Reliability vs. Validity

Table of Content

            In this paper, I intend to evaluate whether the following websites are reliable and valid as sources of documentation to be used in research assignments.

            In the case of, I doubt the reliability of this website as a research source because there is no governing framework that controls the consistency of the material.  Anyone at any time can upload or revise articles, and no source material is required.  With such a haphazard system, the material surely cannot be reliable.  In addition, if you look at their material on alternative health, you can see that no fairness or moderation exists at all.  Rumors that Big Pharma pays authors to post articles that cast alternative treatments in a negative light appear to be true, and so therefore, the validity of the information must be called into question.

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              The General Motors Corporation website was designed with one purpose in mind:  the promotion of their products and services.

Therefore, if you want a source that spouts the GM party line, then I would say that the GM site is reliable, as it consistently promotes itself above all else.  However, whether the information is true or not is another question and I would be highly suspicious of the validity of this website as a source for unbiased information.

            The American Psychological Association website was designed with the purpose to communicate information about specific helping professions to students and professionals.  I’d say that it serves this purpose very consistently, and so is a reliable source of information.  Also, because the APA sets the standards within the profession and because the organization itself is known to both hold and promote high ethical standards, the information it offers should be considered valid.

            The Arizona Department of Health Services website was designed to communicate to the public information about the rules, regulations and procedures regarding state health services, such as licensing and certification, birth and death certificates, mental/behavioral health, etc.  As the site consistently meets these information goals, I’d say the site is reliable.  Also, because the site is an official site run by a state department, I’d say that the information is coming directly from the source and so can be considered accurate and valid in its representation of what the ADHS is doing.

            The website appears to be a place where students upload the papers they’ve written to share with other people free of charge.  From the point of view of using this information as a source, I’d say that this site is not reliable since these students are not experts in their fields and therefore, the material on the site can hardly be considered consistent.  As for validity, there is no way to tell if these essays are accurate in the information they convey, so I’d say this site is not valid in terms of using it as a resource for a research assignment.

              The website Coffee Sage: Blog about Coffee ( is an opinion blog about all things coffee.  I’d say this blog is consistent in its presentation of all things coffee and so is a reliable source of information. If you are looking for opinions about coffee and coffee gadgets, this is what you will get here. However, since bloggers are often sponsored under the table by corporations, I question the validity of this site.  You see no mention of Starbucks being a corporate sponsor and yet there are many mentions of Starbucks in the posts.  Therefore, I would say that due to a rather clear bias, this site is not valid.

            Time Magazine is a well-respected news source.  The magazine is consistent in its reporting and analysis of world and national events and uses high-quality journalists who have been vetted and who have experience.  Therefore, I would consider Time Magazine to be a consistent and reliable source for the information that it delivers.  However, whether the source is valid is another question.  I think most people would believe that its reporting is accurate, but, in fact, I feel that the reporting reflects the times all too well in that over the last decade, the magazine has come to show a more conservative tone.  In addition, can one truly trust a news source that is run by a giant corporation, such as Time-Warner?  Giant corporations do what is in their own self-interest, and because of that, I would argue that Time Magazine is not a valid research source.

            The Washington Post is a prestigious daily newspaper out of Washington, D.C.  It is famous for its political reporting, although once it had to return a Pulitzer Prize because a story was fabricated.  In spite of that, it seems to be consistent in its reporting and could be considered a reliable source.  I would say, however, that it is not a valid source since at one time it was considered to have a liberal bias but in recent years has developed a more conservative tone.

            The Academy of Management Journal’s goal is to publish empirical research about all aspects of management issues.  Since the AMJ is consistent in this goal, the AMJ can be considered reliable as a source.  Since the AMJ is a peer-reviewed journal which uses a strict double-blind review procedure, which is what one should look for in a journal, the AMJ can be considered a valid source.

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