Validity and Reliability Matrix

Reference: Cohen, R. J., & Swerdlik, M. E. (2010). Psychological testing and assessment: An introduction to tests and measurements (7th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

Completed by: Deanna Shelby, Shernard Robinson, & Julia Carlson for PSYCH/525

Validity and Reliability Matrix

For each of the tests of reliability and validity listed on the matrix, prepare a description of test’s application and under what conditions these types of reliability would be used as well as when it would be inappropriate.  Then prepare a description of each test’s strengths and a description of each test’s weaknesses.


TEST of Reliability





Test/retest administrations occur at two different times with the same test presented to the same group (Cohen & Swerdlik, 2010). The reliability of this test is assessed when querying “reaction time or perceptual judgments” (Cohen & Swerdlik, 2010, p. 144). An inappropriate administering of this test occurs when a person’s abilities skew test results (such as data retention, tiredness, repetitive simulated testing, intent) (Cohen & Swerdlik, 2010).

One of the strengths of test/retest is that this tool is able to measure over a stable period of time and gives an estimated stability to the overall picture (Cohen & Swerdlik, 2010). Researchers tend to gravitate towards this method because it refers to consistency within test scores. Scores are measured based on the 1st and 2nd attempt to look at the correlation. Researchers believe this is a strength because they are able to see factual numbers over a period of time (Cohen & Swerdlik, 2010). 

 Sometimes, characteristics being tested may fluctuate over time, thus rendering the test-retest reliability invalid- since it will not yield the same results on the retest aspect if the testing factor has changed (Cohen & Swerdlik, 2010). Outlying factors can also affect the retest aspect. If a factor completely changes over time, then the retest, although it may be asking the same material, may not apply anymore.

Test of Validity





Construct validity is an idea or variable designed to predict behavior or allow for certain findings to be made based on the test administer or questions being answered (Cohen & Swerdlik, 2010). For instance, a test predicted on the construct of affability. This particular example highlights a participants behavior in a perceived social environment as a means of explaining why a participants reacts a certain way during a particular social setting (Cohen & Swerdlik, 2010). Using this sort of test to prove a particular bias can be seen as an inappropriate approach to determining construct validity.

The test administrator is able to explain the behavior by creating a hypothesis. An example would be a student doing well in school and the construct would be smart or intelligent. Being able to label out of perception/bias can be helpful to the test administrators but also could be seen as a weakness (Cohen & Swerdlik, 2010).

The factors leading up to this test are unobservable and presupposed. Therefore, if factors in the test do not happen or behave as primarily predicted, then the test must be discarded and re-done (Cohen & Swerdlik, 2010). Also, if test takers have a different perspective on the testing information, this can also leave the test unpredictable, which would again render results invalid.

Describe two of the four methods of establishing reliability. How are these methods similar? How are they different?

One method is the test-retest method.  Test/retest administrations occur at two different times with the same test presented to the same group. This method tests the same thing at two different times. The book uses the ruler example; however another example would be giving a group of students a geography/history test at the beginning of a semester and then giving them the same test at the beginning of the next semester, the results should be somewhat similar (Cohen & Swerdlik, 2010). Another method to establish reliability is alternate-forms or parallel-forms. Administrators will give a parallel test (second test) after they have administered the first test. This helps to check for errors amongst the test and deems it reliable or unreliable (Cohen & Swerdlik, 2010). The methods are similar because each one uses two tests. Each test has the initial test and a follow up or second test. Both methods are looking for the same type of measurements.  However, these two methods also differ because in alternate-forms/parallel-forms, the administrator and test are looking for the average or mean. With test-retest method, the administrators and tests are looking for the same answer as in the first test. Also with this method, there should not be many factors that can skew or differentiate the second test because it is the same method, just at a different place in time. For the alternate-forms/parallel-forms, there are several factors that can contribute for this second test to differ from the first (Cohen & Swerdlik, 2010).                            



Cohen, R. J., & Swerdlik, M. E. (2010). Psychological testing and assessment: An introduction to tests and measurements (7th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

Validity, Benefits, & Liabilities of Criminal Profiling

Validity, Benefits, & Liabilities of Criminal Profiling

            Criminal profiling analyzes the validity of the information and research on which the criminal profile is based upon. Criminal profiling is a tool used within investigative psychology. As we any tool, there are liabilities and limitations of the use of criminal profiling. In order to understand the benefits, validity, and liabilities of criminal profiling, it is highly important to understand the definition. According to Bartol and Bartol, “Criminal profiling is the process of identifying personality traits, behavioral tendencies, and demographic variables of an offender based on characteristics of the crime” (Bartol & Bartol, 2012, p. 474).

 Criminal profiling may not be the best approach to some situations as some have questioned the reliability of such application. Profiling is not used often in the field by officers or professional psychologists, hence the questioning of validity. In Introduction to Forensic Psychology, the text states “in a survey of police psychologists, 70% stated they did not feel comfortable profiling and questioned its validity and usefulness”(Bartol & Bartol, 2012, p. 79). The term criminal profiling is phasing out and more professionals and officers are adapting to criminal investigative analysis (Bartol & Bartol, 2012). An issue that can come from profiling could be an error in classification. If the psychologist is analyzing based on cognitive, behavioral, and demographic features, he or she could make an error. For example, if the suspect had a certain demographic feature such as their race, this could affect the outcome. The professional or officers could have a bias based on a certain demographic.

Another example could be if it were a series of robberies in a small border town such as Nogales, Arizona, and the description was a Latino descent with torn clothing and poor hygiene. Based on the crime scene evidence and victim statements, a professional could make the assumption the suspect was an illegal alien. This could or could not be correct. Since profiling is largely based on behavior and personality, this could be incorrect. Personality can be skeptical depending on mood, or the social factors involved. This is where profiling may not be best and the issue of reliability and validity would come into play (Miller, 2011). Believing this would mean that all human behavior is dependable across a lifespan of numerous circumstances and outcomes. Another assumption that can create issues of validity in profiling is that certain psychological disorders apply to a variety of particular crime scenes (Bartol & Bartol, 2012).

Criminal profiling also has several benefits to psychologists and law enforcement as it can help determine what type of suspect the police should search for. This can help the process by being able to find the person quickly as they knew  the characteristics to look for. Profiling is used frequently with violent crimes like rape and murder. Due to the horrendous violent crimes, profiling can help law enforcement save precious time by knowing the psychological and behavior patterns of the perpetrator. This process can help with locating the next crime or the whereabouts of the suspect in question. By having this knowledge, law enforcement is able to move quickly in catching a violent person and potentially save more lives by making sure the person does not hurt anymore victims (Torres, Boccaccini,  & Miller, 2006).

Another strength of criminal profiling is that it helps law enforcement pursue another area. When there is not any substantial or even circumstantial evidence, they have another option to turn to. Psychological evidence could also help find the suspect faster by knowing his or her psychological and behavior patterns. Investigators are able to gain a higher level of insight by understanding certain types of criminal behavior and can help solve future crimes with similar characteristics (Miller, 2011).

With strengths and benefits to anything there are also liabilities and limitations. A limitation in profiling is assuming specific predictions about offenders and suspects based on data from previous cases and or clients (Bartol & Bartol, 2012).  Another limitation that professionals run into is their approach. Some look at the offender as one individual and miss key information. If the professional used a different approach that encompasses relationships, geographic information, and patterns, he or she has a better chance of finding the offender. This is a limitation because not all psychologists of officers use the same approach and can limit themselves by the idiographic approach. According to Bartol and Bartol,  “A liability of profiling has been speculated that the results are unverifiable and ambiguous” (2012, p. 101). Some say the results of profiling re interpretations and biased. Overall, the tool of criminal profiling helps in certain circumstances.

The use of criminal profiling in investigative psychology is a tool that is extremely useful but could have its downfalls. Profiling is used in a variety of avenues, for example, suspect based profiling, psychological autopsy, geographical and mapping profiling, and psychological profiling. (Bartol & Bartol, 2012). Criminal profiling can help law enforcement save time and resources by predicting behaviors and patterns from offenders. Profiling also helps law enforcement discover another option or tool when there is little to no evidence at the crime scene. Profiling may not be in the best interest of every case, but it can definitely help.


Bartol, C. R., & Bartol, A. M. (2012). Introduction to Forensic Psychology, Research and Application (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications Inc.

Miller, D. A. (2011, March). Qualitative Approaches to Criminal Profiling as Ways of Reducing Uncertainty in Criminal Investigations. Policing: A Journal of Policy & Practice, 5(1), 8, 33-40.

Torres, A. N., Boccaccini, M. T., & Miller, H. A. (2006, February). Perceptions of the validity and utility of criminal profiling among forensic psychologists and psychiatrists.. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 37(1), 51-58. doi:10.1037/0735-7028.37.1.51