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Population-Based Survey Experiments$
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Diana C. Mutz

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780691144511

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691144511.001.0001

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External Validity Reconsidered

External Validity Reconsidered

(p.131) Chapter Eight External Validity Reconsidered
Population-Based Survey Experiments

Diana C. Mutz

Princeton University Press

This chapter talks about the significance of generalizability. Experimentalists often go to great lengths to argue that student or other convenience samples are not problematic in terms of external validity. Likewise, a convincing case for causality is often elusive with observational research, no matter how stridently one might argue to the contrary. The conventional wisdom is that experiments are widely valued for their internal validity, and experiments lack external validity. These assumptions are so widespread as to go without question in most disciplines, particularly those emphasizing external validity, such as political science and sociology. But observational studies, such as surveys, are still supposed to be better for purposes of maximizing external validity because this method allows studying people in real world settings.

Keywords:   generalizability, external validity, internal validity, experimentalists, observational studies, surveys, real world settings

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