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Generalization refers to the extent to which findings of an empirical investigation hold for a variation of populations and settings. The definition of generalization is closely related to the concept of external validity, which concerns whether findings of one particular study can be applied to unexamined subjects and contexts. Some scholars, such as William Shadish and colleagues, argued that construct validity is another type of generalization, which concerns how well the variables operationalized in a study represent the abstract constructs they are supposed to represent. Overall, it is common for researchers to use the term generalization to refer to external validity in a broad sense. Generalization pertains to various aspects of a research design, including participants, settings, measurements, and experimental treatments. This entry focuses on ...

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