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Is Construct Validation Valid?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 January 2022


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.

Measuring What?
Copyright © The Philosophy of Science Association

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The authors are equally and jointly responsible for the contents. They thank the anonymous referees, Valerie Tiberius, Colin DeYoung, and Elina Vessonen for valuable comments.


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