Faculty of Arts


Approaches to Research in Asian Studies


You will be introduced to a range of research methods utilised in the multidisciplinary field of Asian studies. Over the course of the semester you will be expected to critically engage readings that cover the variety of approaches to research in the humanities and social sciences as practiced by University of Auckland staff specialising in Chinese, Korean, and Japanese studies, as well as the emerging field of transnational Asian studies. The course has a practical orientation, which is to develop the skills required for conducting original research and presenting the results in both oral and written form appropriate to the chosen field. Readings and seminar discussions will focus on the key elements involved in independent research, which includes the formulation of a research question, reviewing the relevant literature, critical consideration of theoretical perspectives, and identifying the methodological approaches and sources of data that will be useful for addressing the research question.

It is expected that postgraduate students in Asian studies will have the ability to draw on materials—both publications and data sources—in the Asian language of the student’s specialisation. Stylistic conventions vary across the humanities and social sciences, so you will acquire knowledge of what is expected for written presentations, citations, and references for publications in each field as well as the protocol for incorporating Asian languages, terminology, and references into the body of a paper and in citations. Through a critical literature review on a specific topic in Asian studies, you will develop a research area and a researchable question in the field, and identify the appropriate methods and sources of data (texts, archives, human subjects) for addressing the question. A research proposal will then be developed in consultation with the Asian studies staff on a topic for which expertise and supervision is available. By the end of the course, you should be equipped with the basic skills for pursuing independent research on a range of topics in Asian studies.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Demonstrate an interdisciplinary understanding of the approaches and methods used in humanities and social science research in Asian studies. (Capability 1.1)
  2. Acquire knowledge of how Asian languages are incorporated and used in academic English publications in the field. (Capability 1.1, 2.3 and 4.1)
  3. Demonstrate a critical understanding of key issues in contemporary Asian studies. (Capability 1.3, 2.1 and 2.2)
  4. Develop a research focus and researchable question in Asian studies. (Capability 1.2, 1.3 and 2.2)
  5. Demonstrate proficiency in oral and written presentation of research findings, including use of foreign language materials. (Capability 2.3, 4.1 and 4.2)


Coursework only

Availability 2021

Semester 1


Lecturer(s) Dr Harumi Minagawa
Professor Mark R. Mullins


Readings will be available through CANVAS/Talis via Modules.

Recommended Reading


ASIAN 702: 30.0 points

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