Is it really clear? Adapting research tools for the needs of the deaf population

Miriam Levinger*, Tammie Ronen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Summary: The methodological challenge of adapting research tools to the needs of the study population takes on paramount importance when participants have cultural, social, cognitive, or other needs rendering commonly used questionnaires problematic. This article describes research tools' exploratory adaptation to a sample of Israeli deaf adults, during a comparative study of 101 deaf adults aged 28 to 51 years and 57 hearing adults aged 24 to 52. Levinger (2003) conducted a large study on this sample, investigating the links between adults' personal, familial, and societal variables and their ability to separate from parents and establish spousal intimacy. • Findings: The present article is a sub-study focusing on the adaptation of the larger study's design of specific tools to examine the deaf population. It describes the tools' preparation, administration, and analysis, including examination of the various versions' compatibility and the versions' cultural and linguistic adaptation to the participants' needs. The study included five research tools containing 125 questions altogether. To minimize the biasing risks due to deaf adults' reading comprehension difficulties or misinterpretations of questions' intent, we prepared three versions for each of the tools except for the 30-item demographic questionnaire: a) the original written version in regular Hebrew, matched to participants for gender, b) a revised written version in easy language (adapted to the deaf population and gender-matched), and c) a videotaped sign language version. Taking part in preparing the various versions were deaf representatives of the deaf community and hearing translators into Israeli Sign Language. • Applications:This article discusses methodological repercussions of these adaptations; compares the choices made by participants regarding the various adaptations offered them; and highlights the importance of familiarity with participants' characteristics and unique needs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)399-430
Number of pages32
JournalJournal of Social Work
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2008


  • Adult differentiatio
  • Deaf adult
  • Linguistic clarity
  • Research tool adaptatio
  • Spousal intimacy


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