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The usual operationalization of the psycholexical approach to personality becomes inefficient when dealing with languages with a limited lexicography or languages that are inaccessible to the investigator. These conditions, which probably hold for most of the world’s languages, call for different approaches to uncover the complexities of personality. This chapter describes the mixed-method approach in designing the South African Personality Inventory (SAPI). We describe (1) the dynamics and lessons learned from the extensive qualitative research conducted in 11 languages, (2) the challenges of item development and reduction with a focus on cultural comparability and validity, and (3) the complexities in extracting and validating the SAPI factor structure across language versions. We discuss how the diversification of methods can enrich the understanding of personality in understudied contexts and inform the debate between universal models (with their lure of cross-cultural comparability) and indigenous models (with their claim to ecological validity).
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