Reliability & Validity


Reliability & Validity

The issues of validity, reliability and generalisability need to be addressed in order for the research findings to be accepted as appropriate. Threats to validity and reliability can never be eliminated thoroughly, but researchers need to aim minimise the level of these threats.

It is noted that “reliability problems crop up in many forms. Reliability is a concern every time a single observer is the source of data, because we have no certain guard against the impact of that observer’s subjectivity” (Babbie, 2010, p.158). According to Wilson (2010) reliability issues are most of the time closely associated with subjectivity and once a researcher adopts a subjective approach towards the study, then the level of reliability of the work is going to be compromised.

Oliver (2010) considers validity to be a compulsory requirement for all types of studies. There are different forms of research validity and main ones are specified by Cohen et al (2007) as content validity, criterion-related validity, construct validity, internal validity, external validity, concurrent validity and face validity.

Measures to ensure validity of a research include, but not limited to the following points:

a)      Appropriate time scale for the study has to be selected;

b)      Appropriate methodology has to be chosen, taking into account the characteristics of the study;

c)      The most suitable sample method for the study has to be selected;

d)     The respondents must not be pressured in any ways to select specific choices among the answer sets.

Generalisability relates to the extent to which research findings can be applied to other various circumstances.


  • Babbie, E. R. (2010) “The Practice of Social Research” Cengage Learning
  • Cohen, L., Manion, L., Morrison, K, & Morrison, R.B. (2007) “Research methods in education” Routledge
  • Oliver, V, 2010, 301 Smart Answers to Tough Business Etiquette Questions, Skyhorse Publishing, New York USA
  • Wilson, J. (2010) “Essentials of Business Research: A Guide to Doing Your Research Project” SAGE Publications