Cologne, Germany

Questionnaires for Cross-Cultural Surveys

when 19 August 2019 - 23 August 2019
language English
duration 1 week
credits 4 EC
fee EUR 300

Cross-cultural surveys are increasingly being set up in numerous disciplines and around the globe. They allow testing for the generality of hypotheses across cultures and systematic research into institutional and other contextual differences. While it is essential to have a sound knowledge of survey methodology in general when setting up these surveys, there are additional methodological aspects to take into account in order to collect and to analyze cross-culturally comparable data. This course focuses on what it means to develop and evaluate questionnaires for use in comparative research, assess the comparability of the used measurements employing for example measurement invariance tests and using the resulting data for substantive analyses.
It is organized around the following themes: measurement in comparative surveys, developing questionnaires for cross-cultural surveys, measuring background variables and their harmonization, best-practice in questionnaire translation and adaptation as well as translation assessment, and using quantitative (e.g. multigroup confirmatory factor analyses) and qualitative approaches (e.g. web probing) to test for cross-cultural comparability of measures (i.e. invariance) and to find out the reasons behind non-invariance.
Class hours will be a mixture of lectures, short practical exercises and discussions. During the study hours outside class, students will work on their own projects (if applicable) and/or gain hands-on experience in designing source questions, translating and reviewing translations, harmonizing variables, as well as measurement invariance testing, with support from the instructors.

Course leader

Prof. Dr. Michael Braun is Senior Project Consultant at the dept. SDM at GESIS and Adjunct Professor at the University of Mannheim. Brita Dorer is a researcher at GESIS specialized in the field of questionnaire translation. Dr. Katja Hanke is a senior res

Target group

Participants will find the course useful if they:
- are involved in developing a source questionnaire (attitude, personality, behavior items, background variables) for several cultures and/or countries;
- want to understand the implications of questionnaire design and translation as well as variable harmonization for the comparability of cross-cultural survey data;
- organize questionnaire translation and assessment or translate and review translated questionnaires themselves;
- have data from several cultures/countries and want to establish measurement invariance for the used instruments.

- interest in the impact of linguistic, cultural and institutional contexts on cross-cultural survey research;
- knowledge of at least one language besides English to be able to benefit from the practice sessions regarding translation;
- knowledge of general questionnaire design principles is highly desirable;
- basic statistics or software knowledge is useful, but not mandatory.

Course aim

By the end of the course participants will:
- be aware of cross-cultural requirements during source questionnaire development to ensure comparability;
- be familiar with best-practice in carrying out questionnaire translation and assessment;
- become knowledgeable about the invariance framework and the meaning of bias and equivalence;
- understand the issues of equivalence and bias for cross-cultural comparative research;
- have the ability to critically evaluate research involving more than one cultural group and identify strengths and weaknesses of the design, results and interpretation of the study;
- be able to conduct tests of invariance in order to establish comparability of instruments across cultures/countries using R;
- be knowledgeable about probing techniques useful to locate the reasons for non-invariance.

Credits info

4 EC
- Certificate of attendance issued upon completion.
Optional bookings:
- 4 ECTS points via the University of Mannheim for regular attendance and satisfactory work on daily assignments and for submitting a paper/report of about 5000 words to the lecturer(s) up to 4 weeks after the end of the summer school (EUR 50).

Fee info

EUR 300: Student/PhD student rate.
EUR 450: Academic/non-profit rate.
The rates include the tuition fee, course materials, the academic program, access to library and IT facilities, coffee/tea, and a number of social activities.


10 DAAD scholarships are available via the Institute of Sociology and Social Psychology (ISS) of the University of Cologne.
5 scholarships for participation in one main course are available from the European Survey Research Association (ESRA).