Exploring Chinese Mothers’ Parenting for Adolescents Using Semi-Structured Interviews


This case study is a description of our journey of conducting a qualitative research study in a non-Western setting. Through individual semi-structured interviews with 22 mothers and their adolescent children, we explored contemporary approaches to parenting in urban China. The first author (Li Chen-Bouck) designed the interview protocol and conducted the interviews. The second author (Meagan Patterson) supervised the research and gave feedback on research design and data analysis. This case study includes information on how we conducted the research, issues and challenges encountered, and practical lessons learned from this research project. For example, we learned that researchers should be aware of cultural factors that might influence recruitment processes, that interview structure and sequence are important for building rapport with an interviewee, and that researchers must monitor their potential biases closely during both data collection and data analysis to reach an accurate interpretation of the data. Personally speaking, conducting this qualitative research was a fun journey with all kinds of surprises and challenges, as well as a valuable learning experience. We hope the lessons we learned from this research can help readers to design and conduct their own qualitative research projects in the future.

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