The Impact of Method Bias on the Cross-Cultural Comparability in Face-to-Face Surveys Among Ethnic Minorities

Joost W.S. Kappelhof


This article investigates the impact of several sources of method bias on the cross-cultural comparison of attitudes towards gender roles and family ties among non-Western minority ethnic groups. In particular, it investigates how interviewer effects, the use of an interviewer with a shared ethnic background, interview language, interviewer gender, gender matching, the presence of others during the interview and differences in socio-demographic sample composition of non-Western minority ethnic groups affect the cross-cultural comparison of attitudes towards gender roles and family ties between these groups.

The data used in this study come from a large scale face-to face survey conducted among the four largest non-Western minority ethnic groups in The Netherlands for which Statistics Netherlands drew a random sample of named individuals from each of the four largest non-Western minority populations living in The Netherlands. Furthermore, methods are introduced to estimate the potential impact of method bias on cross cultural comparisons.

The results show that measurement of both gender roles and family ties constructs are full scalar invariant across the different ethnic groups, but that observed differences in attitudes between ethnic groups especially towards gender roles are influenced by method bias. This in turn leads to biased comparisons between ethnic groups because of differences in the size of the various sources of method bias, the differential impact of the same method bias between ethnic groups and the combination thereof.


methods bias, non-Western ethnic minorities, cross-cultural comparative survey research; incomparability of samples, interviewer effects, multi group Mimic, socio-cultural integration

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Copyright (c) 2014 Joost W.S. Kappelhof

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