Adapting and Improving Methods to Manage Cognitive Pretesting of Multilingual Survey Instruments

Mandy Sha, Yuling Pan


This paper outlines steps in adapting and improving methods to successfully manage large-scale cognitive pretesting of multilingual survey instruments. The study is based on a U.S. Census Bureau project that pretested the Chinese and Korean translation of the American Community Survey (ACS) Language Assistance Guide (LAG). By following a systematic process and guided by sociolinguistic research framework, we were successful in adapting the methodology in the current literature. Furthermore, we added and implemented the following steps in the process: conducting a systematic translation review process prior to cognitive testing, using a systematic method to identify and recruit non-English speakers, adopting a consistent method to report results, and implementing a project management approach to control and monitor the progress of interviewing. These steps proved to be advantageous and effective in managing a large-scale multilingual pretesting project.


cognitive interviewing, pretesting, American Community Survey (ACS), translation

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