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