Presentation: Pre-Registration: What and Why

Publication Date: April 13, 2021


Study pre-registration is an element of “open science,” a broad movement to make all phases of research—from design to dissemination—more transparent and accessible. Pre-registration entails registering study plans in a repository before beginning a research project, thus committing researchers to a specific design, hypothesis, and/or data analysis plan.

The scientific community and Federal agencies that support research have a growing interest in open science methods, including pre-registration. In part, this interest stems from highly publicized news stories and journal articles that cast doubt on research credibility. These articles highlighted issues such as data manipulation (e.g., p-hacking), publication bias (e.g., no publication of null results), inability to replicate or reproduce research results, and other individual and system-level practices. Pre-registration can mitigate several of these concerns by increasing transparency and rigor.


In this video, Dr. Katherine Corker of Grand Valley State University defines pre-registration and outlines how and why to pre-register a study. Dr. Corker gave this presentation at OPRE’s 2019 Methods Meeting, Methods for Promoting Open Science in Social Policy Research.

Key Findings and Highlights

The key components of the presentation include:

  • Defining study pre-registration
  • Explaining why study pre-registration is important
  • Providing examples of how and where to pre-register a study
  • Providing tips for pre-registering a study
  • Addressing eight myths about study pre-registration

Related Documents 

Webinar Transcript with Audio Descriptions (PDF)


Corker, Katherine (2019). Methods Video - Pre-Registration: What and Why, OPRE Report #2021-33, Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.