Why do we need this website?

Written by Jenna Mittelmeier

If you’ve made it to this post, then welcome to the new Research with International Students website! This resource bank is developed by myself and my colleague Sylvie Lomer, with thanks to several colleagues who shaped our thinking along the way. The website is intended as a resource for researchers who include international students as participants in their work or centre their research on the wider internationalisation of higher education.

A few years ago, we started compiling a few researcher resources into a lonely corner of a different website for another project. Initially, this started as a short reading list and list of theoretical frameworks that we wanted to use with our own students and supervisees. However, the resources took resonance with the wider research community and ended up being visited by over 2000 individuals in 70+ countries. The enthusiasm was encouraging and, as the resource bank grew, it made sense to develop it into the standalone website you see here.

Research with International Students started in my head during my PhD as a journal article I wanted to write one day about methodological and ethical considerations for conducting research with international students as participants. Ideas for what I wanted to include in the article were added little by little to a note in my phone over the years, but I never found the time to write it. Eventually, the list was so long that it could never fit into a single article and I started to toy with an idea for a book instead. Now, co-edited by myself, Sylvie and our colleague Kalyani Unkule, that book – Research with International Students: Critical Conceptual and Methodological Considerations – is now underway and planned for publication (open access!) by Routledge in 2023. The book is a massive project and labour of love: 27 chapters from global scholars, each covering different facets of research within this subfield.

We’ve previously written about our critiques of the research subfield and why we wanted to develop this book. The motivation for creating this website is similar and it boils down to this:

There is a lot of research out there about international students. We believe that a lot of it isn’t very good. Over the last few decades, research with international students has tended to come from a place of deficit by assuming that they lack skills or need to ‘catch up’ with home students. Research is often simplistically shaped around struggles and normative assumptions about a lack of ‘integration’. International students are frequently negatively positioned as struggling, challenged, and unable to cope. Research in this subfield also tends to lack methodological creativity and innovation, be developed through poor research designs or lack of transparency, and lack criticality.

We have written about this in our published work (here and here, for example) and don’t wish to dwell too much on the negative. Instead, we want this website to be a space of possibility and (hopefully!) inspiration. We believe research with international students can and should be designed better, and that there are a number of excellent scholars in the subfield who are leading it in a more critical direction. We want to celebrate that work and encourage this critical path forward for research on this topic.

But with that said, we want to make clear that all resources are an ongoing work in progress. No resource on this website will ever be comprehensive, especially given how vast and constantly changing this subfield is, and we aim to continually be updating and adding to it. We know that there are omissions (some of them probably obvious!) and look forward to suggested additions. We also hope that these resources can be less about us and more about the subfield as a community, so anyone reading is welcome to get involved by writing a blog, being interviewed, recording a lecture, or developing a new resource. Our contact page is open and we look forward to hearing from you.

And our apologies in advance for adding to your reading list 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: