Frequently Ignored Methodological Issues in Cross-Cultural Stress Research

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5. Conclusion

In summary, several research design features are advocated here as potentially instrumental in establishing the absence of the kind of language and selection biases that are often confounded with culture effects. First, the use of bilinguals with similar levels of acculturation and reading comprehension in both the source and the target language reduces the likelihood of selection bias introduced by differences in language proficiency. Second, the use of a within-participant design eliminates the threat of selection bias that plagues non-equivalent groups in cross-cultural research. Third, the manipulation of language order can help rule out order effects such as recall of the source (e.g., English) version when responding to the target (e.g., Spanish) version. The kind of research design advocated here can test the cultural accommodation hypothesis, which predicts that when bilinguals respond to a measurement instrument, the language in which the instrument is taken influences the responses.

Problems of measurement calibration and sample equivalence are but two of the major issues involved in CC/CN. They provide challenges to researchers interested in comparing people across countries. With the globalization of the economy, cross-cultural comparisons are becoming more important than ever. Research procedures and measurement tools that minimize measurement and sampling error in cross-cultural comparisons are needed if we are to draw valid inferences about culture and nationality effects.