Criterion validity

(concurrent and predictive validity)

There are many occasions when you might choose to use a well-established measurement procedure (e.g., a 42-item survey on depression) as the basis to create a new measurement procedure (e.g., a 19-item survey on depression) to measure the construct you are interested in (e.g., depression, sleep quality, employee commitment, etc.). This well-established measurement procedure acts as the criterion against which the criterion validity of the new measurement procedure is assessed. Like other forms of validity, criterion validity is not something that your measurement procedure has (or doesn't have). You will have to build a case for the criterion validity of your measurement procedure; ultimately, it is something that will be developed over time as more studies validate your measurement procedure. To assess criterion validity in your dissertation, you can choose between establishing the concurrent validity or predictive validity of your measurement procedure. These are two different types of criterion validity, each of which has a specific purpose. In this article, we first explain what criterion validity is and when it should be used, before discussing concurrent validity and predictive validity, providing examples of both.

What is criterion validity?

Criterion validity reflects the use of a criterion - a well-established measurement procedure - to create a new measurement procedure to measure the construct you are interested in. The criterion and the new measurement procedure must be theoretically related. The measurement procedures could include a range of research methods (e.g., surveys, structured observation, or structured interviews, etc.), provided that they yield quantitative data.

There are a number of reasons why we would be interested in using criterions to create a new measurement procedure: (a) to create a shorter version of a well-established measurement procedure; (b) to account for a new context, location, and/or culture where well-established measurement procedures need to be modified or completely altered; and (c) to help test the theoretical relatedness and construct validity of a well-established measurement procedure. Each of these is discussed in turn:

Criterion validity is demonstrated when there is a strong relationship between the scores from the two measurement procedures, which is typically examined using a correlation. For example, participants that score high on the new measurement procedure would also score high on the well-established test; and the same would be said for medium and low scores.

However, rather than assessing criterion validity, per se, determining criterion validity is a choice between establishing concurrent validity or predictive validity. There are two things to think about when choosing between concurrent and predictive validity:

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