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Threats to Internal Validity

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What is internal validity? Why is internal validity important? What can a researcher do to establish internal validity within a research study?

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Let's take a closer look. I also attached a resource on threats to internal validity, some of which this response is drawn, and referred to in the response.


1. What is internal validity?

Validity is "the best available approximation to the truth of a given proposition, inference or conclusion." In other words, "when we make some claim, does the evidence support our conclusions? "There are different types of validity, such as construct, external and internal. (http://www.socialresearchmethods.net/tutorial/Burns/int.html)

Specifically, internal validity refers to the extent to which we can accurately state that the independent variable produced the observed effect. The manipulated condition is referred to as the independent variable, and the behavioral measure is called the dependent variable. We can say that an experiment is internally valid to the extent that it shows a cause-effect relationship between the independent and dependent variables. (http://psych.athabascau.ca/html/Validity/concept.shtml)

2. Why is internal validity important?

It is important because it is the only way that we can accurately make the claim that the ...

Solution Summary

The solution explains internal validity and its importance before going on to describe how a researcher can insure that they have it. 667 words with reference links included.

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Internal validity - threat

What would be a threat to internal validity? What is an example?

Validity in research study design usually refers to the tools used to measure aspects of the research question, for example a questionnaire is used in survey design and is said to have 'internal validity' if the questions are precise enough to get answers which address the aims of the study. For example if you want to know about body mass you need precise height measurements and precise weights for the results to have internal validity.

'External validity' is satisfied if these same questions are generalisable or transferable to other studies with similar aims but which deal with a different population, for example children not adults, or a different place, e'g' America or Africa or a different time- i.e. in the summer or in the winter. If the questionnaire has 'external validity' it doesn't matter, who, where or when the questions are asked they will meet the aims of the study.


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