Is it valid? Is it reliable? Can’t I have both?

Everyone’s favorite research topic is this week’s theme: validity and reliability.  We have a paper due this week, so no formal written or video response is required.  That just means I don’t need to try to squeeze this week’s video down to two minutes.  (Also, at some point, I need to backtrack and do one for the first week’s readings on defining sexual orientation.  Because of course I have to try and Do All the Things.  Also, does YouTube deliberately pick the single most absurd frame to use as a thumbnail?)

Now for the “annotated bibliography.”  Yes, I know those don’t exist in APA format.  They are a tool I became very fond of during my baccalaureate in English days, and so I continue to use them.  If the ANA ever decides to come out with our own nursing style manual, I plan to petition for annotated bibliographies to be included as an option.

So, I’ve found info on how to make a hanging indent in html.  It uses cascading style sheets (CSS) which is a bit more advanced than anything I’ve worked with.  (I’m old-school Geocities-type html.)  I’m also not clear on whether WordPress supports CSS.  So, for now, still no hanging indents.  I’m sure nobody reading this cares about that.  But after spending a weekend grading a mountain of papers and nitpicking all of my students’ APA formatting, it is almost physically painful to do it wrong myself.

Jaffe, A., Shoptaw, S., Stein, J., Reback, C., & Rotheram-Fuller, E. (2007). Depression ratings, reported sexual risk behaviors, and methamphetamine use: Latent growth curve models of positive change among gay and bisexual men in an outpatient treatment program. Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, 15(3), 301-307.
Initial reaction: if you are including gay and bisexual men, then why would you have a gay-specific intervention and not a bi-specific one?  Argh! The main reason for this article’s inclusion is the question of whether the Beck Depression Inventory is valid when used on gay men.  (I would venture that the question might be better worded, “Is this valid when used on any member of a marginalized population?”  But if you do want to focus on sexual minority men, then you need to look at between-group differences between gay and bisexual men.)  That is a reasonable question, considering that questions around pessimism, feelings of being punished, and others may be entirely rational and realistic responses to a person’s lived reality.  Those things might be causative of depression, but not necessarily indications of it.

McDowell, I., & Newell, C. (1996). Depression. In Measuring Health: A Guide to Rating Scales and Questionnaires (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
A good breakdown of the pros and cons of the Beck Depression Inventory.  Interestingly, it does address that the somatic components could result in false-positives for people who suffer from chronic pain.  I’m not sure it’s quite as simple as that.  It’s entirely possible to be suffering from clinical depression as a result of chronic pain, so to call that a false-positive bothers me a bit.  On the flip side, there is the notion that it’s depression that causes many cases of chronic pain, which still begs the question of whether you could really call that a false positive.  Add in the fact that certain types of anti-depressants seem to work on certain types of pain for reasons we don’t entirely understand and … yeah.  Chicken?  Egg?  Omelet?

Streiner, D.L., and Norman, G.R. (2008). Introduction and Basic Concepts in Health Measurement Scales: A Practical Guide to Their Development and Use. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Chapters 1 & 2 basically discuss why measurement scales are so much more complex in the health sciences than in other sciences and why it’s problematic that people keep inventing more and more scales, trying to improve them but also making it impossible to compare results from one study to the next.  Chapter 2 also discusses issues of types of validity and why not all are appropriate for all measures.  I’m particularly interested in the section on construct validity, as that seems the most likely type we would need to evaluate in validating the Workplace Climate Scale.


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