Measurement invariance and validity in cross-cultural research

The development of several cross-cultural and repeated survey programs, such as the European Values Study, increased the possibilities for comparative research both across cultural groups and over time. The efforts made by these programs to guarantee the quality of the data collected are providing always more reliable data, but many factors can occur causing the lack of an effective equivalence due to methodological and cultural biases (van de Vijver & Tanzer, 2004).

The issue of measurement invariance is increasingly attracting the attention of researchers, both on the theoretical and  the methodological fields. In recent years, a lively debate is taking place among scholars who assume different perspectives on this matter. While scholars as Welzel and Inglehart (Welzel, Brunkert, Inglehart, & Kruse, 2019; Welzel & Inglehart, 2016) challenge the accepted practice of testing for measurement invariance, other scholars (Alemán & Woods, 2016; Davidov, Meuleman, Cieciuch, Schmidt, & Billiet, 2014; Sokolov, 2018) strongly argue the importance of equivalence in comparative studies and challenge the concept of exact equivalence by introducing the idea of “approximate equivalence” to include the cultural variability and uncertainty in the assessment (Asparouhov & Muthén, 2014; Cieciuch, Davidov, Schmidt, Algesheimer, & Schwartz, 2014; Davidov, Muthen, & Schmidt, 2018; Lomazzi, 2018; Meuleman, Davidov, & Seddig, 2018; Muthén & Asparouhov, 2012; Seddig & Leitgöb, 2018; van de Schoot et al., 2013).

Does measurement invariance really matter? During our International Workshop in Tbilisi, two keynote speakers will offer their contribution to this ongoing debate in this special panel on measurement invariance and validity in cross-cultural studies. Selected proposals submitted by EVS data users will complete the session (see the Call for Abstracts).

Professor Christian Welzel (Chair in Political Culture Research, Center for the Study of Democracy at Leuphana University, and Vice-President of World Values Survey Association) proposes his speech Measurement Equivalence? A Tale of False Obsessions and a Cure

Professor Bart Meuleman (Coordinator of the Centre for Sociological Research at KU Leuven, and President of the European Survey Research Association) offers a different perspective with the speech entitled “Measurement equivalence: Between Statistical Dogmatism and Anything Goes

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