GESIS Training Courses

Scientific Coordination

Sebastian E. Wenz
Tel: +49 221 47694-159

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Jacqueline Schüller
Tel: +49 0221 47694-160

Short Course B: Developing, Translating, and Pretesting Questionnaires for Cross-cultural Surveys

Online via Zoom
Course Duration
Wed-Fr: 10:00-12:00 | 13:00-15:00 CEST
General Topics:
Course Level:
Software used:
Students: 220 €
Academics: 330 €
Commercial: 660 €
Additional links
Lecturer(s): Dorothée Behr, Cornelia Neuert, Lydia Repke

About the lecturer - Dorothée Behr

About the lecturer - Cornelia Neuert

About the lecturer - Lydia Repke

Course description

This course introduces you to cross-cultural research, and notably to what it means to produce comparable multilingual questionnaires that ensure data quality, comparability, and ultimately valid conclusions in research. On day 1, you will be introduced to types, aims, and basic concepts of cross-cultural research, and particularly to the concepts of “equivalence” and “bias.” Furthermore, we will delve into questionnaire design in cross-cultural contexts. Time will be devoted to methods of evaluating and pretesting questionnaire items, such as cognitive interviewing, to ensure that items indeed measure what they are supposed to measure and are comparative across languages. On day 2, you will learn how the quality of survey questions can be estimated. You will be introduced to a tool (i.e., the Survey Quality Predictor [SQP]) that will allow you to predict the quality of your own survey items and that you can use for translation checks when dealing with different language versions of the same item. You will be trained in a very hands-on manner how you can implement the tool in your own research project. On day 3, you will learn about the crucial step of questionnaire translation, and (best practice) translation and assessment methods that are typically discussed in this context. Furthermore, you will learn about aspects to consider in questionnaire translation and potential error sources. The course will conclude with a wrap-up session, bringing all aspects together. On each day, you will gain hands-on experience on some of the methods and tools presented to get an idea of challenges or subtleties inherent in cross-cultural research - and you will have the opportunity to marvel about and discuss cultural and linguistic (dis)similarities!
The full syllabus of the course, including the day-to-day schedule will be published here in April.

Target group

You will find the course useful if:
  • you are involved in cross-cultural data collection or cross-cultural survey projects,
  • you need to develop, translate, and/or pretest your own (translated) questionnaires for cross-cultural surveys,
  • you are interested in analyzing cross-cultural research data and want to understand the impact that sound (or not so sound) cross-cultural questionnaire design and translation procedures have on survey data quality and comparability.

Learning objectives

By the end of the course you will:
  • be aware of the challenges involved in cross-cultural measurement, and how you may mitigate or overcome these,
  • be able to set up sound procedures for developing, translating, and/or pretesting questionnaires,
  • be able to evaluate the comparability and quality of items used in cross-cultural surveys.
Organizational structure of the course
  • This is a three-day course with a total amount of 12 hours of virtual class time.
  • The days start with input from the lectures, followed and interspersed by individual and group assignments, such as reviewing items in view of their cross-cultural applicability or discussing translations of items. During the group exercises, lecturers will be available to support, as well as for individual consultations.


  • Basic knowledge in questionnaire design and survey methodology will be beneficial, even though it is not required.
  • There are no statistical prerequisites. 
Software and hardware requirements
You need access to a laptop or personal computer to successfully participate in this course and to work on exercises/assignments. No software is required. This course does not include the use of statistical software.

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