Exploring researcher identity construction of university EFL teachers in China

Nana LONG, Jing Peter HUANG

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8 Citations (Scopus)


Based on the narratives of four Chinese university EFL teachers' research experiences, this study reports on the dynamic construction of their researcher identities and the crucial socio-institutional and individual factors that have afforded and constrained researcher identity construction. The results presented different trajectories of researcher identity construction through the EFL teachers' three stages of research experiences (beginning, stagnation/development, and struggle stages) in their professional lives. Academic learning contexts such as Master's and PhD programs were shown to be replete with factors that contributed to the development of researcher identity, while the institutional context and the broad social context in China were exposed to be greatly constraining. Motivation, publications, academic qualifications, and networking with researchers were four important individual factors that impacted the EFL teachers' researcher identity construction. The findings suggest that Chinese EFL teachers raise awareness of their researcher identities, make continuous critical reflections, and exercise agency to seek opportunities for development while governments and institutions should reform the current educational and promotion systems to support EFL teachers' research engagement. Copyright © 2017 FLTRP, Walter de Gruyter, Cultural and Education Section British Embassy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)371-391
JournalChinese Journal of Applied Linguistics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2017


Long, N., & Huang, J. (2017). Exploring researcher identity construction of university EFL teachers in China. Chinese Journal of Applied Linguistics, 40(4), 371-391. doi: 10.1515/cjal-2017-0022


  • Researcher identity
  • Teacher identity
  • University EFL teachers
  • Narratives
  • Socio-institutional context


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