When conducting research in another region, time zone, or even country, being aware of cultural sensitivities becomes engrained in the research process and will skew the results of your experimentation if you don’t appropriately factor in the culture, and history you are dealing with.
While IQ measures our intelligence quotient, and EQ, or emotional intelligence, measures our levels of empathy in different scenarios, CQ, or cultural intelligence, measures how well we are able to work, and collaborate, with diverse groups of people. In especially social science research today, we need CQ as researchers and academicians to solve complex global problems. Even on Impactio, which hosts researchers from around the globe, it is important to use CQ when emailing or touching base with professors who live in different countries and have been raised with different customs.
Indeed, CQ, with the advent of professional services like LinkedIn or Impactio, demand CQ in the virtual realm as well. CQ will only help move the research process between academicians of different nationalities forward in a more progressive and efficient manner.
But CQ is not enough by itself, it needs to be incorporated into how experiments are being run, and for researchers from different backgrounds to factor it into methods—such as the survey and survey questioning.
Using CQ in Surveys
It is important to use CQ in surveys, especially when surveying subject and stakeholders in an experiment, to think about the following:
- How are the questions being worded and how is the language being used in the survey affecting the perspective of the survey respondent
- Is the survey respondent avoiding any questions and why
- How is the survey respondent affected by a timed survey and is this the best route
- What information does the survey respondent disclose the most on, and how is this important from a CQ perspective
Without a CQ lens, a researcher can do all of the hard work of designing an experiment—getting the necessary funding or grants necessary to carry out the work, engage with research subjects, analyze the information, but still fall short on findings or potential impact of the project. This is why having a keen eye for cultural perspectives, which sometimes can be highly subtle or easy to miss, is essential for researchers.
Applying CQ to Specific Sectors
Depending on the research interest or field of study, CQ might be more valuable in some industries than others. For example, social science research, where it is very common to work with academics from different backgrounds, spanning continents, having a high CQ will not just make you a better researcher, it will open up more career opportunities because you are able to relate to others from different backgrounds without getting stressed or having difficulties.
In other fields like computer science and physics, where mathematics and coming up with formulas and then solving problems without dealing with humans much, CQ is less important but still necessary in terms of politeness and understanding roles between researchers. Thus, CQ really operates on the macro scale of dealing with people in surveys and working across cultures, to the micro habits of researchers who simply need to touch base with academics from other cultures. While things on the macro scale are perhaps more important, the micro conversations and applying CQ in these instances still should not be forgotten.