Reliability, Validity, and Questionnaires

Dear Students,

Last night, one of you sent me an e-mail message that contained this question: "When assessing a research instrument, do the issues of reliability and validity testing apply to a questionnaire as well as a test?" Since this is a question that others of you might also have, I'm sending my response to everyone.

In response to the question about reliability, validity, and questionnaires, I think most folks would say something like "Absolutely" or "Of course they do" or "Definitely" or (if you'll pardon my French) "Hell yes!!!!" I've seen articles where the author used a questionnaire and dealt at length with its reliability and validity, and I've also seen articles where an author used a questionnaire and didn't say diddly-squat about the technical properties of the questionnaire. In the latter situation, I usually downgrade my evaluation of the study.

Sky Huck

P.S. Remember: the characteristics of "reliability" and "validity" are properties of the SCORES produced by using a test or questionnaire, not properties of the printed instrument. (See the warning on p. 87 and the top warning on p. 95 of our course text.)

Copyright © 2012

Schuyler W. Huck
All rights reserved.

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