Concluding Remarks

The validity coefficients of informant ratings in terms of consensus and self-other agreement rarely exceed moderate levels (e.g., Bernieri et al., 1994; Borkenau & Liebler, 1992, 1993; Borkenau et al., 2001; Funder, 1999; Harkness, Tellegen, & Waller, 1995; Kenny, 1994). Researchers should be careful in attributing less than perfect validity as solely a result of method variance. The reason for this is simply that personality or behavior ratings are not only influenced by the methods by which they are obtained, but also by traits and behaviors themselves. A rating score, whether it is derived from one or more knowledgeable informants or from the target, should be psychologically understood and evaluated through the consideration of both the method and the trait. Ozer (1989) reminded researchers not to be too demanding of hetero-method correlations: "Expecting convergence of measurement results across methods should be a theoretical prediction when warranted, not an unvarying methodological imperative" (p. 230; see also Eid & Diener, this volume, chap. 1).

Chapter 5

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