Chinese Students’ Motivations for Overseas versus Domestic MLIS Education: A Comparative Study between University of Tsukuba and Shanghai University

Patrick Lo, Stuart So, Qianxiu Liu, Bradley Allard, Dickson Chiu


Recently, the globalized economy and the rapid growth of developing countries have driven a large number of students to study abroad in different developed countries. To compare the factors affecting their choices, this qualitative study collected data from a series of in-depth one-on-one interviews with twelve Mainland Chinese students who were undertaking a Master’s in Library and Information Science (MLIS) degree program at two different universities (namely, Shanghai University and the University of Tsukuba).

In addition to ascertaining the perceptions, perspectives, and experiences of these student participants, we used the “pull” factor framework of Everett Lee to analyze how these graduate students from Mainland China were attracted to an MLIS education in Japan and in Shanghai. Our findings indicated that university reputation was a key academic factor, while many students from diversified undergraduate disciplines were attracted to an MLIS education from a wide range of information-related industries, regardless of the destination of their education. Meanwhile, for students who were considering a destination for their overseas education, they considered the costs of living, tuition fee, geographic proximity to home country, and affinity with the Japanese culture to be factors that are important to their decision making.

Our findings may provide valuable insights for LIS educators to improve curriculum designs and practitioners to plan their human resource development, as well as ensuring future MLIS graduates’ employability in the highly global competitive knowledge-driven economy.

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Copyright Patrick Lo, Stuart So, Qianxiu Liu, Bradley Allard, Dickson Chiu

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