When creating a research design, it is essential to take into consideration the potential study’s reliability and validity, as they determine the efficiency of the methodology used and the relevance of the techniques applied. Though both concepts are utilized to assess the quality of quantitative research, the ultimate purpose of the aforementioned indicators differs. While validity measures the accuracy of the testing method, reliability evaluates its consistency.
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Reliability indicates the extent to which the results of the research can be replicated when the study is conducted under the same conditions but in a different geographical location. For example, a highly reliable research will demonstrate similar findings in the US and Canada. According to Leung (2015), to evaluate the reliability of the study, one needs to check the consistency of results within the test itself, with different observers, and across time. It is critical to understand that a reliable method is not necessarily valid (Leung, 2015). While the results might be easy to reproduce, they are not necessarily correct.
On the contrary, validity shows the degree to which results really measure the factors they were supposed to evaluate. For example, the research, wherein IQ testing is used to assess the participant’s memory has low validity because the utilized method has been designed for other purposes. As explained by Leung (2015), to check the validity of the study, one needs to determine how well the methodology matches the established theoretical framework. Generally, valid method is reliable, as it produces accurate results (Leung, 2015). If the results are accurate, they are likely to be replicated in further research.
Both reliability and validity are significant for the translation of research in practice since the aforementioned factors evaluate the preciseness and correctness of the study. Lack of accuracy in the designed research translates to weak or impractical clinical guidelines that are hard to implement. Therefore, understanding the distinction between the two terms and evaluating them critically is crucial for a nursing professional as he/she approaches treatment from a scientific perspective.
Leung L. (2015). Validity, reliability, and generalizability in qualitative research. Journal of Family Medicine and Primary care, 4(3), 324–327. Web.