Posted on: 2nd Apr 2020 578 Views

External Validity in Research

In the previous article we have developed an understanding of the concepts of internal validity. Now in this article, we will learn about external validity.

External validity is basically the extent up to which the findings of your investigation can be applied to other settings.  In this article, our research paper writing team is providing you with a guide for improving the external validity of research results.

External Validity

External validity is basically a level up to which the outcome of the research is applicable to other situations. It can also be considered being as the approximate truth of conclusions which include generalizations. In simple words, external validity means, the findings or conclusion drawn from your research is applicable to other studies. In relation to external validity, the outcome of the research can be translated into other contexts.

External validity threats: Factors affecting the external validity

The two important factors which might create a threat to the external validity of research results are:

ThreatExplanation Examples
TestingIn relation to pre-testing, the behavior of participants can have a significant influence on research outcomes.The researcher has utilized the questionnaire technique in the pre-test which has influence participants to think about job satisfaction.
Biasness in Selection of participantsThe difference in characteristics of the population from where participants are selected.For instance, in earlier studies researchers might have chosen older people as participants.  People participating in the present investigation maybe younger.   Therefore, you cannot provide a general conclusion.

In addition to the above, the other factors which might influence the external validity of research are situational factors such as characteristics of population, noise, location, time, etc. All these variables might influence the generalization of findings. In a few cases, characteristics or features of the sample can be responsible for the influence on the generalization of findings.

For example You conduct research on smoking sensation after one week of issues faced by the general surgeon the well-publicized results of the latest smoking and cancer studies, you might get different results than if you had done it the week before.

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How to improve external validity?

The different techniques which you can use for improving the external validity of the research results are:

  • Sampling model: You can improve the external validity of research by making the selection of participants very concisely. In simple words by using an appropriate sampling model you can improve the external validity of the research. According to the sampling model, you need to first identify the population which you intend to generalize. After that you need to select a sample from it and then you can write research with the help of the sample.

The biggest drawback of the sampling approach is that you cannot be sure about the population which you intend to generalize. You might face difficulty in selecting a sample.

For example, you can utilize a random sampling technique for selecting participants. After making the selection of participants you should make sure that all the participants participate in the study.

  • Use the theory of proximal similarity: Another most effective approach which you can apply for improving external validity is the theory of proximal similarity.  According to this approach, you need to provide a description of how your hypothesis differs from others. You for demonstrating the difference in your theory and other, you need to provide a huge amount of information.  The huge amount of data will help you in demonstrating a high level of similarities between people, places, etc.
  • Replication of the study: Replication of the study is another best approach that will help you in maintaining your external validity of research results much stronger. It means that you can perform research again by selecting a different sample. You can also facilitate study in a completely new setting.  Many researchers also utilize the Meta-analysis technique for examining whether the influence of the independent variable is reliable or not. Another way is that you can perform studies outside the laboratory.
  • Calibration: You can use statistical techniques for making the adjustment in problems related to external validity. In case there are uneven groups in your study then reweighting technique.
  • Use of inclusion and exclusion criteria: You can utilize inclusion and exclusion criteria for conforming that the population is clearly defined.
  • Psychological realism: It includes ensuring that all the participants are getting an equal experience. You can provide a good experience to participants by telling them a story and informing them about the purpose of research. It is considered being as one of the best technique which cans you can utilize for positively influencing participant to adopt good behavior throughout the research. The positive attitude of participants is very crucial throughout the study in relation to the generation of accurate outcomes.


From the above article it has been concluded that external validity is the applicability of the findings that can be applied to other studies. The sampling method is effective in relation to improving the external validity of the research.

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