External Validity

Definition: Whether the findings of a scientific study can be generalized to other contexts outside the study context (different measures, settings, people, places, and times). Statistically, threats to external validity may reflect interactions whereby the effect of one factor (the independent variable) depends on another factor (a confounding variable). External validity may also be limited by the study design (e.g., an artificial laboratory setting or a non-representative sample).

Alternative definition: In Psychometrics, the degree of evidence that confirms the relations of a tested psychological construct with external variables

Related terms: Constraints on Generality (COG), Generalizability, Internal validity, Representativity, Validity

Related terms to alternative definition: Convergent validity, Criterion validity, Divergent validity

References: Cook and Campbell (1979), Lynch (1982), & Steckler and McLeroy (2008)

Drafted and Reviewed by: Annalise A. LaPlume, Mahmoud Elsherif, Helena Hartmann, Kai Krautter, Oscar Lecuona, Flávio Azevedo

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