On the frequency, prevalence, and perceived severity of questionable research practices

Tove Larsson, Luke Plonsky, Scott Sterling, Merja Kytö, Katherine Yaw, Margaret Wood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Questionable Research Practices (QRPs) fall in the gray zone between responsible research conduct and absolute misconduct (e.g., falsification and fabrication). Whereas other fields such as medicine have a long tradition of discussing and studying QRPs, there has been very limited focus on this topic in quantitative humanities research, and in applied linguistics specifically. Drawing on a community-generated list of quantitative humanities-specific QRPs, the present study investigates the self-reported frequency, prevalence, and perceived severity of QRPs among researchers in the US and Sweden. We also explored relationships between frequency of QRP engagement and researcher background factors, such as years since Ph.D. and publication rate. With regard to prevalence, the results showed that 96% of the respondents reported having used one or more of the practices listed. The most prevalent item was also the one that occurred with the highest frequency and the one that was reported as the least severe (‘Presenting the same presentation at multiple conferences’). Overall, there was a strong negative correlation between frequency and severity (ρ < -.77) of QRPs, suggesting that it is uncommon for researchers to engage in an activity considered to be severe. With this exploratory study, we hope to contribute to an open and respectful discussion about QRPs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100064
JournalResearch Methods in Applied Linguistics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 2023


  • Applied Linguistics
  • Delphi method
  • Quantitative humanities research
  • Questionable Research Practices
  • Research ethics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Linguistics and Language


Dive into the research topics of 'On the frequency, prevalence, and perceived severity of questionable research practices'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this