2.1 Social validity: how acceptable is the policy or intervention in your local context?
Despite a policy or intervention being highly effective at achieving a desired outcome, its implementers and/or consumers may consider it inappropriate for a particular setting. In order for a policy or intervention to achieve intended outcomes in the practice setting, it must be both effective and socially valid. A programme is said to have social validity when it addresses problems considered relevant by consumers, it does so in a manner that consumers can enjoy or at least tolerate, and it produces outcomes that are considered valuable.(71)
A social validity assessment can provide information regarding how well specific elements of a policy or intervention are liked or disliked. Most current approaches define three elements of a policy or intervention that can be assessed for their social validity.(73) These are:
- the social significance of the goals of policy or intervention,
- the social appropriateness and acceptability of the policy or intervention’s procedures and
- the social importance of the effects or the outcomes produced by policy or interventions.
Most methods for assessing social validity ask parties other than policy-makers or researchers about their opinions on policies and interventions(71) and use questionnaires/rating scales and focus groups or interviews.(72) Below, you can find and download a proposed structure for assessing the social validity of a policy or intervention.