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Chinese Students' Frame of mind Towards the Giant Panda: A Study


People have been drawn by specific species (Goedeke, 2004). Regarding these specific species, Kellert (1996) analyzes that humans tend to be drawn to the species which includes a huge body and can walk, run, or soar. The huge panda Ailuropoda melanoleuca is one of the very most famous among those attractive kinds (Lorimer 2007). The large panda is an associate of the Ursidae family and occurs in only three provinces in China (Reid and Gong 1999). The varieties is grouped as Endangered on the IUCN Red List with the estimated populace of no more than 1600 individuals (IUCN 2009).

In China, which houses the huge panda, people communicate their determination to pay (WTP) for the big panda conservation, which is enough to conclude that charismatic species is able to acquire their habitat (Kontoleon and Swanson 2003). In contrast to this economic viewpoint, Yang (2005) refers to the actual fact that little is known about Chinese language people's perception of the gigantic panda, although several studies have been made on the overall attitudes towards animals. Therefore, she studies the frame of mind of the public in China on the giant panda. She analyzes the partnership between the attitudes of Chinese people towards giant panda and the image of the varieties in the media, and concludes that the overall attitude in China may very well be from the symbolic and local value alternatively than ecological-scientific value. This corresponds with basic Chinese attitudes towards animals and the image of the huge panda constructed by the media (Yang 2005). However, since this finish is drawn based on the books review, it might not exactly reflect people's actual attitudes. Thus, this frame of mind still must be examined.

This research is designed to explore Chinese language students' attitude into the giant panda by semi- organized. This report contains three areas. First, the study methods are provided including participant, the introduction of interview, questions, steps, and an evaluation. In the next section, the results from an examination of the students' attitude are described. The ultimate section of this paper talks about the insights of main finding and several limitations of this interview survey for even more research.



Ten Chinese students at the School of Kent were interviewed for this review. The interview test was made up of two men and eight feminine students, and of two undergraduate and eight postgraduate students. The students' majors were labeled the following: Conservation and Tourism, International Commercial Laws, Human Source of information Management, Accounting and Financial Management, European Culture and Dialect, International Business Management, and British Literature.

The respondents were recruited through personal contact with one Taiwanese and three Chinese students. The interviewer enlightened about the reason, topic, framework, and length of the interview beforehand to confirm involvement (Sarantakos 2005). After a student agrees those conditions, enough time and place for the interview was organized.

The development of idea for interview questions and procedures

In order to standardize interview courses, a pilot survey was conducted at a short level (Newing in press). This pilot review on November 1st through the skype exposed that the interview was difficult to answer and analyze due to specific questions, thus, a 50 % of questions were modified to improve the interview. You see, the interview survey, about 25 minutes for each interview, was conducted from November 3rd to 20th.

The first interview was conducted with a student who has understanding of the giant pandas to check modified questions and also to develop the background of questions; hence, an unstructured interview was completed at the moment. In the next interview, the interviewee who was unfamiliar with this issue was chosen to verify whether all questions in the interview weren't difficult to answer for those interviewees. Since the student seemed uncomfortable to speak about an unfamiliar matter, the area was rearranged. Furthermore, in an effort to reduce uneasy constraints on the scholar, the interview had not been documented. Therefore, further interviews were registered by note-taking to conduct in the same way as this second interview. Predicated on these first two interviews, the further questions and methods of the interview were standardized.


This interview consists of six questions (see Appendix). The first question targeted to be always a not too difficult question to speak about (Robson 2002; Newing in press). The next question was related to the first question, so that it was able to lead the interviewees to main matter of the interview. This question was one of main questions of this interview as well as the 3rd, fourth, and fifth question. These questions were arranged to understand Chinese language students' attitudes for the giant panda. The ultimate question had not been directly related to the topic and it was said to be a simple question as a "cool-off" question. However, it was found at the development level of this interview that sixth question asked the further discussion about the relationship between the massive panda and Chinese language people. Therefore, the question was stored in each interview.


This interview study followed the task described by Robson (2002:277); "Introduction, warm-up, main body of interview, cool-off, and closure". Inside the introduction stage, interviewers and the students were introduced one another, and talked about their own classes at University or college of Kent as "warm-up". During the interview, it is weighted to elicit information to maximize the good thing about a semi-structured interview. Therefore, the depth of answer was mixed between the questions and the answerers. Additionally it is important to note that the interview was often discontinued to clarify the actual interviewee meant or answered. In some cases, it was confirmed at cool-off level or after the interview by exchanging e-mail.


During the data collection, the interviewer attempted to track record annotations, memos, coding (Newing in press). At an initial stage of your research, the coding technique was conducted followed the instruction referred to by Newing (in press: 218). As top rules, several ideals from Kellert's nine worth (1996) (see Table 1) were applied as predefined codes. For sub-codes, the detailed information related to the defined top rules was diagnosed. At next stage, the procedure advised by Sarantakos (2005) was taken to develop from open-coding to the concept. However, the coding process of this interview description was not sufficient for axial, selective coding since top codes used at open-coding stage and core category were similar with each other.


All Chinese students confirmed their favourable behaviour towards the large panda. It is likely that the varieties has a special meaning for Chinese students, and a good illustration of the is the solution that if the huge panda becomes extinct, it is going to be "chaos, After all panic feeling". As with Yang's review (2005), the symbolic value seemed to play the key role in determining the attitudes towards large pandas. However, unlike Yang's analysis (2005), the other five principles, utilitarian, ecologistic-scientific, humanistic, moralistic, and negativistic beliefs, are also the critical indicators on individual behaviour. As opposed to above worth, three of nine principles, naturalistic, aesthetic, and domestic value, were difficult to identify during the interview. The reasons because of this are (1) to be able to acquire information for understanding of Chinese students' naturalistic and visual value, the follow up questions about students' experiences and view of mother nature should have been asked during the interview. However, these questions would take us a long way away from the goal of this newspaper, (2) the domestic value of the massive panda was scarcely talked about throughout the review, although Yang (2005) shows that this value is also one dominant value in Chinese people attitudes into the large panda. From both of these reasons, the detailed studies about only utilitarian, ecologistic-scientific, symbolic, humanistic, moralistic, and negativistic beliefs will be detailed in following subsection.

Utilitarian value

Students suggested two types of answers regarding this value; for ecotourism and then for diplomatic relations. Related to ecotourism, some students brought up that they would like to have large pandas in their towns to attract travelers. This concept is seen in the solution "the gigantic panda bring the amount of money to our town". Moreover, a student illustrated the types as "money" when asked to choose one term for the huge panda. It was also pointed out that travel and leisure for the large panda is an advantage for the introduction of local villages by opening the street for the facilities, expanding vehicles service, and providing occupations. The second kind of answer was using the massive panda for diplomatic relationships. Several words including the "tool for diplomatic/international exchange", "gift for overseas countries", and "the advert for China" were used when interviewees described the partnership between Chinese people and the giant panda.

Ecologistic-scientific value

All Chinese students proved their ecological knowledge about the giant panda, and their knowledge comes by environmental education, education in primary and middle college, media, and catalogs. All respondents stated that the big panda is endemic to China, thus, it is important to protect the varieties. One interviewee continuing to say "we treat them as a treasure". It had been also pointed out that the kinds requires specific diet and habitat to endure. Not all but most of Chinese language students imply the population of the big panda in wild was not stable and pointed out captive breeding to save the species. Additionally, two students expressed their concern about over-attention to the massive panda position in China. For instance, one pupil insisted that the huge panda was "only a bear" with the knowledge about the classification of the species and the speed of extinction for other varieties in the world. Their knowledge originates from various resources from formal education to videos. However two students did not remember that they learned all about the large panda since it was "common sense" on their behalf.

Symbolic value

It is noteworthy that all Chinese language students in this research identified that the huge panda signifies China with extremely similar words such as "icon of China", "stand for China", "take great pride in of China" and "image of China". Three possible explanations because of this answers were identified from interviewees' answers; (1) the giant panda only occurs in China, (2) the types represents Chinese language people, for case, one student chose the phrase "modest" for the massive panda, and this student referred to that the countrywide animal presents the own culture and personality. Other learner answered "identity" to clarify the relationship between Chinese language people and the giant panda. (3) In the Chinese mythology, the assumption is that Chinese language people are children of the gigantic panda, which is informed by one interviewee. It appears reasonable to suppose that the gigantic panda has the high symbolic value as countrywide animal on the grounds that all students defined the kinds as the mark of China.

Humanistic value

Interviewee tended to see huge pandas from an anthropomorphic view. Chinese language students showed the sensation of love and strong attachment for this types. All students described the panda as "cute" at least one time in the interview. Students illustrated this species by the words "lovely", "warm-hearted", "dog of love", "friendly", "crazy", "honest" and "modest". In addition, their strong parts for the large panda can be seen the phrases such as "everyone cannot help falling love with Panda", "all Chinese language like panda", "all people like panda", "he brings a great deal of happiness", "I know them from my child years, [so I'll feel pity if they become extinct]", and "the panda has special interpretation for all of us".

Moralistic value

Interviewees revealed their matter about the giant panda. Of those who refused to really have the species in their cities, all stated that they don't let the giant panda put in the difficult situation for survival because of unfavourable habitat. Furthermore, a specific question about the extinction of the big panda was asked to explore students' behaviour towards moralistic value. To this question, all interviewees mentioned their concerns about the dying out of the large panda. Two students explained that the large panda shouldn't become extinct due to its intrinsic value as one species, as can be seen in the response "they participate in the earth". Although these two students indicated their moralistic matter, the major reason behind the other students is probably not moralistic. The major reason why eight students compared the extinction of the big panda was the actual fact that the gigantic panda can be an endemic types and the countrywide animal.

Negativistic value

The ecological feature of the giant panda was the main element to comprehend the negativistic value to the kinds. Nine of ten Chinese language students didn't show their fear of the large pandas. A few of them chose the phrase for or the image of the kinds such as "friendship", "friendly", "warm", "near people", and "community". When they were asked the explanation for using those words, they explained that the gigantic panda "eat only bamboo", "never episode people", "stay at mountains", and "do not contend with people for food resource". Based on these characteristic of the big panda, nine students seemed not to exhibit their fear. Alternatively, one student brought up that large pandas strike people "when they get furious".

Discussion and conclusion

This study attempt to explore Chinese language student's attitudes for the giant panda and its result exhibited that generally students have strong favourable attitudes. It had been also shown that the major prices adding to their behaviour were utilitarian, naturalistic, ecologistic-scientific, symbolic, humanistic, and moralistic. The most significant value among ten Chinese students at University or college of Kent was the symbolic value of the gigantic panda, which correspond with the Yang's study (2005).

There may be two reasons for this answer; the anthropomorphic view to the giant panda throughout history and the fact that the varieties is endemic to China. About the anthropomorphic view, some students answer that the species represents Chinese personality. The other description is usually that the species can be an ancestor of Chinese people in the mythology. Both of these explanations demonstrate that the anthropomorphic attitudes to the huge panda may lead to consider the species as the mark of China. This anthropomorphism for the huge panda can be also observed in the humanistic value. Furthermore to an anthropomorphic view, the actual fact that the large panda is endemic species in China can be the key factor to be the icon of China. Students revealed their knowledge of the uniqueness of the massive panda such as habitat desire or specialist diet using their ecological knowledge, as explained in the ecologistic-scientific value. Therefore, maybe it's assumed that the ecological features of the big panda can be also one of major factors for identifying the sign of China.

These two reasons provide more depth of the Chinese language attitudes into the giant panda than literature review conducted by Yang (2005). As she suggests, this review also found that the symbolic value performs the key role in identifying the attitudes towards the giant panda, and that few students indicated the influence of the mass media. However, the in back of of this attitudes, there are several factors, which related to the anthropomorphic view in their culture including the mythology, and the ecological knowledge from university education about large pandas, according to the interview survey.

Moreover, it ought to be also observed that students exposed contradiction statements on the large panda. While interviewees proved their emotional connection for the kinds, they also pointed out the utilization of the species as an attraction of visitor and the "tool" for the diplomatic relationship. In this research, it is difficult to discuss this inconsistent position of the students as a result of insufficient information.

More information on following details would help establish a better degree of correctness on this subject; (1) the relevance of nine basic principles towards the giant pandas to test if the symbolic value is the most important determinant, (2) the influential agencies, such as the media or university, to construct people's behaviour towards this species, or (3) further exploration of the contradictory attitudes towards the large panda. However, for further research, it should be considered following complications this research faced. Firstly, at the look stage, sampling method and questions should be transformed. This research did not used arbitrary sampling, thus, it might cause sampling bias. Regarding questions, although the key six questions were made to be neutral and also to avoid using simple and direct questions (Newing in press), follow-up questions which was improvisational question might lead to problem, bias or leading the solution. Thus, it is essential to perform more pilot interviews before interviewer become in a position to create proper follow-up questions through the interview. Second of all, at the interview stage, interviewer's skill was not ideal. Several mistakes might be included to some extent in this interview, such as saving error, instruction mistake, or leniency effect (Sarantakos 2005) which might cause student's inconsistent statement. Finally, at the examination stage, to understand more depth of Chinese students' behaviour, an research of the thorough information and a coding of the info should be more sufficient at the interview stage (Newing in press; Pole and Lampard 2002). In this particular research, an evaluation of the interview during data collection with annotations, memo, and coding was not sufficient for the in-depth analysis. In addition, the most notable rules used for the data sorting should be well-defined in the context of the answer. Even though the prior study used the same codes for an analysis of attitude study, the coding used previous study might be subjective somewhat than objective.

In conclusion, time for the aim posed at the beginning of this paper, it is currently possible to convey that ten Chinese language students at College or university of Kent generally have favourable behaviour towards the large panda. But the symbolic value as the symbol of China performs the key role in the students' attitudes, it ought to be noted that the factors behind their answers are more various and complicated than the previous study explained.

Literature Cited

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