In part 2 of the Beginner's guide to Physics Practical Skills, we discuss the importance of validity, reliability and accuracy in science experiments. Read examples of how to improve and assess the validity, reliability and accuracy of your experiments.
Hey, I'm confused about the definitions for validity, reliabiltiy and accuracy for science subjects. I know they come up heaps so could someone help me out with what I should or what I need to talk about for each?
Reliability and validity are concepts used to evaluate the quality of research. They indicate how well a method, technique or test measures something. Reliability is about the consistency of a measure, and validity is about the accuracy of a measure.
It’s important to consider reliability and validity when you are creating your research design, planning your methods, and writing up your results, especially in quantitative research.
What does it tell you?
The extent to which the results can be reproduced when the research is repeated under the same conditions.
The extent to which the results really measure what they are supposed to measure.
How is it assessed?
By checking the consistency of results across time, across different observers, and across parts of the test itself.
By checking how well the results correspond to established theories and other measures of the same concept.
How do they relate?
A reliable measurement is not always valid: the results might be reproducible, but they’re not necessarily correct.
A valid measurement is generally reliable: if a test produces accurate results, they should be reproducible.