The Social Construction of Validity


Validation  of qualitative  research is here  discussed  in  relation  to  postmodern  conceptions of knowledge.  A  modernist  notion  of  true  knowledge  as  a  mirror  of  reality  is replaced  by a postmodern understanding of  knowledge as a social construction. Of  the common psychometric concepts  of validity,  predictive  validity  is related  to  a  modernist  correspondence  theory  of  truth,  whereas  construct  validity  may  be  extended  to  encompass  a  social construction of  reality. Three  approaches to validity are  outlined in some  detail. First, validity is  treated  as an  expression of  craftsmanship, with an emphasis on quality of research by checking, questioning, and theorizing on the nature of the phenomena investigated. Second,  by  going  beyond  correspondence  criteria of validity, the  emphasis on observation  is  extended to  include conversation about the observations, with a communicative  concept  of  validity. Third,  by  discarding  a  modern  legitimation  mania, justification  of knowledge  is  replaced  by  application,  with  a  pragmatic  concept  of validity.  In  conclusion, the  validity  of the  validity  question is questioned.


About Giorgio Bertini

Research Professor. Founder Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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