Development of a survey instrument to measure TEFL academics' perceptions about, individual and workplace characteristics for conducting research

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The Chinese Ministry of Education (MOE) initiatives to improve the English competence of college students, as well as increased proficiency level of entering college students (Cheng, 2002) have contributed to greater demands on Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) academics (MOE, 2004), as “the upgrading of national English proficiency, then, is predicated largely on the professional competence of the teaching force” (Hu, 2005, p. 655). For TEFL academics, one component of this competence is the capacity to conduct research (Shu, 2002), which also reflects other changes in Chinese higher education. The aspirations of higher education institutions at all levels have led to more rigorous recruitment policies and promotion requirements (Che, 2004; Wang, 2007), stressing research as an important indicator of academics’ performance (Shi, 2002; Pan, 2006). These changes highlight the role of research in higher education institutions’ efforts to raise their national status and world ranking (Zhang, Wang, & He, 2006), and have exerted influences on faculty’s academic role. Academics are obliged to engage in research activities, and this has posed challenges to teaching-oriented institutions and disciplines.