Week Three: Reflection

I believe that the importance of this weeks task is more so than the previous weeks as being able to see and give constructive criticism to one’s own work is such a vital skill. This week there was a lot of applying knowledge of terms such as validity and reliability in order to effectively evaluate research. Firstly, you had to differentiate the two terms and their meaning. In terms of validity, there is internal validity, that may include how well extraneous variables that may affect the outcome are controlled and also external validity, which is to how far can you generalise your findings and results to other people beyond the original investigation. In order to have ‘valid’ results you must be certain that the findings directly support your conclusion and for instance in other general research, that you can establish a cause and effect. Reliability is if we or others repeated an experiment will the outcome or results be the same. During this week I have learnt to consider that although a study may have to some extent reliable results, it does not automatically mean that the results are also valid.
This week has helped to to see studies in a critical way and help me notice the flaws in the study that should be adjusted to enhance the quality of the research. However I realise if we take for example validity, if we tried to increase the external validity, this most likely would be at the cost of control and so internal validity would be lower. I think being able to recognise these issues before conduction research and then identifying them along the way is a key skill to have in order to be able to find effective methods to overcome and obtain the best set of results posible in a study.
All in all, so far I believe this course has really helped me to expand my thinking in this area and helped me develop key fundamental skills that I will undoubtedly need to hone in the future. It has helped me think deeper into information that I am given and it has helped me with skills that I can apply to subjects I am currently studying such as pyschology and helped me with giving more sophisticated evaluation of studies. I think the skills developed on the course will certainly be of use in order to become a better independent learner in the future.

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3 thoughts on “Week Three: Reflection

  1. I’m glad you feel the course is helping you to become a more independent learner, and I agree with your view of how it was difficult to establish full validity and reliability. However I also found it interesting how you defined internal and external validity, as we expressed them in slightly different ways. You said internal validity is about the effect of extraneous variables on your study, where as I defined it as how well did the study investigate what I intended it to investigate. But both of our explanations are valid.

    • And it is important to recognise that in research at this level, there are varying degrees of interpretation… asking questions, reading between the lines, exploring your research at all stages is a critical process and speaks to its credibility.

  2. A thoughtful reflection on what you have learned this week and how it fits into your development as a learner. I am very encouraged to see that you have recognised how this process of measuring validity/reliability should occur in the planning and conduction of research as well as after. It’s my hope that you’ll get a chance to apply these skills in a future piece of research either during your A-Levels or at UNI. 🙂

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