Why and How Iranian people choose UK for studying

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Over the past decade, International student mobility has years become an increasingly important part of the global higher education landscape.

International education is an economic sector that is extremely attractive to the UK. It is high value-added, knowledge-intensive, and offers long-term benefits. The global demand for international education is expected to increase significantly over the next few years.

According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), the number of students studying in higher education institutions outside their home countries is rising quickly. In 2004, there were 2.5 million mobile students worldwide, up from 1.8 million in 2001 and from 1.68 million in 1999 (UNESCO Institute of Statistics online).

In 1999, the Australian international recruitment organisation IDP Education Pty Ltd., which is partly owned by the country's 38 universities, projected that the demand for higher education would triple between 2000 and 2025 to an estimated total of 7.2 million potential students. (2)

A few years later, another study followed from one of the United Kingdom's major international education organisations. In its 'Vision 2020' publication from 2004, the British Council projected that overall demand for international higher education would rise from 2.1 million places in 2003 to around 5.8 million by 2020. request for student places in the five main English-language destination countries (US, UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand) alone was redicted to increase from 1 million to 2.6 million in 2020 .For the UK specifically, it was predicted that the demand for UK would raise from an estimated 190,000 in 2003 to 350,000 in 2010 and 800,000 in 2020, thus exceeding the demand for international student places in the UK .

Figure 1: International student market shares

Source: OECD, Education at a Glance 2007

According to the World Education Services traditionally, more than 90% of international students have enrolled in institutions in countries belonging to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) with the main destinations (the US, the UK, Germany, France and Australia) recruiting over 70% of them. Significant increase was recorded in the late 1990s and early 2000s in most of the main English-language destinations with major source countries such as China and India providing a huge number of overseas students each year.

Figure 1: Growth in international student numbers

The UK is a global leader after USA in this market. International student are very important for UK higher education. UK has many benefits in many ways from international students. These benefits are directly and indirectly. These benefits are culturally, academically, economically, and financially and international relationships.

Directly Benefits

Some of these benefits are directly relevant to UK education institutions. International students contribute billions of dollars to the economy of the United Kingdom every year. The best recognised of the economic effects is the impact of international students' spending on tuition fees and living costs. According to the BBC, Currently, around 270,000 foreigners are studying at UK universities. They pay £1.5bn a year in fees and contribute £3bn to the economy.

Also, since several thousand stay in the UK each year to work, having graduated from a UK universities.

According to the Higher Education Policy Institute 7% of total income for the sector in 2003-04 was from international student fees. But there are wider benefits for the UK as education and training exports were worth £10.2bn to the UK economy in 2002-03.

Education is significant important for Iranian families; nevertheless more than 1.5 million Iranian students passing the National University Entrance Exam (Konkur), only about 500,000 Iranian students can go to university because there is limited capacity in Iran universities. A main reason in deciding on higher education overseas for Iranian students is cost. Competition is therefore growing from the Australia, France, Germany, Malaysia, Ukraine, Cyprus and India.

The credibility and reputation of UK education and also the proximity of the Iran to United Kingdom compared to other English language speaking countries strengthens the UK's market position.

Research aim and objectives

I have chosen this topic because the international student industry's decisions have a very big impact on global education .Also, personality I like this topic because it is related to my work. I have worked for 3 years in this field .I am an agent for some colleges in the UK and I co-operate with a company in my country about transfer students to UK.

My objectives of this research are

Find out the reason that Iranian student decide to study overseas, also, I identifying the key choice factors for Iranian students choosing UK for overseas study.

Iranian student choosing UK with compare to other countries for different reason and in this research I want to identify the main factors that they choose UK for their study

identifying and considering the factors that determine which college or university, they choose

Also I would like to find out how they choose their college or university for studying.

Chapter 2.Literature review

2.1 Industry Background

There is currently lot of article focusing on student mobility subject and many opinions are raised about this topic. A majority of these can be found in reports and online sources, newspaper articles. Reports and articles written by government, educational institute and economic analysts such as UNESCO ,British Council have more credibility and raise important questions and viewpoints .Books and journals are both credible sources although there is limited data available from books, which is often out of date, and not related to the Iranian students. They can however, provide useful information about international student mobility and trend of global market. Other important information found in books was useful theories related to my subject. We can see some of report and articles that I read in following sentence.

International student market

According to the OECD (2007) over 2.7 million students enrolled outside their home country in 2005.In addition more than 120 million students study in Higher Education across the world (UNESCO 2007). More than half of the students (52%) study in four countries (US, UK, Germany and France). Compared to 2000, this is a decline from the 56%. Gradually more students are coming to the UK for shorter courses, for example, 55% of the non-EU students are post graduate students.

Education system in Iran

Two ministries are responsible for education in Iran. The Ministry of Science, Research and Technology is responsible for all tertiary education. The Iranian Ministry of Education is responsible for pre-tertiary education, including vocational education and teacher-training programs.

Medical education falls within the remit of the Ministry of Health, Treatment and Medical Education.

Admission to higher education

Students for entry to the universities require successful completion of a national entrance examination. This national entrance examination, the konkûr, is made up of two parts. The first part test is general ability, while the second is connected to a specific study program. Students to have completed the pre-university course are only required to take the second test.

Higher professional education

Post-secondary technical institutes provide two-year study program.Students can achieve the Associate Degree (Kardânî).

Students also can achieve this Degree (Kârdânî) after having obtained 68 to 72 credits within two academic years. Then generally Students can transfer to the third year of a Bachelor's program.

Bachelor's program (Kârshenâsî/Lisâns)

In addition students can take a Bachelor's program (Kârshenâsî / Lisâns). Most bachelor programs are four year academic course. Students should to take 130 to 145 credits for this degree.

Master's program (Karshenasi-arshad napayvasteh/Fogh Lisâns)

Generally, Master's programs (Karshenasi-arshad napayvasteh / Fogh Lisâns) are two years. In this degree program, students should achieve 28 to 32 credits. The study program consists of research and theoretical lessons and writing of a final paper.

Doctorate program

This program is four to five years and consists of both theoretical lessons and research activities. . Students must achieve 42 to 50 credits, with a minimal final score of 14 on a scale of 20. Students have to write a doctoral thesis and defend this before an advisory committee.

Iran market environment

Iran is located in West Asia. Tehran is the capital and nation's major city in this country. Iran is the second largest oil producer and gas reserves in the world. In the past 40 years, its economy continues to rely seriously on its oil. carpets and agricultural products are the major exports besides oil and gas. The population of Iran is seventy million. Seventy per cent of the total population is under 35 years old and forty percent of them are under sixteen. The urban population is about seventy percent and the United Nations estimate that this will go to eighty percent by 2030.In 2005, GDP growth rate was approximately 6.9 percent. Unemployment and Inflation were about 15 per cent.

As we mention before , Education is significant important for Iranian families; but more than 1.5 million Iranian students passing the National University Entrance Exam (Konkur), only about 500,000 Iranian students can go to university because there is limited capacity in Iran universities. A main reason in deciding on higher education overseas for Iranian students is cost. Competition is therefore growing from the Australia, France, Germany, Malaysia, Ukraine, Cyprus and India.

The credibility and reputation of UK education and also the proximity of the Iran to United Kingdom compared to other English language speaking countries strengthens the UK's market position.

Market opportunities for UK

According to the British council, graduates with Masters Degrees seeking PhD or postgraduate research programs are the main demand in Iran however; graduates with BA or BSc degrees and high-school leavers both share a quite high proportion of the market. Also there is a general interest between Iranians in Medicine and other subjects related to medicine. Additionally, basic sciences such as Physics, Math and Chemistry are still among the most popular topics. The need for IT and Computer Sciences has grown rapidly in the past decade. According to the British council; recently, the following subjects have attracted more Iranian students: English studies, Business and Management, Architecture, Engineering (particularly electronic engineering), and Education.

In Iran, the lack of Canadian education and the American providers as the UK main competitors has created a quite comfortable market for British institutions but, other English language speaking countries such as New Zealand and Australia both with some Eastern European countries such as Ukraine , Hungary and Russia have become very popular between potential Iranian students. At post graduate level attractive English courses are offered by Sweden, Holland, Italy and Norway with low costs compared to the UK. Also in recent years Asian destinations have begun to claim a significant share of the Iranian market. India has always been a traditional destination for less affluent Iranian students but recently, Malaysia and China have emerged as major competitors in the market.

The credibility and reputation of UK education and also the proximity of the Iran to United Kingdom compared to other English language speaking countries strengthens the UK's market position.

From 31 January 2009, British council has had to suspend all their operations in Iran.

2.2 Introduction to marketing theories

There are some theories related to my subject and I explored role of these theories to the international student market particularly for Iranian student.

Consumer Behaviour - Decision making

The term consumer behaviour is defined as the behaviour that consumers displays in searching for purchases, using evaluating, and disposing of products and services they expect should satisfy their needs.(Schiffman and Kanuk,2007).Consumer behavior focuses on how individuals make decisions to spend on consumption related items which includes what they buy, why they buy, where they buy and how often they buy it and use it ,how its evaluated after they purchase it, the impact of such evaluations on future purchases e.t.c(Schiffman and Kanuk,2007).

One of the areas that have received major attention particularly in commercial fields and business is decision making that has resulted in growth of consumer behavior theory. (Gabbott and Hogg, 1994; Crozier and McClean, 1997)

There are five-stage process in decision making: the identification of a problem needing a solution; the search for information; an evaluation of alternatives; making the purchase decision; and finally evaluating the purchase decision (Kotler, 2003). 

The international student decision process when selecting a final study destination appears to involve at least three separate steps.

In step one; the learner must decide to study internationally, rather than locally. This can be influenced by a series of "push" factors inside the home country.

In the second step, student selects a host country. In this step, "pull" factors become important. A host country is more attractive than another.

In step three, the student should decide to select an institution. There are ranges of extra "pull" factors make a particular institution more attractive than others. Some factors such as : range of courses ,institution's reputation for quality, resources, staff expertise, market profile , degree of innovation, use of information technology and promotion and marketing efforts (e.g. advertising and use of agents) (Mazzarol, 1998).

"Push and Pull" factors

The worldwide pattern of overseas student might be explained by a combination of "push and pull" factors that encourage students to study in a foreign country. "Push" factors operate inside the home country and start a student's decision to carry out international study. "Pull" factors operate within a destination country to make that country relatively attractive to international students. Some of these factors are inherent in the home country, some in the host country and others in the students themselves.

There are six factors that influence student selection of host country. (Mazzarol et al., 1997).

The overall level of knowledge and awareness of the host country in the student's home country is one of these factors. Also, availability of information about the host destination country and easy to access to this data for student are influence to this factor. Moreover, the recognition of its qualifications in the student's home country and the destination's reputation for quality are part of this factor.

A second factor is the level of personal recommendations that the study destination receives from parents, relatives, and friends.

The third factor connected to cost issues, including the cost of fees, living expenses, travel costs and social costs (such as safety, crime and racial discrimination. Also the availability of part-time work (financail costs) and presence of students from the student's country (social cost) are parts of this factor.

A fourth factor is the environment, which connected to perception about the study environment in the host country, in addition to its physical environment and lifestyle.

The fifth factor is geographic proximity, which related to the geographic proximity of the potential host country to the student's country.

The last factor is social links, which linked to whether a student has family or friends living in the host country and whether family and friends have studied there before.

These "pull" factors are a main structure for understanding the influences that motivate a student's selection of a host country. These six factors combine with "push" factors mentioned earlier to create the demand for international education. They work in conjunction with the "push" factors mentioned earlier to create the demand for international education.

Understanding of overseas study decision making

It is extremely essential for marketers to identify the factors influencing the purchase purpose of prospective students and understanding of the nature of the connection between those factors.

because of the rising demand for educational services, marketers require to be more aware of the primary factors considered by students when evaluating services (AhmedHYPERLINK "http://0-www.emeraldinsight.com.emu.londonmet.ac.uk/Insight/ViewContentServlet?contentType=Article&Filename=Published/EmeraldFullTextArticle/Articles/0600200202.html#idb1" HYPERLINK "http://0-www.emeraldinsight.com.emu.londonmet.ac.uk/Insight/ViewContentServlet?contentType=Article&Filename=Published/EmeraldFullTextArticle/Articles/0600200202.html#idb1"et al.HYPERLINK "http://0-www.emeraldinsight.com.emu.londonmet.ac.uk/Insight/ViewContentServlet?contentType=Article&Filename=Published/EmeraldFullTextArticle/Articles/0600200202.html#idb1", 2002) if they want to survive in this competitive environment (Vaira, 2004).

The nature of educational services

Higher education is a pure service and is described by a larger amount of interpersonal contact, divergence, complexity and customization than other service businesses (PattersonHYPERLINK "http://0-www.emeraldinsight.com.emu.londonmet.ac.uk/Insight/ViewContentServlet?contentType=Article&Filename=Published/EmeraldFullTextArticle/Articles/0600200202.html#idb35" HYPERLINK "http://0-www.emeraldinsight.com.emu.londonmet.ac.uk/Insight/ViewContentServlet?contentType=Article&Filename=Published/EmeraldFullTextArticle/Articles/0600200202.html#idb35"et al.HYPERLINK "http://0-www.emeraldinsight.com.emu.londonmet.ac.uk/Insight/ViewContentServlet?contentType=Article&Filename=Published/EmeraldFullTextArticle/Articles/0600200202.html#idb35", 1998).

Most of the quality features in higher education cannot be perceived, felt, or tested in advance. This nature brings difficulties to the evaluation of a program, particularly for an international student (PattersonHYPERLINK "http://0-www.emeraldinsight.com.emu.londonmet.ac.uk/Insight/ViewContentServlet?contentType=Article&Filename=Published/EmeraldFullTextArticle/Articles/0600200202.html#idb35" HYPERLINK "http://0-www.emeraldinsight.com.emu.londonmet.ac.uk/Insight/ViewContentServlet?contentType=Article&Filename=Published/EmeraldFullTextArticle/Articles/0600200202.html#idb35"et al.HYPERLINK "http://0-www.emeraldinsight.com.emu.londonmet.ac.uk/Insight/ViewContentServlet?contentType=Article&Filename=Published/EmeraldFullTextArticle/Articles/0600200202.html#idb35", 1998; Harvey and Busher, 1996; Srikatanyoo and Gnoth, 2002).

According to the Patterson, for higher education, quality may vary markedly according to different circumstances: from year to year, class to class, student to student, lecturer to lecturer; and also even within different countries (Srikatanyoo and Gnoth, 2002). Moreover, service quality has different meanings for different consumers (AhmedHYPERLINK "http://0-www.emeraldinsight.com.emu.londonmet.ac.uk/Insight/ViewContentServlet?contentType=Article&Filename=Published/EmeraldFullTextArticle/Articles/0600200202.html#idb1" HYPERLINK "http://0-www.emeraldinsight.com.emu.londonmet.ac.uk/Insight/ViewContentServlet?contentType=Article&Filename=Published/EmeraldFullTextArticle/Articles/0600200202.html#idb1"et al.HYPERLINK "http://0-www.emeraldinsight.com.emu.londonmet.ac.uk/Insight/ViewContentServlet?contentType=Article&Filename=Published/EmeraldFullTextArticle/Articles/0600200202.html#idb1", 2002).

There are several groups of secondary services in international education. The prospective learner will think a variety of features linked to living in the destination country such as quality of life, university environment, international background, cultural activities, safety, security and visa and entry requirements, among others. Moreover, some of them are connected to the host city, and others are related to the host country. Thus, the country image will influence the final decision of the potential student.

The theoretical model

The international education is not a repeated purchase and demands a high level of involvement from consumer (NichollsHYPERLINK "http://0-www.emeraldinsight.com.emu.londonmet.ac.uk/Insight/ViewContentServlet?contentType=Article&Filename=Published/EmeraldFullTextArticle/Articles/0600200202.html#idb31" HYPERLINK "http://0-www.emeraldinsight.com.emu.londonmet.ac.uk/Insight/ViewContentServlet?contentType=Article&Filename=Published/EmeraldFullTextArticle/Articles/0600200202.html#idb31"et al.HYPERLINK "http://0-www.emeraldinsight.com.emu.londonmet.ac.uk/Insight/ViewContentServlet?contentType=Article&Filename=Published/EmeraldFullTextArticle/Articles/0600200202.html#idb31", 1995).

According to Soutar and Turner (2002) In order to find out their preferences, prospective students think what is essential for them, and then make a conscious/unconscious trade-off between the elements.

The model presented in this work aims to explain the factors influencing the purchase intention of international students. The purchase intention is used as a predictor for the preferential choices of consumers, and is defined as the intention of the student regarding the destination country as provider of the education service (PengHYPERLINK "http://0-www.emeraldinsight.com.emu.londonmet.ac.uk/Insight/ViewContentServlet?contentType=Article&Filename=Published/EmeraldFullTextArticle/Articles/0600200202.html#idb36" HYPERLINK "http://0-www.emeraldinsight.com.emu.londonmet.ac.uk/Insight/ViewContentServlet?contentType=Article&Filename=Published/EmeraldFullTextArticle/Articles/0600200202.html#idb36"et al.HYPERLINK "http://0-www.emeraldinsight.com.emu.londonmet.ac.uk/Insight/ViewContentServlet?contentType=Article&Filename=Published/EmeraldFullTextArticle/Articles/0600200202.html#idb36", 2000; Srikatanyoo and Gnoth, 2002).

The theoretical model consists of the purchase intention, as a dependent and not visible variable, and four factors with a total of 19 independent variables identified in existing literature. The factors recognised are

personal reasons ( Binsardi and Ekwulugo, 2003)

country image (Srikatanyoo and Gnoth, 2002; Binsardi and Ekwulugo, 2003)

Institution image (Soutar and Turner, 2002; Srikatanyoo and Gnoth, 2002; Gutman and Miaoulis, 2003; Binsardi and Ekwulugo, 2003; PriceHYPERLINK "http://0-www.emeraldinsight.com.emu.londonmet.ac.uk/Insight/ViewContentServlet?contentType=Article&Filename=Published/EmeraldFullTextArticle/Articles/0600200202.html#idb40" HYPERLINK "http://0-www.emeraldinsight.com.emu.londonmet.ac.uk/Insight/ViewContentServlet?contentType=Article&Filename=Published/EmeraldFullTextArticle/Articles/0600200202.html#idb40"et al.HYPERLINK "http://0-www.emeraldinsight.com.emu.londonmet.ac.uk/Insight/ViewContentServlet?contentType=Article&Filename=Published/EmeraldFullTextArticle/Articles/0600200202.html#idb40", 2003),

programme evaluation (Srikatanyoo and Gnoth, 2002; Binsardi and Ekwulugo, 2003).

Personal reasons

According to Binsardi and Ekwulugo (2003), students are not buying degrees; they are buying the benefits that a degree can provide in terms of employment, position and lifestyle, between others. In this way, employment prospects play an important role in personal motivation.

GroHYPERLINK "http://0-www.emeraldinsight.com.emu.londonmet.ac.uk/Insight/ViewContentServlet?contentType=Article&Filename=Published/EmeraldFullTextArticle/Articles/0600200202.html#idb11"nroos (1994), point out the creation of service expectations is made up of personal needs, previous experience, and institution image. Consequently, the recommendation represents a key factor included in personal reasons. Recommendation from family, friends, or acquaintances who have previously selected the services is one of the most important factors included in the choice (Bourke, 2000).The attraction of the experience of living in a different culture, meeting new people, making international contacts, and improving foreign language ability (Bourke, 2000) are another motivations built-in this aspect.

Country image effect

Country image is a potentially powerful variable for differentiating a product or a service (Srikatanyoo and Gnoth, 2002). The decision of acquiring a product or a service can be positively influenced by the country image (Bilkey and Nes, 1982; JavalgiHYPERLINK "http://0-www.emeraldinsight.com.emu.londonmet.ac.uk/Insight/ViewContentServlet?contentType=Article&Filename=Published/EmeraldFullTextArticle/Articles/0600200202.html#idb19" HYPERLINK "http://0-www.emeraldinsight.com.emu.londonmet.ac.uk/Insight/ViewContentServlet?contentType=Article&Filename=Published/EmeraldFullTextArticle/Articles/0600200202.html#idb19"et al.HYPERLINK "http://0-www.emeraldinsight.com.emu.londonmet.ac.uk/Insight/ViewContentServlet?contentType=Article&Filename=Published/EmeraldFullTextArticle/Articles/0600200202.html#idb19", 2001).This factor has huge influence on the purchase intention and the quality perception (Peterson and Jolibert, 1995), The country image is the first source that customers consider in product evaluation since the attitude of consumers towards the products or services are connected to their stereotypes about the country of origin (PengHYPERLINK "http://0-www.emeraldinsight.com.emu.londonmet.ac.uk/Insight/ViewContentServlet?contentType=Article&Filename=Published/EmeraldFullTextArticle/Articles/0600200202.html#idb36" HYPERLINK "http://0-www.emeraldinsight.com.emu.londonmet.ac.uk/Insight/ViewContentServlet?contentType=Article&Filename=Published/EmeraldFullTextArticle/Articles/0600200202.html#idb36"et al.HYPERLINK "http://0-www.emeraldinsight.com.emu.londonmet.ac.uk/Insight/ViewContentServlet?contentType=Article&Filename=Published/EmeraldFullTextArticle/Articles/0600200202.html#idb36", 2000).

Country image effect (country-of-origin) refers to the picture, the reputation, the stereotype that consumers attach to products or services of a specific country (Nagashima, 1970), and it is directly linked to the brand image (Nebenzahl and Lampert, 1997).

Country image effects on education services

Srikatanyoo (2002) point out, the country image seems to play a significant part in the selection of students for international education .Therefore, potential students tend to choose first the country and then the institution.

According to the Bourke (2000), because of reputation image of certain countries in higher education, students tend to believe that higher education offered in these countries is high quality. As a result, one of the factors considered by prospective students is the status implied in studying in these countries.

City image effect

The education service is a complex service jointly produced with a wide group of services. As a result the physical atmosphere will be made up of the institution facilities and the city as a whole. The students' awareness about the host city will influence the decision process as well as the country image. Mori (2001), point out, related to environmental conditions which influence the students' choice, identifying location and social facilities in a city as the most significant factor.

Institution image

The institution selection is determined by several factors such as the academic reputation of the institution, the quality and expertise of its teaching faculty, attractiveness and campus atmosphere.

Facilities, the physical environment of the service production constitutes an important element in the decision-making process. 

According to Kotler and Fox (1995), the institution image is the sum of opinions, ideas, and impressions that prospective students have of the institution.

Programme evaluation

Acording to Hooley and Lynch (1981) suitability of the program is the most main factor, since students will accept any level of the other factors.

Students will compare programs offered with those being promoted by competing institutions in order to check their suitability

Prospective students will compare programs offered with institutions in order to check their suitability.

The wide selection of courses, institute quality, international recognition of the degree, and availability of courses, entry requirements, costs and availability of financial support are the elements that influence the program evaluation.

Chapter 3 Research methodology

3.1 Introduction

This section describes the methodology which I did for my dissertation. The methodology consists of a mix of both primary and secondary data.

3.2. The target group

My target group in this research is Iranian student between 15 and over who currently are in the UK for studying. I choose this target group because they already have experience to choose UK for studying and came to UK and also have an experience about study in English school or university in the UK. I have worked in this field (transferring student to UK) for three years as a result I know many Iranian students in the UK and I am able to ask them.

3.3. Research philosophy

There are two mail research paradigms: Positivism and interpretive. This research follows the positivism philosophy. This perspective considers the study of consumers and marketing phenomena as scientific, such as in "the manner of natural sciences". The aim is to develop a hypothesis that can be generalised to an entire population by establishing laws to predict and explain marketing phenomena. This should be done using "fact" to focus on objectivity (Malhotra and Birks, 2007)

Positivism is alternatively called "Quantitative "which is justified, as it requires selecting large samples to generalise statistically.

The quantitative tools for data analysis generally borrow from the physical sciences, in that they are structured in such a way so as to guarantee (as far as possible), objectivity, generalizability and reliability (Creswell, 2003). Here the researcher is objective and the

Research results are numerical.

Why researcher choose quantitative method

There are two reasons why the researcher decided to use quantitative, instead of qualitative data analysis. The first is that the researcher had already identified the key determinants of operational success and wanted to test them through quantitative measure of employee and customer's opinions.

The second is that there was limited time to access enough number of Iranian students for depth interview.

3.4 Research strategy

The implementation of the research strategy should result from the objectives, existing knowledge and the research philosophy (Saunders et al., 2007).

The object of descriptive research is "to portray an accurate profile of persons, event or situations" (Robson 2002:59) .Each strategy can be used for exploratory, descriptive and explanatory research (Yin 2003).

The description is used for frequencies, averages and other statistical calculations. 

According to Creswell (2003),descriptive research measures the sample at a moment in time and simply describes the sample's demography. Although this is not seen as a statistically robust or difficult exercise, a good description of the variables helps the researcher evaluate the statistical output in the proper context.

3.5 Secondary Research

Secondary data refers to information already originated for purposes other than the present problem (Malhotra and Birks, 2007).

My secondary research is done through magazines; governmental reports such as Iran Ministry of Science, Research and Technology, British Council, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and the journals. Some of them were accesses through the university of London metropolitan university, database such as Emerald, Scirus website and Google Scholar. Journals representing the central elements in building the literature review.

3.6. Primary Research

Primary data corresponds to data collected for the "specific purpose at hand" (Kotler et al., 2002)

Primary data can be classified into two types of data: Quantitative and qualitative. The primary data have collected by questionnaire. Questionnaire will have a structured format allowing the results to be efficiently analysed. To aid this process I checked our work data base and found out Iranian students in the UK that we transferred to this country.

The questionnaire will focus on the objective relating to find out why and how Iranian students choose UK for continuing their study. I asked them why they think UK is the good chance for study and why did not stay at Iran for their study. Moreover, how they can choose their college or universities. The target audience for the questionnaire was students as they are study and currently are in the UK.

3.7. Data analysis method

3.7.1 Quantitative research Definition

Malhotra and Birks (2007) point out, as opposed to qualitative, quantitative research is a form of data collection techniques that seek to quantify information, and thus use numerical data. Also Kumar (2005) indicates that its collection method involve the use of systematic measurements and statistics. Questionnaire design

The survey techniques followed a structured data collection,which describes the preparation of a formal questionnaire where the question are set in a "prearranged order" (Malhotra and Birks,2007).

The researcher initially chose to use the "Google docs" to plan the questionnaire, collect and analyse data.

Google said:

"Google Docs is an easy-to-use online word processor, spreadsheet and presentation editor that enables you and your students to create, store and share instantly and securely, and collaborate online in real time. You can create new documents from scratch or upload existing documents, spreadsheets and presentations. There's no software to download, and all your work is stored safely online and can be accessed from any computer."

The questionnaire was presented in seven parts. The researchers used closed-ended questions. Closed-ended questions are quicker and easier to answer, the respondent are also easier to compare as they have been coded. (Saunders et al., 2007)

Researcher for making the questionnaire use elements that mentions before such as "push and pull" factors and some rhetorical model in international students decision making process such as ), personal reasons , country image , Institution image and program evaluation. Pilot test

Before administration of the final questionnaire, a pilot test has been conducted with the "Google docs" questionnaire, which enables the researcher to edit some questions and add new answers to help the participants understanding of the statements and therefore certify they do not have any problem to answer the survey. Questionnaire administration

The questionnaire has been designed self-administered, that respondents can complete it their own. They are easier than researcher-administered ones, which require more time.

In order to achieve a high number of respondents in a limited period of time, only web questionnaires were chosen. Certainly, they are convenient, low-cost and they can produce fast result .Also, web questionnaire also enabled the researcher to avoid entering most of the data manually collected with paper-format questionnaire.

Researcher have wide network of respondents matching the target, reaching 100 respondents was possible. Researcher work in this field (Transferring Iranian student to UK) for three years as a result he knows many Iranian students in UK.

3.8 Reliability and validity

Saunders (2007) defined reliability as "the extent to which the data collection techniques or analysis procedures yield consistent findings".

Also, De Vaus defined as, the reliability is the ability of separate researchers to come to similar conclusions using the same experimental design or participants in a study to consistently produce the same measurement.

3.9 Research ethics

Saunders et al., (2007) define ethics as the "moral principles, norms or standards of behaviour that guide moral choice about our behaviour and our relationship with others".

The researcher must guarantee that the system of project is conducted do not harm or morally impair any person involved in this study. Therefore, respondents' anonymity was respected when undertaking primary research. The researcher systematically ensures the volunteers the right to anonymity. There is not any questions were addressed to identify the respondent in the questionnaire. This enabled to encourage them to express the most honestly their opinion.


As this chapter has argued, the research methodology that is most suited for this study is a quantitative, deductive one which uses both primary and secondary data. The next chapter will present the results of the questionnaires handed out to both the customer and the employee groups and present the study's findings on the basis of these results.

Chapter 5: Conclusion and recommendation

5.1. Introduction

This chapter presents a summary of the findings, followed by a discussion of the study's results as related to the statement of the problem, purpose of the research, and the research question. Based on the analysis of data from Chapter Four, specific conclusions are presented. Limitations of the research are then discussed, followed by recommendations for future research.

5.2. Conclusion and recommendation

"push-pull" factors influence students' study destination choice, as a result, destination governments and their education institutions need to consider the value of the these factors. Also, the ability of a host country and its institutions to attract international students will gradually more depend on the "pull" factors that mentioned in previews chapter.

Why Iranian student decide to study overseas, also, what are the key factors for Iranian students that choosing UK for study?

Iranian student overseas decision making is influenced by a combination of push-pull factors. Push factors tend to be economic or political and appear to play a more significant role in choice of country. On the other hand, pull factors such as institutional reputation, international recognition of qualification, teaching quality and locational factors appear to exert greater influence on specific institutional choice.

There are combinations of "push-pull" factors that they influence Iranian students to choosing UK for study.

The international student decision process when selecting a final study destination appears to involve at least three separate steps.

In step one; the learner must decide to study internationally, rather than locally. This can be influenced by a series of "push" factors inside the home country.

In the second step, student selects a host country. In this step, "pull" factors become important. A host country is more attractive than another.

In step three, the student should decide to select an institution. There are ranges of extra "pull" factors make a particular institution more attractive than others. Some factors such as: range of courses, institution's reputation for quality, resources, staff expertise, market profile, degree of innovation, use of information technology and promotion and marketing efforts.

Intend to become permanent overseas resident, to improve career prospects, to improve my English language skills, wanted the experience of living overseas/cultural experience

What are the key factors for Iranian students that choosing college or university in UK?

There are many factors for Iranian student that choosing college or university in UK. For choosing university Reputation of the institution as a whole, University Ranking and City of this university and Accommodation facilities are the main reasons for Iranian students to choose their universities in UK. Moreover, for selecting colleges for study English course in UK, City of this institute, and Recommendation from agent and Accommodation facilities are main important factors for Iranian students to choose their English institutes in UK. University ranking is a significant factor for Iranian students to choosing UK University.

Also, personal recommendations are a major influence to Iranian student. Moreover, one of the most important factors influencing studies destination choice is quality of reputation. The result shows, quality of reputation is one of the significant important for Iranian student. This result suggests that the UK government need to invest in education to guarantee quality is maintained. Also, Institutions in UK need to ensure their marketing and promotion that show their high level of quality to international students.

Moreover, this research analysed the influence of the factors connected to the personal reasons, image of the country, image of the institution, the evaluation of the programs between Iranian students.

The university ranking is perceived as important by Iranian students. Among the communication options, media advertising is the least effective among Iranian students. Although ,we note that this requires further investigation.

Chapter 6: Limitation -Further research

The model developed here needs to be tested both quantitatively and qualitatively. A depth interview with Iranian student can be developing of examine the efficacy of the six element model among Iranian students

Data for this study was collected in UK and the findings reflect actual evaluations after students leave Iran to study abroad. The future research might be Iranian student in Iran that want to study in UK. It might be very helpful to understand push factors and country image between them.

In order to examine the views of pre-registered students, a combination of interviews and focus groups can be conducted with students still in Iran who are considering coming over to UK for higher education.

There are several limitations to this study that need to be addressed. The research does not include an in-depth review of the relationship between personal/cultural values and cultural competence.

Another limitation of the study centers on the sample.

Future studies could investigate whether there are significant differences across gender groups as this appears a potential important issue in country and university choice.

Moreover, this research has focused to UK for Iranian student however it might be better to compare and analyzse between UK and other English language competitors .

Finally the future research might be search about different group of students. Divided to students want to study bachelor degree or master degree.