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- Main article: Test consistency
In statistics and research, internal consistency is a measure based on the correlations between different items on the same test (or the same subscale on a larger test). It measures whether several items that propose to measure the same general construct produce similar scores. For example, if a respondent expressed agreement with the statements "I like to ride bicycles" and "I've enjoyed riding bicycles in the past", and disagreement with the statement "I hate bicycles", this would be indicative of good internal consistency of the test.
Internal consistency is usually measured with Cronbach's alpha, a statistic calculated from the pairwise correlations between items. Internal consistency ranges between zero and one. A commonly-accepted rule of thumb is that an α of 0.6-0.7 indicates acceptable reliability, and 0.8 or higher indicates good reliability. High reliabilities (0.95 or higher) are not necessarily desirable, as this indicates that the items may be entirely redundant. The goal in designing a reliable instrument is for scores on similar items to be related (internally consistent), but for each to contribute some unique information as well.
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