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Using face validity to recognize empirical community observations


  • Gaber, John
  • Gaber, Sharon L.


There is a growing interest among international planning scholars to explore community participation in the plan making process from a qualitative research approach. In this paper the research assessment tool "face validity" is discussed as one way to help planners decipher when the community is sharing empirically grounded observations that can advance the applicability of the plan making process. Face validity provides a common sense assessment of research conclusions. It allows the assessor to look at an entire research project and ask: "on the face of things, does this research make sense?" With planners listening to citizen comments with an ear for face validity observations, holds open the opportunity for government to empirically learn from the community to see if they "got it right." And if not, to chart out a course on how they can get it right.

Suggested Citation

  • Gaber, John & Gaber, Sharon L., 2010. "Using face validity to recognize empirical community observations," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 138-146, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:epplan:v:33:y:2010:i:2:p:138-146

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Stephen Turner, 1979. "The concept of face validity," Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, Springer, vol. 13(1), pages 85-90, February.
    2. John Gaber & Sharon Gaber, 2002. "Using Focus and NomiNal Group Techniques for a Better Understanding of the Transit Disadvantaged Needs," Transportation Planning and Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 25(2), pages 103-120, January.
    3. John F. Forester, 1999. "The Deliberative Practitioner: Encouraging Participatory Planning Processes," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262561220, January.
    4. Innes, Judith E. & Gruber, Judith, 2005. "Planning Styles in Conflict: The Metropolitan Transportation Commission," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt6pf9k6sk, University of California Transportation Center.
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