How do you know whether your findings are valid?

Hello ladies and gentlemen and welcome to the first post on my blog, this
week I will try and answer the question, “How do you know whether your
findings are valid?”
Without further ado, here we go.

First of all you need to ensure yourself that the instrument you are
using actually measures what it is set out to measure. If you are to measure how
long a distance is in centimeters, don’t use an instrument that measures inches
as the outcome would not be correct, and if someone were to repeat the
experiment the results would not be the same. Therefore, make sure you’re using
the correct instrument so that the outcome is valid.

Measurements can also only be valid if there are no other factors than
the ones that we are trying to measure. If we are to try a lying detector that
measures the skin conductivity or heart rate (assume that lying increases your heart
rate). We must also take into account that there are other factors that will
increase your heart rate and skin conductivity, such things as sexual arousal, anxiety,
anger and other strong emotions. Using an instrument that measures heart rate,
to see if someone is lying may therefore not be the best method to detect a
lie. For this to work you have to make sure that all other factors are removed,
but not all of them can be.

For an instrument or a study to be valid you also need it to be reliable
(I will not be discussing reliability in depth). For an instrument to be
reliable the results you receive must be similar with no anomalies,
disregarding how many times you repeat the experiment.

So, to actually be able to say something is valid, you must first know
its reliable, and to know something is reliable you must do the experiment
several times, with different objects (or participants) over a long period of
time, with different factors.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this, and I hope that I was able to answer
the topic so that everyone can understand what I’m talking about!

Good luck with your blogs and I’ll see you guys next time!

”Insanity is doing the same thing over and
over again and expecting different results.”

Albert Einstein

Field.A (2009) Discovering statistics using SPSS, 3rd Ed.. London: Stage