Theory-testing, generalization, and the problem of external validity

Sociological Theory 21 (3):236-253 (2003)
External validity refers to the generalization of research findings, either from a sample to a larger population or to settings and populations other than those studied. While definitions vary, discussions generally agree that experiments are lower in external validity than other methodological approaches. Further, external validity is widely treated as an issue to be addressed through methodological procedures. When testing theories, all measures are indirect indicators of theoretical constructs, and no methodological procedures taken alone can produce external validity. External validity can be assessed through determining (1) the extent to which empirical measures accurately reflect theoretical constructs, (2) whether the research setting conforms to the scope of the theory under test, (3) our confidence that findings will repeat under identical conditions, (4) whether findings support the theory being tested, and (5) the confirmatory status of the theory under test. In these ways, external validity is foremost a theoretical issue and can only be addressed by an examination of the interplay between theory and methods
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/1467-9558.00187
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 22,720
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

20 ( #205,845 of 1,937,360 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #456,797 of 1,937,360 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.