Replication by undergraduates
student researchers

Timothy H. Parker - Department of Biology - Whitman College

Replication of influential studies by undergraduates – we want your ideas!


We are developing a project to:

- introduce students to the role of replication in science

- promote the development of a culture of well-designed replication in ecology and evolution


To this end, we are developing undergraduate laboratory modules that are explicitly designed to encourage students to understand science as an iterative process that includes replication as a tool to assess the validity and generality of hypotheses.

These undergraduate modules will be replications of influential studies. Data from each replication will be submitted to a central database to facilitate later meta-analyses of student replication (and modules will be designed to promote reliability of student data).

At this point, we are:

- identifying a list of potential studies around which to build modules

- recruiting collaborators who would like to help design modules

- identifying educators who may be interesting in implement modules with their students


We want to identify studies that meet the following criteria:

- The study tested or introduced an influential concept in ecology (or evolutionary biology)

- Important components of the study could be replicated by students with sufficient professorial guidance in a semester or less

The original study need not have been perfectly designed. Many influential studies are, in retrospect, less than ideal. If a study is selected, we will modify methods as needed to maximize its validity. The study can be observational or experimental.

You cann share your ideas with me through an

on-line form

or by emailing me:

parkerth [at]