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Title: Epistemological obstacles to academic integrity : mainland Chinese students' perceptions of studying in the UK through the Habermasian lens
Author: Gow, Stephen
ISNI:       0000 0004 7964 6399
Awarding Body: University of York
Current Institution: University of York
Date of Award: 2018
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This thesis explores mainland Chinese Master's students' perceptions of the challenges they face in adapting to a UK Master's programme and how they overcome these challenges. The study uses qualitative analysis of focus group data collected during students' time in the UK and reflections once they have returned to China. The students describe having to change the way they study in order to adapt to the different educational context, specifically the use of essay writing as the major form of assessment. Thematic analysis of the participants' perceptions reveals that this is not simply a case of changing the method of study and adapting to the norms of academic writing and referencing, but requires an epistemological shift. In line with various models of epistemological development, the participants describe the dominant monological and absolute exam focused approach in China in comparison with the dialogic and contextual approach to knowledge in the UK. Having identified and explored the development of epistemological reflection as a key factor in the initial thematic analysis, the study then moves further in-depth utilising the conceptual framework of Jürgen Habermas's Theory of Communicative Action in order to understand the transition between educational contexts. Using the concepts of lifeworld and system, the findings indicate the significant difference between an instrumental approach to education in China and a dialogic educational approach in UKHE, which ostensibly aims at mutual understanding and reaching an intersubjective consensus on truth. This framework provides new perspectives on the challenges Chinese students' face studying in Anglophone countries, such as English language competency and understanding the concepts of plagiarism and critical thinking. Through this Habermasian lens, the concept of academic integrity is explored in the context of the mass migration of Chinese students and the internationalisation of higher education in the 21st century.
Supervisor: Issitt, John Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available