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What is Construct Validity?

construct validity

arnold on Oct 05, 2008

Starting from the beginning, measurements of an observable behavior are taken and the test developer draws an inference about the amount of the theoretical construct that characterizes an individual. A construct provides an efficient and convenient method for labeling a number of similar behaviors. Through the use of constructs, the observer can begin to classify and group instances of similar behavior and communicate in compact terms what has been witnessed.

So, Construct validity is simply the approximate truth of the conclusion that your operationalization accurately reflects its construct. You might simply be able to think of this as labeling issue. In other words, Construct validity refers to the degree to which inferences can legitimately be made from the operationalizations in your study to the theoretical constructs on which those operationalizations were based. When we claim that our measures have construct validity, we are essentially claiming that we as researchers understand how our constructs or theories of the measures operate in theory and we claim that we can provide evidence that they behave in practice the way we think they should. And just to rub it in one last time, when we claim construct validity, we’re essentially claiming that our observed pattern, (how things operate in reality) corresponds with our theoretical pattern (how we think the world works). (Information taken from: Socialresearchmethods.net)

If you can demonstrate that you have evidence for both convergent and discriminant validity, then you’ve by definition demonstrated that you have evidence for construct validity. But, neither one alone is sufficient for establishing construct validity.

Two more definitions of Construct Validity:
A construct reflects a hypothesis (often incompletely formed) that a variety of behaviors will correlate with one another in studies of individual differences and/or will be similarly affected by experimental manipulations (Nunnally and Bernstein, 1994, p. 85).

Construct validity is making importance of a construct explicit through description of its relation to other variables. (Crocker and Algina, 1986, p.230)

Sources:
Nunnally and Bernstein, 1994
Crocker and Algina, 1986

For an in-depth explanation of Construct Validity please visit:
http://www.socialresearchmethods.net/kb/constval.php

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