Understanding Conscientiousness: Traits, Reliability, and Validity in Personality Testing - Paper Sample

Published: 2023-11-13
Understanding Conscientiousness: Traits, Reliability, and Validity in Personality Testing - Paper Sample
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Psychology Personality
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1530 words
13 min read

Definition and Description of Conscientiousness

Conscientiousness is defined as the characteristic sequence of feelings, thoughts, and conduct of being cautious and tenacious (Fite & Durik, 2017). It depicts the character trait that one wishes to perform a particular work or duty well and take responsibility for the required seriousness. Conscientious people tend to be active and pay attention to details in any kind of commitment they partake in. Resultantly, they are reliable and useful in the formulation of long-term goals (Fite & Durik, 2017). Conscientiousness forms part of the Five-Factor Model's five traits and the HEXACO representation of personality traits (Fite & Durik, 2017). In most cases, it is stimulated by genetic and environmental factors (Fite & Durik, 2017). Studies show that conscientiousness grows with age (Fite & Durik, 2017). Conscientiousness comprises about six sub-traits. Firstly, it encompasses self-efficacy, which gives an individual the personal judgment of how effectively one can think through the available courses of action and settle on the most efficient decision regarding the existing situations (Mike & Jackson, 2018). Consequently, one can make the right choices, which will ultimately help solve or seek solutions to the current problems in a given circumstance. Secondly, conscientiousness involves orderliness. Orderliness means neatness and a sense of harmony. It entails one's organization of every single item in its rightful place so that it is easy to gain access when needed. Similarly, it takes the form of effective planning when carrying out an activity to enable an individual to conduct his work appealingly and procedurally (Mike & Jackson, 2018). The third aspect of conscientiousness is dutifulness. This aspect is the ability of an individual to demonstrate a tendency to value and observe the set standards and moral responsibilities in unfavorable circumstances (Mike & Jackson, 2018). The fourth trait is an achievement-striving personality. It is a trait that accounts for one's skills, goal-oriented mindset, and self-resilience (Mike & Jackson, 2018). It enables people to persevere through the hard times to maintain focus on the achievement of set goals (Jackson & Roberts, 2017). The fifth trait is the self-discipline personality, which allows an individual to concentrate earnestly on a task or objective to realize a specific purpose (Jackson & Roberts, 2017). Consequently, people with this trait produce consistent success in their duties and obligations (Jackson & Roberts, 2017). The last but equally crucial characteristic of conscientiousness is cautiousness. People with this trait tend to take time and think over issues (Jackson & Roberts, 2017). They are equally task-oriented, thus focusing on a specific type of duty, giving it maximum attention. A perfect example of a conscientious person is a student who accomplishes all his school assignments on time and with substantial care while writing smartly and accurately.

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Method of Estimating Reliability

For an adequate measure of reliability in conscientiousness, I recommend that a test-retest reliability method be considered. Test-retest reliability analyzes the consistency of given results when the same test is repeated on the same sample but at different time intervals (Choe & Lindquist, 2017). It is best used when it is expected that the item of measurement will remain constant over a given period (Choe & Lindquist, 2017). The first step in measuring test-retest reliability involves conducting the same test on individuals at different points in time (Choe & Lindquist, 2017). The second step consists of calculating the correlation found in the tests done (Choe & Lindquist, 2017). Correlation helps to show the relationship that exists between the set results of an individual. Test-retest reliability is essential because it helps determine whether there is consistency in a test since several factors can influence the results obtained over a given timeframe. For example, factors such as changes in moods or external circumstances might have an impact on the results. Inevitably, the test-retest is essential because it examines how best a reliability method overpowers such factors with time (Noble & Constable, 2019). When the results are analyzed, the test-retest process is deemed higher when the difference between such results is non-existence or smaller. However, to achieve attractive outcomes, it is vital, firstly, to ensure that the questions or statements and activities involved are not impacted by the respondents' focus or mood (Noble & Constable, 2019). Secondly, it is crucial to minimize the effect of external aspects on the methods of data collection, while ensuring that all the tests are done. The samples are subjected to similar circumstances, to reduce inconsistencies (Noble & Constable, 2019). Lastly, the researcher has to consider that changes are likely to occur in the participants, and therefore, it is prudent to take any occurring changes into account (Noble & Constable, 2019). This method will best depict the consistency of personality traits such as self-efficacy, orderliness, dutifulness, achievement striving, self-discipline, and cautiousness, which are vital in conscientiousness. Here, a coefficient of between 0.7 and 0.8 will be considered acceptable reliability and hence consistency of the results.

Validity Evidence

The test-retest reliability on conscientiousness will largely be proved by, firstly, content validity evidence. This evidence comprises the connection existing between the procedures taken fundamental work conduct, and the worker personalities (Fisher & Tett, 2020). Resultantly, an examination done is considered crucial, like the work and worker necessities in terms of personality traits. Due to this critical linkage, it becomes easy to form rational perceptions of individual behavior toward work (Fisher & Tett, 2020). Since skills such as cautiousness are involved in conscientiousness, content validity evidence will be of great help in showing consistency. In identifying and establishing content evidence, it is essential to examine the critical work behaviors, workers, and activities involved (Fisher & Tett, 2020). Then, a description of the content of the work is interlinked to the selection policy while giving an account of the reasons why certain aspects were included or not included (Bostic, 2018). Importantly, it calls for the researchers to carry out a study on job-task assessments and distinguish the workers' fundamental skills, knowledge, and abilities (Bostic, 2018). After that, determine the relationship between the skills, activities, and the skills of the workers. The other substantial validity evidence in this test is construct validity. This evidence is established by comparing the analysis done to other similar tests to ascertain whether the two measures are correlated (Hehman & Leitner, 2019). It is a piece of sufficient evidence to show the relationship between the assessments done at different times. It can show whether external factors influence the personality traits of conscientiousness (Hehman & Leitner, 2019). The identification of this valid evidence takes into consideration several factors. Firstly, the expression of a group of theoretical conceptualizations and their interlinkages is done (Goldberg & Davidson, 2016). Secondly, the researcher formulates the possible ways of determining and measuring the hypothetical constructs proposed by the chosen theory in step one (Goldberg & Davidson, 2016). Lastly, the researcher examines the empirical hypothesis and its relations. This type of validity evidence provides a scale that helps determine whether or not the tests were sufficiently conducted (Goldberg & Davidson, 2016). It is equally approachable in cases of concept subjectivity like in the discipline of social sciences. Importantly, it shows the suitability of the inferences drawn in terms of measurements or the impressions made on the tests carried out.


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Hehman, E., Calanchini, J., Flake, J. K., & Leitner, J. B. (2019). Establishing construct validity evidence for regional measures of explicit and implicit racial bias. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 148(6), 1022. http://erichehman.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/2019-31826-002.pdf

Jackson, J. J., & Roberts, B. W. (2017). Conscientiousness. In The Oxford Handbook of the five-factor model. https://www.oxfordhandbooks.com/view/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199352487.001.0001/oxfordhb-9780199352487-e-18

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Noble, S., Scheinost, D., & Constable, R. T. (2019). A decade of test-retest reliability of functional connectivity: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Neuroimage, 203, 116157. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1053811919307487Appendix

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