Staying connected with ICT tools: tracking youth respondents in a Chinese context

Jing Song*, Gina Lai, Odalia Wong, Xiaotian Feng

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review


Young people have been perceived as a group that benefits most directly from China’s education aspirations and modernization campaign. Given their high social and spatial mobility related to education and career pursuits, it is intriguing but also difficult to follow them in panel studies. This methodology paper summarizes how the Panel Study of Nanjing High School Graduates explores different ways to track youth respondents with the aid of information and communication technology (ICT) tools. Rather than examining the tracking outcomes and attrition rates from a quantitative perspective, this paper discusses tracking strategies from a qualitative perspective based on a continuously updated understanding of youth development. The findings suggest that the use of ICT tools does not necessarily lead to the cooperation of youth respondents, and researchers have to make deliberate choices about how to use such tools to embrace diversity, enhance trust, and show respect for privacy. Given this overloaded information era and the ever-changing youth culture, this study explores the advantages and limits of ICT tools that require researchers’ local and contextualized knowledge to appropriate and combine different ICT tools in order to deal with the distrust and noncooperation of respondents in a virtual platform rather than merely relying on convenient ICT tools and material incentives.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Chinese Sociology
Early online date6 Mar 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Social Sciences(all)

User-Defined Keywords

  • China
  • ICT
  • Panel study
  • Youth


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