Validity is the degree to which a measurement procedure captures a theoretical concept being measured. Validity determines whether one is measuring what one intends to measure. The problems of measurement arise from the nature of social science processes that are complex and, therefore, difficult to delineate unambiguously along numeric dimensions. Assessing three types of validity—content, construct, and criterion—demonstrates what a particular procedure can and cannot do with respect to the quantitative measurement of a theoretical concept.
Content validity is the degree to which a quantitative measure covers the features of a theoretical concept being measured, and nothing relevant to the theoretical concept is omitted. One type of a content validity is sampling validity, which refers to the degree of sufficient accounting for a theoretical concept’s characteristics in a quantitative measure.
Construct validity is the degree to which a measure of a variable corresponds to the general theoretical framework of a concept. Criterion validity concerns the relationship between a quantitative measure and an empirical analysis using the measure. This includes predictive validity, reflecting the degree to which the results predicted by the particular numeric measure correspond to the results derived from measuring related variables.
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