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Campbell and Fiske theory Essay



The purpose of this paper is to examine the article by Campbell and Fiske (1959) entitled, “Convergent and discriminate validation by the multitrait-multimethod matrix”.

The paper will attempt to describe why Campbell and Fiske maintain why it is important to assess multiple traits in test construction, as well as to assess traits with multiple methods. It will also provide reasoning behind what two methods would be chosen to assess student’s construct, and which two aspects of the student’s concept would be more valid to be measured.

Campbell and Fiske

Campbell and Fiske (1959) gave clear guidelines on how one should proceed in establishing convergent and discriminate validation for the construct personality. This ensured that their multi trait multi-method matrix (MTMM Matrix) was important in providing an understanding to the “validation process” (Strauss & Smith, 2009). However, this method has some problems associated with it such as the use of the traditional bivariate analysis method of the MTMM matrix.

Understanding and applying construct validity are an essential component when testing a new assessment exam. Validity addresses the idea of “What does the test measure exactly?” There are several notions about what tests measure, but for the psychology profession, these notions alone are not enough.

Creating Psychological Testing and Assessment

Psychological tests and assessments are designed for the sole purpose of assessing and evaluating information. This information is given either as answers to interview questions or as responses on paper, oral interview or on a computer to very specific questions that remain constant to have uniformity.

Construct Validity and Reliability

Construct refers to the way of analyzing the validity of a measure such as the personality of an individual. The validity of a measure must talk in depth about the “content validity” that refers to the way the given measure samples the variety of the behavioral characteristics that are needed in the personality traits. This paper uses convergent validity and divergent validity constructs in assessing the emotions and behavioral traits of validity. Validity and reliability are the very foundation of all psychological testing, for without them there is little evidence to ensure that the proposed testing has any degree of accuracy (Allen & Yen, 1979).

Categories of Psychological Testing

There are several psychological tests that are designed and used to test and assess numerous guidelines that psychologists use to determine if the established results are consistent. Aptitude, achievement, IQ, neuropsychological, occupational, and personality test to name a few of the assessment tests that have both validity and reliability built into them.

The Multi trait-Multi method Matrix

The Multi trait-Multi method Matrix was designed by Campbell and Fiske in 1959 for assessing the construct validity of a set of measures in a study. They introduced two new types of validity — convergent and discriminate — as subdivisions of construct validity (Trochim, 2006).

Recommendation for Assessing Multiple Traits in Test Construction

Multiple traits are used in this approach to examine (a) similar or (b) dissimilar traits, as to establish convergent and discriminate validity amongst traits. In many instances it will be convenient for accomplishing this through a multi trait-multi method matrix. Such a matrix grants all the inter-correlations resulting when each of numerous traits are measured by each of several methods.

Recommendation of Assessing Traits with Multiple Methods

Campbell and Fiske recommended the assessing of traits by using multiple methods. Those studies that actually use multiple methods arrive at more equivocal conclusions than those that do not. Many researchers are beginning to use multiple methods to measure the hierarchically linked constructs within a content category. (Roberts et al., 2006).

Reason why the two Methods Chosen would be Most Appropriate in Assessing emotional and Behavioral traits

Campbell and Fiske believed that the most reliable testing and assessment results could be formulated by assessing multiple traits in test construction and assessing traits with multiple methods. Two of the most important and fundamental characteristics of all measurement procedures are reliability and validity (Allen & Yen, 1979).

The two Aspects of the Chosen Psychological Constructs are most valid to be assessed

The chosen psychological constructs are the most valid methods to be assessed. The aspect of measurement validity, discriminate validity requires that a new measure of a construct be substantially less interrelated with measures of conceptual unrelated constructs than with other indicators of that construct (Strauss & Smith, 2009).


Campbell and Fiske provided a comprehensive approach, back in 1959, which gave a way to test the validity and reliability of any psychological testing method. Reliability and validity must be present in order for any psychological instrument to pass scrutiny. It is important to assess traits with multiple methods and to assess multiple traits in test construction. While the Multitrait-Multimethod Matrix is a complex series of variables, it has proven itself by withstanding the test of time and peer review.


Allen, M. J., & Yen, W. M. (1979). Introduction to measurement theory. Monterey, CA: Brooks/Cole.

Campbell, D., & Fiske, D. (1959). Convergent and discriminate validation by the multitrait-multimethod matrix. Psychological Bulletin, 56 (2).

Roberts, B., Harms, P., Smith, J., Wood, D., & Webb, M. (N.d.). (2010). Using multiple methods in personality psychology. Retrieved from

Strauss, M., & Smith, G. (2009). Construct validity: Advances in theory and methodology. New York: Cambridge Publishers.

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