Archive for February, 2012

Reliability how important is it?

Sunday, February 19th, 2012


Reliability is one of the things that make a research worth paying attention to. When psychologists report their research as reliable, it means that no matter how many times they repeated a certain event, similar results would often occur.

However, why is reliability such an important factor when it comes to research? It is argued that reliability is important in research simply because it can tell you whether your experiment was any good or not.

An example I read on another blog which I thought was good to show reliability, was if your  weights tell you every time you are two stone lighter then the scales would be high in reliability as it consistently tells you, you are two stone lighter. This is similar to experimental research; if your experiment keeps giving you extremely different results when you tested it time and again, you would come to the conclusion that it is not a very good experiment.

There are different types of reliability researchers use in order to test their own experiments. The first one is called Internal Consistency; this means that people answering a questionnaire for example, should all answer in the same way depending on what type of group they have been put into e.g. extraverted people or introverted people. This measure is good because you can clearly see if the questionnaire is reliable and if it needs to be changed in any way. The second one is called Test – retest; this means that people might be given one test and then they repeat the test in order to gain reliable results. However, the problem with this is that if people have already been tested they might already know what to expect from the questionnaire and therefore their results might not necessarily mean that the questionnaire is reliable. The last one is called Interrater; this means that two people observed the same behaviour and they should agree on what is happening. Moreover, if the people agree on the behaviour then it can be suggested that this is reliable. However, the problem with this is that the two different people might have described the behaviour in the same way, but they might not agree on the meaning of the behaviour.

In conclusion, reliability is important when it comes to experimental research because it can show us whether what we are measuring is actually good. However, sometimes the way we test for reliability might not necessarily be reliable in itself.

Comments for my TA

Friday, February 10th, 2012

my computer is playing up it wont let me add anymore :/ ill keep trying.

Is it ethical to use info from the internet for research use?

Sunday, February 5th, 2012
As the joyous Facebook slowly takes over and ruins everyone’s life, forums overflow with discussion and just about everyone has a blog, the internet suddenly has a wealth of information on just about anything. People divulge their fears, opinions, views, and feelings on all kinds of subjects for all to see and do so behind the anonymity of their computer. What we must ask ourselves therefore is this; if someone posts a viewpoint, or opinion, or interesting conversation in a public domain where anyone can access it, is it okay for a researcher to simply come and take that data and use it in their own study?? I feel on many levels that yes, it is okay to use this information. If you put something in a public place then you are giving your consent for people to use that information. If a researcher quoted a discussion in a qualitative paper is it any worse than someone quoting that discussion in a blog? If anonymity is held then the ethical principle of privacy has been upheld. I do however see where there may be issues. If someone was posting on a support group discussion about an illness they have, this may contain some very personal and sensitive information and it could be suggested that it is morally wrong to almost expose that to people who would not normally read that information. Yes, the website is public but perhaps people go on there under the assumption that the only people who will read it are people who understand them and share similar personal experiences, not someone who is out to take their words apart and analyse them for scientific use. This is a subject matter which is difficult to answer. Perhaps if information is taken as a whole rather than individual quotes and examples then privacy won’t be invaded as much and less harm is being done because the research only talks about general themes around what they have read. A way around this problem is to open up specific forums where the researcher could ask people if they will willingly talk about what they want to know. This way the person knows exactly what their words are being used for. The internet is an amazing tool, with a wealth of free and easy to get to information, and this can be so beneficial for research as suddenly we are reaching people we probably wouldn’t be able to, and how amazing is that! It is important to discuss issues such as this though so that we have the freedom to use the internet without fear of our privacy being abused and our information being misused. I do however feel that public internet data, if used in an appropriate manner then it could really revolutionise how efficiently we can collect data.