Explain what is meant my validity and reliability

Broadly speaking, validity refers to accuracy whereas reliability refers to consistency.

There are many types of reliability and validity, I few of which I have explained here:

- Internal validity is the extent to which the measurement or study is accurate within itself.

E.g. Does this particular self report accurately measure the participants’ anger?

- External validity is the extant to which the conclusions of the study can be generalised beyond the original study and participants.

I.e. can we generalise the conclusions of this study with these particular participants to other situations?

- Internal reliability is the extent to which a measurement or a study is consistent within itself.

E.g. if we were to split the the participants in half and give them the same test, would the results of both halves be similar?

- External reliability is the extent to which the results and conclusions of a study are consistent over time.

I.e. if we repeated the same study over time, would we obtain the same results?


I would be happy to help you apply these definitions to examples in your study when you’re evaluating in exam questions.

E.g. Bandura’s study lack may external validity because all the children were from the same nursery school in America. We can’t generalise the results of this study to children outside this nursery as we can’t assume that all children will imitate behaviour in the same way. Therefore, it lacks external validity because we can’t generalise the conclusions to this study to all children. 

Louise W. A Level Psychology tutor

1 year ago

Answered by Louise, an A Level Psychology tutor with MyTutor

Still stuck? Get one-to-one help from a personally interviewed subject specialist


PremiumLucy R. A Level Psychology tutor, GCSE English tutor, GCSE Psychology...
View profile
£30 /hr

Lucy R.

Degree: Psychology Graduate (Bachelors) - Durham University

Subjects offered: Psychology, English Literature+ 3 more

English Literature
English Language
-Personal Statements-

“Passionate about psychology, I know that understanding psychological concepts is crucial to explaining them clearly on paper, and believe it’s important to combine a broad understanding of psychology with the specific exam technique e...”

Joshua F. A Level Law tutor, GCSE Law tutor, A Level Psychology tutor...
View profile
£22 /hr

Joshua F.

Degree: Law (Bachelors) - York University

Subjects offered: Psychology, Law+ 2 more

-Personal Statements-

“About me:  I am currently a law student at the University of York and am proceeding ito my second year of study. During my first year I managed to achieve a first class grade whilst balancing my studies with extra-curricular activitie...”

MyTutor guarantee

Somia I. A Level Psychology tutor, GCSE English tutor, A Level Sociol...
View profile
£22 /hr

Somia I.

Degree: PhD in Clinical Psychology (Research) - Edinburgh University

Subjects offered: Psychology, Sociology+ 1 more


“Who am I?Hi, my name is Somia Imran and I am first year PhD (Clinical Psychology) student at the University of Edinburgh. Right now, I call myselfa jack of all trades but master of none, however, hopefully after completing my PhD I w...”

About the author

Louise W. A Level Psychology tutor
View profile
£20 /hr

Louise W.

Degree: Zoology (Bachelors) - Exeter University

Subjects offered: Psychology


“Hello, My name is Louise and I'm currently in the first year studying for my Zoology degree. I'm hoping to utilise my Psychology knowledge to specialise in Animal Behaviour as I am particularly interested in this area. :D I would be v...”

MyTutor guarantee

You may also like...

Other A Level Psychology questions

What is the difference between correlations and experiments?

What are the limitations of the cognitive approach to psychology?

What is Bandura's (1973) Social Learning Theory?

What is the difference between the biological and behavioural psychological approaches?

View A Level Psychology tutors


We use cookies to improve our service. By continuing to use this website, we'll assume that you're OK with this. Dismiss