Writing a literature review is a tedious task unless you apply a systematic approach to it. But first, you must get back to the very reason why you are writing the literature review to appreciate its role in completing your research paper or thesis.Since the internet is a great source of information and is nowadays a common destination for researchers who want to access the latest information as quickly as possible, care must be exerted in selecting research papers that will help you build your thesis.This article gets back to the definition of the literature review as a take-off point towards being choosy in using easily accessible websites as sources of information in developing a thesis.
Here is a differentiation of reliability and validity as applied to the preparation of research instruments. One of the most difficult parts in research writing is when the instrument’s psychometric properties are scrutinized or questioned by your panel of examiners. Psychometric properties may sound new to you, but they are not actually new.In simple words, psychometric properties refer to the reliability and validity of the instrument. So, what is the difference between the two?Reliability refers to the consistency while validity refers to the test results’ accuracy. An instrument should accurately and dependably measure what it ought to measure. Its reliability can help you have a valid assessment; its validity can make you confident in making a prediction.
Instrument’s ReliabilityHow can you say that your instrument is reliable? Although there are many types of reliability tests, what is more usually looked at is the internal consistency of the test. When presenting the results of your research, your panel of examiners might look for the results of the Cronbach’s alpha or the Kuder-Richardson Formula 20 computations. If you cannot do the analysis by yourself, you may ask a statistician to help you process and analyze data using a reliable statistical software application.But if your intention is to determine the inter-correlations of the items in the instrument and if these items measure the same construct, Cronbach’s alpha is suggested. According to David Kingsbury, a construct is the behavior or outcome a researcher seeks to measure in the study. This is often revealed by the independent variable.When the inter-correlations of the items increase, the Cronbach’s alpha generally increases as well. The table below shows the range of values of Cronbach’s alpha and the corresponding descriptions on internal consistency.(Note: The description is not officially cited and taken only from Wikipedia, but you may confer with your statistician and your panel of examiners. If the value of alpha is less than .05, the items are considered poor and must be omitted).
Instrument’s ValidityThere are many types of validity measures. One of the most commonly used is the construct validity. Thus, the construct or the independent variable must be accurately defined.To illustrate, if the independent variable is the school principals’ leadership style, the sub-scales of that construct are the types of leadership style such as authoritative, delegative and participative.The construct validity would determine if the items being used in the instrument have good validity measures using factor analysis and each sub-scale has a good inter-item correlation using Bivariate Correlation. The items are considered good if the p-value is less than 0.05.References:1. Kingsbury, D. (2012). How to validate a research instrument. Retrieved October 16, 2013, from http://www.ehow.com/how_2277596_validate-research-instrument.html2. Grindstaff, T. (n.d.). The reliability & validity of psychological tests. Retrieved October 16, 2013, from http://www.ehow.com/facts_7282618_reliability-validity-psychological-tests.html3. Renata, R. (2013). The real difference between reliability and validity. http://www.ehow.com/info_8481668_real-difference-between-reliability-validity.html4. Cronbach’s alpha. Retrieved October 17, 2013, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cronbach%27s_alpha© 2013 October 17 M. G. Alvior
When not designed properly, data obtained using the survey method is next to useless. Find out why.While a lot of information can be gained from surveys as it is easy to get large samples using the method, results should be taken with caution because of its inherent weaknesses. This is the reason data analysts do not treat data obtained from surveys in the same way as those obtained using other means, that is, those that do not rely on people’s opinions or subjective judgment.So what are the weaknesses of the survey method? Below is a list with brief explanations.
Weaknesses of the Survey Method
1. Respondents protect their interestThere is really no guarantee about the truthfulness of the respondent’s answers. When dealing with sensitive or controversial issues, there is a tendency among interviewees to avoid answers that may be detrimental to their interests. They may not even answer the question at all.
2. Attitude is different from behaviorAs the famous expression goes: “Do what I say, not what I do.” A considerable number of research on the relationship between attitude and behavior has demonstrated that there is no correlation between what people say they would do than their actual behavior.In a recent study in the United Kingdom, for example, 99% of people interviewed said they had washed their hands after using the toilet. The truth is, as revealed by electronic recording devices, only 32% of the men and 64% of the women actually did it.People know what is expected of them, pretend that they do it when actually they don’t.
3. Responses are taken lightlySome respondents are not really predisposed to answering questions especially if it involves answering a series of long questions. Similarly, the interviewer may not be very keen about the data collection.
4. Poor memory among respondentsInterviewees tend to forget past events, places, or experiences. Their answers, therefore, are mainly estimates or rough approximations as their memory would allow them to recall those things.Would you rely on information recalled 20 years ago by a 60-year-old respondent? Of course not.
5. Answers can be manipulatedSome interviewees answer the questionnaires to gain a favor. People answer what they believe the interviewer wants to hear. This threatens the validity of the answer.
What Then Should Be Done?To get the most from using the survey method, particular attention must be given to the design of the questionnaires,selection of samples, and administration. For greater reliability and validity, other methodologies are applied to confirm the findings of a survey (see Triangulation).Reference1. Winterman, D. (2012, October 15). Handwashing: Why are the British so bad at washing their hands? Retrieved September 2, 2013, from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-19834975© 2013 September 4 P. A. Regoniel
When presented with information, how do you assess its validity or reliability? Can you distinguish fact from fiction? Here are 10 tips to ponder.I saw a film titled Primeval last week and I can’t help but get amused of the way the behavior of the large crocodile named Gustave is being portrayed. During the climax, Steven (played by Orlando Jones), cameraman of the news team that tried to capture Gustave, runs with all his might in his bid to outrun the literally galloping crocodile. Gustave, at the end of the film, was also trying to get inside the vehicle, ferociously snapping away at the passengers. So dramatic.I had such a good laugh because I know crocodiles cannot sustain long runs on land. They are not designed to do so. Crocodiles suddenly lunge when opportunity comes to catch their prey. Thus, they are called opportunistic predators. The attack usually happens at the edge of the water.Crocodiles cannot sustain long runs because lactic acid builds up easily in its muscles. I had readings and personal encounters on this fact as I once worked in a crocodile conservation facility as an ecologist. If the crocodile does not rest (just like the way you see lizards do it), it will most probably die due to too much strenuous activity. This is characteristic of cold-blooded animals. According to a recent study from the University of Adelaide, if dinosaurs were cold-blooded, they would not have dominated the world for millions of years .For this reason, I thought of writing up the following tips, to help discern fact from fiction, although I would say this is a tall order. In reality, it is difficult to see the truth when bombarded with a lot of conflicting information. These tips, however, can prove handy when reading material from the web and sort out reliable information from trash in view of enhancing your literature review.