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1 A case of Chinese whispers: Some researcher-supervisor practice when working between Chinese and English Xiaowei Zhou and Richard Fay.

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Presentation on theme: "1 A case of Chinese whispers: Some researcher-supervisor practice when working between Chinese and English Xiaowei Zhou and Richard Fay."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 A case of Chinese whispers: Some researcher-supervisor practice when working between Chinese and English Xiaowei Zhou and Richard Fay

2 2 Introduction Our presentation: a) critical moments b) researcher-supervisor dialogues c) decisions Xiaowei’s doctoral study: researched the academic acculturation of students from mainland China on an Economics-related Masters programme in Manchester explored this focus via a mixture of weekly ‘mood data’ and their Chinese-medium narratives of ‘initial academic experiences’ as told at four points throughout their year- long MA programme

3 3 Contextualising the study … The phenomenon: Chinese students’ flow to the UK since the late 1990s Chinese students’ responses to their Masters education in the UK (e.g. “short and valuable”, “I cannot learn much from the short course” ) Social responses in China ? (e.g. “ 留学垃圾 ” - Social responses in the UK (e.g. “a source of revenue”, “a threat to the UK HE” ) “Study-abroad trash” ?!)

4 4 Exploring the literature … Started with the English-medium literature on culture, intercultural communication, acculturation, and Chinese students’ academic experiences abroad Looked for Chinese-medium literature on 文 化,跨文化交际,文化涵化,中国大学生的学习经 历

5 5 Generating data … Outcome: mood data mostly in Chinese but occasionally in English; narratives generally in Chinese but with a bilingual element negotiated with the participants … My instinctive preference: Chinese Heightened awareness through supervision experience …

6 6 Processing the data … Xiaowei translated a section of the transcript into English for the supervision process to illustrate her transcription practice. Richard’s response …

7 7 Analysing the data … Richard told a story about a student’s bilingual data analysis… Xiaowei’s decision: used both languages 自学 英国硕士的价值 rote learning CogLearn about ACC2 [cognitive learning about the second academic culture] [N/A] [self teaching] [the value of Masters courses in the UK] [from the literature on acculturation] [from the literature on Chinese students’ learning practice] [from the data] [from my Chinese-medium understanding of the broader social context]

8 8 Writing up the research report … Presentational issues: e.g. How shall I deal with original text in Chinese, such as concepts, phrases, book/article titles and data extracts? Question: What are the purposes of presenting such text? Xiaowei’s decision … e.g. “ 无助 /wu zhu [helpless]” " 后生可畏,焉知来者之不如今也 [pay respect to young people; how do you know that the performance of the current generation will not surpass the previous one] 刘良华 (Liu, L.) (2002). “ 论教育 ‘ 叙事研究 ’” (Lun jiao yu “xu shi yan jiu “– On “narrative research” in education). 《教育情报参考》 (Jiao Yu Qing Bao Can Kao – Educational Consulting), 11,

9 9 Study being examined … Examiner expected to see the complete sets of data rather than data extracts … Xiaowei’s decision: presented two cases completely in their original forms, one case representative of most cases and the other differing from most cases in certain ways … translated into English the first story in the “representative” case as well as my analysis of it translated into English the whole “non-representative” case as well as my analysis of it

10 10 Richard’s reflections from the supervisor’s perspective …

11 11 Some conclusions (1) Research (in social sciences) is about: drawing relevant and interesting insights from rich literature and rich data so as to better understand a phenomenon/issue disseminate the findings to readers meaningfully, effectively and reliably The implications of doing research multilingually for the researcher: Research process richer resources: e.g. richer literature, more linguistic options for generating and analysing data more challenges and responsibilities: e.g. make each step transparent for those who follow the research process

12 12 Some conclusions (2) For the researcher-supervisor dynamic … foregrounding critical points for developing researcher competence mutual enrichment … Thank you! Xiaowei Zhou: Richard Fay:


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