Is Construct Validation Valid?

Philosophy of Science 83 (5):1098-1109 (2016)


What makes a measure of well-being valid? The dominant approach today, construct validation, uses psychometrics to ensure that questionnaires behave in accordance with background knowledge. Our first claim is interpretive—construct validation obeys a coherentist logic that seeks to balance diverse sources of evidence about the construct in question. Our second claim is critical—while in theory this logic is defensible, in practice it does not secure valid measures. We argue that the practice of construct validation in well-being research is theory avoidant, favoring a narrow focus on statistical tests while largely ignoring relevant philosophical considerations.

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Anna Alexandrova
Cambridge University

References found in this work

Old and New Problems in Philosophy of Measurement.Eran Tal - 2013 - Philosophy Compass 8 (12):1159-1173.
Subjective Measures of Well-Being: Philosophical Perspectives.Erik Angner - 2009 - In Harold Kincaid & Don Ross (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Economics. Oxford University Press. pp. 560--579.

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Citations of this work

Can Machines Read Our Minds?Christopher Burr & Nello Cristianini - 2019 - Minds and Machines 29 (3):461-494.
Construct validity in psychological tests – the case of implicit social cognition.Uljana Feest - 2020 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 10 (1):1-24.
Measurement in Science.Eran Tal - 2015 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Can Aging Research Generate a Theory of Health?Jonathan Sholl - 2021 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 43 (2):1-26.
Happiness.Dan Haybron - forthcoming - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

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