Face validity is a simple form of validity in which researchers determine if the test seems to measure what is intended to measure. Essentially, researchers are simply taking the validity of the test at face value by looking at whether a test appears to measure the target variable. On a measure of happiness, for example, the test would be said to have face validity if it appeared to actually measure levels of happiness.
Obviously, face validity only means that the test looks like it works. It does not mean that the test has been proven to work. However, if the measure seems to be valid at this point, researchers may investigate further in order to determine whether the test is valid and should be used in the future.
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Anastasi, A. (1988). Psychological testing. New York, NY: Macmillan, p. 144