The goal of researchers is to ultimately make a wide-range impact, and sometimes this impact goes beyond the borders of the country where the research was performed. When this work is purposely done to compare political and economic systems or social structures, it’s called cross-national comparative research, and it involves a myriad of challenges to approach and complete.
Cross-national research is used when a subject of exploration is apparent in two or more countries, societies, or cultures. The concept is compared across the boundaries, and the results are applied to all parties involved. This, of course, means there are wide variables frequently found, and many disparities that must be addressed. One of the biggest challenges to cross-national research is the frequent fallback of contextualizing the outcomes in ways that are centralized to the English language and the United States in particular. This bias means that any researcher performing cross-national experimentation must take precautions to ensure they are not allowing these disparities to cloud their outcomes.
The Prevalence of Disparities in Cross-National Research
Language and distance aren’t the only barriers to validity in cross-national research. In fact, many challenges abound that are difficult to work around because they are part of daily life in the interconnected cultures that are uniquely being studied.
Disparities occur when the research teams working together are not fully prepared to watch for them. They become prevalent so easily because working across borders, time zones, cultures, and beliefs is riddled with a minefield of potential variables that must be controlled, such as:
● Ensuring that everyone is on the same page when it comes to key concepts that are being used and addressed; what is obviously the most important factor in one culture may not be the same in another
● The language in which data is collected, sorted, and analyzed must be predetermined in advance in order to easily categorize and compartmentalize it
● How the data being collected in a foreign language will be translated and the process by which researchers will ensure the translations are accurate and reliable
● How the samples will be matched accordingly across borders
● How the data collection will be obtained, considering the time zones that are in play, and how those times will be reflected in the research report
● How comparable the research processes are across teams in different research environments
● The equitability of equipment and research instruments available to everyone on the team
These variables must be addressed before the project begins to ensure that as many disparities as possible are avoided.
Common Cross-National Research Subjects
Cross-national research is an important way to connect countries and cultures that are similar, with similar goals and needs, in at least one particular area. Frequently, the subjects that multiple governments can agree to work together on include science, technology, and healthcare.
Conducting cross-national research in these areas offers all parties involved the ability to gain insight into the way their society is working in general. When it comes to topics such as research performed in the health industry, gaining a bigger picture of the way a health concern works is good for the whole of the world, not just the research country involved in setting up the experiment.
Socially controversial subjects such as racial inequality are other common cross-national subjects, although these must be approached conservatively and carefully. But racial inequality has consequences that impact government sectors from healthcare to military involvement and it’s prudent that cross-national research be attempted to reduce disparities and be able to offer comparative analyses to better societal standings around the world.
Contextualizing this research, however, means that all parties in the investigative team must establish the procedures by which they are going to amass data and analyze it, and then how they will determine how the information is going to be disseminated to the public on a level that works for everyone involved. Sometimes this will be centralized to the United States as a method of comparison, other times, it will involve contextualizing the information as it applies to another culture, country, or demographic. But this is a factor that must be determined prior to the start of the experiment in order to ensure validity throughout the entire process.
Cross-National Research With Impactio
One of the challenges to promoting cross-national research is the inability to communicate in real-time without the use of a common software system. This challenge is solved when the research team uses Impactio as their professional profiling and networking platform.
Impactio is designed for academics around the world to take them from the initial research process to publication and follow-through. Because it’s set up already to allow researchers to communicate with their network of peers, it’s simple to use Impactio to share your findings with your team across the globe, and it can be structured to reduce disparities in your research.
Whether your team is local or overseas, Impactio is the platform that everyone can agree on!