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Online course

Transparent and Open Social Science Research

Explore the causes of limited transparency in social science research, and tools to make your own work more open and reproducible.

What’s the difference between a free course and an upgraded course?

Free:

  • Access to the course for its duration + 14 days, regardless of when you join (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • No certificate

Upgraded:

  • Unlimited access to the course, for as long as it exists on FutureLearn (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • A Certificate of Achievement when you complete the course

Find out more

Transparent and Open Social Science Research

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Why join the course?

Demand is growing for evidence-based policy making, but there is growing recognition in the social science community that limited transparency and openness in research have contributed to widespread problems.

Explore transparency issues in social science research – and how to solve them

In this free online course, we will discuss the major transparency and reproducibility issues across the social sciences today, including the problems of fraud, publication bias and data mining.

We will also discuss many of the emerging solutions to these problems, including:

  • pre-registering studies and writing pre-analysis plans
  • performing replications
  • conducting meta-analyses
  • making data open and available
  • visualizing data in ways that are honest and effective.

Apply tools to make your own social science research open and transparent

By the end of the three-week course, you will:

  • understand the root and systemic causes of limited transparency and openness in social science research
  • explore the tools that you can use to improve transparency in your own research and identify flaws in other people’s work
  • apply these tools to real data presented in problem sets
  • discuss the tools that publishers are beginning to use to incentivize transparency and reproducibility
  • reflect on your own research experiences and assess how you might improve your methods.

Learn with research transparency experts at UC Berkeley.

The course has been developed by the Berkeley Initiative for Transparency in the Social Sciences (BITSS). Headquartered at UC Berkeley, BITSS has been leading the social science research transparency movement since 2012.

Through the course, you will learn with lead educator, Ted Miguel – a leading expert in research transparency, who is widely respected within the social science and international development communities.

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What topics will you cover?

  • Scientific Ethics and the Reproducibility Crisis
  • Publication Bias, Specification Search, and the “File Drawer” Problem
  • Pre-registration and Pre-analysis Plans
  • The Open Science Framework (OSF)
  • Approaches to Replication and Meta-Analysis
  • Open Data and Code
  • Transparent Data Visualization
  • Your Role in the Open Science Movement

When would you like to start?

  • Available now
  • Date to be announced

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you'll be able to...

  • Develop an understanding of the root and systemic causes of limited transparency and openness in social science research, including publication bias, p-hacking, and fraud.
  • Explore the tools that you can use to improve transparency in your own research and identify flaws in other research.
  • Apply research transparency tools (such as p-curve.com) to real data presented in interactive quizzes and other activities.
  • Establish an account on the Open Science Framework (OSF), explore the platform, and reflect on how you might use it in your own work.
  • Discuss the tools that publishers are beginning to use to incentivize research transparency and reproducibility.
  • Learn how to design a pre-analysis plan (PAP), as well as explore study registries where PAPs are posted.
  • Explore different frameworks to improve the robustness and credibility of social science research, including meta-analysis and replication.
  • Participate in the open science movement and become an engaged researcher!

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for academics and practitioners who are engaging in social science research, as well as anyone who is interested in better understanding open science and research transparency.

To get the most out of this course, you will need:

  • a good understanding of statistics
  • undergraduate or preferably graduate experience of econometrics and/or statistical methods
  • some experience with statistical software such as Stata or R.

Who will you learn with?

Ted Miguel

I'm a Professor of Economics at UC Berkeley and Faculty Director of the Center for Effective Global Action (CEGA). My main research focus is African economic development and research transparency.

Garret Christensen

I'm a research fellow with BITSS with a PhD in Economics from UC Berkeley. I'm interested in research transparency, reproducibility, and questions of causal inference in labor and development.

Who developed the course?

Home to more than 27,000 undergraduates and more than 10,000 graduate students, Berkeley is internationally renowned for excellence and pioneering achievements across all disciplines.

The Center for Effective Global Action (CEGA) is a hub for research on global development, with a network of over 70 academic researchers.

The Berkeley Initiative for Transparency in the Social Sciences (BITSS) works to strengthen the integrity of social science research and evidence used for policy-making.

What’s the difference between a free course and an upgraded course?

Free:

  • Access to the course for its duration + 14 days, regardless of when you join (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • No certificate

Upgraded:

  • Unlimited access to the course, for as long as it exists on FutureLearn (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • A Certificate of Achievement when you complete the course

Find out more

Get extra benefits, upgrade this course. For $84 you'll get:

Unlimited access

Upgrading will mean you get unlimited access to the course.

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  • Take the course at your own pace
  • Refer to the material at any point in future

If you’re taking a course for free you have access to the course for its duration + 14 days, regardless of when you join. If you upgrade the course you have access for as long as the course exists on FutureLearn.

Certificate of Achievement

Upgrading means you’ll receive a Certificate of Achievement when you complete the course.

Image certificate mobile

  • Prove your success when applying for jobs or courses
  • Celebrate your hard work
  • Display on your LinkedIn or CV

To receive a Certificate of Achievement you need to mark 90% of the steps on the course as complete.

Upgrade


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