Reporting standards for research in psychology: why do we need them? What might they be?

Am Psychol. 2008 Dec;63(9):839-51. doi: 10.1037/0003-066X.63.9.839.


In anticipation of the impending revision of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, APA's Publications and Communications Board formed the Working Group on Journal Article Reporting Standards (JARS) and charged it to provide the board with background and recommendations on information that should be included in manuscripts submitted to APA journals that report (a) new data collections and (b) meta-analyses. The JARS Group reviewed efforts in related fields to develop standards and sought input from other knowledgeable groups. The resulting recommendations contain (a) standards for all journal articles, (b) more specific standards for reports of studies with experimental manipulations or evaluations of interventions using research designs involving random or nonrandom assignment, and (c) standards for articles reporting meta-analyses. The JARS Group anticipated that standards for reporting other research designs (e.g., observational studies, longitudinal studies) would emerge over time. This report also (a) examines societal developments that have encouraged researchers to provide more details when reporting their studies, (b) notes important differences between requirements, standards, and recommendations for reporting, and (c) examines benefits and obstacles to the development and implementation of reporting standards.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Guidelines as Topic*
  • Humans
  • Meta-Analysis as Topic
  • Periodicals as Topic / standards
  • Periodicals as Topic / trends
  • Psychology / methods*
  • Psychology / trends
  • Publishing / standards*
  • Publishing / trends
  • Research Design / standards*
  • Research Design / trends
  • Societies, Scientific / standards*
  • Societies, Scientific / trends