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Addressing Cultural Challenges of Adapting Standardized Survey Instruments: The Experience of Arabicizing a Breast Cancer Awareness Measure

By: , & Published: 2017 | Product: SAGE Research Methods Cases Part 2
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Research studies on breast cancer awareness with a view to inform policy are few and far between in the Arab region. When we set out to conduct this study and overall project in Oman, the literature showed that in the Arab world there was a general lack of awareness of breast cancer. This lack of awareness has determinants of a social nature, but most of the research conducted has taken on a medical perspective and has not inspired or prompted health promotion schemes or policy reviews. These research studies did not use any instrument developed or even adapted for the region's populations and its idiosyncrasies. Our project dedicated a significant amount of time to researching awareness measurement instruments specific to breast cancer, studying options on developing a new measure, or adapting a readily available and expert-validated instrument being used elsewhere. We adapted, translated, and validated the Breast Cancer Awareness Measure—developed and used by Cancer Research UK—to measure breast cancer awareness and early detection in Arab populations. In this process, we utilized and learned about the unique characteristics of our study population—Omani women—which shaped our research methods and survey instruments in an iterative process to Arabicize, conduct ta’areeb (meaning “translation”) of breast cancer awareness research. We would later employ this instrument in a quantitative survey of Omani women to form a baseline understanding of their awareness regarding breast cancer and early detection. This would inform the development of a culturally tailored breast cancer awareness intervention and Oman-specific health policy recommendations.

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