Modelling analysis of Australian international education market for mainland Chinese students

Liu, Xuemei (2015) Modelling analysis of Australian international education market for mainland Chinese students. [Thesis (PhD/Research)]


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There has been a worldwide trend towards international study. The dominant stream of international students is from developing countries to Western developed countries.
China is among the largest sources for international students, and this trend will become more significant in the near future (Liu et al. 2007). The top four destination
countries for Chinese students are America, Great Britain, Australia and Canada. The Australian international education sector has undergone changes in recent years. After continuous growth of international students’ enrolments in Australia for several years, enrolments started to decrease from 2010. As China is the largest international student market for Australia, therefore, it is necessary to conduct deep research to find the
reasons for the decline of mainland Chinese students choosing Australia as their study abroad destination since 2010.

Few studies have clearly explained the reasons why there is a trend for the decline of mainland Chinese students study in Australia after the growth of many years. The
existing literature studied some variables that can affect mainland Chinese students’ decision to study in Australia. However, these factors are not comprehensive and
systematic. They cannot help us to find the answers for the enrolment decline of mainland Chinese students in Australia and why Chinese students choose different countries as their study abroad destinations.

The research problem addressed in this thesis is this:

No consensus has been reached as to which variables play decisive roles in making mainland Chinese students choose Australia as their destination of foreign education. How do these variables influence those students’ choice?

To provide an answer to this research problem, the researcher reviewed the literature regarding international students’ decision making process to study abroad and
considered findings relating to which push and pull factors influenced international students’ choice. College choice model, push pull framework, utility theory and theory
of reasoned action relevant to this research were discussed. A number of influential demographic, psychographic and influencing variables relevant to these theories were identified and used to develop primary hypotheses depicting the influence of these factors on Chinese students’ intentions to choose their study abroad destination.

Next, the methodology which applied in this research was presented and justified. The discussion began with the research paradigms and then justified the selection of the
mixed research method. The research design was discussed and the convergent research design was selected for this research. Methodology of individual interviews and the reported findings of the interviews were discussed to gain a good general picture regarding Chinese students’ decision to choose their study abroad destination. Methodology of the survey research was discussed to find different variables influencing Chinese students to choose the study abroad destination.

The advantage of mixed research method over the other research methods is that the mixed research method can enhance the understanding of the research questions, to
mitigate the weakness of the other methods to be used in this study, to obtain a comprehensive understanding for research questions, to help us to answer different
research questions, to explain the findings from each method by another method, to help us to better understand the unexpected results and to increase the credibility of
this research.

In summary, the findings of this research have satisfied the research problem proposed by firstly identifying key push pull factors that could have an impact on Chinese
students’ intention to study abroad and secondly determining how these factors influence Chinese students to choose a particular English-speaking country as their
study abroad hosts country. In general, demographics tended not to have a relationship with psychographics and influencing factors. In addition, none of the demographics
were considered to influence Chinese students’ intention to study abroad and choose their destination country.

The main contribution of this research is that this research will integrate quantitative and qualitative research methods to analyse factors influencing mainland Chinese students’ choice of Australia as their overseas study destination rather than other main English-speaking countries, for instance, America, Great Britain and Canada. It will help Australian education to find the key points to win the competition of enrolling Chinese international students.

Another contribution of this research is to combine overseas-based and China-based research to further identify and analyse the process of Chinese students study abroad.
Previous researchers have identified some push and pull factors that influence Chinese students’ overseas study destination choice. Nevertheless, scholars hold different
viewpoints on those factors. Those findings may be limited because most research work published in the English literature was carried out by overseas researchers rather
than Chinese domestic researchers who may have deeper insights into Chinese students’ needs and wants. Due to the language barrier and cultural differences, those
overseas-based researchers may not be able to fully understand the Chinese changing cultural, social and economic environments’ impact on potential Chinese students’
motivation to pursue higher degree studies overseas, because they do not have access to much of the Chinese research literature which is more relevant to Chinese students’ realities. Most Chinese researchers have not had overseas experience and due to the language barrier cannot fully analyse the variables.

The results of this research also provide practical contribution to destination countries:

• To be successful in implementing an attractive marketing policy, the potential host country and its education department should be able to identify Chinese students real
needs and wants and in turn, to develop appropriate marketing policy to persuade Chinese students to choose that country as their study abroad destination.

• This research has provided information specifically about push pull factors that could influence Chinese students’ intention to choose their study abroad destination
through attractive marketing policy. The different English-speaking country tends to address the different points. The different elements have been identified to be influential in explaining Chinese students’ intention to study in Australia, America, Canada and Great Britain.

This research also suggests future research to extend the knowledge relevant to this research area:

• Future research could study the other key factors.

• To determine whether the findings of this research can be generalized, additional research may be conducted to investigate if similar patterns can be repeated in other
research context.

• Future studies may repeat this research project with the use of other probability sampling techniques.

• Future studies also can refine the measurement scales used in this research by using multi-items (at least 4 items) for each construct.

• Future research can use a more complex data analysis technique to examine the relationship between push pull variables and the dependent variables of Chinese
students’ intention to study abroad.

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Item Type: Thesis (PhD/Research)
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - No Department (1 Jul 2013 -)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - No Department (1 Jul 2013 -)
Supervisors: Elston, Frank
Date Deposited: 23 Dec 2015 04:44
Last Modified: 23 Dec 2015 05:16
Uncontrolled Keywords: international study; international students; Australian international education market; Chinese students
Fields of Research (2008): 13 Education > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130302 Comparative and Cross-Cultural Education
13 Education > 1301 Education Systems > 130103 Higher Education

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