The Social Validity of Using the Matrix Approach in Early Intervention With Children Who Are Blind or Have Low Vision

Mindy S. Ely, Michaelene M. Ostrosky, Allison Barton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: This paper provides a report of social validity and its usefulness in understanding study effects. Social validity data were drawn from a larger single-case study designed to investigate the effectiveness of the Matrix Approach in the practice of early intervention visual impairment professionals. Methods: Qualitative measures were used to assess social validity. According to Wolf (1978), validation of a study should encompass the significance of goals, appropriateness of procedures, and importance of outcomes. Therefore, data sources were created to provide evidence of social validity in these areas including pre- and post-intervention interviews of parents and professionals. Results: Three themes emerged from the social validity data. These are organized under the topics introduced by Wolf (1978) and identified as measures of quality by Horner et al. (2005). The themes are (a) Goals: role of the parent as learner and the professional as expert before using the Matrix Approach, (b) Procedures: helpfulness of coaching and the structure of the Matrix Approach, and (c) Outcomes: personal and professional growth as a result of using the Matrix Approach. Discussion: Evaluation of social validity in single-case research is an important component in a study’s design and in interpreting the study’s outcomes. Wolf’s framework proved valuable in promoting a robust evaluation of study effectiveness, especially when incorporated into the study design. Intentionally planning to measure social validity held the researchers accountable to the practical needs of the participants. In fact, there is value in gathering social validity data at various points in a study. Further, hearing the perspective of stakeholders can provide valuable insights as researchers seek to understand the complexities of change evident in the outcomes of a study. Implications for Practitioners: Collaborative planning is an essential component of early intervention. The Matrix Approach shows promise as a mechanism to foster such collaboration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)230-239
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Visual Impairment and Blindness
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2022


  • blindness
  • early intervention
  • low vision
  • matrix approach
  • social validity
  • visual impairment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Rehabilitation

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