The linguistic validation of the gut feelings questionnaire in three European languages

Monday, May 29th, 2017



Physicians’ clinical decision-making may be influenced by non-analytical thinking, especially when perceiving uncertainty. Incidental gut feelings in general practice have been described, namely, as “a sense of alarm” and “a sense of reassurance”. A Dutch Gut Feelings Questionnaire (GFQ) was developed, validated and afterwards translated into English following a linguistic validation procedure. The aims were to translate the GFQ from English into French, German and Polish; to describe uniform elements as well as differences and difficulties in the linguistic validation processes; to propose a procedural scheme for future GFQ translations into other languages.


We followed a structured, similar and equivalent procedure. Forward and backward-translations, repeated consensus procedures and cultural validations performed in six steps. Exchanges between the several research teams, the authors of the Dutch GFQ, and the translators involved continued throughout the procedure.


12 translators, 52 GPs and 8 researchers in the field participated to the study in France, Germany, Switzerland and Poland. The collaborating research teams created three versions of the 10-item GFQ. Each research team found and agreed on compromises between comparability and similarity on one hand, and linguistic and cultural specificities on the other.


The gut feeling questionnaire is now available in five European languages: Dutch, English, French, German and Polish. The uniform procedural validation scheme presented, and agreed upon by the teams, can be used for the translation of the GFQ into other languages. Comparing results of research into the predictive value of gut feelings and into the significance of the main determinants in five European countries is now possible.

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