Construct Validation Theory

We are currently involved in a multi-pronged historical project consisting of three major components, the first of which has involved an examination of the historical and philosophical roots of construct validation theory by conducting an historiography of a transition period in philosophy of science from strict logical positivism to a more liberated logical empiricism, and ultimately to a more realist approach to scientific inquiry. Several published papers summarize these findings (Lovasz & Slaney, in press; Slaney, 2012; Slaney & Racine, in press).

The second component of this research is dedicated to an empirical examination of construct validation practices, both over time and across different substantive areas of research. We have just completed data collection for two studies, the first of which reviewed the particular methods and techniques researchers use when conducting construct validations, the second of which was constituted a detailed qualitative analysis of a small sample (n =24) of published construct validation studies.

Finally, in collaboration with Dr. Jack Martin, another faculty member in HQT stream at psychology at S.F.U., the third component of this research will explore self-esteem research as a case study of application of a construct validation approach to both measurement and theory-building practices in psychology.

Relevant Publications:

Slaney, K. L. (2017). Validating Psychological Constructs: Historical, philosophical, and practical dimensions. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

Slaney, K. L., & Garcia, D. A. (2015). Constructing psychological objects: The rhetoric of constructs. Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology. doi:10.1037/teo0000025

Slaney, K. L. (2015). “I’m Not That Kind of Psychologist”: A Case for Methodological Pragmatism in Theoretical Inquiries into Psychological Science Practices. In J. Martin, J. Sugarman, & K. L Slaney (Eds), The Wiley handbook of theoretical
and philosophical psychology: Methods, approaches, and new directions for social sciences (pp. 343-358). Chichester, England: Wiley Blackwell.

Slaney K. L. (2014). Psychometrics. In T. Teo (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Critical Psychology: Springer reference (pp. 1573-1580). New York: Springer.

Lovasz, N., & Slaney, K. L. (2013). What makes a hypothetical construct “hypothetical”? Tracing the origins and uses of the “hypothetical construct” concept in psychological science. New Ideas in Psychology, 31, 22-31.

Slaney, K. L. (2012). Laying the cornerstone of construct validity theory: Herbert Feigl’s influence on early specifications. Theory and Psychology, 22, 290-309.

Slaney, K. L., & Racine, T. P. (2013). What’s in a name? Psychology’s ever evasive construct. New Ideas in Psychology, 31, 4-12.