Ecological validity is the extent to which research findings would generalize to settings typical of everyday life. As such, ecological validity is a particular form of external validity. Whereas external validity refers to the overall extent to which findings generalize across people, places, and time, ecological validity refers more specifically to the extent to which findings generalize to the settings and people common in today's society.

Background and Distinctions

Validity has many faces, including internal validity (accurate claims about cause), construct validity (accurate claims about the nature of variables), and external validity (accurate claims about how processes and findings generalize across people, places, and time). Ecological validity is one aspect of external validity in which researchers ask whether research results represent what happens in everyday life. More ...

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