Measuring a variable (anything that can take on different values) involves assigning quantitative [Page 1425]numbers to observations about the world. The reliability of a measurement relates to the stability or consistency of the results of that measurement. For example, a person would be surprised if he or she stepped on a scale one day and weighed 100 pounds and stepped on the same scale the next day and weighed 200 pounds. This scale would not be very reliable because the weight was not measured consistently at the two time periods. This entry discusses different types of research designs and assessments of reliability that are relevant in each case. The entry also discusses ways in which researchers can improve reliability in their measured variables....
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