Friday, February 24, 2017

The Validity of Research (Writing Thesis and Dissertation)


The Validity of ResearchThe validity of the data is one of the most important aspects in conducting qualitative research. Validity refers to the degree to which a test measures what it is supposed to measure, consequently, and permits the appropriate interpretation of scores. Validity is, therefore, “the most fundamental consideration in developing and evaluating test. When we conduct the test, we test for a purpose, and our measurement tools have to help us to achieve that purpose, Geoffrey & Airasian (2009:154). In the context of my research validity pertains to the data and the analysis of the findings of the study. For the purpose of validity, I used Maxwell’s Typology (1966) on validity in qualitative research. 
According to Maxwell (1996) as citied in Lim,(2007:63), the validity in qualitative research can be categorized as follows: 

 The Validity of Research (Writing Thesis and Dissertation)
 The Validity of Research

a. Descriptive Validity
Descriptive 'validity' is that which is concerned with the initial stage of research, usually concerning with data gathering. The central issue is factual accuracy in the informational statements that describe what was observed and experienced (Winter, G, 2000). In this research, I used the Descriptive validity to validate interview data obtained from the ten teachers. I did this by giving them a verbal summary to them of the salient points from the interviews. The respondents then verbally endorsed the summary as representing their respective views. This further enhanced when I compared it with interview transcripts and made sure that I did not “read into the data”. I made sure that my personal views did not the actual data obtained from the interviewees. 
b. Interpretative Validity
Within the qualitative paradigm, interpretation is typically assumed as an inextricable (and, indeed, unavoidable) the element of data collection. On these grounds, Maxwell's segregation of description and interpretation is not only a false distinction, but effectively impossible. Interpretation is essentially couched within the rhetoric that the researcher uses to describe a situation and is mutually constructed between researchers and subjects. Quantitative researchers do much to dis-associate themselves from such interpretations, yet these too are inevitable in their categorizations and selection of data (Winter. G,  2000). 

In this study, I also used interpretative validity, by asking the participants’ perspective pertaining to my interpretation of the interview data. Mostly, the interviewees agreed with my interpretations, but there were also times when interviews changed my choice of words. This was minimal. Hence, I did try minimizing the intrusion of my personal views in interpreting interview data of the researcher in relation to their personal views and explanations. This help ensure that I did not misrepresent the actual views of the interviewees.  

c. Naturalistic Generalizability
Naturalistic generalization is the process of where the readers gain insight by reflecting on the details and descriptions presented in case studies. As readers recognize similarities in case study details and find the descriptions that reverberate with their own experiences; they consider whether their situations are quite similar to warrant generalizations. Naturalistic generalization invites readers in order to apply ideas from the natural and in-depth depictions applied in case studies to personal contexts. Melrose, S, (2009). In Stake’s view, naturalistic generalizations are conclusions arrived at through personal engagement in life’s affairs or by vicarious experience so well constructed that the person feels as if it happened to them. Naturalistic generalization emphasizes practical, functional application of research findings that intuitively fall naturally in line with readers’ ordinary experiences.

This form of validity is used to justify the authenticity of this study based on the concept of the readers in understanding the real situation in this study. On the other hand, in this position, the readers will be able to evaluate the validation of this study when they read the description in this study. 

d. Dependability
The traditional quantitative view of reliability is based on the assumption of replicability or repeatability. The Essentially, it is concerned with whether we would find the same results if we could observe the same thing twice. But we can't actually measure the same thing twice -- by definition if we are measuring twice, we are measuring two different things. In order to estimate reliability, quantitative researchers construct various hypothetical notions (e.g., true score theory) to try to get around this fact, (Trochim). The idea of dependability, on the other hand, emphasizes the need for the researcher to account for the ever-changing context within which research happen. The research is responsible for describing the changes that occur in the setting and how these changes affected the way of the research approached the study. 

This criteria of validity were used also by the reseacher in this study to prevent the possible errors in collecting and interpreting data so the data can be accounted for scientifically. Mistakes are often made by people or the researchers because of limited experience, time, knowledge. This way of validity were used by the reseacher to establish that the process of research can be justified through the audits on his supervisor.

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