Analytic Quality Glossary


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Citation reference: Harvey, L., 2004-21, Analytic Quality Glossary, Quality Research International,

This is a dynamic glossary and the author would welcome any e-mail suggestions for additions or amendments. Page updated 18 June, 2021 , © Lee Harvey 2004–2021.


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core definition

The flow of technology, knowledge, people, values, ideas, finance and trade across borders.

explanatory context

Berkens and Lub (2001) set out the parameters for 'global':

Classified according to the point of reference taken, the approaches are:
1. Global as a geographical concept distinguishing it from the local: global equals world-wide; 2. Global as a concept of power and authority distinguishing it from territorial sovereignty: global equals not-territorial; 3. Global as cultural concept distinguishing it from isolation: global equals either uniformity or friction. 4. Global as an institutional concept distinguishing it from national: global equals cosmopolitan.

analytical review

Knight & de Wit (1997) state:

Globalisation: The increasing flow of technology, finance, trade, knowledge, people, values, and ideas across borders.

associated issues

Globalisation and Internationalisation

Futao Huang (2003), from a Japanese perspective, provides a useful analysis of the relationship between globalisation and internationaliation.


1. Internationalization and Globalization
The Japanese word 'kokusaika' is a translation of the English word 'internationalization', whose use was first recorded in around 1831. It is necessary to analyze the following related terms in order to clarify the meaning of the English term 'internationalization':

First, the prefix 'inter' of 'internationalization' comes from a Latin word which originally means 'between, mutual' and others. When a 'nation' is taken as a country, 'international' can be interpreted as 'between or among countries', and its verb form 'internationalize' can be translated as 'making relations, effects or scopes international,' or specifically, 'bringing under international control or protection'. It is safe to say that 'internationalism', 'internationalize' and 'internationalization' all derive from 'international'. 'Internationalism' is translated to a Japanese word 'kokka-shugi'. It means ideas and actions to promote cooperative initiatives and coexistence between or among ethnic groups and nations, transcending the differences on the presupposition that dependent cultural traditions inherent to nation-states and their people exist. This is the opposite of chauvinism and nationalism, which value the existence of the race or nation itself and take a hostile approach to other races and other nations in an exclusive manner. It can also be distinguished from cosmopolitanism and universalism, which try to directly connect individuals with the world, ignoring the presence or without a channel of races and nations. In this context, one of the interpretations of the verb form 'internationalize' is 'making relations, effects or scopes international, or specifically, bringing them under international control or protection'. Consequently, its noun form 'internationalization' means the 'action or process' of internationalizing. More precisely, 'internationalization' places emphasis on transferring into other nations or especially in international society beyond the boundary of the nation, accepting relationships among nations, impacts on and from other nations, or mutual influences and relationships at a national level.

It is also important to differentiate globalization and internationalization, when trying to understand the internationalization of higher education. The term globalization has been used since the latter half of the 1960s. The drastic rise of globalization in the fields of economy, politics and culture, following the dismantling of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the development of information technology in the 1990s, has come to exercise a considerable impact on higher education. Although many scholars have disclosed various views on globalization since the 1990s, there have been relatively fewer discussions on the distinction between globalization and internationalization. The author outlines the following three arguments on the relation between globalization and internationalization, based on earlier studies (Fuao Huang, 2002).

Firstly, there is an argument that the globalization of higher education concurrently means the internationalization of higher education and that both can be used interchangeably. In Japan, many scholars seem to support this argument. For example, Kazuhiro Ebuchi analyzed the definition of the globalization of higher education in the report entitled 'Summary of Discussions by the Higher Education Planning Committee' in 1990, and stated in this analysis that 'the 'objective' of internationalization may be 'international coalition' (globalization)' and that the 'globalization of higher education is almost equal to the 'internationalization of universities, which has been generally referred to. It may be concluded that both are exchangeable and used with the same meaning' (Ebuchi, 1997, p. 39).

Secondly, since the 1990s, in response to the above perspective, many scholars have strongly argued that globalization and internationalizations are different ideas, and been careful not to use them as identical concepts. For example, Abe quoted Roland Robertson to explain the difference between globalization and internationalization in the literature of IDE, July 1997 issue. To put it simply, 'globalization' means 'diminishing the world's social dimension and expansion of overall world consciousness.' Therefore, this concept 'can be clearly distinguished from internationalization, which means the desire to be a member of the international society by satisfying a certain standard, or strengthening the influence of a nation on other nations' (Abe, 1997, p.5). According to Abe, while the former is a product of the development and impact of economic and cultural globalization, the internationalization of higher education is an inevitable and significant counter measure and action, especially against economic globalization. (especially against influences resulting from economic globalization) Mitsuta, who clarified the dissimilarity between globalization and internationalization, discussed the uniqueness of Japan after analyzing its position in the current world and comparing Western and Chinese civilizations. Based on this, he also discussed the approach to internationalization, especially in the age of globalization, and reviewed issues concerning how to address the globalized society and how to proceed with 'international exchange' from diverse and historical perspectives. According to Mitsuta, although Western civilization is basically increasing its dominance at the end of the 20th century, Chinese civilization has yet to bow down. While Japan should implement international exchange with both Western nations and China, it is in a position to explore the way ahead, because it stands between the two great civilizations (Mitsuta, 1999). With respect to the relation between globalization and internationalization, the outcome of the recent study by Abe of Chiba University is worth referring to. Abe presented his own definition of internationalization based on the comparative analysis of the two concepts. In short, the meaning of internationalization comprises both 'bottom-up internationalization' and 'top-down internationalization'. According to him, 'bottom-up internationalization' means the expansion of heart of each individual, which represents the liberalization of the mind, the acceptance of people different from yourself and equal acceptance of Asian, African, European and American people. The 'top-down internationalization', on the other hand, means the institutional promotion of liberalization by leaders. If, in a university, the leadership encourages the people concerned to promote internationalization, it is 'top-down internationalization' (Abe, 2004, p. 362) .

Thirdly, there is another interpretation; namely, that globalization and internationalization differ in concept but are essentially the same in terms of dialectical relations. For example, Peter Scott, a British scholar, pointed out that internationalization of higher education only occurred after the modern age when national universities emerged or universities founded by national governments came into existence, and that their internationalization did not involve linear or cumulative relations, but rather dialectical relations with their globalization. More specifically, he stated that 'globalization is neither a simple reiteration of old internationalism nor the highest stage in the development of internationalization. The new globalization is, in a sense, a competitor to the old internationalization'.(Scott, 1998, p. 123) As a result, it is inevitable that various conflicts and inconsistencies arise between internationalization, which is implemented on the premise of the existence of nation-states, and globalization, which is implemented across national borders in a natural manner.

Concluding the above arguments, the concept of globalization emphasizes 'integration', an internationally viable and globally acceptable standard, or the establishment of a sole standard, while the term of internationalization indicates exchange among or between nations based on the unit of a geographical or sovereign nation, or on the premise of the existence of a nation or race. On the other hand, the relevant linkage between these two concepts is undeniable; both transcend the scope and/or framework of nations or national borders, targeting the expansion and promotion of an exchange among or between nations/regions other than their own and enabling the process and achievement of exchange on a world scale.

2. Internationalization of Higher Education
The 'Internationalization of higher education' probably began to gain ground in the latter half of the 20th century. As discussed earlier, the concept of internationalization is multi dimensional, and consequently, the internationalization of higher education also has diverse interpretations.
In the mid-1980s, Kitamura (1984) pointed out the following about the internationalization of higher education: (1) 'the culture of one's own nation is approved, accepted or understood in terms of recognition and evaluation by the world with different nationalities, races and cultures' (acceptability); (2) 'vitalization of communication, exchange and negotiation among people with different nationalities, races and cultures' and 'the establishment of communication rules' (exchange) to enable this vitalization, and (3) 'people with a background of alien cultures are accepted into their own group or organization, not only on an institutional level but also a conscientious level, maintaining the same attitude as towards their own people' (openness). He employed these as indicators to assess the level of 'internationality' as well as the goals of 'internationalization', which Japanese universities should target. These may be understood as the basic purposes of internationalization of higher education. Jane Knight, a Canadian scholar, has conducted various studies regarding the internationalization of higher education since the early 1990s. She emphasized that the globalization of higher education differs from the internationalization of higher education in concept, stating that 'the internationalization of higher education is one of the ways a country responds to the impact of globalization yet, at the same time, respects the individuality of the nation'. While the internationalization of higher education is a counter measure that a certain nation (each nation) takes against the influence of globalization, it respects the individual qualities of the home nation. Internationalization is a coming and going phenomenon in the course of the development of globalization.

Here, it is necessary to note that the current and widely used definition of internationalization of higher education had been somewhat equally applied to 'international education' up until the 1960s. Similar terms, such as international study, internationalization programs, multicultural programs, foreign area study and non-European study were used to mean somewhat the same as internationalization during the 1960s and 70s. For example, International Higher Education: an Encyclopedia (Volume 5) explains the 'internationalization of higher education' with a direct quotation from the definition of international education specified by R. Freeman Butts, an American scholar, in his book published in 1969. 'International contents of curriculum, international flows of training, research, relevant researchers and students and the establishment of a system to guarantee educational assistance and cooperation across national borders' are taken up as some of the concrete components of internationalization of higher education (Butts, 1969). In addition, this encyclopedia says that international studies, international programs and intercultural programs can be used as the same meaning of internationalization to some extent. It also points out that, especially in Europe and North America, foreign area studies, non-Western studies and international relations can mean internationalization of higher education to some extent. In brief, it may be safe to say that comparative education and international education were used to mean the same as current international education up until the 1960s. In addition, the westernization and modernization of the Meiji Era in Japan and the Ming Dynasty in China also came to be known as internationalization. With this in mind, the westernization and modernization, whereby higher education in Japan and China is in the process of aspiring to become a member of the international society, may be interpreted identically to the contemporary internationalization of higher education.

The perception of the internationalization of higher education varies by nation and area. For example, in the 1990s, Kazuhiro Ebuchi pointed out that internationalization represents a process of social and cultural transformation (a process of mutual self-adjustment), which arises in the direction toward 'commoditizing and standardizing', 'communizing', and 'strengthening of interdependency' based on his analysis of 'internationalization as an intransitive verb' and 'internationalization as a transitive verb' through comparative study on the concept of internationalization between the Japanese and English languages. According to Ebuchi, the concept of 'internationalization as a transitive verb' in English is a historical concept, which emerged from a nation with 'hegemony' in the international order, while that of 'internationalization as an intransitive verb' is one from a 'smaller nation' which was forced to follow a 'larger nation' (Ebuchi, 1997, p. 43). In this context, Ikuo Amano (1978) called the internationality of Japanese universities established after the Meiji Restoration as 'vertically structured internationality' to contrast sharply with that of universities in European countries, namely 'horizontally structured internationality'.

In China, the majority of studies on the concept of internationalization underline the dimension of looking toward the world without failure in retaining its own cultural tradition, and disseminating and expanding its excellent educational culture. This can be rephrased as stating that the dimension of tradition and ethnicity is particularly emphasized in moves toward internationalization. For example, the Chinese dictionary of Encyclopedia of Education states that the concrete characteristics of internationalization are reflected mainly in the following five dimensions: absorbing experience of higher education while retaining the tradition and culture of the nation, fostering human resources with eyes open to the world, strengthening foreign language education and establishing educational programs for internationalization, promoting the international exchange of human resources, and proactively pursuing international cooperation in education and research. In China, much research draws a line between the globalization of higher education and the internationalization of the same respectively, and concurs that the former is basically a process representing part of the educational and cultural colonialization of developing countries, which is associated with economical globalization by major western advanced nations in a new age. They emphasize the significance of pursuing the internationalization of higher education as well as seeking race-oriented and 'mainland-oriented' approaches to higher education to address such challenge (Xiang, 2001). There are also some scholars who note, from a historical perspective, that the internationalization of higher education of developing countries at the end of the 20th century still has the same meaning as 'westernization' (Wang and Gao, 2000).

3. Conclusion
As clarified earlier, the concept of the internationalization of higher education has gradually changed through the ages, and its perception and definition differ by nation and region. Accordingly, determining the definition of the internationalization of higher education from historical and comparative perspectives is an extremely important challenge to be met. This section discusses the historical flow of the internationalization of higher education and the characteristics of the higher education of major countries, based on which the following definition is proposed:

The internationalization of higher education is basically the process of presenting exchange activities in education and research of various kinds among universities and institutions in different countries. Full-fledged international exchange in higher education is typically regarded as an activity in the higher education sector; developed on the premise of the existence of a nation after modern states were established in Europe. The purpose, content and pattern of the exchange vary across the ages. For example, international exchange, which was fundamentally human exchange consisting mainly of students, teachers and scholars up until the 1970s, has drastically changed to include joint research activities, curricular exchange, mutual accreditation of programs and degrees among universities beyond national borders as well as the affiliation or linkage of universities since the 1980s and especially the 1990s. The current internationalization of higher education mainly comprises: (1) human exchange, mainly of students, teachers and researchers; (2) the exchange and accreditation of programs, courses and degrees, including the sharing of curriculums and especially the development of transnational programs, and (3) research project activities, including the organization of international conferences and joint research, mainly for presenting research results and academic exchange. From a historical and comparative perspective, the so-called pattern of government-led activities, where internationalization of higher education was promoted with centrally controlled plans, financial support and state-controlled management up to the 1970s, has been dramatically replaced by that of joint initiatives between the governments and private sectors and, in a few countries, by university-led activities since the 1980s. In particular, since the 1990s, progress in economic terms and other forms of globalization has been accompanied by active exchange among universities in various countries within a limited region, such as European countries, while cross-border internationalization and standardization of curriculums, transnational education, quality assurance of higher education and global linkage and cooperation between higher education institutions are notable.

related areas

See also



Abe, Y., 1999, Globalization and Internationalization of the universities, IDE contemporary Higher Education, 1999. July, pp.5–11.

Abe, K., 2004, Daigaku to Nihon no Kokusaika Chiteki Kokusai Kouken no Kkoromi [University and Internationalization in Japan - An attempt for intellectual international contributions]

Beerkens, E. & Lub, A., 2001, 'Globalisation & higher education research: outset for a conceptual framework', paper prepared for the CHEPS Summerschool in Higher Education Research, available at, accessed 31 August 2012, page not available 3 January 2017.

Butts, R. F. , 1969, America's Role in International Education: A Perspective on Thirty Years. Chicago: National Society for the Study of Education.

Ebuchi, K., 1997, Study of the internationalization of universities, Tokyo, Tamagawa University Press.

Futao Huang, 2003, Internationalization of Higher Education in an Age of Globalization: a Historic and Comparative Perspective, Education Review Peking University 2(1), Graduate School of Education Peking University, pp. 93–98 (in Chinese).

Futao Huang, 2002, History and Achievement of Research in the Internationalization of Higher Education 'Daigaku Ronsyu', Research Institute for Higher Education, pp. 29–41.

Huang, F., undated, Section 2 Internationalization of Higher Education: Discussions about its Definitions., available at, accessed 31 August 2012, page not available 3 January 2017.

Kitamura, K., 1984, Daigakukyoiku no Kokusaika-Sotokara mita Nihon no Daigaku [Internationalization of University: Japanese Universities seen form outside](enlarged edition) Tokyo, Tamagawa University Press.

Knight, J. and de Wit, H., 1997, Internationalisation of HE in Asia Pacific countries, European Association for International Education, Amsterdam.

Mitsuta, A., 1999, Kokusaika toha nanika [What is the 'Internationalization'] Tokyo, Tamagawa University Press pp.172–73.

Scott, P. 1998, The Globalization of Higher Education, The Society for Research into Higher Education & Open University Press, Published by SRHE and Open University Press.

Xiang Xianming, 2001, Education: Globalization, Localization and Native Growth from a Perspective of Comparative Education, Journal of Beijing Normal University (Humanities and Social Science), Issue 2 2001, Beijing Normal University, pp32-41. Quan Weitai (2000) Taking up Challenges from Globalization and Speeding up Higher Education Development, Journal of China University of Mining and Technology (Social Science), Issue 4 2000, China University of Mining and Technology, pp. 99–103 (in Chinese).

Wang Yingjie and Gao Yimin, 2000, Internationalization of Higher Education: An Important Issue for China's Higher Education Development in the 21st Cenntury, Research on Education Tsuinghua University, Issue 2 2000, Institute of Education Tsuinghua University, pp. 16–21 (in Chinese).

copyright Lee Harvey 2004–2021

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