StATS: Very low values from Cronbach's Alpha (July 19, 2005).

Someone came to me with an analysis of a scale of 16 items, where the Cronbach's alpha computed for that scale was only 0.14. The first thing you should look for in this situation is whether some of the items on the scale are reverse scaled. Sure enough, for 6 of the items, a small value represented a positive outcome and for the remaining 10 items, a large value represented a positive outcome. When the data was recoded so that a large value represented a positive outcome on all 16 items, Cronbach's alpha increased to 0.74.

Further reading:

This page was written by Steve Simon while working at Children's Mercy Hospital. Although I do not hold the copyright for this material, I am reproducing it here as a service, as it is no longer available on the Children's Mercy Hospital website. Need more information? I have a page with general help resources. You can also browse for pages similar to this one at Category: Measuring agreement.