The Society for Social Work and Research

2013 Annual Conference

January 16-20, 2013 I Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina I San Diego, CA

Comparative Social Work Research: Measurement Development and Analysis for Research with Diverse Populations

Saturday, January 19, 2013: 10:00 AM-11:45 AM
Nautilus 1 (Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina)
Cluster: Research Design and Measurement
Thanh V. Tran, PhD, Boston College and Keith Chan, MSW, Boston College
Workshop Purpose: 

Comparative social work research involves testing hypotheses in order to make meaningful comparisons across cultural, racial, ethnic, gender, and national populations. Researchers often make the assumption that the psychometric properties of measures are reliable and valid for all populations. However, given the reality of cultural diversity in the United States, the rapidly changing demographic landscape of many industrialized nations, and the increased emphasis of transnational research, such assumptions are tenuous and can potentially undermine the accuracy of data collection and the validity of outcomes. The aim of the workshop is twofold: 1) to provide an introductory overview of the theory, salient issues, and techniques of cross-cultural measurement, and 2) to provide participants with a step-by-step approach to the assessment of cross-cultural measurement properties.

Workshop Content: 

This workshop will cover the fundamental steps of measurement development and data analysis involving questionnaire construction, evaluation of psychometric properties, and application of outcome measures for hypothesis testing or program evaluation.  Attendants will learn different techniques to construct research instruments or outcome measures which can be reliable and valid for use with diverse populations. The techniques learned from this workshop can be applicable for comparisons with multi-racial/ethnic, multi-national, multi-religion, and diverse socioeconomic and linguistic samples.  Attendants will also learn the theory and application of structural equation modeling techniques using examples from SPSS, LISREL, MPLUS, and Stata.

The workshop will describe the process of cross-cultural instrument development, from formulating research aims to the assessment of cross-cultural measurement properties. Participants will learn the methods of adopting and adapting existing research instruments. The processes and issues of cross-cultural translation and assessment will be presented and discussed in detail, using examples from cross-racial, cross-ethnic, and cross-national research. The workshop will address the foundation of measurement theories and the entire process of instrument development from the definitions of abstract concepts, the construction of observed indicators, and the assessment of the reliability and validity of new instruments. Examples will also be presented on how adapted instruments can be further examined for criterion-related validity with pre-existing measures and convergent validity with key constructs. 

Learning Outcomes: 

Attendants will learn the basic skills necessary to conduct meaningful comparative social work research and make use of statistical methods for item distribution analysis, internal consistency analysis, exploratory factor analysis, and confirmatory factor analysis. By the completion of the workshop, attendants will have been introduced to the theory and practice of cross-cultural measurement development, and will be able to apply the contents of the workshop to their analysis for comparisons with diverse samples.

Participants are expected to have a basic understanding of descriptive statistics and some knowledge of factor analysis. By the end of the workshop, participants will have a basic understanding of cross-cultural measurement issues and developed a familiarity with both basic and advanced techniques for the cross-cultural assessment of research measurements. Hands on learning materials will be available at the workshop.

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