External Validity In Psychological Research

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As every undergraduate student undergoing a research course knows, two “necessary” components to research are that of external and internal validity. On any given occasion, a person could turn on the television and hear about a new study depicting a causal relationship between factors. A news anchor may state how, if you participate in a certain activity, it can cause: anxiety, stress, happiness, or any slew of emotional constructs. However, how many of these studies depict causal relationships over correlational ones? Additionally, does the information generalize to everyone or only certain populations? Questions such as these are not only important to our understanding of the findings, but also for understanding how well internal and external…show more content…
While many have assumed that internal and external validity are goals of research, others have raised arguments concerning why this may not be true (Mook, 1983). This paper will examine the functionality of external and internal validity in psychological research methods; Moreover, it will explain that, although flawed, these methods may foster important conclusions when careful consideration is given to the particular method used. It can be argued that our research methods are successful in providing validity, but only when the following are considered: awareness and alleviation of threats to validity, the trade-off involved in sacrificing one type of validity for another, and whether or not certain types of validity are always…show more content…
Our research methods are successful in providing validity, but only to the extent that the researcher utilizes them to the best capacity; validity is increased when careful consideration is given to the particular method used. Critics of external validity must also question how important it is to the study at hand, and whether the experiment is looking to generalize across situations or to further the knowledge of a given theory. It is not so much that our methods are bad, as it is that they aren’t self-correcting. It is the job of the researcher to determine which method is the best match for their study in order to minimize error and maximize validity by controlling for threats within that method. Depending on the method of research, a loss in one form of validity might be worth the trade-off for higher validity in another area more meaningful to the current research. If we can accept the flaws in our methods, then we can accurately evaluate them in order to produce findings consistent with what we are looking for; consequently, our methods may be successful in providing

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