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Does intercultural sensitivity cross cultures? : an investigation of validity issues involved in porting instruments across languages and cultures Greenholtz, Joe

Abstract

This study examined the validity of data obtained using a Japanese translation of version one of the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) (Bennett & Hammer, 1998) and, by extension, some assumptions surrounding the cross-cultural transferability of the Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity (DMIS) upon which it was based. First, the research was situated within the field of international exchanges in education. It explored what internationalisation means in an educational context, and how it might be conceptualised and measured as an outcome. The case was made that an increase in intercultural sensitivity is a desirable, enduring, and achievable legacy for students to take home with them. The difference between intercultural sensitivity and intercultural competence or the psychological traits posited to underlie intercultural adaptability were discussed and a rationale given for using the Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity (DMIS) as the theoretical framework that best represents the construct. The protocol for translating the IDI was reported and issues related to translating and adapting instruments were raised. The translation protocol used for this study was a five-step procedure, much more rigorous in nature than the widely-used translation/back-translation protocol. The added step of having translators use the draft translation to perform a task outside the translation context was a contribution to the art of translating and adapting instruments. The validation procedure followed Messick's (1998) conception of validity as a multi-layered process incorporating both statistical and judgmental evidence. Examinations of content, concurrent, and consequential validity took place within Messick's (1998) framework positing these aspects of validity to be contributors to an overarching judgment of construct validity. Results of the validation process raised questions about whether the concepts that comprise the IDI, and by extension the DMIS, are transferable across languages and cultures. These questions regarding transferability of the IDI and the DMIS were discussed in detail and implications for practitioners using existing instruments in a cross-cultural context, and in the context of validity issues, were elucidated. Finally, the limitations of the study and directions for future research were outlined.

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