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“The Influence of Confucianism” by Hue

In the article “The influence of Confucianism: a narrative study of Hong Kong teachers’ understanding and practices of school guidance and counseling” (2008) by Ming-Tak Hue, the author investigated the main influence of school guidance in Hong Kong schools. The article presented the results of a qualitative study, which findings outlined that the main source of influence can be seen in Chinese culture, mainly the Chinese philosophy of Confucianism. This paper analyzes the aforementioned article, in terms of study components and correspondence of methods and purpose.

Study Components

Study Design

As stated in the introduction, the study presented in the article was of qualitative design, i.e. studying an aspect in its “natural settings, attempting to make sense of, or interpret, phenomena in terms of the meanings people bring to them” (Merriam, 2009, p. 13). The study can be additionally categorized, based on additional characteristics, which can be combined with its naturalistic and interpretive nature. In that regard, it can be stated that the qualitative design can be specified to be a narrative analysis, in which the design has all the elements of a basic qualitative design, in addition to narrative texts, i.e. interviews representing first-person accounts of experience (Merriam, 2009, p. 32).

Problem Statement

The main purpose of the study can be identified as an interpretive identification, where the problem statement is an existent need in identifying and describing the guidance experience for teachers, in terms of “how teachers make sense of the counseling service they offer to students in need” (Hue, 2008, p. 305). The rationale for such a problem statement can be seen in that the role of guidance in schooling has not been clearly stated. On the other hand, school guidance can be seen as an essential element in Hong Kong schools. In that regard, the review of literature, which was presented in the article, contributes to shaping the problem statement, as there is a clear gap in knowledge in terms of outlining the contribution of school guidance, teachers’ perceptions, and direct functions of guidance. At the same time, despite vague identification of school guidance, the review outlines that school guidance was heavily promoted, an aspect that can be seen in the introduction of the whole-school approach to Hong Kong schools (Hue, 2008, p. 304).

Research Questions

The main research questions were identified in the problem statement, section, and in that regard, it can be stated that such questions might be seen as too vague to address in the study. In that regard, it is common in qualitative studies for broad questions to be split into “subquestions or foreshadowed questions that can be used to guide observations and interviews” (Lodico, Spaulding, & Voegtle, 2006, p. 58). Accordingly, the division into such questions can be acknowledged through the three dimensions on which the author focused during the interviews. Such dimensions, if paraphrased, might represent the following research questions:

  • What are teachers’ perceived goals for guidance?
  • How can teachers describe their relationship with students in need?
  • What approaches were adopted for helping students make behavioral or attitudinal changes?

Data Collection Techniques

The data was collected through unstructured interviews. The participants of the study were selected through purposeful sampling, in which twelve in-service teachers, “enrolled in the Postgraduate Diploma in Education programme at the Hong Kong Institute of Education” were interviewed. The narrative analysis, in that regard, can be considered as the form which these interviews took, where “teachers were encouraged to talk about their experiences, struggles and stories” (Hue, 2008, p. 306). Thus, the freedom given to the participants during the interviews was an essential element of the narrative analysis, in which such narratives were used as interpretive devices. Such devices were used to allow the participants to represent themselves, their goals, and their relationships, all of which were within the established research questions in the study. The data were analyzed through a constant comparative method, in which each data was processed separately, producing a rich description that was used in the analysis.

Ethical Issues

The ethical issues related to the study were clearly outlined in the article, indicating that such aspects were of importance to the researcher, as the data involved collecting information about individuals and individual situations. Such aspect is generally connected to privacy and its protection, in which the author acknowledged the following ethical considerations:

  • Ensuring that “participation would not result in any harm to any other school members”
  • Participation was voluntarily
  • Maintaining confidentiality and anonymity
  • Ensuring that the participants have “a clear understanding of how their contributions would be reported” {Hue, 2008 #612 @306}.

The main ethical consideration that might arise during a qualitative design is related to informed consent. Such aspect implies that the researcher can “anticipate the events that will emerge in the field about which those to be observed are to be informed” (Lodico, et al., 2006, p. 149). In that regard, it can be stated that the author acknowledged the ethical issues that might emerge and took such issues into account during the study.

Correspondence of Methods

In terms of data collection, it can be stated that “the decision to use interviewing as the primary mode of data collection should be based on the kind of information needed” (Merriam, 2009, p. 88). In that regard, the information that was needed could not be quantified, and accordingly, the collection data, as well as the, chose the design in general were appropriate to the study mentioned in the article. Additionally, interviewing is the most common form of data collection, and in the case of the present study, having unstructured data was a vital factor, as interviews are less structured and more open-ended in their nature (Merriam, 2009).

Additionally, it should be stated that the study design, selected for the purpose established by the researcher, is generally accepted for such tasks. The naturalistic characteristics of the problem, in which schools, as real-world settings, allow for observed and examined aspects to happen naturally. These aspects are accordingly interpretive, and thus, both characteristics were appropriate for the selection of a qualitative study design.


It can be stated that the study mentioned in the article corresponded to the study’s purpose, in terms of design, data collection, and data analysis. The usage of qualitative research allowed the researcher to identify the main factors in school guidance. Such identification will allow the author to expand the area of knowledge in future researches, such as the interaction of local culture with basic elements of school guidance and pastoral care. Although with the aspects identified, another research method might be used to study such interaction.


Hue, M.-T. (2008). The influence of Confucianism: a narrative study of Hong Kong teachers’ understanding and practices of school guidance and counselling. British Journal of Guidance & Counselling, 36(3), 303 – 316.

Lodico, M. G., Spaulding, D. T., & Voegtle, K. H. (2006). Methods in educational research : from theory to practice (1st ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Merriam, S. B. (2009). Qualitative research : a guide to design and implementation. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.


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