Monthly Archives: June 2013

Reliability and Validity

I started a post in the middle of May about how things had become increasingly hectic, I got two sentences in and then possibly got distracted by something else! Since April 8th I have been the University of Leicester’s Richard III Outreach Officer and it has been a massive learning curve and amazing experience so far. That isn’t what I want to write about though!

I have read Henry VII: The Winter King by Thomas Penn in the past. I enjoyed the book and the fact that there were references and evidence for the facts that were being explained. Correct or not, there was proof or at least the evidence behind suppositions. I was comfortable with the details I was reading. It was in black and white and explained clearly.

The other day I watched the tv programme in the BBC’s Tudor History season that was presented by the author himself and covered may of the facts about Henry VII from the book. However, some of them were wrong. I didn’t remember them from the book and I then found myself doubting many of the facts being delivered during the show.

So, after having a think about why I was doubting I realised it was the medium of instruction. I am more willing to believe something that is written down that I can see the references and evidence than a tv show. This is not necessarily a bad thing. It does make me doubt the news and other documentaries. What hasn’t helped with that situation was being told by one of the University’s academics that one of the documentaries I watched and was quite happy to accept the facts from wasn’t incredibly accurate and the academic who was presenting wasn’t well regarded in their field. I am not sure if this was bitterness at seeing someone in the same field on tv or if it was entirely true. The problem is, without my researching the whole subject myself, even I don’t know who is right and wrong in these cases! So I think I will stick to books and articles for my literature review and research, mainly because I can compare and criticise based on my own knowledge and reasoned research.

This nearly turned into a post about validity and reliability in research findings, but that may come later. So far I have completed a number of interviews for my dissertation, I have a few more in the pipeline and have data on three museums out of five or six so I am almost there on the data front. I have a lot of reading completed as well, but seem to be getting stuck into a topic and then finding more exciting information on it for more reading and I am not getting much writing done. I am hoping this will all come out in the wash as 5,500 words out of 30,000 isn’t very many at the moment!

I might even blog about my job soon too, well, the bits I can blog about now. The rest will have to wait!

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Filed under Dissertation, Essays