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Reliability Analysis

Reliability Analysis

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Published by ClassOf1.com
"Once the factor analysis has done its job of organizing items into groups, it is time to see how well the groups of items hold together. This is the job of reliability analysis. Although there are many different reliability statistics, the most commonly used is the Cronbach’s alpha. The Cronbach’s alpha (with a Greek symbol of α) uses the associations among a set of items to indicate how well the items, as a group, hold together. Conceptually, the idea is that all of the survey items that are supposed to measure
a single underlying construct should be answered in a similar way by respondents."
"Once the factor analysis has done its job of organizing items into groups, it is time to see how well the groups of items hold together. This is the job of reliability analysis. Although there are many different reliability statistics, the most commonly used is the Cronbach’s alpha. The Cronbach’s alpha (with a Greek symbol of α) uses the associations among a set of items to indicate how well the items, as a group, hold together. Conceptually, the idea is that all of the survey items that are supposed to measure
a single underlying construct should be answered in a similar way by respondents."

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Published by: ClassOf1.com on Apr 09, 2013
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Statistics
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Sub: Statistics Topic: Reliability
*
RELIABILITY
 
ANALYSIS
 
Once the factor analysis has done its job of organizing items into groups, it is time to see how well thegroups of items hold together. This is the job of reliability analysis. Although there are many differentreliability statistics, the most commonly used is the
Cronbach
s alpha.
The
Cronbach’s alpha (with a
Greek symbol of 
α
) uses the associations among a set of items to indicate how well the items, as agroup, hold together. Conceptually, the idea is that all of the survey items that are supposed tomeasurea single underlying construct should be answered in a similar way by respondents. This similarity of responses indicates that the construct is being measured
reliably
* by all of the items. On the otherhand, if a person gives very different answers to items that are supposed to be measuring the sameunderlying construct, it is difficult to argue that these items offer a reliable measure of the construct.
In a sense, a Cronbach’s alpha (mor
e commonly referred to as the alpha) indicates the
average
associations among a set of items. Generally speaking, the more items there are in a reliability
analysis, the higher the Cronbach’s alpha will be. After all, if two items have a correlation of 
 
= .50,that is some evidence that the two items may represent an underlying construct. But if 8 or 10 itemsare all correlated with
’s of .50 or greater, then we can have a lot of confidence that
these itemsmeasure one underlying construct. Similarly, if there are only 3 items, and one of them is not stronglycorrelated with the other two, the overall average correlation will be quite weak. But if there are 8items and only one does not correlate strongly with the others, the overall average correlation will notbe greatly reduced. So the strength of the alpha depends both on the number of items and on thestrength of the correlations among the items. The strongest a
Cronbach’s alpha can be is 1.0. A
common rule of thumb is that when a set of items has an alpha level of .70 or higher, it is consideredacceptably reliable. Returning to our example of the Mastery, Performance, and Family items, we canalready
predict from the factor analysis that the Performance items will have the highest Cronbach’s
 
 
 
Sub: Statistics Topic: Reliability
*
alpha because the first factor to emerge in an exploratory factor analysis is always the one with thestrongest correlations among the items. Similarly, because all 3 of the Performance items had strongfactor loadings on the first factor, and all of the Mastery items had strong loadings on the secondfactor, we can predict that the alpha levels for both the Performance items and the Mastery items willbe pretty high. Finally, based on the results of the factor analysis, we can
predict that the Cronbach’s
alpha for the Family items may not be very strong. Recall that the 3 Family items originally split intotwo factors, and when they were forced into a single factor one of the items had quite a weak loadingon the factor. So our factor analysis would lead us to suspect that the Performance and Mastery itemsmay have acceptable alpha levels (i.e.
α
> .70), but the Family items probably will not.

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