A Roundtable Discussion of Cross-Cultural Research Methods: Strengthening the Science of Research with Racial and Ethnic Minority Populations
The nation’s fast growing racial and ethnic minority population press researchers toward perfecting cross-cultural methodology and training. Cross-cultural researchers recognize the need for (a) identifying what community-specific cultural values, concepts, norms, and beliefs influence behaviors and (b) addressing the lack of bilingual/bicultural research staff and identifying or training bilingual staff. This panel of cross-cultural social work researchers will summarize the different strategies currently employed for conducting theory-based cross-cultural research, and begin a dialogue on effective practices for identifying and training culturally responsive research staff.
This roundtable will begin this discussion by presenting a brief description of the components of cross-cultural research. Presenters will focus particular attention on the incorporation of surface and deep structural cultural components into cross-cultural research designs. This discussion will draw from lessons learned from incorporating cultural values, concepts, norms, and beliefs into qualitative, longitudinal, and community based research projects with Latinos, and highlight the need to identify cultural-specific aspects that influence individuals’ health behaviors. Presenters will then summarize methods for matching community characteristics with research sampling methods and explore procedural differences in collecting data. This methodology will include how to identify resources and stresses the importance of assessing community needs in order to identify: (a) demographic characteristics, (b) language preferences of the community, and (c) history, social dynamics, leadership, and beliefs that are part of the background of the community. Panel members will discuss direct research experience with translation and back translation, interpretation, measurement validation, and the challenges faced in linguistically relevant research with racial and ethnic minority populations. The presenters will critically discuss the importance in identifying the level of language proficiency of field staff and explore in depth the professional development of bilingual/ bicultural research staff.
By identifying a priori the research methodological needs researchers must address, cross-cultural research designs will continue to advance in evidence-based research practices and education. The panel’s goal is to stimulate conversation that will identify culturally responsive research methods, discuss the development of scientifically rigorous research methods that address the cultural and linguistic needs of diverse populations, and chart out plans for future collaborative efforts in strengthening the science of cross-cultural research with racial and ethnic minority populations.