Replicability

One of the most important features of a scientific research paper is that the research must be replicable, which means that the paper gives readers enough detailed information that the research can be repeated (or 'replicated'). 

It is very important that research can be replicated, because it means that other researchers can test the findings of the research. Replicability keeps researchers honest and can give readers confidence in research. 

For example, if a new research paper concludes that smoking is not related to lung cancer, readers would be very skeptical because it disagrees with the weight of existing evidence. If the paper explained in detail how the research was carried out, other researchers would be able to repeat the research and either confirm or oppose the findings. However, if the paper did not explain how the research was carried out, readers would have no way of testing the controversial conclusions.

Replicability is an essential concept throughout the Understanding Health Research tool. As readers, we cannot know for sure whether researchers have misrepresented or lied about their findings, but we can always ask whether the paper gives us enough detail to be able to replicate the research. If the research is replicable, then any false conclusions can eventually be shown to be wrong.