An argument-based validation study of the fundamentals of laparoscopic surgery (FLS) program

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Background: The Fundamentals of Laparoscopy Surgery (FLS) program was launched over 15 years ago. Since then, there has been an exponential rise in advancements of laparoscopy and its uses. In response, we conducted an argument-based validation study of FLS. The purpose of this paper is to exemplify this approach to validation for surgical education researchers using FLS as an illustrative case.

Methods: The argument-based approach to validation involves three key actions: (1) developing interpretation and use arguments; (2) research; and (3) building a validity argument. Drawing from the validation study of FLS each step is exemplified.

Results: Qualitative and quantitative data sources from the FLS validity examination study provided evidence that both supported claims, but also generated backing for rebuttals. Some of the key findings were synthesized in a validity argument to illustrate its structure.

Discussion: The argument-based validation approach described numerous advantages over other validation approaches: (1) it is endorsed by the foundational documents in assessment and evaluation research; (2) its specific language of claims, inferences, warrants, assumptions and rebuttals provides a systematic and unified way to communicate both the processes and outcomes of validation; and (3) the use of logic reasoning in building the validity document clearly delineates the relationship between evidence and the inferences made to support desired uses and interpretations from assessments.

Keywords: Argument-based validation; Fundamentals of Laparoscopic Surgery (FLS); Validity.