Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM the OXFORD RESEARCH ENCYCLOPEDIA, PSYCHOLOGY ( (c) Oxford University Press USA, 2020. All Rights Reserved. Personal use only; commercial use is strictly prohibited (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 04 April 2020

Summary and Keywords

Bias and equivalence provide a framework for methodological aspects of cross-cultural studies. Bias is a generic term for any systematic errors in the measurement that endanger the comparability of cross-cultural data; bias results in invalid comparative conclusions. The demonstration of equivalence (i.e., absence of bias) is a prerequisite for any cross-cultural comparison. Based on the source of incomparability, three types of bias, namely construct, method, and item bias, can be distinguished. Correspondingly, three levels of equivalence, namely, construct, metric, and scalar equivalence, can be distinguished. One of the goals in cross-cultural research is to minimize bias and enhance comparability. The definitions and manifestations of these types of bias and equivalence are described and remedies to minimize bias and enhance equivalence at the design, implementation, and statistical analysis phases of a cross-cultural study are provided. These strategies involve different research features (e.g., decentering and convergence), extensive pilot and pretesting, and various statistical procedures to demonstration of different levels of equivalence and detections of bias (e.g., factor analysis based approaches and differential item functioning analysis). The implications of bias and equivalence also extend to instrument adaptation and combining etic and emic approaches to maximize the ecological validity. Instrument choices in cross-cultural research and the categorization of adaptations stemming from considerations of the concept, culture, language, and measurement are outlined. Examples from cross-cultural research of personality are highlighted to illustrate the importance of combining etic and emic approaches. The professionalization and broadening of the field is expected to increase the validity of conclusions regarding cross-cultural similarities and differences.

Keywords: bias, comparisons, ecological validity, equivalence, emic, etic

Access to the complete content on Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Psychology requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.