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Friday 17th July, 11:00 - 12:30 Room: O-101

Dealing with content validity in cross-cultural research. Methodological challenges and innovative approaches

Convenor Dr Wolfgang Aschauer (University of Salzburg )
Coordinator 1Professor Martin Weichbold (University of Salzburg)

Session Details

The main research aim of cross-national survey instruments (such as the European Social Survey, the ISSP or the World Value Survey) is to achieve comparable results and the key term to reach this goal is “equivalence”, more exactly: “functional equivalence”. Regarding certain aspects (e.g. sampling or translation) considerable progress has been made during the last years but in certain areas there is still a clear need for further research. One particular area is the task to achieve content validity of the major research themes in cross-national research. There is already awareness of certain biases with regards to latent constructs, indices and measurement concepts, but the challenges how to capture the various aspects of a specific construct in certain countries remain often unsolved. In many applied projects we can still observe the problematic strategy of an inconsiderate use of Western-based approaches which claim universality. On the other hand several researchers start to apply rather strict tests to achieve construct equivalence before defining and searching for the constituent parts of the constructs in specific countries. Excluding indicators which do not fit to the established models which claim to be culturally invariant can thus go hand in hand with a decreasing validity of the measurement in certain countries. Therefore construct equivalence and content validity are two different aspects and should be addressed separately in methodological research.

In the proposed session we especially look for contributions focusing on the validity of the measurement of certain (culturally sensitive) constructs. Survey researchers who are active in various research fields are highly welcome to present methodological groundwork on the proposed issues, to present their own strategies to deal with content validity in ongoing research projects or to discuss existing, alternative or innovative approaches of equivalence testing keeping certain validity constraints in mind.

Paper Details

1. Toward Emically Informed Cross-Cultural Research
Professor Klaus Boehnke (Jacobs University Bremen)

Cross-cultural research typically attends to a strict linguistic equivalence requirement. The paper suggests loosening the requirement of using identically worded items in all cultures in favor of a more emic methodology. Addressing the relationship of paternal warmth and trust in five cultures (Germany, Moldova, Togo, Zambia, Zimbabwe), an approach is suggested that develops items autonomously within cultures, subsequently ascertains structural and measurement equivalence of covariance matrices obtained on the basis of the differently worded items, and finally validates the measurement by showing the equality of the relationship of the differentially measured latent construct with the comparison variable in all

2. Cross-cultural diversity in the understanding of ‘Medicines’ by young adults
Dr Hilde Tobi (Wageningen University & Research centre)
Mrs Justina Agula (Ghana Health Services)
Dr Jennifer Barrett (University of South Wales)

The meaning of ‘medicines’ is likely to vary cross-culturally (e.g. whether including remedies) which raises content validity issues in cross-national research on ‘medicines’. This study aims 1) to investigate the understanding of the word ‘medicines’ among culturally diverse young adults and 2) to enhance knowledge of cross-cultural data collection by comparing classic interviews vs. innovative visual card sorts. Transcripts of structured interviews (N=16, from 3 continents) were analysed using content analysis, with a coding scheme partially constructed a priori. The card sort was analysed based on the selected characteristics as depicted on the visual cards.

3. The latent concept of teacher professional community over 36 countries
Dr Catalina Lomos (CEPS/INSTEAD Luxembourg)

More and more relationships are studied comparatively in more than one country. Regarding the concept of teacher professional community, cross-cultural research would allow to observe if teachers within different countries collaborate with the same or different intensity. In this context, the methodological question that arises is under which conditions can we compare the presence and the relationships of the latent concept of professional community across different countries? How important is to establish construct equivalence but also content validity? The present study will present the results of MGCFA across 36 countries and possible applications based on the results found.

4. Measuring Religiosity Cross-Nationally
Ms Insa Bechert (GESIS - Leibniz-Institute for the Social Sciences)

Religiosity is a multidimensional, multifaceted phenomenon. This paper looks at thirty-nine countries worldwide to identify typologies of individual religiosity. Individual LCAs on all countries available have identified different typologies based on the number of clusters and conditional response probabilities. To be able to conduct cross-national comparisons, it is tested for construct validity by MGCFA. By LCA itself it is tested for measurement invariance. The strategy is not to delete any items for the benefit of construct validity across thirty-nine countries. The paper rather seeks to identify similar typologies and discusses reasons for non-comparability.