Abstract: A persistent challenge to self-report data across racial, ethnic, or cultural groups is the inherent difficulty of attaining cross-cultural comparability of key measures. The current research study investigated the cross-cultural functioning of health-survey questions presented to four groups: (1) Koreans who were monolingual in Korean; (2) non-Korean native speakers of English; (3) bilingual Koreans interviewed in English, and (4) bilingual Koreans interviewed in Korean. This design allowed us to include those likely to be medically underserved, and to assess both linguistic and cultural barriers to collecting health survey data. A total of 36 cognitive interviews were conducted to identify (a) translation problems; (b) problems of cultural adaptation that impede cross-cultural comparability; and (c) generic problems of questionnaire design that affect all groups. An important category of problems was identified that appeared to result from the interaction of respondent and question characteristics. Such problems can best be assessed through explicit consideration of the socio-cultural backgrounds of survey respondents, as opposed to the more usual focus on details of item translation and wording.


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pp. 197-217
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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