Ecological validity refers to how closely an experiment aligns with real-world phenomena. In applied behavioral research, ecological validity may guide decisions about experimental settings, stimuli, people, and other design features. However, inconsistent use of the term ecological validity in the published literature has led to a somewhat disjointed technology. The purposes of this paper were to review current uses of the term “ecological validity” in the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, propose ways to make a study more ecologically valid, and develop a checklist to assist in identifying the type and degree of ecological validity in any given study.
- ecological validity
- experimental design
- participatory action research
- social validity
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science
- Applied Psychology