RESEARCH METHODS - Validity

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  • Validity
    • General
      • def: the extent to which researchers actually measured / observed what they set out to measure / observe
        • often difficult due to extraneous / confounding variables
          • not much control in design of study
    • Experiments
      • IV - variable changed / manipulated by researcher (or changes naturally)
      • researchers need to make sure that what they are measuring is the IV not any other variables (extraneous / confounding)
    • Types of validity
      • INTERNAL: what goes on within study
        • factors affecting this: investigator effects, demand characteristics, confounding & extraneous variables, social desirability, operationalised poorly
      • EXTERNAL: when goes on after study, how study is used, conclusions, what you can do with results + conclusions
      • POPULATION: generalise findings to other people
        • culture: study connected to one particular one? - can't be generalised
          • eg. Ainsworth - couldn't be applied to German children
        • individ / collectivist cultures, socio economic groups, ethnicity, religion, age, gender
      • TEMPORAL (historical): time period
        • Zimbardo: 70s = less conforming. identification not shown in other periods
      • ECOLOGICAL: different settings (real life)
        • NOT MUNDANE REALISM - this is about the task / procedure and how realistic is it
        • measuring it: think about DV and how it is being measured, depends on type of exp
          • field: high eco val as they are doing task they would normally do
    • Assessing validity
      • FACE: on the face of it, does this research help the researcher to discover what they set out to do?
        • does the study feel right?
      • CONCURRENT: compare method you use with a method used previously on same topic
        • look at results of each, is there a correlation?
    • Improving validity
      • if poor face val, questions should be revised so they relate more to the topic
      • if low concurrent val, researcher should remove questions that may be irrelevant
      • int and ext val: better research design needed

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