Towards Democratisation?: Understanding university students’ Internet use in mainland China

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Figure 1: The theoretical sampling guide 93

Figure 2: Demonstration of open coding using NVivo 10 109

Figure 3: Demonstration of coding using NVivo 10 110

Figure 4: Demonstration of focused coding using NVivo 10 111

Figure 5. Usages of mobile intelligent terminals for trip 206

Figure 6. How does a revolutionary view of democratisation exert its influence? 319


Every PhD is unique in terms of the research and the experience. Mine is life-changing. Four years of study challenged many of my long-held views about research and democracy and helped me to develop relevant knowledge, skills, and confidence. It is through countless conversations and interaction with people from diverse backgrounds, through experiencing British culture in everyday life, and through self-reflection and meditation in those happy and sad lonely days that I have developed new views of life and the world which will guide me and determine the path of my future life. I would like to take the opportunity to express my long-held sincere gratitude to many people who have helped to make this possible.

I would like to thank my parents. Your hard work and determination has made me believe that nothing is impossible for a willing heart. It is this belief that has taken me where I am today and will determine where I will be in the future. I also owe thanks to my husband, Yang Deshan. My PhD would not have been possible without your practical and emotional support through the years. My thanks also go to my little son. Your devotion to me and your understanding of my absence from the role as a mother means everything to me. I would like to thank my parents-in-law who have shared my family responsibility without any complaints.

I would also like to thank The University of Sheffield and the Department of Journalism Studies for your academic support and for providing me with a vibrant research environment in which to work. Special thanks go to my supervisor Dr John Steel for your continuous meticulous feedback and support for my application for external funding. I would also like to thank my second supervisor Mark Hanna, Professor Martin Conboy, Professor Ralph Negrine, Professor Jackie Harrison, and Dr Jairo Lugo-Ocando who have offered academic and emotional support and Mrs Kaye Carl, Mrs Susie Whitelam, Mrs Amanda Sewell, Mrs Clare Burke Davies, and Mrs Samantha Bharath. It is you who made my study at the Department of Journalism Studies not only academically rewarding, but also homely and pleasant which is very important to an international student.

This research was also entirely reliant on the ongoing financial support of my employer, Chongqing University of Posts and Telecommunications. Special thanks go to Professor Liu Daming, Professor Chen Rudong, Professor Cai Min, Professor Chen Liuting, Mr Deng Yinbo, Mr Peter Bibby and Dr Paula Meth. My special thanks also go to my childhood and early youth teachers and friends who had made my childhood and early youth happy and carefree. I would also like to thank my friends and colleagues at Sheffield: Lily Canter, Stefanie Pukallus, Alaaddin F Paksoy, Albert Kobby Mensah, Scott A Eldridge II, Ximena Orchard, Sara García Santamaría, Amir Hamza Bangash, Steven Harkins, Tianbo XU, Jiewei Zhang, Yiran Zhao, and Chuan-wei Hu, who have offered me your valuable advice and feedback to my work, amazing experience of different culture and emotional support. I would also like to thank Jasmine Zhang, Liangzi Li, Ying Chen, Isabelle AM van der Bom, Sylwia Ladosz, Rongrong Lin, Chen Zhang, and my badminton friends who have been with me in those lonely days and made my stay at Sheffield enjoyable.

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