Validity is the utility, interpretability, generalizability, and accuracy of a given measure
Validity is heavily grounded in empirical reasoning. The construct must be derived from a theoretical or conceptual framework within a body of literature. The evidence of validity is obtained through a tedious process of mastering the content areas related to the construct, constructing a reliable survey instrument, developing a nomological network of conceptually similar instruments, testing the instrumentation within the nomological framework, and then establishing the consequences and utility of the survey scores.
Types of validity evidence
1. Test content
With content validity, the reasoning is that an instrument can only be interpreted if it effectively reflects the construct of interest. There are two specific threats to content validity: Construct-irrelevant content and construct under-representation. Construct-irrelevant content is spurious or redundant items that are unrelated to the construct of interest. These items can introduce statistical "noise" into the analysis and detract from the precision and accuracy of survey scores. Construct under-representation means that specific content areas that are relevant towards measuring for the construct are not accounted for in the survey.
2. Internal structure
The internal structure of the survey instrument should reflect the underlying structure of the construct of interest. The construct specification begins the process of formulating this internal structure and the "factors" yielded from exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses should reflect the construct as it exists within the literature and natural environment.
3. Processes used to respond to items
The psychological, cognitive, emotional, and affective processes that respondents use to answer questions is also pertinent when assessing validity. Test instructions, the reading level of the language used in the survey, and the survey items must be written in a fashion that respondents can understand and logically respond to in the survey.
4. Association with other scores and variables
This form of validity is focused on assessing the associations between the survey instrument and other theoretically, conceptually, and empirically similar constructs. Significant associations between survey instruments and other existing instruments provides evidence of validity.
5. Consequences of test use and interpretation
This validity evidence focuses on the intended and unintended benefits or consequences of taking a survey, interpreting the results, and utilizing the results to make informed decisions.
Types of validity
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