Content Validation Guidelines: Evaluation Criteria for Definitional Correspondence and Definitional Distinctiveness Academic Article uri icon


  • Several reviews have been critical of the degree to which scales in industrial/organizational psychology and organizational behavior adequately reflect the content of their construct. One potential reason for that circumstance is a tendency for scholars to focus less on content validation than on other validation methods (e.g., establishing reliability, performing convergent, discriminant, and criterion-related validation, and examining factor structure). We provide clear evaluation criteria for 2 commonly used content validation approaches: Anderson and Gerbing (1991) and Hinkin and Tracey (1999). To create those guidelines, we gathered all new scales introduced in Journal of Applied Psychology, Academy of Management Journal, Personnel Psychology, and Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes from 2010 to 2016. We then subjected those 112 scales to Anderson and Gerbing's (1991) and Hinkin and Tracey's (1999) approaches using 6,240 participants from Amazon's Mechanical Turk with detailed, transparent, and replicable instructions. For both approaches, our results provide evaluation criteria for definitional correspondence-the degree to which a scale's items correspond to the construct's definition-and definitional distinctiveness-the degree to which a scale's items correspond more to the construct's definition than to the definitions of other orbiting constructs. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).

altmetric score

  • 4

author list (cited authors)

  • Colquitt, J. A., Sabey, T. B., Rodell, J. B., & Hill, E. T.

citation count

  • 21

publication date

  • October 2019