Academic journal article Cross - Cultural Communication

Qualitative Research on Structure of Chinese Preschool Children's Sense of Belonging

Academic journal article Cross - Cultural Communication

Qualitative Research on Structure of Chinese Preschool Children's Sense of Belonging

Article excerpt


The structure of Chinese preschool children's sense of belonging can be explored locally with the normal form of qualitative study. In order to search for the local structure of preschool children's sense of belonging, the research adopts the general procedures of fundamental theories, collects materials with open-ended questionnaires, and uses Nvivo 10 qualitative analysis software to code the text. 384 reference points are gained through free coding of 30 texts, which are coded into 53 free nodes, 13 tree nodes, and 6 core nodes, then six elements of preschool children's sense of belonging structure are initially gained: class identification, self-consciousness, fondness, attachment, involvement, contacting. Hereafter, the scale of Chinese preschool children's sense of belonging will be compiled by based on this, as well as further exploration for study and validation of universal problems of research conclusion.

Key words: Preschool children; Sense of belonging; structure; Qualitative research


According to Maslow's hierarchy of needs, belonging needs will be highlighted after the satisfaction of physiological needs and security needs. As to individuals, the period of entering into kindergarten is just the key phase when the physiological needs and security needs are satisfied and belonging and loving needs are highlighted. The sense of belonging gained in infancy refers o the feeling like part of group, the feeling of being cared about and helped by teachers and companions, loving group life, willingness to abide by all kinds of code of conduct, which are all the internal needs for healthy growth of preschool children.

A. Connotation and Structure of Sense of Belonging

Since 1950s to 1960s, scholars have made series of researches on sense of belonging from the psychological perspective. The definition on sense of belonging develops from emotion to belief, participation, behavior, and perception and so on. for example, Hagerty and LynchSauer (1992) defined sense of belonging as psychological experience; Baumeister and Leary (1995) defined it as driving force from the functional perspective. The changes of sense of belonging from emotion, feeling, to drive force and psychological experience reflect the changes and expansion of research perspectives.

As to the structure of sense of belonging, the initial researches tended to regard it as one-dimensional structure

(Fredericks, Blumenfeld, & Aris, 2004) to make static study which lacked the overall mastering of sense of belonging. The resent researches has transformed from one dimensional to multidimensional in the cognition of sense of belonging structure (Yonezawa, Jones, «fe Joselowsky, 2009) , and they think that sense of belonging contains multiple dimensions, aspects, and start to understand sense of belonging as a whole and make a comprehensive study on sense of belonging. In the structure of sense of belonging, belonging, attachment, fondness, relations between students and teachers, identification and involvement are main components.

B. The Influential Factors and Effects of Sense of Belonging

The influential factors of sense of belonging include not only the internal factor like personal features, but also external factors like organizational characters, community environment, and school environment and so on. The attention on external factors reflects the gaining and development of sense of belonging is influenced by exterior environment, especially by the group they belong to. Considering the influential effects of sense of belonging, the satisfaction of belonging needs will influence the realization of higher level of needs (Maslow & Xu, 2007); sense of belonging generates the sense of attachment to and related to a group, which makes the individual feel more safe and happy; which is also beneficial to student's study in school and individual's labor corporation in working place, as well as to the development of group and community (James and so on, Wang, 2010). …

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