Goal-directed Uses of the Replicability Concept (Preprint)

In Corrine Bloch-Mullins & Theodore Arabatzis (eds.), Concepts, Induction, and the Growth of Scientific Knowledge (forthcoming)
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The replicability of a research claim is often positioned as an important step in establishing the credibility of scientific research. This expectation persists despite ongoing disagreements over how to characterise replication practices in various contexts. Rather than attempt to explain or resolve these disagreements, we propose that there is value in exploring the variable uses of the replicability concept. To this end, we treat the replicability concept as a goal-directed tool for studying scientific practices. This approach extends scholarship on the goal-directed uses of concepts within investigative practices to explore the value of reflexively interrogating those concepts used to study the sciences as practiced. In doing so, we highlight the importance of considering how and when a given concept is an appropriate tool for a given goal when studying scientific practices. For instance, in the case of the replicability concept, our examination suggests that there is value in clarifying how a given characterisation of replicability is appropriate to a given context-specific analytic and/or evaluative goal. In addition, we hope to draw attention to how Metaresearch and HPS contexts provide complementary insights for those seeking to understand when and how replication practices can help in assessing a given research claim.

Author Profiles

Eden Tariq Smith
University of Melbourne (PhD)
Fiona Fidler
University of Melbourne


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