qualitative instrument translation and cross-cultural adaptation

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    Armanda Gonçalves

    Hi, in my research project i need to proced to the translation and cross-cultural adaptation of a interview used in the context of family therapy. I know and have lots of materail concerning the produres regarding quantitative instruments but i´m having dificulty finding literature about a qualitative instrument. Can you help me?

    Thank you in advance.


    Hello friend,
    To be honest, I did find a little from what you wrote as question. I think that if you kindly wrote more on the project and your inquiry I could help you more. So any way:
    First of all, employing a quantitative research tool is easy as pie. You just need to get the permission of using from the tool owner and after the forward and backward translations and of course conducting validity and reliability processes with both study subjects and faculty members, the tool is ready to be use.
    You wrote that need not any information in this regard because of your comprehensive literature review.

    But the Qualitative one,…..

    Honestly, your description of inquiry was not enough…

    I try to answer you as I can. If you did not find below statements helpful, please tell me to explain you again.

    Imagine I am interested in a subject that has not been explained yet. Then I want to reach to a instrument to work on the subject. But, as the concept/subject has not been known, there is no instrument.
    Then, I decide to go around a Mixed-method design (Exploratory design) to recognize the concept using interview with my key informants. In this stage I are required to respect to the rules and methodology of the qualitative approach completely to gather correct data.

    After conducting the qualitative approach, I am going to utilize the interviews data for making a new instrument, which leads me to a the quantitative research on my interested subject.

    In this stage, I should consult with a statistician to follow a Factor Analysis. This statistical route will help me to find my instrument items and questions based on the qualitative research data.

    After that, the instrument should be checked again on validity and reliability matters to be used in the quantitative research.

    It should be noted that cross cultural adaptation of other culture data especially interviews is not highly acceptable. Because, in qualitative researches one claims that the data is not generalizable and should not be utilized in other cultures. Therefore as I told you above a QUALITATIVE RESEARCH should be conducted in your culture and context to lead to a quantitative instrument.

    This is lengthy and should be read by yourself.

    Please If you caught my words and were interested in more information in this regard let me have your email address to send you related articles.



    Armanda Gonçalves

    Hi, thank you for your answer, in facto i didn´t explain much about the project.

    Like you said in quantitative instruments it´s very easy. In the qualitative…

    In fact i´m interestend in using in Portugal a semi-strututured interview develop in italy – the instrument was already developed there, and is a very interesting clinical and research tool.

    In this case my question is – is it enough to the the translation and backward translation? I´m also proposing a focus group with participants to see how they understand the instrument. Is it enough?
    I don´t want to develop a quantiative instrument, and i understand and agre with your remarks concerning the qualitative research principles.

    Thank you in advance for your time.

    If you could help with some more information it would bo great.

    My email is armanda.braga@gmail.com



    Dear Amanda
    I am a bit concerned about you saying you want to use a instrument used in another country to use in your qualitative study and these are my reasons:
    1. Qualitative research is not using instruments in interviews, but interview guides
    If you read Guba and lincoln and the whole issue of trust worthiness you will see that you need to read the rich description of the methodology used in the previous study and explain how this might fit your context, which includes the culture and language in the context.
    So if you want to repeat the study you need to ask yourself does this fit my question and context. how does it fit or how does it differ.


    Dear Armanda

    As far as I can understand, the tool that you are going to use in your country gets its roots from a series of semi-structured interviews conducted in another country. Also, the tool has been developed there.

    Am I right or not?

    If yes,

    You do not need to preoccupy with the origin of the tool. First, translate it from Italian to Portuguese with best of your abilities. then give the new translation to someone who is expert in Italian language and ask him/her to back translate it to Italian. Then, compare the two translations. Are they the same? Yes/ then congratulations! you well done. It means that the translation to another language has not changed the content and quality of the original tool. If not/ try to find the translation mistakes. Do not forget, you should have as the same as the instrument which the owner designed.

    After that, just go through the tool items and questions and try to put them on a table with a panel of experts in your country. The experts are required to be specialized on the subject of the tool. YOU ARE ALLOWED TO MODIFY the tool if necessary to make it compatible with your culture and context. Do not forget to get the permission of the tool owner.

    The modification may consisted of adding some extra items and simply deleting the unnecessary items and so on. Pay attention that you should make the tool as understandable as you can for the participants and as adaptable as you can with your culture and context. Surely you benefit from a focus group with your study participants. All these stages are in line with the tool validity from face to content.

    After all the changes toke place in the tool, you SHOULD conduct the internal consistency/reliability procedure to find how reliable the tool is. The resulted score (r) shows you the impact of changes on the tool internal consistency and reliability. Please compare the score with that of reported by the tool owner. If the score is in an acceptable range (0.7 and more) then the tool is ready to be used in a wide range by participants.

    But, be cautious that you can not get a firm conclusion of the data gathered by the tool. Because the tool has been constructed under a different culture and context; however, you can claim that this is the first step to get familiar with the new concept.

    You have enough time to make a tool using a qualitative research compatible with your culture and context.

    If not,
    Let me know more on the project and your aim as clear as you can.
    The complementary data will be sent to your e-mail address.


    Siavash from Persia.

    Armanda Gonçalves


    Thank you for your alert! In fact that´s my concern that the techinal aspects of the project go against the principles of the qualitative research. I’ll be paying close atention to the authors that you quoted.

    Thanks again


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