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Int J Psychol. 1989;24(6):737-56. doi: 10.1080/00207598908247842.

Equivalence of cross-cultural data: an overview of basic issues.

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a Tilburg University , The Netherlands.


The logic of comparison is taken as a starting point. It is argued that any cross-cultural comparison presupposes a comparison scale, i.e. a scale that is identical across the populations included in a study. Scale identity can be Specified for various levels of measurement. In the second section a simple classification is presented for inferences about cross-cultural differences derived from psychological measurements. Two questions are asked for various categories of inferences, viz., whether they are logically feasible and whether they can be validated empirically. In the third section the statistical analysis of psychometric conditions for equivalence is discussed. The fourth section deals with the problem what alternatives for meaningful interpretation a researcher has if data turn out to be lacking in equivalence. In the fifth section a conceptual problem is raised. namely whether the basic assumption of this article is realistic that psychological concepts are identical across cultures.


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