Researcher Responsibility with Data Reporting

Researchers have several responsibilities with regard to data reporting. Preeminently, it is imperative that they do not lie or otherwise intentionally skew or misrepresent data. They must also provide a full set of descriptive statistics to not over-emphasize results. Further, researchers should recognize limitations of methodology, as well as recognize statistical competence (or lack thereof) of their audience.

As an English teacher, I was particular drawn to McMillan’s explanation of measurement validity and its correlation to interpretation and inferencing. Validity is defined as “the extent to which inferences are appropriate and meaningful” (McMillan, 2007, p. 131). Evidence must be present to support a researcher’s qualitative evaluation. This is similar to criminal theory – charges must be backed by adequate proof.

In tandem with validity of results, reliability must be proven, and is “best established before the research is undertaken” (McMillan, 2007, p. 142). In addition, the type should be consistent with the intended purpose and utilization of the results. Adequacy of research intentions and methods seems paramount.

Additionally, qualitative findings calls for a researcher to provide an explanation of biases and perspectives, and consider both context and the “multiple realities represented in participant perspectives” (McMillan, 2007, p. 273). This is necessary to establish credibility of the study, and provides further support that research is most effectively conducted when “we begin with a research question or problem and then select the methods that will provide the most credible answers” (McMillan, 2007, p. 273).

McMillian, J. H. (2007). Educational Research: Fundamentals for the Consumer 6th ed. Pearson.

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