Need Question Answered

M. Jane Harper jharper at ITSA.UCSF.EDU
Fri May 7 20:26:07 EST 1993


On 6 May 93 ltorre at eis.calstate.edu asked:
>Can someone out there help me distinguish between the scientific terms:
>		-Accuracy
>		-Reliability
>		-Validity

"Accuracy" is not a technical measurement term which, to my knowledge, has a
meaning outside its common one.  "Reliability" means the extent to which an
instrument reproduces results given the same analysand.  In other words, if
you and I (or Machine A and Machine B) rate someone (or some thing) on a
characteristic and we get identical or closely correlated results, the tool
we used to perform the rating has a high reliability.  "Validity" is a related
concept which refers to the extent to which an instrument measures what it is
intended to measure.  If I stick a thermometer in someone's mouth, I will get
a temperature, not a blood pressure; the thermometer is a valid measure of
temperature and an invalid measure of blood pressure.

Jane Harper
Doctoral Student, Neuroscience/Nursing
University of California at San Francisco
jharper at itsa.ucsf.edu



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