External validity is a concept in research methodology that assesses the generalizability of study findings. It refers to the degree to which the results of a study can be applied to settings, populations, or situations beyond the specific conditions under which the research was conducted. High external validity means that the findings are likely to hold true in real-world contexts, while low external validity suggests limitations in generalizability.
In the context of an online community, external validity becomes relevant when considering research findings or studies conducted within that community. The degree to which the findings of a study conducted in a specific online community can be applied to other online communities or the broader online population depends on the external validity of the research. Factors such as the characteristics of the online community, its demographics, and the specific context of the study can impact the generalizability of the findings. Considering external validity helps in determining the relevance and applicability of research findings from one online community to others, enabling a more informed understanding of the broader online community landscape.