The 10 Fundamental Types of Validity in Science

We can weigh ourselves on a scale, or measure our height with a tape measure, or measure our body temperature with a thermometer. The data we obtain must in principle be objective and reliable, in addition to referring specifically to what we want to measure (weight, height or temperature). But what if, in addition to that, they also reflected other things like volume or color or were influenced by atmospheric pressure or humidity ?. Our results would not be entirely valid, because we would not be interested only in the characteristics that we wanted to evaluate.

In psychology, a science whose object of study is not directly observable and in which different constructs are analyzed, validity is something that must be carefully considered in order to ensure that we are evaluating what we need to “evaluate” . It is essential, for example, to assess the mental state of a subject or to assess the effectiveness of a treatment. And keep in mind that, depending on what is analyzed, we can find different types of validity. In this article, we’ll go over what they are.

    What is validity?

    Before seeing what the different types of validity are, it is advisable to do a little overview of what this term refers to.

    It refers to the validity of the property or ability of a test or other measuring instrument to adequately measure what this instrument was generated for, Regardless of the theory or model of reality from which it was developed. It relates to what is being measured and how it is done, evaluating whether the measurement is being done correctly. In other words, the measurement data corresponds to the actual data.

    Validity can be calculated as a function of the coefficient of validity, as a function of the degree of correlation between the measured variable and the studied variable.

      The different types of validity

      Validity is a fundamental property when performing measurements of any kind. As we mentioned in the introduction, in sciences such as psychology, it becomes imperative to take this aspect into account in order to generate valid measuring instruments to assess the condition of the people analyzed. But validity can be viewed from different angles, being able to find different types of validity focusing on different aspects.

      1. Validity of the construction

      This type of validity refers to the accuracy with which the measuring instrument measures what it is normally intended to measure. In other words, it assesses the extent to which the responses or results of the assessment method used have a particular meaning, relationship between the observed thing and the construct of interest.

      2. Validity of content

      is the extent to which a measuring instrument contains elements representative of the construction or content that you intend to evaluate. It is appreciated that the aspects of interest which represent the attribute to be evaluated are included in the elements which are part of the measure. Within it, two main types of validity can be assessed.

      3. Apparent validity

      While not really a type of validity, it refers to the degree to which a test appears to value a particular attribute. In other words, it is the appearance of validity that an instrument can give to those who look at it, without any analysis. It has no real meaning.

      4. Logical validity

      This is the type of validity used to generate an instrument and measurement items, according to the representativeness of what is analyzed in the valued content.

      5. Validity of criteria

      Refers to ‘ degree of correlation of a test with scales and external variables, To be able to relate the results of the measurement to a specific criterion. It also allows you to make predictions.

      6. Predictive validity

      Type of criterion validity that allows make predictions about behavior, The comparison between the values ​​of the instrument and the criterion. There is generally a time between the moment of measurement and the moment of the criterion used.

      7. Concurrent validity

      Measurement and criterion verification are performed at the same time, which makes it possible to relate the two elements and assess the current state of the subject.

      8. Retrospective validity

      Unusual type of validity in which the item or method of evaluation assesses the existence of a certain value or trait in the past. The criterion is taken before the test measurement.

      9. Convergent validity

      This type of validity refers to the validity obtained from the ratio of two measuring instruments. Convergent validity indicates the existence of a relationship between two tests evaluating the sameIn other words, it indicates the existence of an interrelation or a correspondence between the two measuring instruments.

      10. Discriminating or divergent validity

      Divergent validity is the flip side of convergent validity. In this case we are talking about the extent to which two tests or instruments differ, reflecting that two tests are associated with different constructions or elements. In other words, it reflects that two instruments referring to two constructs which should be different they have different results.

      bibliographical references

      • Antequera, J. and Hernangómez, L. (2012). Experimental psychology. CEDE PIR preparation manual, 09. CEDE: Madrid
      • Prieto, G .; Delgado, AR (2010). Reliability and validity. Papers of the Psychologist, 31 (1): 67-74.

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