Multiple Sources

Social science researchers are on the right track toward reliable data when they use multiple data sources. Using two or, preferably, 3 or more data sources is required if we are to optimize our confidence in the reliability of the data. However, researchers using multiple sources of data should establish rules/standards/procedures for dealing with conflicts/differences in data from different sources. For example, suppose data in an organization’s facility reports is not consistent with data in daily register reports? Or, suppose data in daily register reports is not consistent with observational data? Should we make additional observations?, modify timing and duration of observations?, or do we press ahead with our observational data and undertake additional research on the daily register reports? Or should we do both? Or neither and, instead, obtain date from a third source—and what do we do if data from the third source is not consistent with data from one or more of our other sources?
We should not, as is usually the case, make results of multiple-data-source investigations amalgams of conflicting or differing data. Instead, we should establish rules/standards/procedures that guide our research so that we produce consistent data from multiple sources. Only then will we optimize our confidence in the reliability of the data.

About georgebeam

George Beam is an educator and author. The perspectives that inform his interpretations of the topics of this blog–-as well as his other writings and university courses -–are system analysis, behaviorism, and Internet effects. Specific interests include quality management, methodology, and politics. He is Associate Professor Emeritus, Department of Public Administration; Affiliated Faculty, Department of Political Science; and, previously, Head, Department of Public Administration, University of Illinois at Chicago
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One Response to Multiple Sources

  1. Pingback: United States Engaged in Perpetual War | George Beam's Blog

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