Social Validity in Early Language Interventions for Dual Language Learners: A Systematic Review of the Literature

Anne L. Larson, Zhe Gigi An, Carla Wood, Yuuko Uchikoshi, Lauren M. Cycyk, Carol Scheffner Hammer, Kelly Escobar, Kate Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The social validity of intervention research has been emphasized in special education and related fields for decades. There is relatively little focus on social validity that considers culturally and linguistically diverse populations. Eleven articles met the inclusionary criteria for this systematic review and were evaluated to describe social validity in early language intervention research—specifically with young (birth through 5 years) dual language learners (DLLs). We examined how social validity was considered and addressed, how social validity was measured, and the results of social validity assessments. Definitions of social validity were generally vague, and researchers in most studies only considered social validity post intervention rather than prior to starting or during the interventions. Participants generally viewed interventions positively, but incomplete data were often reported.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)39-51
Number of pages13
JournalTopics in Early Childhood Special Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This project was supported, in part, by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant UA6MC 27762, Bridging the Word Gap Research Network. This information or content and conclusions are those of the authors and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS, or the U.S. Government.


  • cultural diversity
  • development
  • families
  • focus on measurement/instrument/test design
  • intervention strategies
  • language/communication
  • research methodologies

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