Western Education in China – Term Paper

 Investigating the Popularity of Western Education Establishments in China

The methodology that will be used for this study is the qualitative research method. Given the nature of the situation that will be under investigation in this study the use of a qualitative approach will be most formidable as it will help in understanding the phenomenon in a clearer way. Furthermore, it is harder to find specific data for the issue at hand. Since the study will be looking at the perceptions of the participants with regard to a certain social issue, it would hardly be useful to use specific variables to drive the study. On the other hand, it would be sufficient to use qualitative methods and tools to harness the needed information that can be then interpreted to reach to a viable and valid conclusion.

Pilot Study

As Barrett, et al (2002) say, most qualitative studies can benefit a lot from a pilot study. A pilot study is a scaled-down version of the actual study and it helps in pointing out any issues that may arise from carrying out the study this helps in saving time and resources because once these issues are identified before the actual study commences, they can be corrected. For this particular study, a pilot study will be necessary to make sure that the apparatus and the materials used for the study are well designed. For instance, since the study will make extensive use of interviews, this pilot study will helping making sure that the interview materials and processes are not flawed. Any flaws can be identified as early as possible and be corrected before the actual study begins.

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The participants will be composed of college students who attend western universities within China. These students will be of age 18-25 and will include both males and females. They will be selected using a random sampling method in order to make sure that the cohort is as representative of the general population as possible. To get the nest result, it would be necessary to get up to fifty participants. However, due to the fact that this is a limited study with limited resources, the study will use 18 participants. As Teijlingen and Hundley (2002) say, in a qualitative study, even a number as small as 12 participants is sufficient. This is more so for a study that intends to understand the perceptions of the participants regarding a certain issue. Therefore, because this study is about identifying the perception of western education among Chinese students, it would suffice to use 18 participants.


The study will make intensive use of interviews and questionnaires.


Interviews will be held with the participants as a way to get the information from them. The interview questions will be designed to suit the need of the study, which is to answer the research question as described in the proposal. Interviews can be a fitting way to get such information from the participants. However, it is important to consider which type of interviews are needed. With regard to qualitative studies, one can use structured, unstructured or semi-structured interviews. Structured interviews may be convenient and useful in a situation where the right questions can be preempted and known in advance. However, in the current study, it is possible that some questions may come up in the context of the interview and which may help in getting more useful information from the participants (Burnard, 2001). In such a case, it would be necessary to make sure that the interviewing context is flexible enough to pursue any issues that may come up during the interviewing process (Crabtree & Bloom, 2006). As a result, the interviews used for this study will be semi structured. This will mean that some of the interview questions will be predesigned while others will have to be asked as the interview goes on. Each participant will be asked the structured interview questions while the unstructured questions will be asked contextually depending on the responses of the individual participants. To further improve the validity of the information gotten from the interviews, each interviewee will be interviewed individually as opposed to using a group interview.


Questionnaires will be useful in this particular study for two main reasons. First, the questionnaires will provide a way to get some more information that the participants can provide without having to attend an interview session (Bryman, 2006). Second, if well prepared, the answers that the participants give in a questionnaire can be used to check for potential discrepancies in the information that the participants give in the interviews. Furthermore, the questionnaires will also be useful in capturing some information that is not directly related to the phenomena being investigated. This may include information such as the names, the college and the academic program that the student is attending.  

In designing the interview and the questionnaire questions, it will be necessary to make sure that the questions do not overlap. This will be necessary to avoid redundancy and unnecessary workload during the analysis of the results.


The first issue will be to find the potential candidates in order to develop a cohort that is as representative of the general population as possible. This will be easy because these students can be found on campus. Potential participants will be picked randomly and they will have to fulfill some requirements with regard to their social-cultural backgrounds. For instance, the students will have to be Chinese nationals, not just any Asians. They also have to be those attending a western university, whether within china or outside. Once a participant meets these conditions, they will be informed about the study and they will also be asked if he could join. Those who will accept the offer to be part o the study will be given further information about the study. Information about the location and the time frames of the interviews will be offered. Contact information will also be acquired from the students in order to have an easy way to contact them once the actual study commences.

The students will be contacted at least two days before their interview session is due and will be reminded about the location and informed about the day and time. Once they confirm their availability, they will be slotted for the interview. During the actual day of the interview, the student will be contacted a few hours before the interview so as to avoid any last minute inconveniences. The interview and the filling of the questionnaires will be done during the same session so as to save the participants the trouble of having to waste too much of their time. In this regard, after arriving for the interview session, they will first take thirty minutes of their time filling the questionnaire and also familiarizing with the context of the interview. Once this is done, they will be engaged with the interview sessions answering the various questions with regard to their sentiments about the western education. The questions in the interview will be grouped into three major categories as follows;

Culture related issues

Of course, it is necessary to recognize that a major reason why China has for the longest time refused and avoided western education is because of the perception that it disrupts the age old Chinese culture and traditions (Hazel & Shinobu, 1991). With regard to this study, it will be necessary to find out whether the young people also have the same attitude. The questions for this apart will be geared towards identifying whether the young people feel that western education is a threat to their native culture. Furthermore, the questions will also be geared towards identifying whether they feel that there is a need for their native culture to be sustained and conserved.