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The bottom-up approach to integrative validity: A new perspective for program evaluation


  • Chen, Huey T.


The Campbellian validity model and the traditional top-down approach to validity have had a profound influence on research and evaluation. That model includes the concepts of internal and external validity and within that model, the preeminence of internal validity as demonstrated in the top-down approach. Evaluators and researchers have, however, increasingly recognized that in an evaluation, the over-emphasis on internal validity reduces that evaluation's usefulness and contributes to the gulf between academic and practical communities regarding interventions. This article examines the limitations of the Campbellian validity model and the top-down approach and provides a comprehensive, alternative model, known as the integrative validity model for program evaluation. The integrative validity model includes the concept of viable validity, which is predicated on a bottom-up approach to validity. This approach better reflects stakeholders' evaluation views and concerns, makes external validity workable, and becomes therefore a preferable alternative for evaluation of health promotion/social betterment programs. The integrative validity model and the bottom-up approach enable evaluators to meet scientific and practical requirements, facilitate in advancing external validity, and gain a new perspective on methods. The new perspective also furnishes a balanced view of credible evidence, and offers an alternative perspective for funding.

Suggested Citation

  • Chen, Huey T., 2010. "The bottom-up approach to integrative validity: A new perspective for program evaluation," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 205-214, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:epplan:v:33:y:2010:i:3:p:205-214

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Schalock, Robert L. & Verdugo, Miguel Angel & Gomez, Laura E., 2011. "Evidence-based practices in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities: An international consensus approach," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 273-282, August.
    2. Cerezo, M. Angeles & Dasi, Carmen & Ruiz, Juan Carlos, 2013. "Supporting parenting of infants: Evaluating outcomes for parents and children in a community-based program," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 12-20.
    3. Inrig, Stephen J. & Higashi, Robin T. & Tiro, Jasmin A. & Argenbright, Keith E. & Lee, Simon J. Craddock, 2017. "Assessing local capacity to expand rural breast cancer screening and patient navigation: An iterative mixed-method tool," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 113-124.
    4. Chen, Huey T., 2016. "Interfacing theories of program with theories of evaluation for advancing evaluation practice: Reductionism, systems thinking, and pragmatic synthesis," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 109-118.
    5. Archibald, Thomas, 2015. "“They Just Know”: The epistemological politics of “evidence-based” non-formal education," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 137-148.
    6. Urban, Jennifer Brown & Hargraves, Monica & Trochim, William M., 2014. "Evolutionary Evaluation: Implications for evaluators, researchers, practitioners, funders and the evidence-based program mandate," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 127-139.
    7. Chen, Huey T. & Yip, Fuyuen & Lavonas, Eric J. & Iqbal, Shahed & Turner, Nannette & Cobb, Bobby & Garbe, Paul, 2014. "Using the exhibited generalization approach to evaluate a carbon monoxide alarm ordinance," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 35-44.
    8. Horton, Douglas & Rotondo, Emma & Paz Ybarnegaray, Rodrigo & Hareau, Guy & Devaux, André & Thiele, Graham, 2013. "Lapses, infidelities, and creative adaptations: Lessons from evaluation of a participatory market development approach in the Andes," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 28-41.


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