Nomological Network Theory

The American psychologists Lee J. Cronbach (1916-2001) and Paul Everett Meehl (19202003) proposed that a lawful pattern of interrelationships exists between hypothetical constructs (i.e., a suggested mechanism whose existence is inferred but for which objective evidence is not yet available) and observable entities/attributes, and which guides researchers in establishing the construct validity (i.e., procedures that capture the hypothetical quality of designated construct/trait) of a psychological test or measure [cf., trait validity - the "goodness" of a test determined by the extent to which the test correlates more highly with different methods of measuring the same construct than it does with similar methods of measuring different constructs; proposed by the American psychologist Donald T. Campbell (1916-1996); cf., reliability - the "stability" or "dependability" of a test determined by the consistency with which the test yields the same approximate results when given repeatedly under similar conditions]. The nomologi-cal network theory includes a presumed framework for what is being measured and the specification of associations between different hypothetical constructs, between different observable attributes, and between joint hypothetical constructs/observable attributes. According to this approach, it may be concluded that qualitatively different measurement operations measure the same attributes if their locations in the same nomological network link them to the same hypothetical construct variable. See also CLASSICAL TEST/MEASUREMENT THEORY; HYPOTHETICAL CONSTRUCTS; MEASUREMENT THEORY; NEURAL NETWORK MODELS OF INFORMATION PROCESSING. REFERENCES

Cronbach, L. J., & Meehl, P. E. (1955). Construct validity in psychological tests. PsychologicalBulletin, 52, 281-302. Cronbach, L. J., & Merwin, J. C. (1955). A model for studying the validity of multiple-choice items. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 15, 337-352. Campbell, D. T. (1960). Recommendations for APA test standards regarding construct, trait, or discriminant validity. American Psychologist, 15, 546-553.

Cronbach, L. J., Rajaratnam, N., & Gleser, C. (1963). Theory of generalizability: A liberalization of reliability theory. British Journal of Statistical Psychology, 16, 137-163.




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