Validity and validation in archetype analysis: practical assessment framework and guidelines

Piemontese, L and Neudert, R and Oberlack, C and Pedde, S and Roggero, M and Buchadas, A and Martin, D A and Orozco, R and Pellowe, K and Segnon, A C and Zarbá, L and Sietz, D (2022) Validity and validation in archetype analysis: practical assessment framework and guidelines. Environmental Research Letters, 17 (2). pp. 1-11. ISSN 1748-9326

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Archetype analysis is a promising approach in sustainability science to identify patterns and explain mechanisms shaping the sustainability of social-ecological systems. Although considerable efforts have been devoted to developing quality standards and methodological advances for archetype analysis, archetype validation remains a major challenge. Drawing on the insights from two international workshops on archetype analysis and on broader literature on validity, we propose a framework that identifies and describes six dimensions of validity: conceptual; construct; internal; external; empirical; and application validity. We first discuss the six dimensions in relation to different methodological approaches and purposes of archetype analysis. We then present an operational use of the framework for researchers to assess the validity of archetype analysis and to support sound archetype identification and policy-relevant applications. Finally, we apply our assessment to 18 published archetype analyses, which we use to describe the challenges and insights in validating the different dimensions and suggest ways to holistically improve the validity of identified archetypes. With this, we contribute to more rigorous archetype analyses, helping to develop the potential of the approach for guiding sustainability solutions.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Research Program : West & Central Africa
CRP: CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS)
Uncontrolled Keywords: archetype analysis, validation, validity, sustainability science, social-ecological systems
Subjects: Others > Sustainable Agriculture
Depositing User: Mr Nagaraju T
Date Deposited: 10 Apr 2024 10:07
Last Modified: 10 Apr 2024 10:07
Official URL:
Acknowledgement: We cordially thank all participants of the international research workshops on ‘Archetype analysis in sustainability research’ (2019–2021) providing the basis for this paper. We are particularly thankful to Klaus Eisenack, Zuzana Harmackova and Tomas Vaclavik for the useful discussions in the early stage of the work. This paper contributes to the GLP science plan (Global Land Programme,
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