Threats to External Validity: Sample Characteristics, Stimulus Characteristics & Experimental Arrangements


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Laura wants to be sure that the results of her study can be generalized to the world at large. What aspect of her study is Laura looking to increase?

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1. James wants to conduct a study to see if a certain drug lowers depression. It just so happens that the subjects chosen for the study already have a low level of depression. Which threat to external validity is being described by this situation?

2. Vera is interested in predicting how well students will do in college math. In order to gather data, she gives a fraction test to different groups of students. Vera's assistant, Rob, expresses his concern that giving the students a test with only fractions will not tell them much about the students' more general ability in math. For which threat to external validity is Rob expressing his concern?

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About This Quiz & Worksheet

This quiz and worksheet combo can be used to evaluate your understanding of threats to external validity. Topics you can quickly assess with the quiz include selection bias and multiple-treatment interference.

Quiz & Worksheet Goals

Review these topics with the help of the quiz:

  • External validity
  • Sample characteristics
  • Stimulus characteristics
  • Multiple-treatment interference
  • Selection bias

Skills Practiced

The following skills are practiced in these assessment tools:

  • Reading comprehension- ensure that you draw the most important information from the related external validity lesson
  • Knowledge application- use your knowledge to answer questions about what external validity is
  • Defining key concepts- ensure that you can accurately define main phrases, such as selection bias and multiple-treatment interference

Additional Learning

Interested in learning more about external validity? Please review the lesson titled Threats to External Validity: Sample Characteristics, Stimulus Characteristics & Experimental Arrangements. Some objectives covered in more detail are:

  • Identify the importance of translating research to the general population
  • Review sample characteristics and how they can interfere with the results that are produced
  • Learn about what stimulus characteristics are and how to avoid selection bias
  • Recall the consequences of multiple-treatment interference