Construct Validity in Scientific Representation: A Philosophical Tour


This article presents a philosophical tour encircling the concept construct validity. Encapsulated by two major perspectives, realism and antirealism, we visit key topics within the philosophy of educational science such as representation and reference, truth, explanation and causation. We discuss how realism and antirealism deal with unobservables through the distinction between appearance and reality. We examine the two perspectives’ stance on observational terms (O-terms) and theoretical terms (T-terms), and look at the consequences implied for researchers that reside within the two perspectives. We argue that the understanding of the concept of construct validity is essential for educational researchers and researchers from any scientific discipline. Furthermore, the discussions of construct validity raised here is important beyond the research realm, such as in educational practice and in all everyday inferences people make about theoretical entities. Any researcher and practitioner is free to choose between the -isms, but must be aware that the choice has consequences.

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Nordahl-Hansen, A., & Kvernbekk, T. (2020). Construct Validity in Scientific Representation: A Philosophical Tour. Nordisk Tidsskrift for Pedagogikk Og Kritikk, 6.