Make clear how you define the outcome of social participation and assess different dimensions of this multidimensional concept when evaluating the effects of social technology on social participation.
Explanation and examples
A systematic review was conducted to gain insight into the effects of technological interventions on the social participation of older adults. A total of 36 studies was included in a narrative synthesis. A major finding was the inconsistent use of terms and concepts related to social participation among studies. Future studies should make the applied definition of social participation explicit to allow for comparison of research results.
Furthermore, a majority of the included studies measured one specific dimension of social participation, i.e: social connections (e.g. by measuring loneliness or social isolation). However, social participation is a multidimensional concept. It is not only about social connections, but also about being engaged in meaningful activities that provide social interaction with others in the community (Levasseur et al., 2010). So far, there is no outcome measure that covers all dimensions of social participation. Therefore, it is recommended to combine quantitative outcome measures with qualitative data collection methods when assessing the effect(s) of technology on social participation. In the future, research should focus on developing and validating an outcome measure that covers different dimensions of social participation.
ThemesDementia Designing technological interventions Effects evaluation Older adults Outcome measures Social participation
Target groupsIndustry evaluation the effect of technology on social participation Researchers evaluating effect of technology on social participation
Type of evidence
Systematic literature review
Heins, P., Boots, L.M.M., Koh, W.Q., Neven, A., Verhey, F.J., and de Vugt, M.E. (2021). The Effects of Technological Interventions on Social Participation of Community-Dwelling Older Adults with and without Dementia: A Systematic Review. Journal of Clinical Medicine, 10, 2308. doi.org/10.3390/jcm10112308
Levasseur, M., Richard, L., Gauvin, L., and Raymond, É. (2010). Inventory and analysis of definitions of social participation found in the aging literature: Proposed taxonomy of social activities. Social Science & Medicine, 71, 2141–2149. doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2010.09.041