The Process of Enhancing Validity, Reliability, and Ethics in Research


Faculty of Multimedia, Tabriz Islamic Art University, Tabriz, Iran


Many types of research are carried out in the field of ELT. Therefore, different types of studies are performed by post-graduate students, teachers, professors, and researchers. However, the main concern of the present article is that whether the post-graduate students, teachers, and professors have the necessary knowledge on three important research points: validity, reliability, and ethics. To this end, this article discusses these three issues and sheds some light on them. In fact, validity is concerned with the correctness of inferences according to the results and instruments. Meanwhile, reliability deals with the quality and consistency of the data collection procedures. In order to calculate the reliability of the data, Cohen Kappa’s inter-rater agreement is presented and explained by means of a vivid example. Finally, ethics is an area of moral philosophy concerning the rules by which behavior needs to be directed. Finally, some means and ways of increasing and enhancing the validity, reliability, and ethics of the research are introduced and elaborated on. By providing comprehensive details and vivid examples, this article can be useful and helpful to post-graduate students, teachers, professors, and researchers in carrying out research and ensuring and quarantining their data, data collection procedures, and instruments.


Allwright, D., & Baily, K. M. (1991). Focus on the language classroom: An introduction to classroom research for language teachers. Cambridge University Press.
Bernard, H. R. (2005). Research methods in anthropology: Qualitative and quantitative approaches. Rowman Altamira.  
Blaxter, L., Hughes, C., & Tight, M. (2006). How to research. Open University Press.
Burns, A. (2003). Collaborative action research for English language teachers. Cambridge University Press.
Cadman, K. (2005). Towards a ‘pedagogy of connection’ in critical research education: A real story. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 4(2), 353-367.
Cohen, L., & Manion, L. (1994). Research methods in education (4th ed.). Routledge.
Cohen, L., Manion, L., & Morrison, K. (2000). Research methods in education (5th ed.). Routledge.
Creswell, J. W. (2003). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches (2nd ed.). SAGE Publications.
Engel, R. J., & Schutt, R. K. (2005). The practice of research in social work. SAGE Publications.
Eskey, D. (2005). Reading in a second language. In Hinkel, E. (Ed.). Handbook of research on second language teaching and learning, (pp. 563-580). Lawrence Erlbaum.
Flick, U. (2006). An introduction to qualitative research. SAGE Publications Ltd.
Fraenkel, J. R., & Wallen, N. E. (2008). How to design and evaluate research in education (5th ed.). McGraw-Hill.
Gay, L. R., & Airasian, P. (2000). Educational research: Competencies for analysis and application (6th ed.). Prentice Hall. 
Hinkel, E. (2005). Handbook of research in second language teaching and learning. Routledge.
Kiely, R. (2009). Small answers to the big question: Learning from language program evaluation. Language Teaching Research, 13(1), 99-116.
Lambert, C. (2010). A task-based needs analysis: Putting principles into practice. Language Teaching Research, 14(1), 99-112.
LeCompte, M., & Goetz, J. (1982). Problems of reliability and validity in ethnographic research. Review of Educational Research, 52(1), 31-60.
Lincoln, Y. S., & Guba, E. G. (1985). Naturalistic inquiry. SAGE Publications.
Lynch, B. K. (1996b). Language program evaluation: Theory and practice. Cambridge University Press.
Maxwell, J. A. (2004). Qualitative research design: An interactive approach. SAGE Publications.
Merriam, S. B. (1998). Qualitative research and case study applications in education. Jossey-Bass.
Murphy, E., & Dingwall, R. (2001). The ethics of ethnography. In Atkinson, P., Coffey, A., Delamont, S., Lofland, J. & Lofland, L. (Eds.). Handbook of ethnography (pp. 339-351). SAGE Publications.
Nunan, D. (1999a). The learner-centered curriculum. Cambridge University Press.
Nunan, D. (1999b). Research methods in language learning (8th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
Patton, M. Q. (1990). Qualitative evaluation and research methods (2nd ed.). SAGE Publications.
Peacock, M. (2009). The evaluation of foreign-language-teacher education programs. Language Teaching Research, 13(3), 259-278.
Porte, G. K. (2002). Appraising research in second language learning. John Benjamins.  
Richards, J.C. & Schmidt, R. (2002). Longman dictionary of language teaching and applied linguistics (3rd ed.). Longman.
Taylor, K. L. & Dionne, J. (2000). Accessing problem solving strategy knowledge: The complementary use of concurrent verbal protocols and retrospective debriefing. Journal of Educational Psychology, 92(3), 413-425. 
Zohrabi, M., & Farrokhi, F. (2006). A dictionary of research terms in applied linguistics. Mehr Iman Publications.
Zohrabi, M. & Farrokhi, F. (2015). A dictionary of research in language teaching. Mortaza Dasht Publications.