Sample Psychology Essay Paper on Types of Validity

Types of Validity

Validity is the extent to which a concept, measurement, and a given conclusion is well-founded and accurately correlates or corresponds to the real world. There are three types of validity such as internal validity, external validity, and social validity. These types of validity often involve the evaluation of a research study and procedure.

Internal validity is defined as the extent to which a piece of research supports the cause and effects of the relationship of the dependent-independent variable. Internal validity can be improved by using standardized instructions and eliminating demand characteristics as well as investigators.  External validity refers to the extent to which a research study can be generalized or applied to other settings, over a given period of time, and to other people (Rothwell, 2009). It can be improved by using random selection procedures and undertaking research studies or experiments in many natural settings. On the other hand, social validity refers to the social acceptability and satisfaction of the intervention procedures of a research study by the people who receive and implement the procedures (Schwartz & Baer, 1991). These types of validity play a crucial role in behavioral research as they help to determine the research procedures, ensure that the researchers effectively use or follow the procedures, and evaluate the significance the research has on a given setting, or population (Steckler & McLeroy, 2008).

One can evaluate a particular study’s external, internal, and social validity through testing. A research study is designed to pre-test certain subjects in order for a researcher to establish their correlation with other subjects. Instrumentation can also be used to evaluate a particular study’s validity. Thus, one can change measurement or administration methods when undertaking a given research study. Moreover, one can use selection interaction to establish how the subjects of a given study were selected and treated.


Rothwell, P. M. (2009). Commentary: External Validity of Results of Randomized Trials: Disentangling A Complex Concept. International Journal of Epidemiology39(1), 94-96. Retrieved from

Schwartz, I. S., & Baer, D. M. (1991). Social Validity Assessments: Is Current Practice State of The Art?. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis24(2), 189-204. Retrieved from

Steckler, A., & McLeroy, K. R. (2008). The Importance of External Validity. Retrieved from