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7 thoughts on “Setting up a replication workshop – suggestions needed

  1. I left the discipline a few years ago, but played with assigning replications (in very limited ways) for my more ambitious and talented students as part of senior projects or research papers. Not sure that I can improve on the recommendations made here, but I think that it is great that it’s being taken up in earnest.


  2. Gaurav Jain says:

    This is the best way to learn statistics …


  3. […] value – to be published as a stand-alone paper. I’m trying to push my students in the Cambridge Replication Workshop to get to a point when they add robustness checks, new variables and interactions, updated data, […]


  4. […] universities: Gary King at Harvard, Victoria Stodden at Columbia University, and we are running a Cambridge Replication Workshop based on King and Stodden’s example right now. We need more of […]


  5. […] to upload their data somewhere, and trust them to do so. Very often I, and my students in the replication workshop, have tried to get data and not always received them. If at all, data arrived with considerable […]


  6. […] their variable codings, models specifications, or where their files are. My students of the Cambridge Replication Workshop just finished their final assignments – here are their ‘horror’ stories. The […]


  7. […] detailed data curation can still be introduced to larger repositories in a step-by-step approach. Student projects could include assignments of replication, and in entries on the respective data verse where the […]


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