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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A comparative study of mathematics educational research in China and English-speaking countries as represented in journals Wang, Bingjie


This is a comparative study of four academic journals in mathematics education: one key journal from China, Journal of Mathematics Education (JME), and the other three English-language international journals Educational Studies in Mathematics (ESM), Journal for Research in Mathematics Education (JRME) and For the Learning of Mathematics (FLM). The researcher compared a sample consisting of three consecutive issues of the four journals over a time period within the year 2009. All articles were read in their original language of publication (Chinese or English). Additionally, members of the editorial boards of the journals were interviewed. This study consists of three parts: 1) Content analysis (Krippendorff, 1980; Stemler, 2001) of the articles from the sample. 2)Qualitative analysis of interviews (Kavle, 1996; McNamara, 1999) with members of the editorial boards of the four journals. 3)Textual analysis (Mckee, 2003; Truex, 1996) of the four journals These three parts were considered together to build an ‘intellectual map’ (Jobert, 1996) for cross-cultural comparison. Using these three perspectives, the researcher was able to offer a more comprehensive view of the cultural and individual differences than a single perspective would give. The purposes of this study were: To help Chinese mathematics education researchers understand the requirements and expectations of English-language international journals so that they can begin to publish in these journals more widely. To encourage Chinese and Western researchers to read about one another’s research and promote the exchange of ideas. Results indicate that authors for Chinese journal come from more varied professional backgrounds than those writing for the English-language journals. Many articles in Chinese journal do not use any clearly-stated research methodology, in contrast to most articles in the Western journals. No significant differences are found in the topics in published articles. However, the three English-language journals are different from one other in terms of author characteristics, topic types and methodologies. All of these differences relate to the different cultural backgrounds in which the journals were embedded. The conclusions include discussions about academic cultural differences and implications for future studies. This study provides a new dimension in cross-cultural comparative investigation.

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