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The (misconceived) distinction between internal and external validity

Persson, Johannes LU and Wallin, Annika LU (2015) In Against boredom: 17 essays on ignorance, values, creativity, metaphysics, decision-making, truth, preference, art, processes, Ramsey, ethics, rationality, validity, human ills, science, and eternal life to Nils-Eric Sahlin on the occasion of his 60th birthday p.187-195
Abstract
Researchers often aim to make correct inferences both about that which is actually studied (internal validity) and about what the results generalize to (external validity). The language of internal and external validity is not used by everyone, but many of us would agree that intuitively the distinction makes a lot of sense.

Two claims are commonly made with respect to internal and external validity. The first is that internal validity is prior to external validity since there is nothing to generalize if the findings obtained in, for instance, the experimental setting do not hold. The first claim is explicit in many writings. See for instance Francisco Guala’s influential book The methodology of experimental economics (2005). And... (More)
Researchers often aim to make correct inferences both about that which is actually studied (internal validity) and about what the results generalize to (external validity). The language of internal and external validity is not used by everyone, but many of us would agree that intuitively the distinction makes a lot of sense.

Two claims are commonly made with respect to internal and external validity. The first is that internal validity is prior to external validity since there is nothing to generalize if the findings obtained in, for instance, the experimental setting do not hold. The first claim is explicit in many writings. See for instance Francisco Guala’s influential book The methodology of experimental economics (2005). And it is often implicitly relied on. The second claim is that researchers have to make a trade-off between internal and external validity. When one is increased, the other will decrease. The second claim was made already from the start by D.T Campbell in his classic Factors relevant to the validity of experiments in social settings (e.g., Campbell 1957, 297).

There is a certain tension between the first and the second claim. It has been argued before that it might be difficult to combine them. We intend to make the stronger point that both claims are misconstrued. Our hypothesis is that the relationship between internal and external validity

has to be re-conceptualized, and we will briefly indicate how. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceeding
publication status
published
subject
keywords
internal validity, external validity, philosophy of science
in
Against boredom: 17 essays on ignorance, values, creativity, metaphysics, decision-making, truth, preference, art, processes, Ramsey, ethics, rationality, validity, human ills, science, and eternal life to Nils-Eric Sahlin on the occasion of his 60th birthday
editor
Persson, Johannes; Hermerén, Göran and Sjöstrand, Eva
pages
187 - 195
publisher
Fri tanke förlag
ISBN
978-91-87935-37-4
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
aa1d21af-6cb1-4111-b834-bb9ce37d39d8 (old id 8057210)
date added to LUP
2015-10-20 15:44:27
date last changed
2016-05-13 09:05:46
@misc{aa1d21af-6cb1-4111-b834-bb9ce37d39d8,
  abstract     = {Researchers often aim to make correct inferences both about that which is actually studied (internal validity) and about what the results generalize to (external validity). The language of internal and external validity is not used by everyone, but many of us would agree that intuitively the distinction makes a lot of sense.<br/><br>
Two claims are commonly made with respect to internal and external validity. The first is that internal validity is prior to external validity since there is nothing to generalize if the findings obtained in, for instance, the experimental setting do not hold. The first claim is explicit in many writings. See for instance Francisco Guala’s influential book The methodology of experimental economics (2005). And it is often implicitly relied on. The second claim is that researchers have to make a trade-off between internal and external validity. When one is increased, the other will decrease. The second claim was made already from the start by D.T Campbell in his classic Factors relevant to the validity of experiments in social settings (e.g., Campbell 1957, 297).<br/><br>
There is a certain tension between the first and the second claim. It has been argued before that it might be difficult to combine them. We intend to make the stronger point that both claims are misconstrued. Our hypothesis is that the relationship between internal and external validity<br/><br>
has to be re-conceptualized, and we will briefly indicate how.},
  author       = {Persson, Johannes and Wallin, Annika},
  editor       = {Persson, Johannes and Hermerén, Göran and Sjöstrand, Eva},
  isbn         = {978-91-87935-37-4},
  keyword      = {internal validity,external validity,philosophy of science},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {187--195},
  publisher    = {ARRAY(0x80fdee0)},
  series       = {Against boredom: 17 essays on ignorance, values, creativity, metaphysics, decision-making, truth, preference, art, processes, Ramsey, ethics, rationality, validity, human ills, science, and eternal life to Nils-Eric Sahlin on the occasion of his 60th birthday},
  title        = {The (misconceived) distinction between internal and external validity},
  year         = {2015},
}