The influence and impact of culture on Chinese accounting students Conceptions of Learning in Higher Education: a phenomenological study using in depth interviews

    Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


    Conceptions of Learning have been identified in academic research as a key determinant of student learning styles, motivation and academic outcomes (Saljo 1979, Richardson 2011). Conceptions of Learning have been used to partially explain the observation that students approach the same learning task in very different ways via Deep or Surface learning approaches (Richardson 2011).

    Previous Conceptions of Learning research has focused on either testing for surface and deep learning approaches using interviews with a small number of students (Marton 1976, Saljo 1979) or utilising a quantitative questionnaire e.g. The Reflections on Learning Inventory (RoLI) or The Inventory of Learning styles (ILS). However many of the quantitative methodologies have been challenged as not being valid when used with Chinese students, implying that these questionnaires may have in built cultural bias associated with acquiescent response style and extreme response style (Sun and Richardson 2012).

    Despite this the overwhelming majority of previous studies associated with culture and conceptions of learning have been quantitative and these have raised many tantalising questions associated with why differences in conceptions of learning are evident. Some authors suggest that these questions can only be answered by conducting in depth, qualitative research (Lucas 2001, Byrne and Flood 2004).

    This study aims to contribute to the discussion by identifying what conceptions of learning direct entry students from mainland China have at entry to University; what factors students perceive have influenced their conceptions of learning; if and how conceptions of learning change whilst at university and crucially obtain student perceptions of what helps facilitate Chinese accounting students transition to being independent learners.

    Qualitative data has been collected using the phenomenological approach of deep interviews with eleven first and second year direct entry students on accounting and finance programmes from mainland China. It is believed that this research method is culturally appropriate for Chinese students as it less biased than a learning style questionnaire approach and will provide rich and deep text grounded in the participants’ experience, using their own words.

    Research findings from the study will be presented at the Conference.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 24 May 2017
    EventPBS Research and Innovation Conference 2017 - University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth, United Kingdom
    Duration: 19 Jun 201719 Jun 2017


    ConferencePBS Research and Innovation Conference 2017
    Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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