How often are basic details of the research process mentioned in social science research papers?

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6 Citations (SciVal)


This study investigated whether basic details of the research process are mentioned in social science research articles. Five hundred empirical articles were sampled from the Social Sciences Citation Index. The frequency of omitted details was mixed. For central essential details, omission rates were: 0% for research purpose, 2% for data collection method, 8% for sample size, 20% for data analysis method, and 48% for sampling strategy. The analysis found that 56% of articles were missing one or more of these five details. For more peripheral details, omission rates were: 36% for limitations, 55% for ethical considerations, and 94% for foundational philosophy. Prevalence rates were varied when compared across different disciplines and between qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches. Possible causes for these findings include the use of secondary data, the view that certain details are not essential, and traditions in ethnographic writing. Those involved in academic publishing are invited to reflect on the basic details that are essential for their specialism and how reporting standards are enforced.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)128-136
Number of pages9
JournalLearned Publishing
Issue number2
Early online date13 Sept 2020
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2021
Externally publishedYes


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