Looking at Various Types of Validity in Psychological Quantitative Research

By Martin Dempster, Donncha Hanna

Part of Research Methods in Psychology For Dummies Cheat Sheet

As you would do with any discipline, you want to make sure you’re your research results are valid in psychology. Quantitative research in psychology uses different types of test or questionnaire validity:

  • Face validity: test looks as if it measures what it claims to measure

  • Convergent validity: test correlates highly with other assessments of the same or similar constructs

  • Divergent validity: test has low correlations with measures not theoretically related to the construct

  • Content validity: test assesses every aspect of the psychological construct it claims to measure

  • Concurrent validity: test is related to a criterion or outcome as predicted, and both measures are administered concurrently

  • Predictive validity: test is related to a criterion or outcome as predicted; the test is administered now but the outcome is assessed at some point in the future

Study designs can also have different types of validity:

  • Internal validity: the extent to which the study design allows you to make cause-and-effect conclusions

  • External validity: the extent to which the study can be generalised to a larger group or to different settings

    • Population validity (a type of external validity): the likelihood that the study findings can be generalised to the wider population of interest

    • Ecological validity (a type of external validity): the likelihood that results can be generalised from the setting of the study to everyday life