Lessons learned: Cultural and linguistic enhancement of surveys through community-based participatory research

Christine M. Formea, Ahmed A. Mohamed, Abdullahi Hassan, Ahmed Osman, Jennifer A. Weis, Irene G. Sia, Mark L. Wieland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background: Surveys are frequently implemented in community-based participatory research (CBPR), but adaptation and translation of surveys can be logistically and methodologically challenging when working with immigrant and refugee populations.

Objective: We sought to describe a process of participatory survey adaptation and translation.

Methods: Within an established CBPR partnership, a survey about diabetes was adapted for health literacy and local relevance and then translated through a process of forward translation, group deliberation, and back translation.

Lessons Learned: The group deliberation process was the most time-intensive and important component of the process. The process enhanced community ownership of the larger project while maximizing local applicability of the product.

Conclusions: A participatory process of survey adaptation and translation resulted in significant revisions to approximate semantic, cultural, and conceptual equivalence with the original surveys. This approach is likely to enhance community acceptance of the survey instrument during the implementation phase.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)331-336
Number of pages6
JournalProgress in Community Health Partnerships: Research, Education, and Action
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2014


  • Community-based participatory research
  • Diabetes
  • Somali
  • Survey research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science


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