Content Domain: Definition & Explanation

Instructor: Karin Gonzalez

Karin has taught middle and high school Health and has a master's degree in social work.

In this lesson, you will learn the definition of a content domain in the context of psychology and social science research and experiments. You will be given an explanation with examples to further your knowledge.

What is a Content Domain?

Juan, a psychology student at a university, wants to conduct a research survey for his dissertation measuring the secondary traumatic stress level of emergency room hospital social workers at the university's hospital. Juan needs to create a questionnaire that adequately measures secondary traumatic stress so that his research study is valid. Secondary traumatic stress is the content domain in Juan's study.

Content domain is the body of knowledge, skills or abilities being measured or examined by a test, experiment or research study. A researcher would want a content domain to cover all aspects of the subject area as well as be well-defined and objective. The more a content domain has these qualities, the easier that it is to measure in studies, experiments and tests. In order for the content domain to be fully comprehensive, it must be experimentally valid

Experimental Validity and Content Domain

Experimental validity refers to how well the experiment or test represents facts or logic. For example, the Beck Depression Inventory is a 21-question scale created by Aaron Beck. It was created after studying and measuring all aspects of depression. The Beck Depression Inventory is considered highly valid because it is based on scientific evidence-based research and data.

Aaron T. Beck is a psychologist who is known for creating a clear content domain for depression with the Beck Depression Inventory.
Aaron T. Beck

It is an accurate and comprehensive measurement tool of the entire content domain of depression. The content domain of depression is expansive and can be divided into many different segments such as stress level, life satisfaction, constant fatigue, feelings of hopelessness or lack of enjoyment in things of which one once took pleasure. It incorporates the content domain of depression so well in its 21 questions; it is a widely recognized and used tool for rating how depressed a person is. This is just one example.

Examples of Content Domain

We looked at the content domain of depression in Beck's Depression Inventory, but every experiment, test or study has a content domain that it is trying to accurately measure. Here are some examples.

Example 1: Intelligence

Intelligence has been one of the most extensively studied human characteristics of all time due to its implications for achievement and success in the academic and career world. There have been many attempts to accurately bottle the entire content domain of intelligence into a questionnaire, experiment or test. The Stanford-Binet Intelligence test is universally used and recognized to determine someone's intelligence quotient (IQ) level.

Alfred Binet was a French psychologist that created a well-defined content domain for intelligence with his Stanford-Binet Intelligence test.
Alfred Binet

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