2023 Student Research Project | Soil Pollution in China: Problems and Policy Solutions

Supervisor: Annemieke van den Dool, Assistant Professor of Environmental Policy

Student Researcher

Weijia Zhang is a senior student at Duke Kunshan University, majoring in Environmental Science / Public Policy. Her research interests include urban environmental studies, corporate sustainability, and public policy analysis. She has decided to continue with environmental management studies after graduation, hoping to better integrate data analysis skills and economic tools into urban environmental issues and policy solutions.

About the Project

Soil pollution has been a serious environmental problem in China for decades with focusing events happening from time to time in different regions. Media coverage of such events can play a powerful role in policy change. This study uses the narrative policy framework (NPF) to analyze media coverage of a major soil pollution event in China that occurred in 2016 at the Changzhou Foreign Languages School in Jiangsu Province. We conducted the research by doing a meso-level NPF qualitative content analysis of 139 articles related to Changzhou’s focusing event from the WeChat Official Accounts database. In the analysis, we employed a codebook and coded the NPF elements in all the articles through NVivo. While previous studies have examined narratives’ role in policy-making through the NPF, there are few explorations of the NPF application in China’s context and no such studies employing the WeChat Official Accounts database. This research has important implications for the significance of narratives in shaping policy discourse and how the NPF works in China’s context.