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Teaching Students to Document Their Empirical Research

By Richard J. Ball1, Norm Medeiros2

1. Department of Economics, Haverford College 2. Haverford College

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This paper describes a protocol we have developed for teaching undergraduates to document the statistical analysis they do for empirical research projects in such a way that their results are completely reproducible and verifiable. The protocol is guided by the principle that the documentation prepared to accompany an empirical research project should be sufficient to allow an independent researcher to replicate easily and exactly every step of the data management and analysis that generated the results reported in the study. We hope that requiring students to follow this protocol will not only teach them how to document their research appropriately, but also instill in them the belief that it is an important professional responsibility to do so.

Ball, Richard J. and Medeiros, Norm, Teaching Students to Document Their Empirical Research (July 12, 2011). Available at SSRN: or