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Internal and External Validity in Experimental Games: A Social Reality Check

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  • Cecile Jackson

    (University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK.)

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    Abstract

    The relevance of experimental games as methods in development research depends crucially on how far the results from the games can be extrapolated to real life, that is, the external validity of those results. The extent to which external validity matters depends on what you want to do with the data; some kinds of theory testing can arguably afford indifference, but many experiments are used as an indicator of behaviour in everyday life. This article takes an anthropological perspective on both the internal and external validity of social preference experiments in developing country settings, and argues for more cautious knowledge claims, triangulation of data and a broader conceptualisation of norms and behaviour.La pertinence des jeux expérimentaux en tant que méthodes dans la recherche sur le développement dépend fondamentalement de la mesure dans laquelle les résultats obtenus à partir de ces jeux s’appliquent à la réalité, c’est à dire de la validité externe de ces résultats. La validité externe est plus ou moins importante selon ce que l’on souhaite faire avec les données. Certains types de jeux testent des théories sans se soucier de leur validité externe, mais d’autres sont tenus comme étant des indicateurs de comportements quotidiens. Cet article examine à partir d’une perspective anthropologique les validités tant internes qu’externes d’expériences de préférences sociales dans un contexte de pays en développement, et plaide en faveur de revendications théoriques plus prudentes, de triangulations de données, et d’une conceptualisation plus large des normes et des comportements.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Palgrave Macmillan in its journal European Journal of Development Research.

    Volume (Year): 24 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 1 (February)
    Pages: 71-88

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    Handle: RePEc:pal:eurjdr:v:24:y:2012:i:1:p:71-88

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