ORI Curriculum Examples




Case example for Accuracy (i.e., Validity)

Definition : Accuracy (i.e., validity) refers to whether or not an instrument or method truly measures what you think it measures. Here is an example to illustrate the importance of accuracy in research:

In a study involving a weight loss program, the researcher weighs participants to determine if the program is effective in helping individuals lose weight. To accurately measure weight, the scale must be working properly. To check the accuracy of the scale, a 25 pound weight is placed on a digital scale three times to make sure that a 25 pound reading is found each time.

In another study, researchers want to determine whether participants have reduced their smoking.. To find out, the researcher asks the individual a series of a questions on a survey about their smoking habits over the last two weeks. To verify the accuracy of the survey responses, the researcher also does a test to measure chemicals in saliva that increase with smoking.

Discussion questions

1. What would happen in each of the previous examples if an accuracy check was not conducted?

2. What are some other ways to check for accuracy in these studies?

3. Why is it important to use accurate methods to collect research information?