What are the different types of validity that must be considered when conducting a survey?

The different types of validity that are important to survey research include construct validity, convergent validity, content validity, representation validity, face validity, criterion validity, concurrent validity, predictive validity, statistical conclusion validity, internal validity, external validity, and ecological validity. Descriptions of each are provided below.

  • Construct validity refers to the extent to which a survey measures what it says it measures. For example, to what extent is an IQ questionnaire actually measuring “intelligence”?
  • Convergent validity refers to the degree to which a measure is correlated with other measures that it is theoretically predicted to correlate with.
  • Content validity is a non-statistical type of validity that involves the systematic examination of the survey content to determine whether it covers a representative sample of the behavior domain to be measured.
  • Representation validity, also known as translation validity, is about the extent to which an abstract theoretical construct can be turned into a specific practical survey.
  • Face validity is an estimate of whether a survey appears to measure a certain criterion.
  • Criterion validity evidence involves the correlation between the survey and a criterion variable (or variables) taken as representative of the construct.
  • Concurrent validity refers to the degree to which the operationalization correlates with other measures of the same construct that are measured at the same time.
  • Predictive validity refers to the degree to which the operationalization can predict (or correlate with) other measures of the same construct that are measured at some time in the future.
  • Statistical conclusion validity is the degree to which conclusions about the relationship among variables based on the data are correct or ‘reasonable’.
  • Internal validity is an inductive estimate of the degree to which conclusions about causal relationships can be made (e.g. cause and effect), based on the measures used, the research setting, and the whole research design.
  • External validity concerns the extent to which the (internally valid) results of a study can be held to be true for other cases, for example to different people, places or times.
  • Ecological validity is the extent to which research results can be applied to real life situations outside of research settings.