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Measurement Validity: A Shared Standard for Qualitative and Quantitative Research

  • Robert Adcock (a1) and David Collier (a1)

Scholars routinely make claims that presuppose the validity of the observations and measurements that operationalize their concepts. Yet, despite recent advances in political science methods, surprisingly little attention has been devoted to measurement validity. We address this gap by exploring four themes. First, we seek to establish a shared framework that allows quantitative and qualitative scholars to assess more effectively, and communicate about, issues of valid measurement. Second, we underscore the need to draw a clear distinction between measurement issues and disputes about concepts. Third, we discuss the contextual specificity of measurement claims, exploring a variety of measurement strategies that seek to combine generality and validity by devoting greater attention to context. Fourth, we address the proliferation of terms for alternative measurement validation procedures and offer an account of the three main types of validation most relevant to political scientists.

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