AJEC Vol. 42 No. 1 – Establishing agreement between parent-reported and directly-measured behaviours

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INDIVIDUAL ARTICLE

Shannon K. Bennetts
The University of Melbourne
Murdoch Childrens Research Institute
La Trobe University

Elizabeth M. Westrupp
La Trobe University
The University of Melbourne
Murdoch Childrens Research Institute

Jan M. Nicholson
La Trobe University
Murdoch Childrens Research Institute
Queensland University of Technology

Fiona K. Mensah
The University of Melbourne
Murdoch Childrens Research Institute
The Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne

Naomi J. Hackworth
La Trobe University
Murdoch Childrens Research Institute

Sheena Reilly
Griffith University
Murdoch Childrens Research Institute
The University of Melbourne

The quality and accuracy of research findings relies on the use of appropriate and
sensitive research methods. To date, few studies have directly compared quantitative
measurement methods in the early childhood field and the extent to which parentreported
and directly-measured behaviours agree is unclear. Existing studies are
hampered by small sample sizes and the use of statistical techniques which quantify
the magnitude of association between measures (e.g. correlations), but not agreement.
Here we review the limitations of existing method comparisons and suggest how
alternative statistical approaches such as the Bland-Altman Method and ordinary least
products regression can be readily applied in the early childhood context. Understanding
agreement (and disagreement) between measurement methods has potential to reduce
research costs and improve data quality, with important implications for researchers,
clinicians and policy-makers.

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