A comprehensive guide to types of reliability in research methodology

During the research journey, one uses a number of approaches to collect the relevant data and also perform the experiments. When the experiment is conducted several times by using the same research method, the end results obtained must remain the same. This is when the research performed is considered to be consistent, and this is measured via reliability. 

Reliability is nothing but a way of evaluating the quality of the measurement procedure utilised and the extent to which the same output is obtained by using the same software/tool but more than once. Reliability consists of three attributes including,

  1. Stability –  This is nothing but the consistency of outputs using an apparatus with repeated testing
  2. Homogeneity – This is the extent to which all the elements on a scale to measure one construct
  3. Equivalence –  Consistency among responses of several users of an apparatus, or among alternate forms of an instrument

Reliability is classified into inter-rater, test-retest, parallel-forms, and internal consistency. 

  • Inter-rater reliability 

When several individuals are giving assessments or are the subjects of some test, then similar people must lead to the same end results. Inter-rater reliability is used in two major ways (a) testing how similar individual categorise elements, and (b) how similar individual score elements. Inter-rater reliability thus assess reliability across different individuals. This approach is considered as the best way of evaluating the reliability, especially when you are using observation method. It can also be used to calibrate people.

  • Parallel-forms reliability 

The issue with the questions or assessments is finding out which questions are the best ones to ask. A possible method of discovering this is by performing two tests in parallel but by using different questions. Parallel-forms reliability evaluates various questions and question set that determines to evaluate the same construct. If you want any help in preparing question set to perform parallel tests, consult professionals offering PhD dissertation coaching services. 

  • Test-retest reliability 

As per the rule, the assessment or test of an individual must provide the same outcome whenever the test is applied. Reliability varies with various factors such as time of the day, how the individual responds to the test, interruptions, and many more. However, a good test will cope with such factors and provide little variation. Whereas an unreliable test will be highly sensitive to the above mentioned factors and provide highly varying results even if the test is conducted merely after half an hour. Test-retest reliability assess reliability across time and is used in experiments that makes use of no-treatment control group that measure pre-test and post-test. 

  • Internal consistency 

As said earlier, different questions that evaluate the same construct must give consistent end results. Internal consistency reliability assess individual questions in comparison with another to give apt outcomes. 

If your research is reliable, the chances of it getting accepted by the research community improves significantly. Hence ensure that your study is assessed and the reliability is properly explained in your research methodology chapter. If you need assistance in penning down the reliability, get in touch with writers providing PhD writing coach service. 

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