Researching supplementary education: Plans, realities, and lessons from fieldwork in china
Out of the Shadows: The Global Intensification of Supplementary Education
ISBN: 978-1-78190-816-7, eISBN: 978-1-78190-817-4
Publication date: 18 January 2014
The chapter highlights some of the challenges of research on supplementary education, and indicates ways in which the challenges were tackled in one particular study on Chongqing Municipality, China.
The Chongqing research investigated the determinants of demand for shadow education by Grade 9 students, using a mixed-methods design. A questionnaire was used to collect data from students and parents on various background details and on the nature of the tutoring that they or their children had received. Interviews of a smaller number of respondents provided qualitative data that supplemented and illuminated the quantitative responses.
Different methodological decisions may have different implications. The sampling strategies in the study limited the generalizability but increased the feasibility of the fieldwork and comparability of findings. The top-down strategy of gaining access secured high response rates in the surveys, but to some extent decreased some participants’ willingness to provide information on gray areas. Interviews generated deep and detailed data, but some sensitive topics were intentionally avoided. Informal chats with note taking were constrained in depth and breadth by random time slots and venues, and some details were difficult to record. However, the approach expanded the horizons and facilitated the triangulation of information.
Discussion focuses on collection of data, and stresses the importance of cultural, social, and economic contexts. The chapter may be seen as a case study that provides insights into methods for researching forms of supplementary education. Methodological lessons from the fieldwork in Chongqing have wider relevance, particularly in settings where regular teachers provide extra private classes.
Zhang, W. and Bray, M. (2014), "Researching supplementary education: Plans, realities, and lessons from fieldwork in china", Out of the Shadows: The Global Intensification of Supplementary Education (International Perspectives on Education and Society, Vol. 22), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 67-94. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1479-3679(2013)0000022002
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