alexa Brief communication: measurement size, precision, and reliability in craniofacial anthropometry: bigger is better.


Advanced Techniques in Biology & Medicine

Author(s): Jamison PL, Ward RE, Jamison PL, Ward RE

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Abstract In this paper we examine the results of an intraobserver measurement error study involving 49 craniofacial variables that ranged in size from less than 1 cm to approximately 20 cm. Repeat measurements were taken on 10 male and 10 female adult subjects (19-59 years old). Our focus is on the relationship between measurement size and measurement error across the 49 variables. We found that the size of the variable showed no relationship with the magnitude of the error as measured by the technical error of measurement. When the error was expressed as a coefficient of relative variation (Malina et al.: Vital and Health Statistics, Series 11, No. 23. Washington, DC: US Department of Health and Human Services, 1973), this quantity was negatively associated with the size of the measurement. Conversely, reliability (Fleiss: The Design and Analysis of Experiments. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1986) was positively correlated with measurement size. We did not find effects of scale (Marks et al.: Am. J. Epidemiol. 130:578-587, 1989) within the individual measurements. Thus, for the range of size of the craniofacial measurements in this study, measurement size must be added to the list of factors such as ease of locating landmarks, measurement technique, and systematic bias in the application of the technique that can affect precision and reliability in anthropometry. This article was published in Am J Phys Anthropol and referenced in Advanced Techniques in Biology & Medicine

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