# On calculating and using Cronbach’s alpha in the social sciences: What is the main point of these things?

in OCD12 days ago

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Cronbach’s alpha was developed by Lee Cronbach in 1951. This is an indicator we are using in the social sciences and other scientific disciplines, and it measures the internal consistency to items or empirical facts when measuring concept. And there is a way to measure concept, you cannot use too much freedom and arbitrariness there, but there should be reliabilty between the items internally, and also in relation to other concepts. We have SEM, Structural Equation Modeling, to measure what we have learned about reality since we were children, and used the concepts we were told.

SEM can be used as a scientific tool in many powerful positions in the world, and in many departments around the world to structure the ways the societies are governed and planned within. And Cronbach’s alpha is an indicator we use when putting all the concepts together isolated and in combination. We say that an alpha of 0.7 or higher is acceptable, and it is extremely difficult to get this alpha to be as 1.0. How do we calculate this indicator? Let k be the number of items. In such case, we take the variance for all items, and divide this variance and covariance in the following ways: k/(k-1) *(1 – (Sum variance for all items/Sum variance for all the scores on the variables)). Thus we can state to have a good model with good explanation, both for partial and holistic models, if we get a score of 0.7 or higher when using it. SPSS can be used, and the program calculates this alpha, but we should think about which indicators we have for the models we are using in research and in sciences, and what the real model really tells us about reality!

So, are we really enemies all of us doing the best, or are we just friends? We are friends with as many that we can be friends with, and we should take our love to the people we operate together with in daily lives, and the people we can imagine other places, and we have met them earlier in our lives. So, we are using some indicator centrally and in local areas, to explore, to describe or to find the causes and effects of doing something. We are social when we are two or more than two persons, and there should be happiness to meet pleasure and comfort several places.

So, Karl Gustav Joereskog is an excellent professor in the univariate, bivariate and multivariate communities that we find. He has been professor in Statistics in Uppsala University, and now he has retired from that position due to his age. But Karl Gustav in coming from Sweden, and he is a positive and constructive guy! And some say to me that he is better known in Chicago than in the whole Uppsala! And this tells us about all the travelling to Karl Gustav. And therefore we have the song: «I’ve been around the world».

Why are we using these indicators in the models we are using? Well, a model tells us about a representation of the reality, but the model is not really the reality, since we should experience and breathe in reality! But we use models because we do not have any better tool to explain what has happened, what is still happening, and where the future will be! Models are used to plan the future, and to explain something in past or in present. And since the lives are filled with uncertainty, we must do something about it, and the models are therefore our scientific support and aids. And we must calculate and collect things with the model we are using from time to time, since we are asking ourselves: Is there a better model to explain things than the model we have available today? And as humans, we cannot explain all things we are studying, experiencing and seeing, but we should select some variables or factors what we like to test against reality, and find good indicators on!

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Sverre Larsen

Kristiansand, Norway