‘It is not always supposed to be a writing related post’ – Nothing Beyond This!

'It is not always supposed to be a writing related post' - Nothing Beyond This!

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Caught in the maze of Cronbach’s Alpha!

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A typical research environment as well as an end-of-semester scenario is full of expressions such as:

“I have a thesis to submit and I am going crazy.”

“I hate SPSS.”

“My Reliability score is negative. Shit! I have to do it all over again.”

Well, it is not difficult to write a research paper. Despite the stress and fear attached with a thesis or a dissertation, it is one of the best things to do. I am not crazy if I say that. Trust me; it gives you an exciting experience and opportunity to satisfy that curious craving to explore new things.

Designing surveys/questionnaires, pre-testing, getting them filled, coding and finally analyzing the data, is usually the most dreaded moment. One of the reasons for such disgust is the trouble with reliability analysis. To simplify things, let’s take a look at the following article:

Reliability means that upon repeating the same instrument to collect data, the results generated are consistent. In this way, instead of the measure, the reliability of a research is more directed towards the scores. For this reason, a lower score of reliability shows low level of consistently and points at the inaccuracy of data. To test reliability, there are a number of different coefficients which measure specific parameters and their use differs on the basis of the context of a study. This article will focus on Cronbach’s alpha.

The value of Cronbach’s Alpha can vary depending on the number of total items, the way different items measure the same construct, and the extent to which each item is correlated to the other. A value of .6 to 1 is acceptable where a score closer to 1 is more reliable.

Since the magnitude of Alpha can vary on the basis of the internal consistency and correlation of the items, it is important to look at the corrected item-total correlation. This column basically incorporates the correlation between a question item and the sum score of the other remaining items. For instance, if the corrected item-total correlation of a question is .472, it shows the correlation between this question and the sum score of other (total) questions. The value of .472 shows that there is a positive moderate correlation between a question and the combined score of the rest of the questions. It also demonstrates how one item is internally consistent with the composite score of other items. Therefore items showing a very weak score for corrected item-total correlation can be fixed by deleting them. Also, rephrasing, reversed coding, or checking if items measure the construct correctly, can greatly increase the value of the coefficient of reliability. As a matter of fact, when items show perfect correlation, alpha equals to 1. Also while running a reliability check, the column titled as Cronbach’s Alpha if item deleted shows the impact on the Cronbach’s alpha which greatly contributes to the magnitude of alpha.

Thus, since reliability measures how consistent the scores of a study are after repeating it several times, Cronbach’s alpha is the most widely and accurate measure of coefficient of reliability. A value of .8 to 1 is considered highly reliable where alpha equals to 1 in the case when items are perfectly correlated. The magnitude of alpha is greatly affected by the number of the items, the extent to which they measure a construct, the manner in which they are phrased and coded and their correlation with other items. For this reason, the value could increase by deleting some items and by stressing upon raising the internal consistencies and correlation of items.

Writing Tip # 2

Spending a week to complete an important assignment requires at least an hour to scrutinize it. Don’t you think that?

We often forget revising our work. Well this isn’t only true for exam answers but also for homework assignments. Running out of time? No issues. Check for the following key issues which won’t take long:

– Quickly examine the format. Make sure there is a proper heading for every section and most importantly Page Numbers (remove that page number from the cover page!)

– Word does the magic with grammar and spellings!

– Look for a thesis statement. Find topic sentences for each paragraph. Ensure flow in your text.

– Re-read your abstract and conclusion; most important yet mainly ignored sections of any paper.

– Check for the proper referencing style

Bingo! Your paper is ready to be submitted.

Should I title this as ‘A Business Advertisement’ or ‘A Dead Lover’?

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While clicking this picture, a thought regarding the ways in which each item continues to inspire me to write, motivated me to share this with everyone. Excited, I thought this would be another start up business advertisement which would attract clients. Alas! Something came in the way. No, it was not an urgent call or a power failure, instead it was the memories of the past…

(UNEDITED- Running thoughts turned into words)

I still remember the day when I was 15. It was a school event but I had taken a day off because my father was hospitalized. One week had passed and there were no signs of recovery. Being a Cancer patient, I saw him lose his voice, his hair and finally his breaths. Only one thing was coherent from the beginning- hope. I hated the way those ‘so-called’ friends used to ask me if I cried looking at the whole situation (what a silly question to ask a depressed soul). Days passed by and I sobbed at a corner. I hid my tears in the darkness of the night not only because I was afraid to express, but also because I did not want to add in to the worries of my mother.

Despite skipping school that day, I got up quite early because of the sleepless nights that had become a routine. Immediately I headed to the lounge where everyone was. Few minutes passed and I saw my brother entering the house with a red face and flooding tears. I can still picture the whole scene; my mum fell down. My sister did not move for hours, and I was in a state of complete denial. Probably it is always difficult to accept such news- those which you never want to hear!

It is my dad’s 8th anniversary tomorrow. Verily, time flies. There are some important people and incidents which we can never forget. They are so important to us that we tend to value them more then material things. The pain of missing him is so intense, that I should probably stop now…

Writing Tip # 1

Oh we all know how much we love commenting about everything. And when it comes to writing, papers are filled with claims such as, ‘over 90 percent of the girls resort to a strict diet plan at least once in their life!’ Well, who said so? I guess there are several lucky ones who never need to (And sadly, I am not among them) Or assumptions like ‘sleeping less gives you a series of nightmares’ (Ask me)

But every piece of writing has opinions, judgments and claims, then why are we complicating things?

                                       Well, hang in there!

If you will submit such a paper, your instructor would surely give you a bad grade. Don’t worry! You just need to cite them. Always remember, every claim is followed by a fact that is authenticated using a citation. And what do I mean by that? Well, stay tuned for the upcoming citation guide.

The day I will get famous enough to be interviewed!

To all my readers out there, I am sure you would like to get introduced to the person behind this blog. I feel that the about ‘me section’ would not give you that idea. And I also know that writing pages about my interests and beliefs would neither inspire you nor would it promote my business. Therefore, I had an idea!

The following is a dream interview. Yes, I like fantasies. Read it and find out!

Interviewer: Tell me about yourself

Me: Oh wow. This is my favorite question- the all time famous interview question where I keep on repeating my already developed speech lol. Well, I did my Bachelors in Social Sciences and majored in Psychology. I am currently doing my MPhil in Social Sciences and a summer course related to Research. And apart from the academic details, I guess shopping, food, badminton and writing defines me.

Interviewer: Now that is interesting. So what motivated you to opt for Psychology as a major subject?

Me: Well I guess it was just a discovery- that’s how love happens! If you look at my academic background, you will find me studying medical, engineering and social sciences. Weird, eh. Not really. The strange part is the fact that when you tell people you are a Psychology student, they step back. Trust me, we don’t read minds! So people need to get over this myth. When I attended a mandatory class on Introduction to Psychology, the branch of Psychoanalysis inspired me. Maybe that is mainly because of my belief about it. Childhood does influence our behaviors later in life. It is the early relationship with your parents that play a significant role in what you become and how you behave. Therefore, you can just say that it was my own self and my curiosity about life that made me opt for Psychology.

Interviewer: So what did you discover? I hope it is not a personal question.

Me: It is.

(Silence)

Oh c’mon, I did not mean to embarrass you. I discovered an easy way out i.e. to blame my parents haha. Well, jokes apart, let’s move to the next question

Interviewer: Umm, although I have never studied Psychology, but your answers tell me you are hiding something or maybe you don’t want to disclose things and…

Me: Get to the point lady… I don’t like to judge others, so I expect the same!

Interviewer: Uh-oh, yes, you are right. Sorry. So I was thinking that what activities do you generally have?

Me: Same, like any other single looking girl would have. Haha. TV shows, computer, pets… oh I miss my fishes… And of course writing!

Interviewer: What do you like to write about?

Me: Hmm… Stories, I like to create them. I turn my imaginations into words. I love it. Apart from that I am good with Psychology, Education, Statistics, Management and other related disciplines. Oh by the way, I love SPSS.

Interviewer: Woah, SPSS. I know how hard that is. Just hearing the name gives me a headache!

Me: Haha, I know it does. But I love it. It is my area of expertise. And the more I know the more I want to dwell in. It is like a passion.

Interviewer: So I guess your freelancing career incorporates all these fields of writing?

Me: For sure. I have been working for the past 6 years. I have written about many topics in several disciplines, some of which I mentioned previously. However, I simply adore Psychology related cases and those papers which require SPSS.

Interviewer: Oh Yes. How can we forget about SPSS.
(smile)

Interviewer: So what is writing to you?

Me: It’s magic. It is innovation and power. Think about the day you get admitted to a school. That’s the time you actually begin to write. Crayons transform into pencils and pen eventually paves its way to the keyboard.

Interviewer: Well, if writing means so much to you, than why have you chosen the field of academic writing? I mean, you could have earned more by writing for a magazine

Me: I would have. Actually, I plan to publish some of my work quite soon. But for now, I want to focus on my freelancing career. It is not only a source of income but it is a medium whereby which I can help people. Maybe, my work can make them pass a grade and help them become successful enough that someday they look behind and pray for the person who did their assignments!

Interviewer: Aww… now that is quite typical of a philanthropist.

Me: Haha, no! That aww was rather typical of a young lady

Interviewer: Hehe. So would you like to give a message to your readers (if there are any, lol) or promote your business?

Me: I would just remind people around that this place is all about struggle. So never give up. Try your best when it comes to studies. It’s okay to bunk classes and rag your juniors. But it is also important to focus on achieving something so that when you turn back, you will be proud of yourself. Attyguide would help you with all your possible study related issues. If you are stuck with an assignment, Attyguide will do it for you. Price can be negotiated. And if you don’t want to pay, Attyguide will advice and direct you. After all, success is what it wants for you!

Interviewer: Thank you very much!

Me: Anytime.