Encyclopedia Entry

Cronbach's Alpha

Alberto Trobia

Cronbach's alpha is a statistic that measures the internal consistency among a set of survey items that (a) a researcher believes all measure the same construct, (b) are therefore correlated with each other, and (c) thus could be formed into some type of scale. It belongs to a wide range of reliability measures. A reliability measure essentially tells the researcher whether a respondent would provide the same score on a variable if that variable were to be administered again (and again) to the same respondent. In survey research, the possibility of administering a certain scale twice to the same sample of respondents is quite small for many reasons: costs, timing of the research, reactivity of the cases, and so on. An alternative approach is to measure reliability in terms of internal consistency. Internal consistency would indicate that all of the items (variables) vary in the same direction and have a ...

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