Article on Cognitive interviewing

Cross-Cultural Cognitive Interviewing: Seeking Comparability and Enhancing Understanding

Field Methods, November 2011; vol. 23, 4: pp. 331341., first published on October 9, 2011

By Gordon B. Willis, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA and Kristen Miller, National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Hyattsville, MD, USA


Cognitive interviewing (CI) has emerged as a key qualitative method for the pretesting and evaluation of self-report survey questionnaires. This article defines CI, describes its key features, and outlines the data analysis techniques that are commonly used. 
The authors then consider recent extensions of cognitive testing to the cross-cultural survey research realm, where the major practical objectives are: (1) to facilitate inclusion of a range of cultural and linguistic groups and (2) for purposes of comparative analysis, to produce survey questionnaire items that exhibit comparability of measurement, across groups. 
Challenges presented by this extension to the cross-cultural and multilingual areas are discussed. Finally, the authors introduce the articles contained within the current special issue of Field Methods (2011), which endeavor to apply cognitive testing in specific cross-cultural survey projects, and to both identify and suggest solutions to the unique problems that face questionnaire designers and researchers more generally, in the practice of survey pretesting and evaluation methods as these endeavor to cover the sociocultural spectrum. 

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