Statistical methodology: II. Reliability and validity assessment in study design, Part B

Acad Emerg Med. 1997 Feb;4(2):144-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1553-2712.1997.tb03723.x.


Validity measures the correspondence between a test and other purported measures of the same or similar qualities. When a reference standard exists, a criterion-based validity coefficient can be calculated. If no such standard is available, the concepts of content and construct validity may be used, but quantitative analysis may not be possible. The Pearson and Spearman tests of correlation are often used to assess the correspondence between tests, but do not account for measurement biases and may yield misleading results. Techniques that measure interest differences may be more meaningful in validity assessment, and the kappa statistic is useful for analyzing categorical variables. Questionnaires often can be designed to allow quantitative assessment of reliability and validity, although this may be difficult. Inclusion of homogeneous questions is necessary to assess reliability. Analysis is enhanced by using Likert scales or similar techniques that yield ordinal data. Validity assessment of questionnaires requires careful definition of the scope of the test and comparison with previously validated tools.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Reproducibility of Results*
  • Research Design*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Statistics as Topic*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires