SOCIAL VALIDITY ASSESSMENTS: IS CURRENT PRACTICE STATE OF THE ART?

Authors


Juniper Gardens Children's Project, 1614 Washington Blvd., Kansas City, Kansas 66102.

Department of Human Development, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas 66045.

Abstract

The use of evaluative feedback from consumers to guide program planning and evaluation is often referred to as the assessment of social validity. Differing views of its role and value in applied behavior analysis have emerged, and increasingly stereotyped assessments of social validity are becoming commonplace. This paper argues that current applications of social validity assessments are straying from the point originally proposed for them. Thus, several suggestions for improving current social validity assessment are proposed, including (a) expanding the definition of consumers to acknowledge the variety of community members able and likely to affect a program's survival, (b) increasing the psychometric rigor of social validity assessments, (c) extending assessment to heretofore underrepresented populations, (d) implementing widespread application of well-designed social validity assessments, (e) increasing meaningful consumer involvement in the planning and evaluation of behavioral programs, and (f) educating consumers to make better informed programming decisions.

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