Glimpses of Professor Jun Liu's Research
For a description of current research projects: click here
And click here for a description of his research philosophy
from field work in China and elsewhere
|Chinese primary school children in an English lesson|
|One student reading an English passage|
|Another student reading an English passage|
|The boys who sit in the back of the class|
|A group of friends after school|
|Professor Liu, right, with some masters students at|
|Welcoming Professor Liu|
How do you envision yourself as a researcher?
As a three-toed tree toad.
First of all, as a tree toad, I dwell among trees, trees of research paradigms. I view paradigms, whatever they are, as different trees grown out of the same ground that brings a lot of benefits for the mankind. From the positivist, to the interpretivist, the critical down to the post-colonial, all these perspectives agree upon one thing-- they are for the advancement of human beings. So I feel comfortable living among trees.
Secondly, I prefer to travel from one tree to another depending on different seasons and weather. If the weather is hot , I might stay most of the time in the shade; if the weather is cold, I might build my “castle” in between the branches of a reliable tree. I travel a lot because I realize different trees have different functions, and the more I understand them, the more I can utilize them at proper times in proper places to solve problems in a proper manner.
Thirdly, I am a three-toed tree toad because wherever I go I can always go steadily on my three toes in terms of triangulating assumptions, purposes, and methodologies at the macro level, and triangulating approaches, methods and techniques at the micro level within certain research paradigms.
The fourth, as a tree toad, I change coloration so as to blend with my surroundings because I think whatever tree I’ve chosen to stay with for a particular season, I will try to be a part of it, to be an insider rather than to come across as a “loathsome, contemptible” toad, as Webster’s New World Dictionary puts it.
Last, but not least, I think of the freedom of a toad, climbing from one tree to another, because the toad is boundary-free. As such, a researcher should not bind himself/herself to one methodology. He/she should be familiar with multiplicity in order to solve problems with multiple factors. Furthermore, I think of the individuality of a toad different from many other tree-seeking animals because the toad uses its toes all the time instead of flying, without touching the ground. In my opinion, a researcher should be aware of the labor-intensity of conducting research of quality with a careful step-by-step plan.