Issues of reliability and validity are critical in the choice of research designs and methods
Business Research Methods
November 26th 2013
Word Count: 1391 (Not including references)
The following essay will discuss the importance of reliability and validity of research, both at the research design and research method stage. It will show how critical they are in choosing a research design by using a longitudinal research design and the semi-experimental. It will also look into a qualitative and quantitative example to further the understanding of how critical reliability and validity are, using the example of questionnaire based ...view middle of the document...
If the research is replicable then it can be considered reliable, meaning if another researcher posed the same question then that person would find the same answers, or if the research taken is repeated, then the answer will remain the same. The validity of research is critical throughout the research process. It is simply - is the research undertaken valid to the question being posed and is the data gathered relevant and will it help in answering the research question. Kothari (2004) says “Validity is the most critical criterion and indicates the degree to which an instrument measures what it is supposed to measure”. When choosing the research design and the research method, both must be tested for reliability and validity throughout each part of the process.
The reason why reliability and validity in research is so important is that it supports the answer to the question so greatly that its intended audience has no choice but to agree with it. The audience will not be able to criticise or argue with the conclusion/answer because the research undertaken is both reliable and valid; Walliman (2011) explains this, “To argue in support of a concluding statement, you need to demonstrate that the premises are true. This may not be straightforward as truth is often difficult to pin down. Evidence in the form of data confirmation or agreement amongst experts will help to substantiate the strength of your claim. In research, evidence will often be new data generated by the project, so the reliability of sources and the methods of data collection must be clearly explained and justified.”
To emphasise further, the importance reliability and validity within research, the following will show two types of research design that highlight the issues they have with regards reliability and validity. The use of longitudinal research as a design shows different issues with its different type of study. Longitudinal design can consist of a panel study or a cohort study. Taking first the panel study – If a researcher were to take a panel of managers from one organisation in order to map the changes of their business, because it is longitudinal it is a survey taken more than once over a period of time the researcher may finds problems with attrition. The business may have folded within the set time frame that the researcher wanted to conduct the research, managers may leave and new ones come in, the business itself may have changed through mergers or simply gone out of business rendering the research incomplete and therefore invalid. Using the same example the sample taken for the survey may not want to take part in all the surveys or is not available for the next wave of data collection rendering it unreliable research. Babbie (2007) explains this more accurately “Some of the respondents studied in the first wave of the survey might not participate in later waves. The danger is that those who drop out of the study may be atypical, thereby distorting the results of...