Appraising Quantitative Studies: Validity, Reliability, and Applicability

In quantitative research, emphasis is put on the objectivity and conciseness of the employed methods. The position of the person conducting the study must not affect the results, which brings the particular researcher’s involvement to a minimum. Validity, reliability, and applicability are the key factors that are used to assess the results of this type of study.

While appraising the validity of a quantitative study, it is necessary to determine whether there is any possibility of bias in the research method. There are multiple sources of bias, including selection bias, information bias, contamination, and measurement bias. A careful analysis is needed to establish whether the study was subject to the risk of confounding factors.

Reliability is the factor that helps determine whether the results of the quantitative study are consistent and precise. In the case of statistics, it is crucial to assess whether the given results could also be obtained using a different group of subjects. Ideally, it should be possible to apply the numerical data to the population from which the test subjects were selected. Finally, the aspect of applicability helps ascertain whether the results of the study can be helpful in clinical work.

The factor of validity is more difficult to evaluate than reliability and is, therefore, the most important aspect to consider when appraising quantitative research. Validity helps establish whether the particular study measures what it was designed to measure without the influence of confounding factors. Since reliability pertains to estimating the consistency of the measuring instrument, this factor is easier to assess.

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