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Assessing Behavioral Changes: The Importance of Having a Baseline For Comparison

❶Even if your results are great, sloppy and inconsistent design will compromise your integrity in the eyes of the scientific community. The distributions might be examined to see if they conform with assumptions of the statistical test, or analyses conducted to determine whether there is sufficient statistical power.

This article is a part of the guide:

What is Reliability?
Ensuring the Validity of Research

It is a proposition, inference or conclusion that can 'have' validity. We make lots of different inferences or conclusions while conducting research. Many of these are related to the process of doing research and are not the major hypotheses of the study. Nevertheless, like the bricks that go into building a wall, these intermediate process and methodological propositions provide the foundation for the substantive conclusions that we wish to address.

For instance, virtually all social research involves measurement or observation. And, whenever we measure or observe we are concerned with whether we are measuring what we intend to measure or with how our observations are influenced by the circumstances in which they are made. We reach conclusions about the quality of our measures -- conclusions that will play an important role in addressing the broader substantive issues of our study.

When we talk about the validity of research, we are often referring to these to the many conclusions we reach about the quality of different parts of our research methodology. We subdivide validity into four types. Each type addresses a specific methodological question. In order to understand the types of validity, you have to know something about how we investigate a research question.

Because all four validity types are really only operative when studying causal questions, we will use a causal study to set the context. The figure shows that there are really two realms that are involved in research.

The first, on the top, is the land of theory. It is what goes on inside our heads as researchers. It is where we keep our theories about how the world operates. The second, on the bottom, is the land of observations. It is the real world into which we translate our ideas -- our programs, treatments, measures and observations.

When we conduct research, we are continually flitting back and forth between these two realms, between what we think about the world and what is going on in it. When we are investigating a cause-effect relationship, we have a theory implicit or otherwise of what the cause is the cause construct. For instance, if we are testing a new educational program, we have an idea of what it would look like ideally. Similarly, on the effect side, we have an idea of what we are ideally trying to affect and measure the effect construct.

But each of these, the cause and the effect, has to be translated into real things, into a program or treatment and a measure or observational method.

We use the term operationalization to describe the act of translating a construct into its manifestation. In effect, we take our idea and describe it as a series of operations or procedures. The principles of validity and reliability are fundamental cornerstones of the scientific method. Together, they are at the core of what is accepted as scientific proof, by scientist and philosopher alike.

By following a few basic principles, any experimental design will stand up to rigorous questioning and skepticism. The idea behind reliability is that any significant results must be more than a one-off finding and be inherently repeatable. Other researchers must be able to perform exactly the same experiment , under the same conditions and generate the same results. This will reinforce the findings and ensure that the wider scientific community will accept the hypothesis.

Without this replication of statistically significant results , the experiment and research have not fulfilled all of the requirements of testability. This prerequisite is essential to a hypothesis establishing itself as an accepted scientific truth. For example, if you are performing a time critical experiment, you will be using some type of stopwatch.

Generally, it is reasonable to assume that the instruments are reliable and will keep true and accurate time. However, diligent scientists take measurements many times, to minimize the chances of malfunction and maintain validity and reliability. At the other extreme, any experiment that uses human judgment is always going to come under question.

Human judgment can vary wildly between observers , and the same individual may rate things differently depending upon time of day and current mood.

This means that such experiments are more difficult to repeat and are inherently less reliable. Reliability is a necessary ingredient for determining the overall validity of a scientific experiment and enhancing the strength of the results. Almost certainly the answer is "No, it is not. The answer depends on the amount of research support for such a relationship. Internal validity - the instruments or procedures used in the research measured what they were supposed to measure.

As part of a stress experiment, people are shown photos of war atrocities. After the study, they are asked how the pictures made them feel, and they respond that the pictures were very upsetting. In this study, the photos have good internal validity as stress producers. External validity - the results can be generalized beyond the immediate study. In order to have external validity, the claim that spaced study studying in several sessions ahead of time is better than cramming for exams should apply to more than one subject e.

It should also apply to people beyond the sample in the study. Different methods vary with regard to these two aspects of validity. Experiments, because they tend to be structured and controlled, are often high on internal validity. However, their strength with regard to structure and control, may result in low external validity.


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What is Validity? Validity encompasses the entire experimental concept and establishes whether the results obtained meet all of the requirements of the scientific research method. For example, there must have been randomization of the sample groups and appropriate care and diligence shown in the allocation of controls.

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Internal validity - the instruments or procedures used in the research measured what they were supposed to measure. Example: As part of a stress experiment, people are shown photos of war atrocities. Example: As part of a stress experiment, people are shown photos of war atrocities.

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Reviews from Validity Research employees about Validity Research culture, salaries, benefits, work-life balance, management, job security, and more/5(67). Validity: the best available approximation to the truth of a given proposition, inference, or conclusion. The first thing we have to ask is: "validity of what?" When we think about validity in research, most of us think about research components.

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In general, VALIDITY is an indication of how sound your research is. More specifically, validity applies to both the design and the methods of your research. Validity in data collection means that your findings truly represent . Enroll in the Global Health Research Certificate Program. Validity of Research. Though it is often assumed that a study’s results are valid or conclusive just because the study is scientific, unfortunately, this is not the case.