10 February 2012
Print this page
An Exchange of Ideas, Information and Resources for Community Practitioners Vol. 2 No. 3; ISSN 2163-8667 2012

on this site

Global Journal of Community Psychology Practice by GJCPP Editorial Board
is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs
3.0 Unported License
Creative Commons LicenseBased on a work at
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be
available at

Vol 2 Issue 3 2012

contact info

Vincent T Francisco, PhD
Associate Professor, Public Health Education
The Univ. of North Carolina at Greensboro
Voice: 336.334.5520,
Fax: 336.334.3238


Ethno-measurement and Ethno-scaling Obstacles in Community Based Research with Indigenous Populations by  Joseph E. Trimble, Western Washington University

Ethno-measurement and Ethno-scaling Obstacles in Community Based Research with Indigenous Populations

Joseph E. Trimble
Western Washington University

Measurement exists in all cultures.  However, the form, process, content, complexity, and cognitive and perceptual orientation vary considerably.  Even the physical dimensions encountered by societies such as length, weight, and time and their corresponding social constructs are not the same worldwide. Yet use of standardized assessments and measures across cultures is replete with scaling and lexicon problems and concerns.  Numerous researchers and psychometricians point to cultural measurement equivalence or measurement comparability as the most common theme that runs through the literature on cultural-comparative research and measurement.

Most cross-cultural researchers agree that cultural equivalence can be examined by giving attention to functions, concepts, stimuli, language, and metrics. Embedded in the equivalence concept is the fundamental tenet that comparisons between groups require that a common, if not identical, process exists. Stretched to the extreme, the notion holds that a universal process must exist to demonstrate and assess comparability; that may not be an achievable goal.

Response styles of culturally different respondents create problems for scale and questionnaire construction and use. Ethnographic observations, for example, suggest that not all cultural groups judge, evaluate, and assess stimuli in a linear manner and thus the dimensions of scale items may not truly be comparable between cultural groups. Consequently, accompanied with illustrative cultural specific examples from representative indigenous populations the purpose of the presentation is to raise considerations to encourage the development and use of culturally resonant approaches to measurement that reflect an ethnocultural group’s unique lifeways and thoughtways. As a result of the presentation we may find that the perceptual and cognitive styles of our culturally different respondents are so unique that the main thrusts of psychometrics may indeed "be thrown on its ear" and that true comparability may be impossible.

View or download the narrated PowerPoint Slide Show here.

Please download this file to hear the audio narration. These slides are the property of the authors, and are shared through the Global Journal of Community Psychology Practice (


Joseph E. Trimble, Western Washington University

Joseph E. Trimble, Western Washington University

Keywords: scra biennial conference, community psychology practice, gjcpp

Comments (0)

Add Comment

Printer Friendly Page