Looking for interview participants (summer 2017)

My name is Emma Sabzalieva and I am a doctoral researcher at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto, Canada. I am also a Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Central Asia. You can find more details about me at https://emmasabzalieva.com/about.

In summer 2017, I am conducting research for my PhD thesis. The title of my study is: How does higher education respond to major institutional change? The fall of the Soviet Union and universities in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

Purpose of the study

The aim of my study is to test the extent to which new institutional theory can help us predict and/or explain how higher education responds to a major political, economic and social (i.e. institutional) change. The major institutional change that I will examine in my study is the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. I will collect data through interviews, statistics and documents to understand how universities in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan responded to this major event. I want to find out what kind of changes took place in universities in these countries.

I am looking for current and former faculty members to interview in person (in Russian or in English).

Date: July or August 2017

Place: Almaty, Astana, Bishkek, Dushanbe or Khorog

There are two groups for interviews.

Group 1 will be asked about working as a faculty member during the late Soviet period and early years of independence.

Group 2 will be asked about what it was like to work at a new university founded in the early 1990s.

The interview will be approximately 60-90 minutes in length. The interview will take place in a public place. The interview will be audio recorded but your name will be kept confidential.

Interviews will take place in Almaty, Astana, Bishkek, Dushanbe or Khorog.

The selection criteria are:

Group 1

  • You had an academic position in one or more well-established universities for at least ten years including the period 1988-1994; and
  • The university(ies) you worked at are in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan or Tajikistan.


Group 2

  • You have worked at a new university that was founded between 1991-1996; and
  • You joined within two years of the university opening; and
  • You worked there for at least five years; and
  • The university is in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan or Tajikistan.

If you meet these criteria and would like to participate, please email me at emma.sabzalieva@mail.utoronto.ca to set up an appointment.

How your data will be used

I will use the interview data primarily for my PhD thesis and may also use it in other publications, presentations or other outputs.

Voluntary participation and withdrawal

I am very grateful for your time and want to be clear that your participation in the interview is voluntary. You do not have to answer all the questions and you do not need to provide any reason for not answering some of the questions.

If you change your mind, you can withdraw at any time before or during the interview. To do so, simply inform me verbally or in writing of your wish to withdraw. Once the interview has finished and the file has been sent for transcription, it will no longer be possible to withdraw.


A pseudonym will always be used in lieu of your real name for reasons of confidentiality. I will assign you a pseudonym after the interview data is transcribed.

Interview data will be stored securely and confidentially. It will be accessible only to me, my supervisor and a transcriber. If the interview takes place in Russian, a translator will also be employed. All translators and transcribers will sign a confidentiality agreement.

I will keep the interview data on file in case I am able to use the data in future studies.

Compensation and benefits

There is no financial compensation for participation in the interview.

I would be pleased to share a summary of the findings of the interviews in due course. If you would like to receive this summary, please let me know by email or when we meet.

Your participation will contribute to more and improved academic research on institutional theory, comparative higher education and studies of Central Eurasia. I hope that you will find it beneficial to be part of this study. I also hope that you would enjoy sharing your experiences with me!



If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me by email: emma.sabzalieva@mail.utoronto.ca

The study is being carried out under the supervision of Professor Creso Sá at the University of Toronto, who can be contacted at c.sa@utoronto.ca.

The University of Toronto selectively reviews data collected in student projects for quality assurance purposes. If you have any questions about your rights as a participant in this study you can contact the Office of Research Ethics at the University of Toronto by email ethics.review@utoronto.ca or by phone +1-416-946-3273.


Thank you in advance for your support of this research!

Emma Sabzalieva

PhD Candidate, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto, Canada

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