When does HARKing hurt? Identifying when different types of undisclosed post hoc hypothesizing harm scientific progress.

Mark Rubin
  • Review of General Psychology, December 2017, American Psychological Association (APA)
  • DOI: 10.1037/gpr0000128

Hypothesising After the Results are Known (HARKing)

What is it about?

HARKing occurs when researchers check their research results and then add and/or remove hypotheses from their research report on the basis of those results. HARKing is not a single behaviour but rather an umbrella term for several different types of behaviours. This article attempts to answer the question: Are all types of HARKing bad for scientific progress under all conditions?

Why is it important?

HARKing is considered to be problematic for science because it results in hypotheses that are always confirmed and never falsified. Self-admission rates for HARKing “at least once” range from 27% (John et al., 2012) to 58% (Motyl et al., 2017). HARKing has been implicated in the current replication crisis in science.


A/Prof Mark Rubin
The University of Newcastle, Australia

Check out the open access version of this article on the right in the Resources section.

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The following have contributed to this page: A/Prof Mark Rubin