A study’s validity determines whether it is a useful tool outside of the laboratory setting or whether it is simply something that can be used to draw theoretical conclusions. A highly valid study is one whose results will correlate to the things that are seen in the real world. When one fails to consider the validity of a study, one can end up with results that are, at times, outdated. The real world is a shifting and complex animal. It moves as things change. At times, the scientific world can fail to keep up with the changes in the real world. It takes intentional effort for researchers to adjust their methods in order to keep up with the happenings in the actual, physical world. When one fails to consider the validity of a study, one runs the major risk of relying on a study that is assessing outdated results.
In addition to that, when one fails to assess the validity of a study, one can draw incorrect conclusions and use those conclusions as the basis for additional research. One of the biggest, most fundamental issues at play with research study validity is that scientific research tends to build on itself. When one wrong conclusion is adopted by the scientific community, it can lead to an entire body of research that is not useful, or at worst, is distracting. Research with poor validity is potentially harmful mostly because it poses as legitimate research. It looks in every way like a study that has good validity, except that its results for one reason or another do not match with what is happening in the real world. The smart researcher tests whether the conclusions that the study reaches match the real-world applications that the researcher is looking to have an impact on over the long run.
- Yin, R. K. (2013). Case study research: Design and methods. Sage publications.