Identity Self-perception Questionnaire Research Results

This research study was not part of the original University of Queensland Research. It does however form part of the Chinese Personality at Work Research Project and was conducted in association with Quest Partnership, UK.

Introduction to the Study and Outline of the Phases

In September 2008, Quest Partnership Ltd, PsyAsia International, and the Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education (HKIVE) embarked on a project to translate the Identity Self-Perception Questionnaire from English into Traditional Chinese. The reason for translating the questionnaire was to produce an occupationally focused personality questionnaire that could be used in China and Hong Kong SAR. At the same time, Quest were also producing a new Careers Report for the Identity system. This enabled the volunteer students to gain useful feedback on their questionnaire. The project was headed up by Max Choi of Quest Partnership Ltd and Dr. Graham Tyler of PsyAsia International. Max Choi is an Occupational Psychologist with BPS chartered status and has substantial experience in designing and validating tests. Graham Tyler is a registered and Ccartered psychologist and has a PhD based on psychometric assessment and validating tools for predicting performance at work in Asia.

The research was split into several stages:

• Translations – involving the translation and back-translation of Identity into Simplified and Traditional Chinese by professional staff at HKIVE.

• Pilot Study – using the translated Identity questionnaire.

• Phase 1 Testing – a sample of participants at HKIVE completed the Chinese Identity questionnaire.

• Phase 2 Re-testing – participants were asked to complete the questionnaire for a second time one month later i.e. re-testing to determine the reliability of the questionnaire items.

• Data Cleansing – first to identify and remove ‘rogue’ answer sheets from students who did not complete the questionnaire seriously.

• Data Analysis & Results– analysis of the data and understanding the results.

• Producing Norms and Building this into the New Career Focus Report – norms were produced based on these Hong Kong students. This norm group was used for the new Career Focus Report which is now available for the Hong Kong education sector.

• Translation into Simplified Chinese – the project to translate the Identity Questionnaire into simplified Chinese and have it available online was completed in December 2009.


In September 2008, the questionnaire was translated into both Traditional and Simplified Chinese by 4 individuals at the HKIVE who hold the British Psychological Society’s Level A and B Certificates of Competence in Occupational Testing. This process was supervised by Dr. Graham Tyler, who has a good understanding of principles behind item construction. The translated questionnaire was sent to the test publishers (Quest Partnership Ltd) in the UK for evaluation and further refinement, working with Chinese natives now resident in the UK.

The translated questionnaire was then back-translated into English by lecturers in the English language department at the HKIVE. Independent back-translation provides the quality check of how effective the translation has been. The back-translation was checked against the original version of the questionnaire to ensure it retained its overall theme and meaning. A few items achieved poor back-translations and these were reviewed and improved and back-translated again to check that the translation had improved. The traditional Chinese translation took precedence on the basis that this would be evaluated first and then simplified Chinese would follow at a later date.

Pilot Sample

20 students at VTC completed the translated traditional Chinese questionnaire. They also completed a form which collected their feedback on items that they did not fully understand or where they felt the wording could be improved. This feedback was analysed and a few minor improvements were made for the next phase.

Phase 1 Testing

In October 2008, a large sample of 800+ Chinese students at HKIVE completed the Traditional Chinese Identity Questionnaire. Most of these administrations were conducted under standardised test administration conditions during classes. The final sample after data cleansing consisted of 421 students.

Phase 2 Testing

One month later many of the Chinese students from the Phase 1 testing were invited to complete the questionnaire again. The test-retest study is based on 206 students who completed the questionnaire again. Most of these administrations were conducted under standardised test administration conditions during classes.

Students were entered into a monetary prize draw as an incentive to take part in the research. Also, students received a Career Focus Report from their completed questionnaire.

Data Cleansing

Identifying ‘Rogue’ Responses

We placed stringent requirements on the data that could be used. It was evident that a proportion of the student responses were not usable. This may be as a consequence of asking the students to complete the questionnaire as part of class work. So although they were volunteers, the request during class time may have resulted in some slightly ‘reluctant’ volunteers. Also, others may have become bored after starting the questionnaire and may not have taken the whole questionnaire seriously, unlike real candidates applying for jobs. So a small minority will complete the questionnaire in a non-serious manner. Only a few rogue answer sheets can be visually identified (e.g. students who have put in the same response for the whole column or making neat zig-zag patterns on the answer sheet). So we needed to employ more sophisticated techniques to identify other ‘rogue’ respondents in order to remove these from our sample before conducting further analysis on the data.

Removing Answer Sheets with Too Many ‘3’ Responses

The instructions for completing the questionnaire clearly states that 3 should be used sparingly. But for this Chinese student sample, the mean number of ‘3’s chosen was 30.4, with a Standard Deviation (SD) of 32. For our UK sample however, the mean number of ‘3’s chosen was 9.85, with a SD of 15. It was decided that participants who responded with over 71 unsure ‘3’ responses would be removed from the sample i.e. this means that they are putting down ‘3’ to over a third of their questionnaire items – which is much too high. A caveat to this however is that given the “middle-way” philosophy in the East, it can generally be anticipated that central tendency responding will be higher in China than in the West.

Removing Answer Sheets with Random Responses

We employed two established methods to detect answer sheets which were being completed randomly i.e. the True Response Inconsistency (TRIN) and the Variable Response Inconsistency (VRIN) methods. Both methods are based on paired items which are highly associated in that knowing an individual’s response to one item will provide a very high level of prediction of their response to the other item. Therefore, when a person scores below a certain threshold with many paired items, we can be confident that their responses to the questionnaire have been random.

Data Analysis and Results

 Test Re-Test Reliability

At Phase 2, students completed the Identity Questionnaire again about one month after the Phase 1 original completion of the questionnaire; we were able to conduct a Test-Retest analysis. This allows us to look into the stability or reliability of the questionnaire over time.

The final sample size for the test-retest was 206 after all the data cleansing procedures were conducted. Overall the vast majority of Identity scales were reliable. A small number of scales were below the benchmark of .70. However we need to be reminded that we are dealing with a translated questionnaire so we would expect some loss of reliability compared to the original questionnaire. So the original English Identity questionnaire sets the upper limits.

The original English Identity single scale test-retest coefficients ranged from .77 to .92 (based on a test-retest sample of 121). For the translated traditional Chinese questionnaire the test-retest coefficients ranged from .58 to .87. Seven of the 36 Identity questionnaire scales reported less than ideal test-retest coefficients:

• Consultative .57
• Psychological .61
• Empathy .57
• Adaptability .60
• Theoretical .62
• Rational .59
• Reflective .58

Interestingly, it might be argued that these scales are less meaningful to this student sample and different results are likely to be obtained in a business sample.

Internal Consistency Reliability

Another method to determine reliability is to look at internal consistency of each scale to see how well items within a scale correspond with one another. From this analysis we identified nine scales at a lower range of reliability coefficients than our ideal of 0.7:

• Social Presence .60
• Direct .61
• Empathy .58
• Adaptability .60
• Decisive .67
• Self Potency .53
• Self Protecting .62
• Social Desirability .63
• Reflective .43

Combining the two methods of establishing reliability it was useful to see if there were any scales that would have both low test-retest and low internal consistency reliability. The following 2 scales had lower reliabilities than ideal:

• Empathy
• Adaptability

We will be collecting more data so with more extensive use of the tool with participants who will be completing the questionnaire for non-research purposes we do expect the reliabilities to improve.

Study Results: Comparisons with UK Data

The results for this group of Hong Kong students were compared against the UK working population and also against a group of UK A Level applicants and Final Year Students for a Design & Technology course at a UK university.

The group of Hong Kong students compared to the other groups tended to be slightly lower on the following scales:

• Independent
• Critical
• Multi-Tasking
• Variety Seeking
• Determined
• Self Potency
• Positive

However, it is not possible to determine exactly why these differences are found as there are a range of variables as to how the groups differ from each other e.g. motivational aspects as the students were volunteers rather than real job applicants; age differences; cultural and educational experience differences; work experience differences.

Producing Norms & Developing the Career Focus Report

A set of Hong Kong student norms has been established (N= 421) and more data will be added to this at a later date when it becomes available.

At the same time as this research Quest Partnership also developed a new Career Focus Report for Identity and participating students were provided with a report. This new report has been developed with educational clients in mind but can be used by other clients supporting individuals with career guidance. Currently, the report can be normed against the UK working population and the Hong Kong students.

Translation into Simplified Chinese

The project then made traditional Chinese available as an online solution for clients with a view to collect on-going norms data and to work with any clients who can support with validation studies. In December 2009 the simplified Chinese version was also made available online.