Educational research in Asia as “method”

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The rise of Asia has fuelled great interest in the region across all fields of study, including Asian cultural studies, arts and education. Yet Asian intellectual traditions are slow to gain traction in the academic world. Asian scholars continue to travel to western nations to pursue doctoral studies and to learn from western academics. While many Asian scholars research policies and practices in their own countries, they readily pick concepts and theories from western literature as the theoretical frame to analyse data generated from their home countries in Asia. Such practice not only undermines the richness of the local context in Asia but also reinforces the universality of western theories to explain observations beyond western societies (Chua, 2015). Our research is influenced by the approach taken by Chen (2010), who argues for critical studies of Asia using ‘Asia as method’ to rethink the process of knowledge production in socio-cultural research. Based on a focus group interview of HDR education students (N=6) in an Australian university, this chapter reports on benefits and difficulties of deploying Asia as Method in the students’ research projects. This chapter argues that Asia as Method provides a new research imagination for HDR students to bring Asian knowledge, traditions, wisdom and values into western dominated intellectual discourse of educational research. This chapter further investigates the difficulties encountered by research participants and strategies they used when they applied Asia as Method in their research.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Handbook on Education Development in Asia-Pacific
EditorsWing On Lee, Phillip Brown, A. Lin Goodwin, Andy Green
Place of PublicationSingapore Singapore
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9789811623271
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Asia as Method
  • Educational research
  • HDR students
  • New research imagination

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