Coefficient alpha is the most popular measure of reliability (and certainly of internal consistency reliability) reported in psychological research. This is noteworthy given the numerous deficiencies of coefficient alpha documented in the psychometric literature. This mismatch between theory and practice appears to arise partly because users of psychological scales are unfamiliar with the psychometric literature on coefficient alpha and partly because alternatives to alpha are not widely known. We present a brief review of the psychometric literature on coefficient alpha, followed by a practical alternative in the form of coefficient omega. To facilitate the shift from alpha to omega, we also present a brief guide to the calculation of point and interval estimates of omega using a free, open source software environment.
© 2013 The British Psychological Society.