Deployment of ‘Asia as method’ in educational research

Year: 2021

Author: Zhang, Hongzhi, Chan, Philip Wing Keung

Type of paper: Individual Paper

The rise of Asia has fueled greater interest in the region across all areas, including Asian cultural studies, arts and education. Yet, Asian intellectual traditions are slow to gain traction in the academia world. Asian scholars continue to go to the 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 analyze 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 the 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. By using a focus group interview of HDR education students (N=7) in an Australian university, this paper reports the benefits and difficulties of deploying Asia as method in their research projects. This paper 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 paper further investigates the difficulties they encountered and strategies they used when they applied Asia as method in their research.