We Interviewed 384 College Students about Their Relationships with Supervisors, They said…

Category: Best data-driven reporting (small and large newsrooms)

Country/area: China

Organisation: Caixin Media

Organisation size: Big

Publication date: 26/01/2019

Credit: Miao Ding, Jinghua Li, Jiaxin Liu

Project description:

The project starts with an animation of student suicide cases, which were caused by pressure and insults from their superiors. Then it led to the analysis of real responds on students’ interactions with their superiors beyond academical levels, and the effects caused by the interactions on students based on the answers we collected by questionnaires. The project demonstrated how the UK government react to students’ complains toward their superiors, and pointed out what steps should be taken in China regarding student-superior relationships.

Impact reached:

The questionnaires about student-superior relationship caused active discuss among college teachers when the questions were first handed out in colleges. For many teachers, it was the first time that they take serious consideration on how it might affect student’s emotional and phycological condition when the students were asked to do things they were not supposed to do——help making superior’s presentation PowerPoints, or help taking care of superior’s family members.

The project has been massively read and forwarded after published. Many readers are still filling our questionnaire at the bottom of this project to share their stories and opinions months after it was published. All in all, it is a very influential and long-lasting project.

Techniques/technologies used:

The opening animation was made by mental canvas by our illustrator.

We created the questionnaire by an online tool called Wenjuanxing, the questionnaire was posted and collected online.

Project was developed by d3.js.

What was the hardest part of this project?

Data gathering was definitely the hardest point. Since there was no existing data about student-supervisor relationship, we developed our own questionnaire to collect data. We’ve collected 384 valid feedbacks, which reached the minimum sample size for research purpose. The lack of data openness in China makes data collection the most difficult part.

It is important to know that it took 9 months to complete this project. We did not just make it fast to get the project done, we waited for a long time in order to get a reasonable sample size. It’s a project that we determined to do to help the student from bad relationships with their superiors. 

What can others learn from this project?

People can learn that lacking of existing data should not be the reason to abandon an important project. When there’s no existing data, we can collect data on our own, even if it could be time consuming.

It is our first time using mental canvas to make animation, it is also the first time a Chinese data journalism team using mental canvas to make animation. It is always good to learn that a data journalism team should never stopped trying new tools and new ideas. 

Project links: