Accuracy in research is a research characteristic that provides a way to know how close are the sample parameters to population characteristics. So accuracy means how precisely the measured value or findings reflect the real or the original values. By measuring the accuracy of the research the researcher can prove that the research is generalizable, reliable, and valid. Validity, reliability and accuracy are three characteristics of research that make the research The measurement of accuracy can be done by using statistical techniques.
How to achieve accuracy in research
One way to achieve accuracy is through the use of right sample for your research. The right sample reflects the population that needs to be studied. It also has the right sample size that is representative of the population. The large the sample size, the more accurately it will represent the population. Large sample size although adds to the cost of the study. A representative sample yield a research that is also generalizable. When possible a probability sample should be used as it is more accurate way to draw a sample from the population. For qualitative research the researcher can use the method that best suit the requirement.
The researcher should have an eye for details. Numbers, figures, measurements, procedures, methods, and analysis should be done accurately. The researcher should make sure that none of the detail lost during the processing of data. The data has been recorded accurately and no data has been lost. There are several techniques that the researcher can use to avoid missing any detail. Peer-review is one way to conduct an accurate research. Triangulation is also helpful in achieving accuracy in qualitative research.
The researcher should know the type of bias that can impact the study. Any type of bias and prejudice should be avoided in qualitative studies. A biased study is an inaccurate study. The researcher can introduce bias in the study at any stage: be it the planning stage; the implementation stage; or the analysis stage of the research. There can be many sources of bias, for example:
- the study design is biased;
- the interviewer introduced bias in the research;
- during analysis the researcher gave more importance to one part of the findings;
- or, there is citation bias.
The researcher should be well aware of the chances of bias and should avoid any kind of bias. Biases can make study inaccurate and unreliable.
- Pierce, R. (2011). “Chap 7: Evaluating Information: Validity, Reliability, Accuracy, Triangulation.” Research Methods in Politics. Sage Publications. Pp-79-99. https://us.sagepub.com/sites/default/files/upm-binaries/17810_5052_Pierce_Ch07.pdf
- “Accuracy and Precision”. Wikipedia.