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The case for a Chinese methodology in educational research

Wei Liu (University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada)

Qualitative Research Journal

ISSN: 1443-9883

Article publication date: 4 June 2019

Issue publication date: 4 June 2019




The purpose of this paper is to recover the identity of Chinese intellectual discourse, arguing for the necessity of a Chinese methodology in educational research to be constructed on the basis of the Chinese philosophical traditions and the Chinese social norms for the aim of solving Chinese educational issues within the Chinese cultural context.


The paper is a theoretical paper, arguing for the ontological, epistemological and methodological basis for a Chinese methodology in educational research.


The major ontological issue of Chinese social and educational research, also the ultimate goal of the Chinese governance, is social harmony through harmonious personal relationships. The key to social harmony has been seen in the Chinese philosophical tradition as residing in people’s personal morality and obligation, which constitutes the epistemology of Chinese research. And the golden mean of moderation by synthesizing and balancing the dualist extremes of views and actions should be adopted as the methodological paradigm to researching social and educational issues in China.

Practical implications

The elaboration of these three entities holds promises in the construction of the Chinese methodological system on Chinese social terms and merits.


The author has long sensed that the extensive methodological borrowing from the West by Chinese scholars in educational research might be problematic, given the vast structural differences in the two social worlds that the author and other scholars have observed. A paper in English to argue for the necessity of constructing a uniquely Chinese methodology for educational research in China is an absolute necessity.



Liu, W. (2019), "The case for a Chinese methodology in educational research", Qualitative Research Journal, Vol. 19 No. 3, pp. 344-354.



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