Academic Research in Vocationally-Oriented Higher Education: Perspectives From Teaching Staff


Academics' need to publish research output in order to succeed in tertiary education has been discussed extensively. Less is known about research and publication needs of staff working in vocationally-oriented higher institutes who, until recently, were judged primarily on their teaching contribution. However, there has been a noticeable trend across the world whereby career development of teaching staff in vocational institutes depends on their research and ability to publish in academic journals. This paper investigates the academic research challenges of teaching staff in a vocationally-oriented institute in Hong Kong. Mixed research methods were adopted to understand the prior experiences of the staff, challenges they may be facing when doing and publishing research, and ways in which their research and publication needs may be supported. Questionnaire data from 21 staff members reveal that most staff join the teaching profession after a career in the commercial sector and about half of the respondents do not have any research experience at all. These teaching staff hope to engage in research to enhance their future career prospects, engage in independent professional development and support their teaching. Most staff, however, feel that various constraints inhibit their ability to do research including lack of resources, insufficient time and limited experience with research. Three detailed case studies are used to further understand the personal and institutional contexts of the participants and develop recommendations that can be applied to the institutional policy and department levels.

Author Information
Kit Yin Emmy Wong, Technological and Higher Education Institute of Hong Kong (THEi), Hong Kong
Svetlana Chigaeva-Heddad, Independent Consultant, Hong Kong

Paper Information
Conference: ACE2018
Stream: Educational Research, Development & Publishing

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Posted by James Alexander Gordon