Discussion: Evaluating Research Questions And Qualitative Research Designs.

Discussion: Evaluating Research Questions And Qualitative Research Designs.

Discussion: Evaluating Research Questions And Qualitative Research Designs.

As you learned in previous weeks, alignment means that a research study possesses clear and logical connections among all of its various components. In addition to considering alignment, qualitative researchers must also consider the ethical implications of their design choice, including, for example, what their choice means for participant recruitment, procedures, and privacy.

For this Discussion, you will evaluate qualitative research questions in the assigned journal article (Attached).

Liu, J., McMahon, M., & Watson, M. (2015). Parental influence on child career development in mainland China: A qualitative study. The Career Development Quarterly, 63(1), 74–87. doi:10.1002/j.2161-0045.2015.00096.x

and consider the alignment of theory, problem, purpose, research questions, and design. You will also identify the type of qualitative research design or approach the authors used and explain how it was implemented. Narrative, ethnographic, grounded theory, case study, and phenomenology are examples of types of research designs or approaches used in qualitative research.

Post a critique of the research study in which you: Discussion: Evaluating Research Questions And Qualitative Research Designs.

  • Evaluate the research questions (The Research Questions and Hypotheses Checklist can be used as a guide to facilitate your evaluation; it is not meant to be used in a Yes/No response format in writing your Discussion post.) (ATTACHED)
  • Identify the type of qualitative research approach used and explain how the researchers implemented the design
  • Analyze alignment among the theoretical or conceptual framework, problem, purpose, research questions, and design

Be sure to support your Main Issue Post and Response Post with reference to the week’s Learning Resources and other scholarly evidence in APA Style.

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Received 10/05/13 Revised 02/20/14

Accepted 03/19/14 DOI: 10.1002/j.2161-0045.2015.00096.x

Global Visions

Parental Influence on Child Career Development in Mainland China: A Qualitative Study

Jianwei Liu, Mary McMahon, and Mark Watson

Compared with adolescents and adults, there is little research that examines child career development and especially how parents might influence such development. This is especially true in Mainland China, where family life is highly valued. This study used interpretative phenomenological analysis to examine how Mainland Chinese parents influence the career development of their 5th-grade children. Six superordinate themes were identified from both the children’s and the parents’ perspectives: responding to career curiosity, influence on career gender stereotypes, emphasizing the importance of education, encouraging independent career decision making, providing opportunities for career interest development, and mothers as career role models. Suggestions are offered for future career development learning programs and research.

Keywords: middle childhood, career development, parental influence, Mainland China

Middle childhood (6 to 12 years of age; Scannapieco & Connell-Carrick, 2005) is a crucial period of lifespan career development (Super, 1990; Watson & McMahon, 2007). Children in this age span are capable of understanding the occupational world in a relatively realistic way and have begun to learn about the world of work and to develop stereo- typical career perspectives (Gottfredson, 2002; Hartung, Porfeli, & Vondracek, 2005; Watson & McMahon, 2005). Furthermore, parents play a significant role in children’s career development (Hartung et al., 2005; Watson & McMahon, 2005). Compared with people of Western cultures, Chinese people attach greater value to family by emphasizing xiao (filial piety), a core concept in Confucian culture (Fung, 2006). According to Confucianism, filial children should undertake a career that not only makes a name for themselves but also honors their families (Yang, 2012). Chinese parents have high expectations for their children, expecting sons to be dragons (i.e., powerful, super king of animals) and daughters to be phoenixes (i.e., beautiful, queen of birds; Liang, Okamoto, & Brenner, 2010). Recently, it has been found that Chinese parents are more authoritarian than their Western counterparts and that they expect their children to be obedient to them (Chuang & Gielen, 2009; Su & Hynie, 2011). The long-lasting influence of xiao, in addi-

Jianwei Liu and Mary McMahon, School of Education, University of Queensland, Bris- bane, Queensland, Australia; Mark Watson, Department of Psychology, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Jianwei Liu (e-mail: ashley.liujw@gmail.com).

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tion to the one-child policy in Mainland China, which makes the only child the focus of family attention (Hou & Leung, 2011), suggests that Chinese parents may be more influential in the career development of their children than their Western counterparts.

Mainland Chinese parents’ expectations play a significant role in adolescent and young adults’ career development. Mainland Chinese parents’ career expectations were found to be congruent with their high school students’ career aspirations in terms of career prestige (Hou & Leung, 2011). Mainland Chinese university students who perceived high parental expectations of their academic achievement were more likely to encounter difficulty in career decision making (Leung, Hou, Gati, & Li, 2011). Some studies have investigated Mainland Chinese parents’ expectations of their children in the elementary school years. Such expectations include enrollment at top universities and securing stable and high-status careers (Lao, 1997). Chinese parents consider boys suitable for careers in the natural sciences, engineering, and computer science, and girls suited to teaching, secretarial, and artistic careers (Li- ang et al., 2010; Liu, 2006). These studies, however, did not consider how parental expectations influence children’s career development. Few studies have examined how Mainland Chinese parents influence their children’s career development in childhood. In a qualitative study, Buz- zanell, Berkelaar and Kisselburgh (2011) found that Mainland Chinese children of 4 to 10 years of age from affluent families are socialized to the world of work mainly through their parents’ provisions of direct or indirect information and of activities for children to enjoy. The study emphasized that children play an active role in such socialization as they make sense of their life experiences. However, this study only investigated children’s perspectives.

Thus, previous studies about parental influence on career development in Mainland China have (a) targeted adolescents and young adults, (b) focused on the career expectations of parents for their children without examining the influence of these expectations, or (c) investigated parental influence on child career development from children’s perspectives only. Therefore, we sought to qualitatively investigate the following research question: How do Mainland Chinese parents influence their fifth-grade children’s career knowledge and aspirations?


Our study used interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA), a qualita- tive research approach that guides research design, data collection, analysis and writing up (Smith, Flowers, & Larkin, 2009). IPA is a relatively new approach that originated in psychology and has been increasingly adopted by researchers in cognate disciplines. IPA is phenomenological in that it concerns one’s lived experience, which refers to either the ev- eryday flow of unconscious experience or, more commonly, a particular experience that has major significance to an individual. In the present research, lived experience mainly refers to the influence of parents on their children’s career development. IPA is also hermeneutic in that it assumes individuals’ accounts can reflect their sense-making of their experiences, and thus researchers can access participants’ experiences through a process of interpretative activity. Such an interpretation takes

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All parents reported that they did not have any definite career plans for their children, who they understood were still developing, and that they did not know what would suit their children. In the future, all parents hoped their children would choose and engage in a career they liked. They considered that it was not right to impose their expectations on their children, as Tina’s mother explained:

Wolf father and tiger mother are exceptional cases. They impose their own wishes on their children. However . . . why should you make a career plan for her or him? You are not her or him. You’re not a fish, so how do you know what fish enjoy? [i.e., 子非鱼焉知鱼之乐, a well-known saying from the Taoist book Zhuangzi]

Tina’s mother specifically told her that she had to make all her own decisions, including career decisions, by herself after the age of 18. She tried to prepare Tina for independent decision making by encouraging her to solve problems in her own way. Tina’s father conveyed to her that he and her mother would respect her choice after she graduated from a university. Xiaoming’s mother conveyed to her son the idea of doing what he wanted to do: “I did not force him to do things. Since we do not force him to achieve certain [parents’] goals, he will be educated and develop such an idea gradually in a natural way.”

Providing Opportunities for Career Interest Development Both children determined their career aspirations based on their interests. Xiaoming wanted to be a public servant related to finance because he loved mathematics as a school subject. Tina wanted to be an animal or insect researcher. She said, “The bugs in the book are very funny . . . and I also like animals.” The children perceived their parents as providing opportunities for them to develop their career interests. For example, Tina’s father took her to the aquarium to watch fish and her family also raised fish, from which she developed her interest in fish and thus her interest in becoming a fish researcher. Xiaoming’s mother often took him to her workplace and provided him with the opportunity to learn about her work and thus to develop an interest in his mother’s career.

Although none of the parents knew their children’s most recent career aspirations, they believed that they played a role in developing their children’s career interests. Xiaoming’s parents thought that he did not have a clear idea about what he wanted to be in the future but observed that he was interested in finance, which was similar to Xiaoming’s career aspirations. Both of Xiaoming’s parents perceived that his interest in finance could be related to their frequent discussions about financial issues at home. They believed that they provided a family context in which Xiaoming could observe and listen to their conversations about finance and sometimes even participate in financial activities, such as lending the money he received in the Chinese New Year to his father to invest in the stock market, and thus develop an interest in it. Xiaom- ing’s mother actually expected him to work in her field and reflected that she might unintentionally guide his aspirations toward her career.

Tina’s parents did not know her latest career aspirations or interests. Tina’s father believed that he and Tina’s mother played a role in devel- oping their child’s changing career aspirations. Tina often had ideas of

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what she wanted to be when her parents took her out for fun, such as going to the aquarium. Tina’s mother provided her with examples of career possibilities by taking her to work-relevant activities:

I try to provide her all kinds of possibilities or different opportunities to experi- ence. For example, I took her to the Paralympics, to all the big games held in Beijing, or all the other opportunities I can show her due to my work, such as press conferences or other big scenes.

Mothers as Career Role Models Both Tina and Xiaoming learned about their mothers’ careers and were confident about describing their careers. For example, Tina said, “My mom is a producer. These uncles and aunts [i.e., 叔叔阿姨: a polite way for children to address people of their parents’ age with no blood ties] in the front line do interviews and shoot videos and then my mom edits the videos and then they start to make TV programs.” Xiaoming explained, “My mom is a public servant doing a job related to finance in the statistics department. She sometimes writes papers and materials. She also gives presentations to others.”

Both Tina and Xiaoming reported that they learned about their mothers’ careers primarily by visiting their workplaces. Xiaoming saw his mother working and thus wanted to be a public servant in finance like his mother. Xiaoming explained:

It is mainly because I saw my mom working. It has a lot to do with math. Because she deals with statistics, it has a lot to do with numbers and math. I think I can do such a career because I am good at math. . . . My mom is a public servant, so I know something about it. My mom often takes me to her workplace; then I see what kind of work it is and what they are doing at work.

Tina said that she had wanted to work as a journalist like her mother, but she had subsequently developed negative feelings about her mother’s career and did not want to work like her and live such a busy life:

Why should I work like my mom? [She is] too busy! [She] can do nothing else. . . . My mom gets up very early in the morning and only sleeps a few hours at night. . . . My dad has spare time to accompany me, but my mom cannot.

Despite not aspiring to her mother’s career, Tina considered her mother as a role model for pursuing the educational degree required by the career she aspired to. Tina said her mother was pursuing a mas- ter’s degree, so she thought she might at least get a master’s degree to become a researcher. Similarly, Xiaoming stated, “My mother got a bachelor’s degree. I cannot get a degree lower than hers.”

Consistent with the children’s perceptions of their mothers’ careers, both mothers reported that their children had a general idea about their careers. Xiaoming’s mother thought he more or less knew about her career, such as her workplace and her work related to monitoring banks. Tina’s mother said, “She knows I am a producer. . . . She knows ‘My mom works in ** TV Station. She leads a large group of people and two of her programs are well known.’” Both of the mothers perceived more opportunities for their children to learn about their careers, for example

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