This paper explores the possibilities of method triangulation between two methodological approaches for assessing the validity performance of survey items:cognitive
interviewing and factor analytic techniques. Although their means of approaching validity differ, both methods attempt to prove whether a measure corresponds to a theoretical(latent)concept (e.g. patriotism vs. nationalism), thus both are concerned with the question, whether an indicator measures what it is supposed to measure. Based on two representative samples for Austria [data gathered within the framework of the International Social Survey Program ISSP) on National Identity in 1995 and 2003] and 18 cognitive interviews conducted between 2003 and 2005, the paper shows the considerable advantages of using a multi-method approach for ensuring the quality of survey items. On the one hand, we apply exploratory and
confirmatory factor analysis in order to identify poorly performing indicators with regard to validity and reliability. On the other hand, the analysis of the cognitive interviews reveals the substantial sources of response error. Results show that to a large extent, respondents do not understand the items that have been defined to measure national identification and related
concepts in Austria the way intended by the drafting group of this ISSP Module, a fact that has considerable implications on the scales’ predictive power.