Hsin-Yi Shih

Hsin-Yi Shih


Research Title

A cross-cultural study of the relationship between self-efficacy and academic help-seeking among UK postgraduate students

Research Summary

Most university students will struggle at some point with their studies. International students in particular face additional challenges when studying abroad (e.g., Volet & Ang, 1998). Chinese students, the largest international student group in the UK (HESA, 2017), may face difficulties such as being far from home, English as a second language, and different cultural and academic norms. Despite the resources and help that may be available when students face academic difficulties, if students do not actively seek help then they will not be able to get the support that they need. Academic help-seeking is therefore an important academic behaviour in which students seek others’ help when they encounter academic problems that they are unable to solve on their own (Karabenick & Newman, 2006; Payakachat et al., 2014).

Previous research on help seeking is largely limited to Western populations, does not consider international students who face challenges that may cause them to be less likely to seek help, and does not provide an in-depth exploration of the factors that predict help seeking as well as different parts of the help seeking process (e.g., who to seek help from, what type of help to ask for). This mixed-methods study aims to provide a contemporary examination of academic help seeking among Chinese and UK postgraduate students, focusing on the role of students’ self-esteem. Using longitudinal surveys, the study will examine changes across time and differences between Chinese and UK students in their intent to seek academic help, who they go to for help, what type of help they ask for, and their self-esteem as a predictor of academic help seeking. Interviews are intended to complement the surveys.


SHIH, H.Y. (2016). The relationship between self-esteem and academic helpseeking: A comparative study of UK and Chinese students.  Poster presented at the PsyPAG conference, University of York, UK.

SHIH, H.Y. (2017). Academic help-seeking among international students, Presenter at What is educational research and who is it for?’ Postgraduate Event, BSA, University of Stirling, UK. 

SHIH, H.Y. (2017). Academic help-seeking among international students, Presenter at Postgraduate Symposium Series - Northern: Practical Issues in Conducting Educational Research event, BERA, University of Glasgow, UK. 

Additional Information

PhD in Education, School of Education, College of Social Sciences, University of Glasgow

MSc in Psychological studies (conversion), School of Education, College of Social Sciences, University of Glasgow

BSc in Psychology, School of Philosophy, WuHan University