ROUTE #1: Process
ROUTE #1: Chapter-by-Chapter


Learn about the three routes you can follow

As you will have briefly learnt in the introduction, there are three routes that you can follow when taking on a replication-based dissertation: Route A: Duplication, Route B: Generalisation or Route C: Extension. In the sections that follow, we explain what these three routes are. The purpose of STEP ONE is simply to help you get to know the main characteristics and terms associated within replication-based dissertations. This will help you when you come to choosing the topic for your dissertation later in The Route #1 Process. For now, just read through the routes, and thinking about your own dissertation, consider which of these routes may interest you. Unless you want to, or already have a dissertation topic in mind, you don't need to start thinking about a specific topic for your dissertation at this stage.



At the undergraduate and master's level, duplication is often not considered to be sufficient because there is generally an expectation that you should do something with at least an element of originality. However, there are valid exceptions to this, where duplication studies can become great dissertations.

As briefly discussed in the previous section, duplication means copying the original study in almost every way in order to see whether the same (or similar) results can be found. However, there can be different reasons to duplicate a study, which also affects how your dissertation will differ from the original study (if at all). Imagine the following two scenarios:

Scenario #1
Test the original data

Sometimes a replication study involves no more than testing the data that was used by the original authors to see if the same results are found. We may choose to do this for a number of reasons:

Dealing with these kinds of problems, as well as using new statistical techniques to analyse the original data from a study can provide a useful addition to the literature.

Scenario #2
Use new data

This brings us to using new data. There is probably a 50% chance, if not greater, that you will not be able to obtain the original data used in the study you want to duplicate. If the study was published a long time ago, the data may have been lost. But more often than not, the reason will simply be that the authors refuse to give you access to their data. However, since this is not always the case, it is best to ask the authors before trying to get your own data.

Ironically, if you cannot get hold of the original data, your supervisor may view a duplication-based dissertation in a better light because you at least have to go out and collect the data on your own. If this is the case, you need to ask yourself two important questions before deciding whether you can do a duplication-based dissertation:

Therefore, if the research strategy of the original study is clearly set out, and you can get access to a similar sample and population, you could choose to carry out a duplication-based dissertation using new data.


Whilst it's worth reading on to see if you would rather pursue a dissertation based on Route B: Generalisation or Route C: Extension, it's worth reiterating that if you want to pursue Route A: Duplication, you really do have to have a strong justification for doing so. If not, it is unlikely that this will be sufficient for an undergraduate or master's level dissertation.

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