Sample Size Effects on Temporal Reliability of Language Sample Measures of Preschool Children The present study examined the temporal reliability of four quantitative measurements of operationally defined linguistic behaviors observed in a naturalistic setting. The measures of language production were computed using the Systematic Analysis of Language Transcripts (SALT) software from two 20-minute language samples obtained 3 to 14 days apart for each ... Research Article
Research Article  |   December 01, 1996
Sample Size Effects on Temporal Reliability of Language Sample Measures of Preschool Children
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • William J. Gavin
    Departments of Occupational Therapy and Communicative Disorders and Sciences State University of New York at Buffalo
  • Lisa Giles
    Department of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology University of Wyoming Laramie
  • Contact author: William J. Gavin, Department of Occupational Therapy, 515 Kimball Tower, Buffalo, New York 14214. Email: GAVIN@shaman.socsci.buffalo.edu
  • Currently affiliated with New England Speech Services
    Currently affiliated with New England Speech Services×
Article Information
Research Issues, Methods & Evidence-Based Practice / Language Disorders / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   December 01, 1996
Sample Size Effects on Temporal Reliability of Language Sample Measures of Preschool Children
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 1996, Vol. 39, 1258-1262. doi:10.1044/jshr.3906.1258
History: Received February 3, 1995 , Accepted May 23, 1996
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 1996, Vol. 39, 1258-1262. doi:10.1044/jshr.3906.1258
History: Received February 3, 1995; Accepted May 23, 1996

The present study examined the temporal reliability of four quantitative measurements of operationally defined linguistic behaviors observed in a naturalistic setting. The measures of language production were computed using the Systematic Analysis of Language Transcripts (SALT) software from two 20-minute language samples obtained 3 to 14 days apart for each of 20 preschool-aged children. Samples were edited to different sizes based either on duration (12 or 20 minutes) or on limits of the total number of complete and intelligible utterances (from 25 to 175 in increments of 25). Inadequate reliability was found for the language sample measure, total number of words; hence, the validity of this measure is questionable. In contrast, very high temporal reliability coefficients (r > .92) were obtained for the language sample measures of number of different words, mean length of utterance in morphemes, and mean sentence length in morphemes when derived from a large number (≥ 175) of complete and intelligible utterances. The temporal reliability of these measures reached acceptable levels, not only for research purposes, but for diagnostic purposes as well.

Acknowledgments
This project was supported in part by the Department of Occupational Therapy at the State University of New York at Buffalo and the Department of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology at the University of Wyoming. We are grateful to Wendy Fike, Celeste Gaskins, Leah Gearhardt, Shawnae Hoffman, Michelle Kirkbride, and Krystal Ryplanski for their efforts in transcribing the audiotapes. The authors would particularly like to thank Dr. Thomas Klee for his interest and thoughtful comments throughout the course of the project and for his review of an earlier draft of this paper. Finally, we thank Dr. Judith Duchan for her review of an earlier draft as well. Portions of this paper were presented at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association Convention, Orlando, December, 1995.
Order a Subscription
Pay Per View
Entire Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research content & archive
24-hour access
This Article
24-hour access