Context: Instrument validation is an important facet of survey research methods and athletic trainers must be aware of the important underlying principles.

Objective: To discuss the process of survey development and validation, specifically the process of construct validation.

Background: Athletic training researchers frequently employ the use of survey research for topics such as clinical instruction and supervision, burnout, and professional development; however, researchers have not always used proper procedures to ensure instrument validity and reliability for the data collection process.

Description: Four major methods exist to establish the validity of an instrument: face, content, criterion related, and construct. When developing a survey to measure a previously unexplored construct (eg, an athletic trainer's attitudes toward appropriate exertional heat stroke treatment), researchers should employ a four-step process: (1) defining constructs and content domain, (2) generating and judging measurement items, (3) designing and conducting studies to develop a scale, and (4) finalizing the scale.

Clinical Advantages: Establishing the validity of a survey instrument strengthens the data yielded from the data collection process, which allows for greater confidence in the interpretation of the results from the survey.

Conclusions: Construct validity, although a time-intensive process, is necessary to ensure accuracy and validity of the survey instrument.

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Author notes

Dr. Burton is an Associate Professor of Sport Management in the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Connecticut. Please address all correspondence to Laura Burton, PhD, University of Connecticut, 2095 Hillside Road, Unit 1110, Storrs, CT 06269-1110.