ECS 2019 - Questionnaire

Questionnaire development

In developing the questionnaire for the European Company Survey (ECS) 2019, the questionnaires for the ECS 2013 were used as the starting point. Questions were added on skills use and skills strategy, digitalisation, innovation and business strategies.

To include items on skills use and skills strategies, Eurofound and Cedefop commissioned a background paper that examined the conceptualisation of these issues in the academic literature and looked at the questions used to assess this topic in other company surveys.

The questionnaire development process was supported by a group of experts and by a steering group composed of members of the governing boards of Eurofound and Cedefop. To ensure that the questions were phrased appropriately for web administration a final detailed review was carried out by a selection of experts in (online) survey methodology.

Questionnaire translation

High levels of comparability of different language versions are essential for any cross-national survey. In the broadest sense, translation of questionnaires aims to ensure that measurements are equivalent in different linguistic, cultural and institutional settings.

The starting point for high-quality translation of a survey questionnaire is to ensure that the source questionnaire is free from any ambiguities that could create difficulties in the translation process. For this purpose, a translatability assessment was carried out involving advance translation of the questionnaire into French, German and Polish.

To ensure the source questionnaires were understood properly, cognitive pretesting of those items deemed to be particularly challenging was carried out in France, Germany, Poland and the United Kingdom. The findings from the advance translation and the cognitive pretest were discussed in a questionnaire finalisation meeting involving Eurofound, Cedefop, the survey contractor and the contractor for the translatability assessment.

To cover the 27 EU Member States and the United Kingdom, the ECS 2019 questionnaires were created in 34 languages, including the key minority languages of the surveyed countries.

For the ECS 2019, translation of the source questionnaire involved several steps.

  1. Two independent translators with different skill sets translated the questionnaire into each target language.
  2. After this, a team-based interactive online review meeting took place between the two translators and an adjudicator.
  3. For languages that were used in multiple countries, multiple translations were created and cross-verified to produce final translations specific to each country.
  4. Existing translations of the questions that had been used in the ECS 2013 were reviewed. The aim was to stay as close as possible to the existing translation, unless issues were detected.
  5. Finally, the translated versions were copyedited to correct any small mistakes that had crept in.

A centralised, web-based translation system was used to closely document each of these steps.

Reader-friendly versions of the source questionnaires are available:

Detailed information on the translation process can be found in the Translation report.

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