Replications as well as reproductions are main tools of scientific research. They adhere to the scientific principle that research needs to be intersubjective. That is, if two studies are conducted exactly the same way, their findings should match.
Obviously, there are a lot of determinators that may prevent such matching findings. For example, news consumption today is drastically different from news consumption some twenty years ago. Hence, studies replicating prior studies are, surprisingly often, doomed to fail (see, for example, McEwan, Carpenter, & Westermann, 2018). However, they are not only failing because of changing circumstances but potentially due to a wide array of reasons, human error also being one of them.
It is thus crucial to test previous studies. Two approaches are particularly noteworthy here: Reproductions employ the original study's methods, materials, and its original data in order to re-run all the analyses to reproduce the finally published results. If reproductions fail, discussion is necessary about how reliable the original study's results essentially are. Replications only employ the original study's design and maybe its materials but not its original data. In that, replications study the exact same thing under different circumstances. If replications fail, discussion is necessary about why differences to the original study occur and how future studies could investigate these potential causes.
Several other problems could occur when trying to reproduce or replicate studies. For example, original data could be unavailable (e.g., due to legal reasons) for a reproduction or the recollection of data could be impossible (e.g., because it studied a now-offline platform) for a replication. Also, sometimes effort put into an original study simply is too much to handle for a reproduction/replication. In any case, though, reproductions and replications are crucial yet have been largely ignored in communication science so far (Dienlin et al., 2021).
This platform is to display students' efforts to reproduce and replicate studies in communication science. We believe that students are well-capable of either reproducing or replicating several studies in communication science and that they also learn a lot from these endeavors. If you are interested, for example for your Bachelor or Master thesis, please contact us.
Dienlin, T., Johannes, N., Bowman, N.D., ..., de Vreese, C. (2021). An agenda for open science in communication. Journal of Communication, 71(1), 1–26. https://doi.org/10.1093/joc/jqz052
McEwan, B., Carpenter, C.J., Westerman, D. (2018). On replication in Communication Science. Communication Studies, 69(3), 235–241. https://doi.org/10.1080/10510974.2018.1464938