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The Reliability of Aggregated Public Opinion Measures

Bradford S. Jones and Barbara Norrander
American Journal of Political Science
Vol. 40, No. 1 (Feb., 1996), pp. 295-309
DOI: 10.2307/2111703
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2111703
Page Count: 15
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The Reliability of Aggregated Public Opinion Measures
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Abstract

Using generalizability theory, we discuss the O'Brien (1990) method of aggregate-level reliability assessment. We contrast this theoretical conception of reliability with the theory of individual-level internal consistency. The methodology used is the O'Brien (1990) aggregate-level reliability technique for the R:A design, where "R" denotes that survey respondents reside or are nested within aggregate units (A). The aggregate unit in this analysis is the state. One-way analysis of variance is used to estimate reliabilities. Individual-level measures of reliability are inappropriate techniques when one is evaluating the reliability of aggregated measures of public opinion. Estimating aggregate-level reliability is methodologically simple and should be a common practice among the many researchers using aggregate-level variables created from individual-level data.

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