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Using Cognitive Interviewing for the Semantic Enhancement of Multi-Lingual Versions of Personality Questionnaires

Daouk, L and McDowall, A (2013) Using Cognitive Interviewing for the Semantic Enhancement of Multi-Lingual Versions of Personality Questionnaires Journal of Personality Assessment, 95 (4). pp. 407-416.

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We discuss the use of cognitive interviewing with bilinguals as an integral part of cross-cultural adaptation of personality questionnaires. The aim is to maximize semantic equivalence to increase the likelihood of items maintaining the intended structure and meaning in the target language. We refer to this part of adaptation as semantic enhancement, and integrate cognitive interviewing within it as a tool for scrutinizing translations, the connotative meaning, and the psychological impact of items across languages. During the adaptation of a work-based personality questionnaire from English to Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), and Spanish, we cognitively interviewed 12 bilingual participants about 136 items in different languages (17% of all items), of which 67 were changed. A content analysis categorizing the reasons for amending items elicited 11 errors that affect 2 identified forms of semantic equivalence. We provide the resultant coding scheme as a framework for designing cognitive interviewing protocols and propose a procedure for implementing them. We discuss implications for theory and practice.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences > School of Psychology
Authors :
Daouk, L
McDowall, A
Date : 1 January 2013
Identification Number : 10.1080/00223891.2012.735300
Related URLs :
Additional Information : This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis Group in Journal of Personality Assessment on January 2013, available online at:
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 17 Jun 2014 14:04
Last Modified : 31 Oct 2017 15:14

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