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Welcome to the Cross-Cultural Survey Guidelines (CCSG)

The site has been updated, changes include:
  • Updates to the Study Structure, Ethical Considerations, Questionnaire Design, Pretesting, and Data Collection chapters incorporating references and examples related to mixed methods approaches to cross-cultural survey research. The Bibliography and Introduction reflect all new references and contributors, respectively.
  • Minor updates to Ethical Considerations – Added material about the Belmont Report and referenced the latest revision of the Declaration of Helsinki and other key ethics documents.
  • Updated internet links and minor corrections.

These Guidelines were developed as part of the Comparative Survey Design and Implementation (CSDI) Guidelines Initiative. The aim of the Initiative was to promote internationally recognized guidelines that highlight best practice for the conduct of comparative survey research across cultures and countries. The intended audience is researchers and survey practitioners planning or engaged in cross-cultural or cross-national research.

We dedicate these guidelines to Dr. Janet A. Harkness. Dr. Harkness passed away in 2012. She initiated the International Workshop on Comparative Survey Design and Implementation where the development of these Guidelines was launched. Dr. Harkness not only contributed to the overall framework and content of the guidelines but she also authored three of the key chapters: Questionnaire Design; Adaptation and Translation. She inspired this work through her steadfast conviction that resources must be made available to researchers and survey practitioners if we are to improve comparative survey research methods, dissemination and analysis.

The World Association for Public Opinion Research (WAPOR) and the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) jointly support Dr. Harkness’s work by sponsoring the Janet A. Harkness Student Paper Award each year. This award recognizes "emerging young scholars in the study of multi-national/multi-cultural/multi-lingual survey research (aka 3M survey research) through support of the winner’s participation in the WAPOR Conference and a cash prize." Please follow this link to donate to this effort in gratitude for Dr. Harkness’s legacy in the field of cross-cultural, comparative survey research.

The fifteen CCSG chapters as presented here cover all aspects of the survey lifecycle.

Best practices are dynamic and can be expected to evolve over time. At the present time, the Guidelines primarily relate to cross-sectional surveys of households and individuals. At a later point in time, they may be expanded to include establishment and longitudinal surveys. We are also in the process of developing case study examples that demonstrate the application of the Guidelines to the survey lifecycle process, and further elaborating guidelines for assessing the quality of survey instrument translations.

We welcome your feedback. New methodological research and additional documentation about comparative surveys will inform future versions of the CCSG Guidelines. You can greatly help us by providing comments and suggestions, or simply alerting us about a topic we need to address. Please Contact Us.

Webpage last modified: 2013-Jul-8

@ 2011 The authors of the Guidelines hold the copyright. Please Contact Us if you wish to publish any of this material in any form.