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.