University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

Evaluating the Pedagogical Effectiveness of Study Preregistration in the Undergraduate Dissertation

Pownall, M., Pennington, C.R., Norris, E., Juanchich, M., Smailes, D., Russell, S., Gooch, D., Evans, T.R., Persson, Sofia, Mak, M.H.C., Tzavella, L., Monk, R., Gough, T., Benwell, C.S.Y., Elsherif, M., Farran, E., Gallagher-Mitchell, T., Kendrick, L.T., Bahnmueller, J., Nordmann, E., Zaneva, M., Gilligan-Lee, K., Bazhydai, M., Jones, A., Sedgmond, J., Holzleitner, I., Reynolds, J., Moss, J., Farrelly, Daniel ORCID:, Parker, A.J. and Clark, K. (2023) Evaluating the Pedagogical Effectiveness of Study Preregistration in the Undergraduate Dissertation. Advances in Methods and Practices in Psychological Science, 6 (4). pp. 1-21. ISSN 2515-2459

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Research shows that questionable research practices (QRPs) are present in undergraduate finalyear dissertation projects. One entry-level Open Science practice proposed to mitigate QRPs is ‘study preregistration’, through which researchers outline their research questions, design, method and analysis plans prior to data collection and/or analysis. In this study, we aimed to empirically test the effectiveness of preregistration as a pedagogic tool in undergraduate dissertations using a quasi-experimental design. A total of 89 UK psychology students were recruited, including students who preregistered their empirical quantitative dissertation (n = 52; experimental group) and those who did not (n = 37; control group). Attitudes towards statistics, acceptance of QRPs, and perceived understanding of Open Science were measured both pre- and post-dissertation. Exploratory measures included capability, opportunity and motivation (COM-B) to engage with preregistration, measured at Time 1 only. This study was conducted as a Registered Report; Stage 1 protocol: (date of in-principle acceptance: 21/09/2021). Contrary to hypotheses, study preregistration did not significantly impact attitudes towards statistics or acceptance of QRPs. However, students who preregistered reported greater perceived understanding of Open Science concepts from Time 1 to Time 2, compared with students who did not preregister. Exploratory analyses indicated that students who preregistered reported significantly greater capability, opportunity, and motivation to preregister. Qualitative responses revealed that preregistration was perceived to improve clarity and organisation of the dissertation, prevent QRPs, and promote rigour. Disadvantages and barriers included time, perceived rigidity, and need for training. These results contribute to timely discussions surrounding the utility of embedding Open Science principles into research training.

Item Type: Article
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Creative Commons NonCommercial CC BY-NC: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License (, which permits noncommercial use, reproduction, and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (

Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: Preregistration, Open Science, Reproducibility, Undergraduate training, Dissertations, Research training
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
Divisions: College of Business, Psychology and Sport > School of Psychology
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Copyright Info: Open Access article, © The Author(s) 2023
Depositing User: Daniel Farrelly
Date Deposited: 29 Sep 2023 12:28
Last Modified: 08 Jan 2024 10:24

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