Rival Strategies of Validation: Tools for Evaluating Measures of Democracy

Comparative Political Studies 47 No. 2, January 2014, Forthcoming

28 Pages Posted: 28 Jul 2012 Last revised: 26 Mar 2016

Jason Seawright

Northwestern University - Department of Political Science

David Collier

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Political Science

Date Written: July 1, 2012

Abstract

The challenge of finding appropriate tools of measurement validation is an abiding concern in political science. This article considers four traditions of validation, using examples from comparative research on democracy: the levels-of-measurement (LoM) approach, structural-equation modeling with latent variables (SEM-L), the pragmatic tradition, and the case-based method. Methodologists have sharply disputed the merits of alternative traditions. We encourage scholars — and certainly analysts of democracy — to pay more attention to these disputes and to consider strengths and weaknesses in the validation tools they adopt. An online appendix summarizes the evaluation of six democracy data sets from the perspective of alternative approaches to validation. The overall goal is to open a new discussion of alternative validation strategies and their role in evaluating measures of democracy.

Keywords: validity, measurement, democracy, methodology, multi-method, cross-national research, comparatice case studies, structural equation modeling, level of measurement

JEL Classification: P50, C10, C80, C81, C82

Suggested Citation

Seawright, Jason and Collier, David, Rival Strategies of Validation: Tools for Evaluating Measures of Democracy (July 1, 2012). Comparative Political Studies 47 No. 2, January 2014, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2118278

Jason Seawright

Northwestern University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Scott Hall
Evanston, IL 60208
United States

David Collier (Contact Author)

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Political Science ( email )

210 Barrows Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

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