external validity

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The allowance for making generalizations for other circumstances or groups based on one study that included only a portion of the relevant population.

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The extent to which a study's results (regardless of whether the study is descriptive or experimental) can be generalized/applied to other people or settings reflects its external validity. Typically, group research employing randomization will initially possess higher external validity than will studies (e.g., case studies and single-subject experimental research) that do not use random selection/assignment. Campbell and Stanley (cited in Isaac & Michael, 1971) have identified 4 factors that adversely affect a study's external validity. An interaction between how the subjects were selected and the treatment (e.g., the independent variable) can occur. If subjects are not randomly selected from a population, then their particular demographic/organismic characteristics may bias their performance and the study's results may not be applicable to the population or to another group that more accurately represents the characteristics of the population. Pretesting subjects in a study may caus
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External validity was absolutely necessary when attempting to best understand our situation, extrapolation was vital to our success in this matter.
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Making sure to always take the external validity of a situation into account should help lead you to fewer risks in the future.
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