My research focuses on Chinese undergraduate students' second language (English) acquisition, academic socialization and cultural identity in the U.S. I plan to adopt qualitative methods, selectively choosing 4-6 Chinese undergraduate students at the UW for ethnographic studies, observing them in their classroom setting and taking notes, interviewing the students and some of their instructors two to three times during the quarter, collecting the students’ syllabus and coursework, and organizing focus group discussions.
My research will investigate on the following issues:
(1) Students’ English learning and academic experience: strategies they use to improve English, different things they notice about the educational system, academic challenges and achievement, efforts to be legitimate members of their academic community, etc.
(2) Their interactions with classmates and their professors: students’ socialization with people and the environment, relationship-building with their classmates, teammates and professors.
(3) Self-identity: how much they assimilate and integrate into American culture, how much they resist, how much they decide to keep their own culture, etc.
I want to explore if there are commonalities or tendencies in my research participants’ academic socialization at the UW. Based on the research result, I plan to give suggestions for future international students studying in the U.S. as well as for their hosting-country peers and instructors.
If you choose to participate in this study, I would like to interview you three times throughout the Spring 2014 quarter, at the beginning, middle and end of the quarter, respectively. Each interview will last no more than 60 minutes. I would mainly ask you questions about your academic experience. For example, I will ask you, “please talk more about the academic successes you have had and challenges you have faced,” “Could you please give me several examples of things you learned from your professors and classes, if there are any?” and “How do you describe your relationship with your classmates/instructors?” Upon the approval of you and at the convenient time and location for all participants, we will have an informal group discussion about topics that interest all participants. There will be no specific interview questions to respond to, but some topics might have appeared in a one-to-one interview I will have had with you.
In addition to interviewing you, I will try to sit in on five-ten sessions of each of your two-three courses upon the instructors’ approval. I will take field notes in the classroom and try to get a sense of how you learn in a classroom setting. I might ask you questions about how you interpret your behavior/choices/performance in the classroom after the class. I might also interview your instructors about his/her opinions of your learning. None of data will influence your course grades and it is voluntary to participate.
With your permission, I would like to audio tape your interviews so that I can have an accurate record of our conversation based on which I will write a written transcription. I will assign a pseudonym to you to protect your rights, and I will destroy the original recording at the end of June 2019. The transcript will be sent to you for your reference electronically. The data will be stored in a password protected computer that only I will have access to.
Risks, stress or discomfort
Some people might feel that interviews or observations will harm their privacy. If participants are uncomfortable with specific questions, they can choose not to answer them. If they would like to withdraw from the study, they can do it any time they want. What’s more, my interview protocols and observation focus are designed under the guidance of theory and professor’s instruction, the level of profession and specificity will help participant feel more comfortable.
Benefits of the study
Many students find it helpful to reflect on their learning and self-identity, to reflect on what can be improved and what has been done well. Another benefit may be the possibility of having more attention given to Chinese international students’ learning in the U.S. and possible improvement in university support and service to your group. Also I will provide free tutoring sessions reviewing your composition and writings.
If you are interested in participating , feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org