Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Organizational Research Methods





First Page


Last Page



Policy capturing is a widely used technique, but the temporal stability of policy-capturing judgments has long been a cause for concern. This article emphasizes the importance of reporting reliability, and in particular test-retest reliability, estimates in policy-capturing studies. We found that only 164 of 955 policy-capturing studies (i.e., 17.17%) reported a test-retest reliability estimate. We then conducted a reliability generalization meta-analysis on policy-capturing studies that did report test-retest reliability estimates—and we obtained an average reliability estimate of .78. We additionally examined 16 potential methodological and substantive antecedents to test-retest reliability (equivalent to moderators in validity generalization studies). We found that test-retest reliability was robust to variation in 14 of the 16 factors examined but that reliability was higher in paper-and-pencil studies than in web-based studies and was higher for behavioral intention judgments than for other (e.g., attitudinal and perceptual) judgments. We provide an agenda for future research. Finally, we provide several best-practice recommendations for researchers (and journal reviewers) with regard to (a) reporting test-retest reliability, (b) designing policy-capturing studies for appropriate reportage, and (c) properly interpreting test-retest reliability in policy-capturing studies.


This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Sage in [Organizational Research Methods] on May 12, 2021, available online:

Reuse restricted to noncommercial and no derivative uses.

© The Author(s) 2021 , Article Reuse Guidelines

Included in

Psychology Commons