Journal of East China Normal University(Educational Sciences) ›› 2020, Vol. 38 ›› Issue (9): 16-35.doi: 10.16382/j.cnki.1000-5560.2020.09.002

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Empirical Education Research in China(2015—2019): Characteristics, Trends and Prospects

Zhu Junwen, Ma Yinqi   

  1. Faculty of Education, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200062, China
  • Published:2020-09-15

Abstract: Since the establishment and organization of the National Educational Empirical Research Forum for five consecutive years, the number of participants has been growing. Does the prosperity of academic exchanges mean that empirical methods are more and more widely used in educational research in China? Which institutions, scholars and fields is empirical research more widely used in? In response to the above questions, the study selected 15 high-level educational journals as samples based on the empirical research on clearly defined education, and conducted a bibliometric analysis of 3808 papers published between 2015 and 2019.The result shows that in the past five years, empirical research on education in China continues to grow and is more widely used. However, there is still a huge gap compared with the universal use in developed countries. The number of empirical research papers published by normal universities is larger than that of other institutions, and the proportion of empirical research papers in the total number is growing rapidly, but it is at the lowest level of different types of institutions. In the empirical studies on education, more than half of the papers were co-completed by multiple institutions, and the proportion of papers published independently decreased from 63.4% to 57.8%, while the proportion of co-published papers increased by 5.6 percentage. The core authors of the empirical study on education are getting younger. More than half of the core authors of empirical studies on education in the past five years have interdisciplinary backgrounds other than pedagogy. From the perspective of the changes in the professional background distribution of the annual core authors, the proportion of interdisciplinary authors continues to rise. In the past five years, the subjects of empirical research on education have been rich and diverse, with obvious differences among different types of institutions. For the future development of empirical research on education in China, we believe that in view of the dominant position of normal universities in education research, the acceleration of empirical transformation will fundamentally change the paradigm of education research in China. Collaborative research across disciplines and institutions will continue to grow and advance empirical research in education. Young scholars' preference for empirical research on education will become the endogenous driving force to promote empirical transformation. Comprehensively promoting international cooperation in scientific research will help accelerate the transformation of empirical research on education in China.

Key words: education, empirical research, bibliometrics, trend