Marczyk, DeMatteo, Festinger CH 3

A brief introduction to validity.

Validity refers to the conceptual and scientific soundness of a research study or investigation, and the primary purpose of all forms of research is to produce valid conclusions. Put simply, validity is related to research methodology because its primary purpose is to increase the accuracy and usefulness of findings by eliminating or controlling as many confounding variables as possible, which allows for greater confidence in the findings of any given study.

Four types of validity:

1. Internal validity refers to the ability of a research design to rule out or make implausible alternative explanations of the results, or plausible rival hypothesis. (A plausible rival hypothesis is an alternative interpretation of the researcher's hypothesis about the interaction of the dependent and independent variables that provides a reasonable explanation of the findings other than the researcher's original hypothesis).

2. External validity refers to the generalizability of the results of a research study. In all forms of research design, the results and conclusions of the study are limited to the participants and conditions as defined by the contours of the research. External validity refers to the degree to which research results generalize to other conditions, participants, times, and places.

3. Construct validity refers to the basis of the causal relationship and is concerned with the congruence between the study's results and the theoretical underpinnings guiding the research. In essence, construct validity asks the question of whether the theory supported by the findings provides the best available explanation of the results.

4. Statistical validity refers to aspects of quantitative evaluation that affect the accuracy of the conclusions drawn form the results of a study. At its simplest level, statistical validity addresses the question of whether the statistical conclusions drawn from the results of a study are reasonable.

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