Training course “Design and Methods in Cross-Cultural Psychology”
19-23 November, on the base of the ILSCR, the 5-days training course (workshop) “Design and Methods in Cross-Cultural Psychology” took place. It was a part of the training program of the ILSCR “Advanced social psychology: theory, methodology, practice”.
The lecturer was Prof. Fons van de Vijver, renowned scholar in the field of cross-cultural psychology (University of Tilburg, Netherlands). The audience of the course was the researchers from the ILSCR and the students of the Master program “Applied Social Psychology”.
The following topics were covered during the course:Current theories and models of cross-cultural differences; Issues in culture-comparative and culture-specific comparisons; Designs of cross-cultural studies; Conceptual underpinnings of bias and equivalence; Data analysis in cross-cultural research; Cross-cultural adaptation of psychological tests and measures.
The workshop had three interrelated parts. Fons van de Vijver began by providing a short overview of cross-cultural theories and models. This background set the stage for the two other parts: Methodological issues in cross-cultural studies: Bias and equivalence and Test adaptations.
The focus of the course was on validity of cross-cultural comparisons: How can we design our studies in such a way that all the similarities and differences that we observe across cultures can be interpreted in an unambiguous manner? It is often relatively easy to find significant cross-cultural differences in psychological constructs. However, finding these differences is not the end of a study but the beginning of an interpretation process: What is the meaning of the cross-cultural differences that are found? Part of the workshop was devoted to analysis of cross-cultural data.
An important part of the workshop was test adaptations. Cross-cultural test adaptations become increasingly more important in psychological research. The workshop revised an overview of state-of-the-art procedures that can be used to translate/adapt tests for use in a cross-cultural, multilingual context. The first, called a priori procedures, are aimed at generating an instrument that is appropriate in all cultural context involved in a study. Examples of such procedures are translation designs and cognitive pretesting. Various procedures to adapt tests and measures to a new cultural context are described and illustrated. The second, called a posteriori procedures, are aimed at testing the cultural adequacy and cross-cultural equivalence of the adapted instrument. Examples of such procedures, which are based on statistical techniques, are described and illustrated. It was a central theme of the workshop that both generating adequate instruments and testing this adequacy are needed in cross-cultural adaptations.