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Ecological Validity

Ecological validity is the degree of correspondence between the research conditions and the phenomenon being studied as it occurs naturally or outside of the research setting. For example, if one is studying how students solve simple arithmetic problems, the ecological validity of the study depends on how closely the research design corresponds to the conditions in which students encounter and solve such problems in their own lives. Weak ecological validity in the design and conduct of any research may be the result of overreliance on standardized experimental procedures (such as standardized test procedures), an inadequate definition of the phenomenon being studied, misunderstanding the phenomenon’s natural occurrence outside the research setting, a lack of sufficient resources, or the erroneous assumption that context does not affect ...

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