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Webinar: Cultural Context and Measurement Validity in Comparative Survey Research

April 12, 2013

The SSRC Eurasia Program was pleased to hold the third installment in the new Webinar Series on Issues in Quantitative Methods in Eurasia Studies. Following on from the Eurasia Program’s two summer 2012 Workshops in Quantitative Methods, the SSRC will offer 4 online, interactive webinars aimed at increasing the quantitative skills of researchers of Eurasia.

Presenter: Jane Zavisca

Jane Zavisca is an associate professor of sociology at the University of Arizona. In addition to a PhD in sociology, she has an MA and postdoctoral training in statistics. She has designed two original surveys in Russia, as well as worked with secondary surveys such as RLMS and GGS.

Moderator: Denise Mishiwiec

Denise Mishiwiec is Eurasia Program Coordinator at the Social Science Research Council.

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This webinar reviews challenges and strategies for making valid cross-national comparisons using quantitative surveys. A core problem for comparative survey research is establishing whether a set of survey questions and responses measures the same concepts across various cultural contexts. Asking identical questions provides for uniformity of survey items, but the meaning of responses to identical questions may vary cross-culturally. Using culturally-specific indicators for the same concepts can improve the conceptual equivalence of items, but makes statistical comparisons difficult. Furthermore, response styles vary cross-culturally; for example some groups are more prone to "agreement bias" than are others. The webinar uses examples from public opinion research in Eurasia to illustrate the issues, and also provides an overview of strategies for improving cross-cultural measurement validity, both during questionnaire design, and through statistical analysis. Participants need not have a background in statistics; references to relevant statistical texts will be provided for those who wish to read further.

Download: Webinar Powerpoint Presentation