Predictors of Citation Rate in Psychology: Inconclusive Influence of Effect and Sample Size

Paul H. P. Hanel, Jennifer Haase

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (SciVal)
165 Downloads (Pure)


In the present article, we investigate predictors of how often a scientific article is cited. Specifically, we focus on the influence of two often neglected predictors of citation rate: effect size and sample size, using samples from two psychological topical areas. Both can be considered as indicators of the importance of an article and post hoc (or observed) statistical power, and should, especially in applied fields, predict citation rates. In Study 1, effect size did not have an influence on citation rates across a topical area, both with and without controlling for numerous variables that have been previously linked to citation rates. In contrast, sample size predicted citation rates, but only while controlling for other variables. In Study 2, sample and partly effect sizes predicted citation rates, indicating that the relations vary even between scientific topical areas. Statistically significant results had more citations in Study 2 but not in Study 1. The results indicate that the importance (or power) of scientific findings may not be as strongly related to citation rate as is generally assumed.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1160
JournalFrontiers in Psychology: Personality and Social Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jul 2017


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