BACKGROUNDING Researching a topic or issue before drafting a questionnaire. Backgrounding provides baseline information about a particular problem area, what resources are available, and what issues are unresolved ( Backstrom and Hursh-Cesar, 1981:27-28).
Survey researchers use three important sources of background information. One is the questions developed by other survey organizations working in the same area. Using or adapting earlier questions is considered good practice in opinion research. It allows different surveys to be compared and it promotes improvement in survey methods ( Crespi, 1989:97-98).
Another source of backgrounding information is the literature-the books, articles, monographs, reports, government documents and other records that deal with the subject of interest. A third backgrounding source is the expert. This may be a subject matter specialist, or it may be a pollster who has previously done research in the area. Backgrounding builds new research upon the accumulated findings of earlier research. In even more practical terms, it saves researchers from duplicating work already done. See alsoINSTRUMENT.
BACK TRANSLATION A sophisticated technique for translating poll questions from one language to another--for example, from English to Spanish. Back translation aims for linguistic equivalency--finding words in the second language that have the same meaning as the words used in the first language. The back translation procedure requires the skills of three bilingual translators. Translator one works from language A to language B; then translator two works from language B back to A; then translator three works from language A back to B, removing discrepancies in meaning that crop up during successive translations ( Warwick and Lininger, 1975:166).