ZonMw grant for research projects into Responsible Research Practices

Three APH researchers received a grant in the ZonMw research program of Fostering of Responsible Research Practices. The aim of this programme is to build bridges between science, professional practice and policy by promoting research which is relevant, robust and transparent. It will develop and disseminate useful know-how to improve research-related practices – not just for front-line scientists and institutions, but also for policymakers, financiers and evaluators.

Professor Pim Cuijpers (Head of the VU Department of Clinical, Neuro and Developmental Psychology) will study the so-called ‘research allegiance’; the believe of the practitioner in a particular treatment in psychosocial research. Research allegiance could lead to a treatment effect overestimation. Cuijpers will investigate what research allegiance is, how it works and how its impact on the outcomes of psychosocial research can be reduced.

Associate Professor Michiel de Boer ( Associate Professor of Methodology and Applied Statistics at the VU Department of Health Sciences) will study the ongoing application of null-hypothesis-significance-testing (NHST) in empirical studies. NHST has been shown to be invalid as a default procedure to draw conclusions from empirical data. However, it is still used by the majority of researchers for that purpose, resulting in incorrect conclusions. Alternative methods have been developed, but these methods are rarely used. De Boer his project focusses on the question why researchers hold on to the use of NHST and which factors constrain them to use alternative methods. On the basis of the results, a strategy will be developed to promote the use of alternative methods to draw conclusions from empirical studies.

Professor Niek Klazinga (Professor and PI at the AMC department of Social Medicine) studies which questionable research practices are present in the field of health services research. What are the causes and how can these be prevented. The study will be based on published research from 11 Dutch HSR research groups and will be executed in close collaboration with these institutes to enhance mutual learning and improvement.

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