Open Science Considerations for Descriptive Research in Developmental Science

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In recent years there has been a resurgence of descriptive research that seeks to document, describe, and analyze the conditions under which infants and children learn in a variety of natural settings. Descriptive developmental research enhances fundamental understanding and facilitates the generation and refinement of comprehensive theories of early learning and development. Incorporating open science practices into descriptive research increases the transparency, reliability, and replicability of this work. However, many existing open-science practices have been oriented toward experimental rather than descriptive studies and thus translate less directly to work that is more descriptive in nature. We discuss a number of unique considerations for incorporating open-science practices into descriptive developmental research, providing examples from existing and ongoing studies and suggestions for how descriptive research and open science can coexist productively. Our overarching goal is to provide a resource for anyone who intends to do open, descriptive, developmental research.

Ryan Watkins