Paper by Nate Breznau et al: “This study explores how researchers’ analytical choices affect the reliability of scientific findings. Most discussions of reliability problems in science focus on systematic biases. We broaden the lens to include conscious and unconscious decisions that researchers make during data analysis and that may lead to diverging results. We coordinated 161 researchers in 73 research teams and observed their research decisions as they used the same data to independently test the same prominent social science hypothesis: that greater immigration reduces support for social policies among the public. In this typical case of research based on secondary data, we find that research teams reported widely diverging numerical findings and substantive conclusions despite identical start conditions. Researchers’ expertise, prior beliefs, and expectations barely predicted the wide variation in research outcomes. More than 90% of the total variance in numerical results remained unexplained even after accounting for research decisions identified via qualitative coding of each team’s workflow. This reveals a universe of uncertainty that is hidden when considering a single study in isolation. The idiosyncratic nature of how researchers’ results and conclusions varied is a new explanation for why many scientific hypotheses remain contested. It calls for greater humility and clarity in reporting scientific findings..(More)”.