I'm trying to find a definite, peer-reviewed and generally accepted definition of the words validation and verification when applied in the context of data acceptance (computer science).

In a related question there are many definitions which I would consider correct but non I feel could act as a reference.

Therefore could you point me to any sources that would fit this criteria?

closed as off-topic by MetaEd, tchrist, Hellion, aedia λ, FumbleFingers Jan 18 '14 at 0:54

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  • I am afraid I don't know anything about computer-science dictionaries. However, just incidentally, I am not clear if you are using 'criteria' as a singular or plural. The singular is of course 'criterion'. But if you intended the plural, then it should be 'these criteria' not 'this criteria'. – WS2 Jan 16 '14 at 19:48
  • The requirements of 'definite' and 'generally accepted' are contradictory. There are no absolute laws about what is acceptable in any context at all and to all audiences. It is an art, not a science. – Oldcat Jan 16 '14 at 20:05
  • @Oldcat The OP is not asking about what is acceptable in any context or to all audiences. The OP provides a narrow context: data acceptance (computer science). There could well be a definite and generally accepted meaning, a technical one obviously, in that context. – MetaEd Jan 16 '14 at 23:40
  • General reference: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Verification_and_validation_(software) – MetaEd Jan 16 '14 at 23:41

validation in this context is usually referring to the syntax of an expression or request - is it formatted in a way that can be understood? verification is more testing the accuracy of a correct statement, or if the requester has the rights required to complete the operation.


I acknowledge that you are familiar with the terms in question. For a standard accepted definition I would suggest to go with the ISO 9000's one.

3.8.4 Verification - “Confirmation, through the provision of objective evidence (3.8.1), that specified requirements (3.1.2) have been fulfilled"

3.8.5 Validation – “Confirmation, through the provision of objective evidence (3.8.1), that the requirements (3.1.2) for a specific intended use or application have been fulfilled."

CMMI ones are also worth a try. You can tweak it or add a short note in view of your product/data/design.


In the context of Software Engineering (or general Computer Science), V&V are terms related to project management and particularly software testing. People commonly refer to Verification and Validation as "Quality Control".

Here's a good article comparing the two. To summarize:

  • Software verification refers to testing/confirming that the software development output meets its input requirements.
  • Software validation refers to testing/confirming that the software meets the needs of the users and that the implemented requirements are consistently fulfilled.

But I think the best way to look at it is through the succinct and wise words of Barry Boehm:

  • Verification: "Are we building the product right?"
  • Validation: "Are we building the right product?"

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