Issues and Difficulties in Doing Participative Research in China: Lessons Learned from a Survey in Information Systems Research
In Proceedings of the 7th European Conference on Research Methodology for Business and Management Studies, pp. 245-252, London, UK, 19-20 June 2008
8 Pages Posted: 11 Jun 2009
Contextual, cultural and political differences between China and the West determine that research issues and difficulties, that may not generally be experienced and reported in the West, can occur during participative research processes in China. Disregarding these context specific issues can lead to either a complete failure of the research project or insignificant research findings (e.g. lack of response or meaningless responses to questionnaires). This paper reviews and discusses issues that obstruct researchers carrying out participative survey research in China. These include problems related with identifying an appropriate research sample, translating the survey instrument, retrieving an accurate company list, getting sufficient responses and finally getting earnest responses from participants. The causes for these potential problems are discussed in relation to the political, economic, social, historical and cultural conditions in China. This paper proposes and illustrates a set of heuristics to overcome these problems, based on the lessons learned from a questionnaire survey conducted in an ongoing PhD research project. The project aims to investigate the barriers and risks associated with the post-implementation of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Systems in Chinese companies. This paper is particularly meaningful for researchers and research project supervisors, who already engage or are interested in doing research in China but are relatively unfamiliar with the research context there.
Keywords: Participative Research in China, Questionnaire Surveys, Information System, Cultural Differences, Political Differences
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