Reliability involves examining the stability or consistency of a measurement of a variable. A variable is anything that takes on different values. Measuring a variable involves assigning quantitative numbers to observations about the world. Each individual observation of a variable is called an indicator. Sometimes, when a researcher is measuring a variable that is easily observable, one indicator may be all that is needed for an accurate measurement. Examples would be asking an individual to report his or her age or asking a person to self-report his or her gender. However, many of the variables that social scientists such as communication researchers are concerned with are not as self-evident or as easily defined. As such, researchers will often choose to utilize more than ...
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