Guidelines For Research Practice

Several practical guidelines on informant assessment can be derived from this review of theoretical approaches to person perception and the empirical findings on the validity of self- versus other ratings. Above all, informant assessment results from the assumption that knowledgeable informants may have had the opportunity to observe the target on many different occasions (or at least brief interactions) and may, therefore, have begun to collect data much earlier than data recorded by the researchers. This general confidence in the veridi-cality of informant knowledge rests on two conditions: First, there must be considerable consensus between informants, and second, informant ratings must be accurate in terms of convergence with external criteria (Wiggins, 1973; Woodruffe, 1984). Both conditions require care when forming research designs and data analyses.

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