Examining the cultural specificity of approaches to learning in universities in Hong Kong and Sydney

Yin Ping Leung, P. Ginns, D. Kember

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

60 Citations (Scopus)


Western research has characterized approaches to learning for specific learning tasks as discrete deep and surface approaches, distinguished by whether the intention is to understand or memorize. A more appropriate classification scheme for Hong Kong research is a continuum between deep and surface poles. In this article, the authors examine whether this characterization applies also to the West. University students in Australia (n = 1,146) and Hong Kong (n = 1,266) complete the revised Study Process Questionnaire. There are no effects by either discipline or study level in either country. Multiple-group analyses using structural equation modeling show configural invariance across the two samples, suggesting that the continuum characterization of approaches to learning is likely to be applicable for Western counterparts. Hong Kong students had higher mean scores for both deep and surface approaches, showing their greater use of intermediate approaches. © 2008 Sage Publications.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)251-266
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Cross-Cultural Psychology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Approaches to learning
  • Cultural specificity
  • Structural equation modeling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology


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