Reliability and Validity

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 26 October 2016

Reliability and Validity

Reliability is defined as the consistency of the measurement. The term can also be defined as the extent to which one instrument can be used in a similar way, every time it is utilized under similar circumstance, and with similar subjects. This is what it means to say that the measurements or the instruments are reliable. It is also the repeatability of measurement. Any measurement is considered reliable where the results of the same test are the same.

It is crucial to note that reliability cannot be measured, but it is given as an estimate. To find out the reliability of a measurement, it is important to carry out an experiment more than once or use the same instrument for similar experiments. There are two basic kinds of reliability: test/retest and internal consistency. The first type is the most traditional approach in estimating reliability. The argument behind this approach is that there should be similar results in test 1 and test 2.

The three basic concepts of this approach are: the measuring instrument should be implemented in two differing tests for every subject; the relationship between the two tests should be accurately computed; and the assumption that the fundamental condition should be made between the two tests. The other approach is the estimation of reliability by listing queries in a questionnaire that gauge the same concept. For instant, two groups of three queries can be written that gauge the same concept. Then the relationship between the two sets of three queries can be run to evaluate the reliability of the instrument.

It is important to know how reliability test ought to be. Some of the guidelines to reliability are . 90 indicates high reliability, . 80 indicates moderate reliability, and . 70 indicates low reliability. High reliability is revealed where the majority of standardized tests show a score of . 90. For majority tests, low reliability is where for majority of standardized tests reveal a score of . 70. This is equivalent to 49 percent consistent variation. Reliability estimate of . 80 are moderate, where the estimate is below .

60, it is usually considered inappropriately low (Worthen, Borg and White, 1993). Validity refers to the strength of conclusions, deductions and proposals. A more formal definition by Cook and Campbell (1979) is that validity is the best estimate of the accuracy and inaccuracy available, of a provided deduction, proposal or conclusion. It is basically the degree to which a test does what it is supposed to do. It is the subjective finding that is based on experimentation and empirical pointers. There are two basic types of validity: face validity and construct validity.

The face validity is the most basic and must be supported by other types. What is refers to is whether on the surface the measure seems to measure does what it is supposed to do. Face validity is the beginning point, and it is not valid for any use. The test has been used to indicate high reliability in punishing witches. From this test, it is estimated that 100,000 women argued to be witches were condemned and burnt. A measure that has construct validity is one that has been proved to measure what it is supposed to gauge.

Criterion, which includes predictive and concurrent; convergence, and discriminative validity are elements that contributive to construct validity. Validity and reliability of the development of experimental evaluations is a basic part of the scientific method. Without a reliable and valid method, accurate scientific results and deductions cannot be obtained (Worthen, Borg and White, 1993). Freud’s Theory of Personality vs. Neo-Freudian Psychoanalytic Theories Sigmund Freud was the first individual to come up with the theory that explains how the mind or psyche operates.

He developed his ideas from working with people suffering from psychological disorders. He held the belief that personality is made up of three basic structures. The three are the id, the ego and the superego. The id according to Freud is the structure that has instincts. He argued that this structure is totally unconscious. This means that the id does not have any contact with the realism (Mischel, 1999). The second structure of personality comes up as a child experiences the demands and limitations of the realism. This structure is what Freud referred to as the ego.

This according to Freud is the structure of personality that emerges to deal with the stresses and the constraints of the reality. It is considered the executive structure of personality. This is due to the fact that it utilizes reason in decision making. According to Freud the ego and the id lack morality. They do not take into consideration what is wrong or right. The moral structure of personality according to Freud is the superego. It is the branch that takes into consideration if an act is right or wrong. It is what is basically known as the conscience.

The consideration of Freud about personality is that it is similar to an iceberg. This means that most of our personality is in existence beneath our degree of consciousness. His argument is that most of the personality exists in this form. In examining people’s personality, there is revelation of the evidence of ego and superego. Where the two are partly unconscious and partly conscious, the id is the unconscious, which means that it is one that exists below our awareness. The ego utilizes the defense mechanism to solve the conflict between wishes of the id and the limitations of the superego.

Freud added that it is the contradicting demands of the personality structures that lead to anxiety. According to Freud, oppression is the strongest and most persistent defense mechanism. It is the mechanism that pushes the unacceptable demands of the id out of consciousness. It is basically the foundation of all the other defense mechanisms (Mitchell and Black, 1995). Neo-Freudian theorists are those who were in agreement with the ideas of Freud, but transformed them and used them to come up with their own theories. The ideas of Freud, though controversial have influenced a lot of theorists.

Most of the theorists support the idea of the unconscious psyche and its significance in childhood. There are other ideas that the theorists did not agree with. Some of these thinkers include Carl Jung, Alfred Adler, Erich Fromm, Erik Erikson and Karen Horney. Jung was in agreement with the idea of the unconscious mind. There are various reasons as to why most of these theorists disagreed with Freud. Erikson disagreed with the idea that personality is developed entirely from childhood experiences. There are a number of general similarities between the ideas of Freud and those of the neo-Freudian theorists.

There was agreement with the fact that the unconscious is the key influence of character (Mischel, 1999). They also agreed that there is influence on personality from childhood events. The Neo-Freudian theorist like Jung agreed with the ideas of defense mechanism and dream interpretation. The neo-Freudian theorists disagreed with the argument that development stopped at age five or six. They also did not agree with instinctual drives. The other thing that they failed to agree on is the emphasis on the pathological factions of personality, degrading and pessimistic.

From the point of view of one of the neo-Freudian theorists, the paper will evaluate Alfred Adler. He agreed with Freud on the importance of the initial years of one’s life. He also agreed with the unconsciousness of what drives us. He also agreed on the ideas of Freud on dream interpretation and analysis. His disagreement was based on the influence of the parents in a child’s development, people actively establishing their own destiny; availability of therapy goals; and the influence of superiority, not sexuality (Mitchell and Black, 1995). The Situation versus Trait Controversy

The situation versus trait controversy is a topic that has been assessed, discussed, analyzed and resolved by very many psychologists in the past few years. This controversy is basically the disagreement on whether it the situation or traits that are responsible for the character of a person. The debate is said to have been started by Walter Mischel in his title Personality and Assessment. The book offered to empirical arguments about the approach to personality. His first argument was that character traits have a relationship of approximately 0. 30 with the way individuals behave in specific situations.

The other argument is that the cross-situational constancy of character is about 0. 20 to 0. 30. His conclusion was that character traits are not positive predictors of the way people behave. He added that situations are more significant in people’s behavior. He also claimed that character traits do not exist in reality. This was supported by the argument that behavior changes with situation. His ideas arose a lot of debates on the issue with some people in support and others opposing. During this time, there were psychologists who were already carrying out researches to measure personality.

The ideas of Mischel were supported by the critics of personality. They were basically behaviorism theorists who claimed that the best explanation of behavior was the environment. They based this argument on the notion of psychology being a science of tangibles and observables as opposed to intangibles like emotions, character traits and thoughts. For some time this idea was adapted quite a number of psychologists (Mischel, 1999). The other side of the debate took effect from the 70s, where psychologists began accepting the innate states like cognitions that influence how people behave.

From this point of view, it is argued that the character traits are the ones that determine how people behave. This is the side of the debate that garnered more support that the situation one. Many of the psychologists now are in agreement with the fact that character traits exists in reality and that it is best suited in predicting behavior that the environment.

The agreement is that both of the experimental arguments by Mischel were partially accurate, but the relationships approximations of 0. 30 between character traits and the way people behave, and behavior across environments, were given by other psychological researchers to be 0. 40. The supporters of the situation side of argument did not anticipate questions about the interpretation of their empirical results. It was not possible to tell whether it was 0. 30 or 0. 40 that was the small correlation (Fleeson and Noftle, 2009). It was also not possible to tell how this compared to the relationship between environments and how people behave. The answers were provided by two supporters of trait psychology, David Funder and Dan Ozer.

They provided the answers by reviewing the different standard experiments in social psychology. These experiments were aimed at establishing how behavior is affected by environment. One of the studies evaluated was by Stanley Milgram. This is the study on obedience that employed counterfeit electric shocks to establish the way individuals reacting to hurting others. Here Funder and Ozer realized that the relationship between environments and the way people behave was from 0. 36-0. 42. This was almost similar to predictive capability of character traits.

Another study that nullified the work of Mischel was the findings of Seymour Epstein. His findings suggested that in one complete behavior over a considerable period of time, as opposed to viewing single situations, the cross-situational constancy of the way people behave can be normally as high as 0. 80 to 0. 90. This means that the trait side of the controversy seemed to carry more weight than the situation side. The trait side of explaining behavior is what is followed by most psychologists currently, although studies are always being carried out (Fleeson and Noftle, 2009).

References: Fleeson, W. , & Noftle, E. E. (2009). The End of the Person-Situation Debate: an Emerging Synthesis in the Answer to the Consistency Question, Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 2 (4), 1667-1684. Mischel, W. (1999). Introduction to Personality. Sixth edition. Fort Worth, Texas: Harcourt Brace. Mitchell, S. & Black, M. J. (1995). Freud and Beyond: a History of Modern Psychoanalytic Thought. New York: Basic Books. Worthen, B. R. , Borg, W. R. , and White, K. R. (1993). Measurement and Evaluation in the School. New York: Longman.


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  • University/College: University of Arkansas System

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 26 October 2016

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