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Content validity

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Social Processes: Methodology · Types of test


In psychometrics, content validity (also known as logical validity) refers to the extent to which a measure represents all facets of a given social concept. For example, a depression scale may lack content validity if it only assesses the affective dimension of depression but fails to take into account the behavioral dimension.

Content validity is related to face validity, though content validity should not be confused with face validity. The latter is not validity in the technical sense; it refers, not to what the test actually measures, but to what it appears superficially to measure. Face validity pertains to whether the test "looks valid" to the examinees who take it, the administrative personnel who decide on its use, and other technically untrained observers. Content validity requires more rigorous statistical tests than face validity, which only requires an intuitive judgement. Content validity is most often addressed in academic and vocational testing, where test items need to reflect the knowledge actually required for a given topic area (e.g., history) or job skill (e.g., accounting). In clinical settings, content validity refers to the correspondence between test items and the symptom content of a syndrome.

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