Toward a Consequential Validity Perspective for Selecting Participant Groups in Testing and Evaluation Studies for Complex Systems
Authors: Nathan Lau, Ronald Boring
Abstract: Testing and evaluation of technology design for complex systems cannot readily attain conclusive results. This is because skilled professionals are often not available for testing while non-professionals may not be capable of operating the actual systems or high-fidelity simulators. Thus, practitioners and applied scientists can be challenged with decisions on selecting participant groups, which can severely constrain choices in the experimental tasks. This article presents the perspective of consequential validity, highlighting that general validity or rules to participant selection probably do not exist. Most importantly, the validity of a testing method or an empirical finding critically rests on the decisions of interest that must take into account nuances or idiosyncrasies of specific situations and desired outcomes. This perspective stands in contrast to how the literature predominantly portrays validity of testing methods or empirical findings as universal rather than focusing on outcomes within the confines of the study methods. The perspective of consequential validity calls for studies on how classical metrics of reliability and validity could manifest in consequence of specific decisions informed by empirical testing.
Keywords: Simulation testing, validity, sampling
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