GESIS Training Courses

Scientific Coordination

Sabina Haveric
Tel: +49 (0221) 47694 - 166

Administrative Coordination

Angelika Ruf
Tel: +49 221 47694-162

Course 09: Questionnaires for Cross Cultural Surveys

Prof. Dr. Michael Braun, Dr. Brita Dorer, Dr. Katja Hanke

Date: 19.08 - 23.08.2019 ics-file

Location: Cologne

About the lecturer - Prof. Dr. Michael Braun

About the lecturer - Dr. Brita Dorer

About the lecturer - Dr. Katja Hanke

Course description

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.
For a full length syllabus of this course, please click here.


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;
  • they want to understand the implications of questionnaire design and translation as well as variable harmonization for the comparability of cross-cultural survey data;
  • they organize questionnaire translation and assessment or translate and review translated questionnaires themselves;
  • they have data from several cultures/countries and want to establish measurement invariance for the used instruments.

Learning objectives

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.


  • 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.

More Information