What is a validated test instrument or survey?


When a test or measurement is "validated," it simply means that the researcher has come to the opinion that the instrument measures what it was designed to measure. In other words, validity is no more than an expert opinion.

For a more comprehensive definition of validity, see the following dictionary entry:

Jupp, V. (2006). VALIDITY. In V. Jupp (Ed.), The SAGE Dictionary of Social Research Methods. (p. 312). London, England: SAGE Publications, Ltd. Retrieved from https://go.openathens.net/redirector/ncu.edu?url=http%3A%2F%2Fmethods.sagepub.com%2FReference%2Fthe-sage-dictionary-of-social-research-methods%2Fn214.xml

There are no statistical tests for validity. However, in some cases of validation, a researcher may receive a statement from another researcher indicating that they believe the instrument measures what it was designed to measure. In other cases, the instrument developed by the original researcher will get used (with permission) by other researchers who are conducting similar studies. Repeated use of the instrument is a strong indication that the instrument was designed to measure what it set out to measure.

Additionally, if you are using a commercial test instrument, you may locate reviews about that test in the Mental Measurements Yearbook with Tests in Print database. To access Mental Measurements Yearbook with Tests in Print, click on Research Resources - Databases from the Library's home page. Many reviews in this database will include information about instrument validity, as shown below.

Mental Measurements with Tests in Print screenshot of a test review.

For additional information about test instruments, please see the Library's Tests and Measurements page. We also highly recommend the Introduction to Tests and Measurements Workshop recording.

  • Last Updated Dec 01, 2022
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  • Answered By NCU Library

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