Developing culturally competent health knowledge: Issues of data analysis of cross-cultural, cross-language qualitative research

  • Jenny Hsin-Chun Tsai University of Washington
  • John H. Choe University of Washington
  • Jeanette Mu Chen Lim University of Washington
  • Elizabeth Acorda Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
  • Nadine L. Chan University of Washington
  • Vicky Taylor University of Washington
  • Shin-Ping Tu University of Washington


There is a growing awareness and interest in the development of culturally competent health knowledge. Drawing on experience using a qualitative approach to elicit information from Mandarin- or Cantonese-speaking participants for a colorectal cancer prevention study, the authors describe lessons learned through the analysis process. These lessons include benefits and drawbacks of the use of coders from the studied culture group, challenges posed by using translated data for analysis, and suitable analytic approaches and research methods for cross-cultural, cross-language qualitative research. The authors also discuss the implications of these lessons for the development of culturally competent health knowledge.