“China and Higher Education” conference invitation to attend

Dear colleagues,

We would like to invite you to the annual “China and Higher Education” conference, which explores international perspectives on issues on Chinese higher education, international students, and international HE policies. This year’s conference theme is: “Responding to a changing world: Does international higher education still matter?”

The conference is free to attend takes place online on 6-9 December 2021.

The full conference programme and registration link is available here: https://chinahe.wordpress.com/chinahe2021/

The keynote speakers include:

Philip Altbach (Boston College)

Ruth Hayhoe (University of Toronto)

Baocun Liu (Beijing Normal University)

Simon Marginson (University of Oxford)

We hope you can join us at the ChinaHE21 Conference.

All the best,

Choen Yin (Helen) Chan, Heather Cockayne, Miguel Antonio Lim & Jenna Mittelmeier

The University of Manchester (UK)

Joshua Ka-Ho Mok & Weiyan Xiong

Lingnan University (Hong Kong)

Book Review: Exploring Diary Methods in Higher Education Research: Opportunities, Choices and Challenges

By Yan Chen, Durham University

Edited by Xuemeng Cao and Emily Henderson

Exploring Diary Methods in Higher Education Research: Opportunities, choices, and challenges significantly contributes to higher education research, especially in using this creative research method to explore salient topics in the global context. Using solicited diary techniques across empirical studies creates a new perspective to learn participants’ perceptions and reflections on their experiences. Besides introducing this intriguing research method, as book editors in this book, Cao and Henderson also include research projects conducted by researchers from various cultural backgrounds. These research projects contribute to the study of marginalised and vulnerable groups in higher education, such as international students, LGBTQ individuals, economically deprived communities, etc. This book helps researchers employ the diary method in education studies, sociology, and other related fields.

This book draws a clear picture about what the diary method is (Part one), why it is crucial and how to design and evaluate diary studies (Part two), the research process and the importance of diaries for researching hidden issues (Part three). In addition to serving as an unsolicited and second-hand resource, the diary can also be developed as first-hand resource.  Through working together with participants, solicited diary aims to help researchers comprehend specific research questions that serve research purposes. In this book, different scholars present how solicited diaries are applied as a research method to enter participants’ everyday life, capture life as it is lived, and examine daily rhythms of life or within-person changes over time, particularly in longitudinal studies. Depending on diary method approaches, audio and video diaries can provide unique insights into the body and creative practices. 

Part one of this edited volume inspires researchers to use various techniques and approaches in the diary method. Cross-institutional research, audio diaries, photo diary research and potential duration that diary study needs to take are explored. Mittelmeier et al., in chapter 1, state that the diary method is flexible and can be easily moulded across a broad range of mix-method research designs (p.17). The mixed-method approach offers unique insights into participants’ worlds through flexible engagement with multiple facets of participants’ experience (p. 18). While applying this method, it is essential to think about study durations. In chapter 2, Handerson argues that temporality is observed in diary studies; short-term intensive research using the diary method could contribute to understanding participants’ experiences in academia, especially those with caring responsibilities attending higher education conferences (p. 30). Researchers could determine the time-scale of the study to capture ongoing phenomena, or they can impose the time-scale of the study to explore time-bound phenomena, for instance, in higher education or an academic year (p. 31). Indeed, no phenomenon is ‘too short, as long as the phenomenon is suited to diary method and the sampling has been carefully considered in the diary method’ (p. 40). Other than the flexibility of time spent on the diary method, there are different forms while employing diaries as method, such as an audio diary. For instance, a significant advantage of audio diaries is less time-consuming for higher education participants. In chapter 3, Dangeni et al. showed that the audio diary could ‘capture emotions and foster higher retention during data collection, especially in longitudinal studies’ (p. 55). Participants could take photos to keep photo diaries. The diary-based method ‘enhances participant’s opportunities to recognise themselves, be seen and act as epistemic contributors’ (p. 68). 

Part two discusses research ethics, participant experience, and considerations in conducting the diary method. While conducting research using solicited diaries, researchers need to be aware of the ethical concerns in higher education research. Participants in higher education fields usually shoulder heavy workloads. Through participant and researcher win-win considerations, researchers’ and participants’ research experience are enhanced to strengthen longitudinal qualitative diary research retention. As a researcher and a senior student in the department, for research with new international Chinese master’s students in the U.K., Cao demonstrates how she, through the diary method, helped participants understand the researcher’s close relation with participants’ experience. In the meantime, she offered academic development and emotional support sessions for participants (Chapter 5).  

In Chapter 6, Keenan mentioned that for inclusive diversity in higher education, the diary method in ‘participant-generated photo-elicitation’ could help illustrate the details of usually broadly understood groups rather than details such as LGBTQ (p. 93). Through interviews with photos captured and provided by the participants to present their everyday lives, ‘by its episodic nature’, the diary method allowed ‘a big story to be told in small parts’ (p.93). Furthermore, according to Baker, event-based diaries can capture the process in higher education decision-making and choice through reactivity. ‘Reactivity can potentially overshadow emotion in choice, and decision-making processes can therefore negate the strengths of the diary method, and reduce opportunities for the multifaceted nature of these processes to be captured’ (Chapter 7, p.104). However, there are ethical questions raised. Lawther showed that when researchers need to engage with photos, visual research has ethical challenges ‘in cases where participants choose to take identifiable photographs’ (Chapter 8, p.118). Although there are ethical concerns, with a suitable approach that is sensitive to research needs, visual diary-like methods can be useful in higher education research for approaching sensitive topics (Chapter 8, p.126). This, to a certain extent, helps to broaden research topics in the higher education field. 

Part three demonstrates how the diary method could serve as a powerful tool to explore voices from specific groups. Sabharwal et al., in chapter 9, concluded that the diary method helps to study agency and empowerment: for students in socially excluded groups who might experience ‘sexism, racism and prejudice’, the method could reveal the chronic nature of everyday oppressions that they are confronting (p.133). However, there are some issues: (1) data encompassing issues that do not fall into originally anticipated areas, (2) lack of control from the perspective of the researcher, (3) inequity caused by the selectivity of participants’ responses (Watson & Leigh, Chapter 10, p. 145). The various forms of diary methods can support voice from disabled students through modern technologies, such as Seeing AI for visually impaired students (Watson & Leigh, Chapter 10, p. 157). Burford, in chapter 11, introduced perspectives from feminist and queer scholars on affective-political contexts in New Zealand, and there are ‘uneasy feelings’ in research with doctoral students’ experience. However, event-based methods effectively capture affective phenomena (p.164). For international students, solicited diary method could provide researchers with ‘timely and dependable data about participants’ language lives’ (Groves, Chapter 12, p.187). Therefore, by asking participants to record diaries during certain events, their reactions can be documented timely. 

Overall, by showing various research approaches that researchers apply diary methods with a wide array of groups, the book generates insightful methodological discussions about using the diary in higher education research. The diary method thus pushes research boundaries through foregrounding the dynamics between researchers and participants. Researchers and students who want to study in-depth voices from participants and are interested in creative research methods could benefit a great deal from this book.


Cao, X., & Henderson, E.F. (2021). Exploring Diary Methods in Higher Education Research: Opportunities, Choices and Challenges (1st ed.). Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780429326318

Survey Invitation: How international students make decisions about study destinations

Survey link for international students in the UK

Survey link for international students in Australia

This survey questionnaire asks international students about how they made decisions to study in British universities.  It is part of a research project called Governing complexity: future-proofing higher education internationalization in times of uncertainty.  This project is being conducted by Assistant Professor Dr Cora Xu from Durham University (United Kingdom), Associate Professor Dr Catherine Gomes from RMIT University (Australia), Dr Will Shannon from the University of Canterbury (New Zealand), and Dr Conrad King from Kwantlen Polytechnic University (Canada).  The overall results of this survey could be shared with the public via academic publications, conferences or reports.   

You are invited because you are currently an international student in the UK. This survey is anonymous.  Any personal identifying information will not be stored with your anonymous survey responses, and your survey responses will be managed in a separate database.    

Participation in this research is voluntary. If you don’t wish to take part, you don’t have to.  You can withdraw at any time by simply closing your web browser prior to completing the survey. If you decide to continue to fill out this survey and click ‘submit’, you are giving your written consent for your data to be included in this research anonymously. Please kindly note that since this data will be kept anonymously, once you submit your answers it will not be possible to withdraw your data from this research.

The survey questionnaire contains 14 questions and should take about 15 minutes to complete. 

Survey link for international students in the UK

Survey link for international students in Australia

Call for Dictionary Entries: ‘Dictionary of Mobility and Borders’

It is the dictionary on Mobility and Borders, edited by Tommaso Visone and Caterina Di Fazio and possibly published by Columbia University Press. Please find more information here.

If you are interested in writing one or few entries for the dictionary, please indicate which terms you would like to author/co-author in this preliminary term list.

Asia Pacific Education Review – Special Issue CfP–‘Asia as Method: Toward Ontologies and Epistemologies of Difference’

Asia Pacific Education Review – Special Issue Call for Papers
Asia as Method: Toward Ontologies and Epistemologies of Difference

Special Issue Editor

Kevin Kester, Seoul National University (kkester@snu.ac.kr)

Educational researchers have long sought insights for domestic education by drawing on lessons learned from abroad. The home context is normalized within these traditions as the centre from which the other is understood. But rarely has the field examined the ontological changes of educators themselves working abroad, and the implications this holds for challenging and transforming accepted theoretical and pedagogical norms of the field.

As long-term international work provides insights that transcend simple travel abroad or traditional ethnography, this Special Issue explores how university educators working abroad in the long-term experience ontological and epistemological transformations. A longer period of employment and life abroad provides unique insights as the educator goes through personal ontological and epistemological transformations via ‘border thinking’ that informs his/her analysis (T. Kim, 2014; Rappleye & Komatsu, 2017).

Theorizing the borders, Gloria Anzaldua (1987) writes, “the borderlands are physically present wherever two or more cultures edge each other, where people of different races occupy the same territory, where the lower, middle and upper classes touch” (preface). She goes on to illustrate with the US-Mexico border as an example, “The US-Mexico border es una herida abierta [an open wound] where the Third World grates against the first and bleeds” (p. 3). Educators working in international contexts encounter these ontological and epistemological borders daily and are brought to grapple with the role of Otherness in their scholarly practices. Mignolo and Tlostanova (2006) write, “Border thinking is the epistemology of the exteriority; that is of the outside created from the inside” (p. 206).

At the same time, the Western gaze in recent years has been critiqued as the hegemonic lens through which education is theorized (Silova et al., 2020; Zhang et al., 2015), and scholars in East Asia (and elsewhere) have called on Asian and non-Asian educators alike to think beyond Western-centricity and beyond domination-oriented thinking (Chen, 2010; B.Y. Kim, 2002; Takayama et al., 2018). These scholars argue against Western-centricity and against the adoption and adaptation of Western (as well as domestic exclusionary) concepts as mechanisms of control by scholars and the political elite (T. Kim, 2016; Vickers, 2020).

In reference to the East Asian context bringing West and East together, Chen (2010) states, “The Taoist concept of taiji, as a structural totality in place prior to the existence of yin and yang, has to be analyzed on two levels. On the higher level, the unity of yin and yang is complementary and indeed encompasses a totality. But on the lower level, yang is higher than yin, and the former governs and encompasses the latter” (p. 264). Chen’s double critique here of Western-centric practices and domestic hierarchies – e.g., caste, class, and gender – is especially visible for those educators who working long-term abroad encounter the constraints and affordances of difference.

This Special Issue, then, asks: How are educators’ theoretical and pedagogical practices informed by migration across contexts? What sorts of ontological and epistemological transformations might educators experience during long-term periods abroad? How might these transformations initiate decolonial moves in regard to educational pedagogy, policy and practice?

This Special Issue explores these questions within and beyond the context of Asia drawing on the unique insights of diverse educators. Importantly, beyond examining Asia as a defined territory or entity that is distinct from the West, this Special Issue looks toward the ways that Asia, the West, and the Global South co-exist within each other. Drawing on Kuan-Hsing Chen’s (2010) Asia as Method and Gloria Anzaldua’s (1987) Borderlands, the issue seeks to re-center Asia within educational discourse, not as an object of analysis but as an agential subject. To deeply access issues of ontological and epistemological transformation, this issue welcomes a diverse range of methodologies, such as reflexive and contemplative inquiry, autoethnography, qualitative empirical research, conceptual/philosophical methods, and other approaches.

We invite manuscripts that deal with these questions from diverse authors. All papers should be written as reflections on ontological and epistemological changes that scholars of/in Asia experience by embracing and/or working in other cultural contexts. Brief manuscript proposals (500 words) are due by October 1, 2021, and should be submitted to Kevin Kester at kkester@snu.ac.kr.
Please reach out to the Special Issue editor with any questions or comments.

The following timeline is expected:

October 1, 2021: Submission of abstracts.

October 22: Invitation to submit full manuscript.

March 11, 2022: Submission of full manuscript.

April 15: Completion of first round reviews.

May 13: Submission of revised manuscripts.

June 10: Completion of second round reviews.

July 8: Submission of final manuscript.

July 29: Notification of final acceptance.

August 26, 2022: Proposed publication date.

Instructions for Submission

Please send proposals to Kevin Kester at kkester@snu.ac.kr by October 1, 2021. Proposals will be reviewed by the editorial team and authors of successful abstracts will be contacted by October 22.

Full manuscripts (6000-8000 words excluding references) are due by March 11, 2022, to be submitted through the journal’s regular portal on its homepage. Please indicate in the submission that the paper is being submitted as a part of the Special Issue. Further details are available on the APER website: https://www.springer.com/journal/12564.


Anzaldua, G. (1987). Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza. Aunt Lute Books.
Chen, K.-H. (2010). Asia as Method. Duke University Press.
Kim, B.-Y. (2002). Korean Education Viewed from a Post-colonial Perspective. Humanities Research 5: 149-176.
Kim, T. (2014). The Intellect, Mobility and Epistemic Positioning in Doing Comparisons and Comparative Education. Comparative Education 50: 58-72.
Kim, T. (2016). Internationalisation and Development in East Asian Higher Education: An Introduction. Comparative Education, 52, 1-7.
Mignolo, W., & Tlostanova, M. (2006). Theorizing from the Borders: Shifting to Geo- and Body Politics of Knowledge. European Journal of Social Theory 9: 205-221.
Rappleye, J., & Komatsu, H. (2017). How to Make Lesson Study Work in America and Worldwide: A Japanese Perspective on the Onto-Cultural Basis of (Teacher) Education. Research in Comparative and International Education 12: 398-430.
Silova, I., Rappleye, J., & Auld, E. (2020). Beyond the Western Horizon: Rethinking Education, Values and Policy Transfer. In G. Fan & T. Popkewitz (Eds.), Handbook of Education Policy Studies (pp. 3-29). Springer.
Takayama, K., Sriprakash, A., & Connell, R.W. (2018). Toward a Postcolonial Comparative and International Education. Comparative Education Review 61: S1-S24.
Vickers, E. (2020). Critiquing Coloniality, ‘Epistemic Violence’ and Western Hegemony in Comparative Education – The Dangers of Ahistoricism and Positionality. Comparative Education, 56, 165-189.
Zhang, H., Chan, P.W.K., & Kenway, J. (2015). Asia as Method in Education Studies: A Defiant Research Imagination. Routledge.You have access to our articles