#OTalk Research Tuesday 3rd July: Face validity: what is it, why is it important and how do we evaluate it?

This week’s chat is on the topic of Face validity and will be hosted by Dr Alison Laver-Fawcett, Associate Professor at York St John University (@alisonlaverfaw).  Here is what Alison had to say…

Face validity is the extent an assessment subjectively appears to test what it is supposed to; good face validity ensures an assessment is client-centred, acceptable to the test-taker, and to the person administering it (Asher 2007).

I conducted my first face validity study around 1990-1 when I was undertaking a project to develop, standardise and evaluate the psychometric properties of an assessment, the Structured Observational Test of Function (SOTOF), as the focus for my PhD studies. At the time I struggled to find face validity reported and discussed in occupational therapy literature. A key psychometric text I was drawing on at the time by Anastasi (1988) also had noted there was a “paucity of available research on face validity, despite its probable contribution to prevalent attitudes towards tests” (p. 145). The COSMIN checklist manual (Mokkink et al., 2012: 31) stated that no standards were developed for assessing face validity because ‘face validity requires a subjective judgement’, so unlike other types of validity and reliability, there is a lack of agreed standards for face validity studies

Years later when writing about validity for a text book I found there was still a lack of face validity studies published, not just in occupational therapy but also wider allied health assessment literature. This seems counter-intuitive as occupational therapists are supposed to be client centred; so why aren’t we studying the face validity of occupational therapy assessments and outcome measures as a matter of routine? Do we really think that it doesn’t matter what our clients’ experiences of undertaking an assessment is? Or what they think about what is being assessed /measured and how the assessment is done?

In the last few years I have been undertaking work with occupational therapy students exploring the face validity of a couple of measures. For example, in the final year ‘Dissertation: Contributing to the Evidence base’ module on the Occupational Therapy Programme at York St John University, some small groups of students have been collaborating to undertake face validity studies on the Activity Card Sort – United Kingdom version (e.g. see Laver-Fawcett et al, 2016). This year students have explored the face validity of the SOTOF (2nd edition) with community living older people and a MSc by Research student is exploring the face validity of SOTOF (2nd ed) with people in an in-patient setting who have neurological conditions such as stroke.

In this chat we will explore what face validity is and how it is defined; we will debate whether it is important for occupational therapy researchers to consider face validity (both when developing and evaluating measures and when selecting outcome measures for research); and we will discuss methodology for evaluating and exploring face validity.

Whether you are an experienced researcher, a clinician or a student please join us on 2nd May for this #OTalk twitter chat and share your ideas and experience. It is never too early in your occupational therapy career to start engaging in the development and evaluation of occupational therapy assessments and outcome measures.

Suggested talking points and discussion questions to focus our chat:

  1. What do you understand by the term ‘face validity’? Do you have any definitions that you have found useful?
  2. Why is face validity important to study when developing or selecting occupational therapy assessments and outcome measures?
  3. When selecting an outcome measure for research how could you consider face validity?
  4. Have you ever undertaken research to evaluate the face validity of an assessment or outcome measure? How did you do this?
  5. What methodologies can be used to explore and evaluate face validity?


Asher I.E. (2007) Occupational Therapy Assessment Tools: An annotated index. 3rd ed. Bethesda, American Occupational Therapy Association.

Laver-Fawcett A J, Brain L, Brodie C, Cardy L, Manaton L (2016) The Face Validity and Clinical Utility of the Activity Card Sort – United Kingdom (ACS-UK). British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 79(8) 492–504. doi:10.1177/0308022616629167. Available from: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0308022616629167 (accessed 25th June 2018).

Mokkink LB, Terwee CB, Patrick DL, Alonso J, Stratford PW, Knol DL, Bouter LM and de Vet HCW (2012) COSMIN checklist manual. Available at: http://www.cosmin.nl/images/upload/files/COSMIN%20checklist%20manual%20v9.pdf (accessed 25 June 2018).

Post chat

Chat host : Dr Alison Laver-Fawcett @alisonlaverfaw

On OTalk account for support: Dr Jenny Preston @preston_jenny

Online transcript

#OTalk Healthcare Social Media Transcript July 3rd 2018

The Numbers

253Avg Tweets/Hour
14Avg Tweets/Participant

#OTalk Participants


OTalk’s Occupation Station #RCOT2018

21st Century Meaningful Activity – Using Social Media to Engage.

This year the OTalk team hosted a occupation station, on Tuesday 12th June, at the Royal College of Occupational Therapist annual conference in Belfast.

The Aim of the session was to explore the use of the Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook and Blogging platforms for professional and therapeutic means.

We did this by inviting partisapants to engage in a social media speed dating exercise with 7 minutes per platform. Ending with a reflecting on why we use social media and reminding use to ensure our use is in line with our codes of conduct.

Below are resources we used during the occupation station.

Blogging as an Occupation

Using Image Based Apps as Occupation

Using Twitter as an Occupation – CPD from Sofa Poster

Attitudes to using social media for CPD Poster


If you have any questions or queries, get in touch and we’ll do our best to answer them.

OTalk – 12th June 2018 – OTalk OTea Party

With four of the OTalk team being at this years RCOT conference in Belfast, @gillygorry will be on the twitter account for an OTalk OTea Party, the plan is to have an informal chat about all things social media, conference and CDP.

To follow everything that is happening  at this years Royal College of Occupational Therapists conference checkout these Hashtags  #RCOT2018 #OTalkOnTour


Post Chat

Hosting and on the #OTalk account @GillyGorry

Online Transcript

#OTalk Healthcare Social Media Transcript June 12th 2018

The Numbers

748.830K Impressions
114 Tweets
24 Participants
91 Avg Tweets/Hour
Avg Tweets/Participant

#OTalk Participants

15th May – Working Work into the OT Pathway.

@RCOT_work will host this weeks #Otalk

Occupational Therapists facilitate an individual’s journey to meet the goals meaningful to them. Meaning is defined by the individual, as is the meaning of work which could also mean different things to different people across their life course. This is a particularly pertinent topic with recent changes in the benefits systems, the introduction of the Government’s Work and Health Agenda, changes in the Access to Work funding opportunities, the Royal College of Occupational Therapists (RCOT) OT champions and response to the Work and Health Agenda and 

Engagement in work includes engagement in learning, training and education, voluntary work, paid work, part time work, flexible working and crucially it is not an exclusive goal, as for many this may also involve the balance of personal lives, commitments and enduring health conditions. Occupational Therapists are well placed to facilitate the goal of returning to work, but also the maintenance of work. The purpose of this OTalk is to discuss about what is known about using work as a goal within practice, for Occupational Therapists who work exclusively in Vocational Rehabilitation to share their knowledge and give advice about resources to use in practice, and to ask questions to the wider OT community to find out what you want to know about how OT’s can engage with the work question, what would you like to learn from research in this area.

Questions that will lead the discussion are: 

  1. What does work as an outcome mean within the OT journey?
  2. Have you used work as a goal within practice, and if so in which setting do you work in? 
  3. What would be helpful for you to incorporate work (as an outcome) into your client/patient journey?
  4. Are there particular research questions that would help you frame your practice? 
  5. Final thoughts, any additional resources you would like to share. 

The RCOT Specialist Section for work will facilitate this OTalk and we hope that information shared within this discussion allows participants to ask the work question, and also for us to gain understanding as to what the wider OT community wish to know about work. 


Hosting Chat @RCOT_work

#Otalk admin team was Caroline @colourful_ot

Online Transcript

#OTalk Healthcare Social Media Transcript May 15th 2018

The Numbers

511.333K Impressions
214 Tweets
34 Participants
171 Avg Tweets/Hour
Avg Tweets/Participant

#OTalk Participants