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Questioning validity in the area of ergonomics/human factors

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This paper focuses on the analysis of deviation in findings within ergonomics/human factors (E/HF) research. The current terms used to address the analysis of deviation in empirical research revolve around the notion of validity. In E/HF research papers, 'validity' is widely interpreted and includes its common parlance usage. More importantly, analysis frequently limits 'validation' to the equivalent of 'verification', eventually resulting in 'validity' as a label of little significance. To clarify the analysis of deviation, 'investigative syntaxes' are introduced to show what exactly should or can be questioned when deviation is observed, i.e. either empirical findings or propositions, and how this questioning can be structured. The possibility is discussed that, with or without the help of these syntaxes, validation may become a method of inquiry; a productive means of generating significant theoretical questions which bear directly on empirical work.
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Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: School of Industrial Design Engineering, Department of Ergonomics, Delft University of Technology, Jaffalaan 9, 2628 BX Delft, The Netherlands

Publication date: December 1, 2000

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