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TRN125Y1 Lecture Notes - Internal Validity, External Validity, Social Order

Trinity College Courses
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Michelle Silver

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Lecture 1:
Internal validity: refers both to how well a study was run (research design, operational
definitions used, how variables were measured, what was/wasn't measured, etc.), and how
confidently one can conclude that the observed effect(s) were produced solely by the
independent variable and not extraneous ones.
Internal validity threat: Threats that compromise confidence of the relationship existing
between two variables.
E.g. Arthritis being associated to aging.
o Difference in the sample groups of individuals. One group lived in an environment that
prevents arthritis while other doesn’t.
o responses u get might now be accurate
o Hawthorne effect: thought that because you are present in study you behave in the way
you think you are expected to behave in the study. i.e. alteration in behaviour of subject
due to them being observed
o Mood bias: low spirited people might underestimate responses to health status because
of current mood
External Validity: represents the extent to which a study's results can be generalized or applied
to other people or settings. E.g. how widely do the findings apply.
External validity threats: Threats that compromise the generalizability and application of a how
generalizable is the validity. The results that we achieved, how generalizable and applicable they
may be to real life.
o Sample: How representative is the sample we are studying to the general public.
Gerontology use theory to
Micro level theory = e.g. effect of negative stereotyping
Macro level theory = examine social structures or how structural elements influence behaviors
and elements. E.g. how public pension systems influence well being in older adults.
Functionalist perspective: Social order is based on co-operation on shared norms and values and
suggest all parts of society serve a role to keep it in balance.
o E.g. issues / questions that ask what’s the structure of the society that people live in and
how do the parts of this structure function. Idea that society is that society that includes
social institutions like school and military and thus these systems keep the society in
check . e.g. the increase of employed women in the workforce
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