Applications of generalizability theory and their relations to classical test theory and structural equation modeling

Psychol Methods. 2018 Mar;23(1):1-26. doi: 10.1037/met0000107. Epub 2017 Jan 23.


Although widely recognized as a comprehensive framework for representing score reliability, generalizability theory (G-theory), despite its potential benefits, has been used sparingly in reporting of results for measures of individual differences. In this article, we highlight many valuable ways that G-theory can be used to quantify, evaluate, and improve psychometric properties of scores. Our illustrations encompass assessment of overall reliability, percentages of score variation accounted for by individual sources of measurement error, dependability of cut-scores for decision making, estimation of reliability and dependability for changes made to measurement procedures, disattenuation of validity coefficients for measurement error, and linkages of G-theory with classical test theory and structural equation modeling. We also identify computer packages for performing G-theory analyses, most of which can be obtained free of charge, and describe how they compare with regard to data input requirements, ease of use, complexity of designs supported, and output produced. (PsycINFO Database Record

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Models, Theoretical*
  • Psychological Theory*
  • Psychology / methods*
  • Psychometrics / methods*
  • Research Design*