Validity and reliability studies

Emily White, Bruce K. Armstrong and Rodolfo Saracci

in Principles of Exposure Measurement in Epidemiology

Second edition

Published in print February 2008 | ISBN: 9780198509851
Published online September 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780191723827 | DOI:
Validity and reliability studies

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This chapter covers the design, analysis, and interpretation of validity and reliability studies, particularly for exposure measures used in epidemiologic studies. It covers both intramethod (e.g., test-retest) reliability studies and intermethod reliability studies (e.g., in which a measurement method to be used in an epidemiological study is compared to a more accurate but not perfect method). Measures of reliability are primarily important for what they reveal about the validity of a measure, and this concept is emphasized for both design and interpretation of reliability studies. The choice of an analysis technique depends on whether the exposure is measured as a continuous variable or a categorical variable and whether the study is a validity or intermethod study vs. an intramethod study. For intramethod studies, versions of the intraclass correlation coefficient are used for continuous exposure variables and versions of kappa are used for categorical variables.

Keywords: correlated errors; method comparison studies; inter-rater reliability; intraclass correlation coefficient; Cohen's kappa; weighted kappa; sensitivity; specificity; within-subject variance; coefficient of variation

Chapter.  15424 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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