Monitoring the Growth of Chinese Public Administration Knowledge: Evidence from Chinese Public Administration Journals

Lucia Q Lu


Empirical research involving content analysis of Chinese journal articles has been conducted in the last few years, but the focus has been on the issues and problems of Chinese public administration as a basic social science rather than an applied field. This narrow focus can be misleading. The need to reassess the quality of Chinese PA research is based on three presumptions: that it is a basic science, an applied science, and both. This study attempts to complete the monitoring of progress in knowledge advancement by assessing quality based on an analysis framework that includes an assessment of applied research reports published in Chinese PA journals. The population of articles analyzed comprises 1,123 papers published in Chinese Public Administration (CPA) from 2002 to 2006; further, 300 articles published in 16 journals from 1998 to 2006 were analyzed in the pilot study (but not included here). Specific findings are presented here, in addition to the two principal conclusions: Theorybuilding and knowledge advancement in Chinese PA have been rather problematic, but many studies reported in CPA, when classified as applied research, are valuable, in spite of the defects and shortcomings identified. This article also discusses implications for future research and the development of Chinese PA as a field of study.

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Chinese Public Administration Review (ISSN 1539-6754, Online ISSN 2573-1483)  is published by the School of Government, Sun Yat-sen University.