Understanding Students Green Lifestyle English Language Essay

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Considering the deteriorating weather conditions, the DEFRA promote sustainable way in terms of business, products and service, and customers. Client brief, 2010. In order to correspond to the call of the DEFRA, the Environment Team at the University of Leicester (UL) need relevant information on perception of students at UL on green issues and their commitment to green lifestyle so that the UL can create green awareness and advocate green lifestyle among students at the UL. (Client brief, 2010)

Background literature

Currently, the existing studies on green consumer behaviour, which are written from diverging perspectives: demographic, motivational, and cognitive and psychological.

Table 1 Academic background literature

Social-demographic perspective

Different attitude and behaviour due to the level of income and education

Bord and O'Connor (1997) pointed out if people have lower level of education and income; they will not be active on the environmental protection and will be influenced by others easily. It indicates those kinds of people only obtain a faint green awareness.

Age and gender are the other factors affecting green consumption

Autio et al. (2009) used survey and focus groups to discover that Ladies are more environment-friendly. Roberts ( 1996) and Samdahl and Robertson ( 1989 ) hold the same opinion after investigating Finnsh young people. In addition, Kinnear et al. ( 1974 ) applied ethnography methods to discover that the elderly seems more green.

Lifestyle (psychological) perspective

Different psychological perspectives influence the degree of green behavior.

Kotler (1988) has divided green consumers into 3 main categories in terms of lifestyle: true-blue greens, greenback greens and sprouts. Finisterra do Pa ç o et al (2008) investigated in Portuguese consumers and discovered that the people who like to participate in community activities show more environmentally friendly behaviour. In terms of personaliy, "locus of control and alienation" have high correlation with environment concern and pro-environmental behaviour. (Finisterra do Pa ç et al.2008,P5).Meanwhile, Kinnearet al. ( 1974 ) investigated in North America, and made the similar results.

Motivational perspective

Webster (1975) pointed out that green consumers consider that their behaviour will influence the social changes. It indicates green consumers are motivated by high sense of social responsibilities to do green issues. However, Moisander (2007) argued that although green consumers gain high green responsibilities in primary motivation, selective motivations are so much that their behaviour has been influenced. For example, they select doing recycling and ignore saving. It indicates the frame of individual green consumption has some limitation and problems.

Cognitive perspective

Wagner (2003) discovered by qualitative methods that consumers used to choose products according to some information, such as such as price, package, and brand. However, Moisander (2007) argued that some low credibility information which will constraints on personal understanding so that consumer behaviour will be impacted. It indicates that some non-environmental activities may not come from internal factors, but external complicated information.

Opposite Opinion

Some existing studies still obtain some reserve opinions on green consumption. Alfredsson (2002) argued that individual green consumption may not change the change of climate. It is quite similar to "the Antihero", which discovered by Autio et al. (2009). Furthermore, United Nations (2006) continually supported the argument that every product has carbon emission. In addition, Autio, et al. (2009:41) also pointed out "'the means of green consumption is contested. Advice on which consumption patterns are 'green' is ambiguous, and subject to debate and change." It means that some people who purchase green products are manipulated by markers. It is not for green, but for commercial profits. , thus it is anarchist. Furthermore, individual habits bring more challenges to be healthy and sustainable green lifestyle. (Autio et al. , 2009)

All the above arguments provide different perspectives towards green consumption

PEST Marketing Environmental Analyse


The attitudes and behaviors on environmental protection has increased, but the commitment to pay a higher price for eco-products and service has declined

Majority of consumers still think they cannot bring a great extent to environmental problems

Money is the key issue to affect consumers' ability to make a significant difference when it comes to the environmental issues.

Some people still take non-environmental consideration when they buying, using and managing their disposal.

The higher level of economic anxiety consumers are, the more likely it is that consumers will engage with green lifestyle.

The green consideration relating to buying food and beverage is much low.

(Yankelovich, 2008)


The UK government published "The climate change Act" to release the situation of climate warming. (DEFRA, 2010).

The UK set climate projections and a FIVE-Point plan for the future's low-carbon life (DECC, 2010).

The UK government is considering encouraging all citizens to be vegetarian so that the greenhouse gas emission can be reduced and climate warming will be mitigated. (BBC,2009)

The UK government encouraged to sell organic food to reduce carbon emissions. (BBC,2009)

"The government had not done enough to tackle global warning." (BBC, 2006)

Those political issues suggest that those series of policies, especially for the individual will affect people's daily behavior.

For each of these factors, you need to analyse how they will impact on UOL and their green policy and then draw implications on what this research should focus on.

Operational/ Technological

The UL implicated some sustainable policies and carbon management plan. BIG GREEN WEEK is an activity which focuses on student at UL to engage green marketing. It is not just for profits, but more concerned about social environment. (Robert, 1996).

Combining heat and energy to design city scheme (Leicester, 2010).


The UK's future economy is still unknown. (BBC, 2009)

It indicates that the financial issues on tackling climate are tense that it will impact the implementation of the government's environmental program. It also suggest that personal financial problems will be more serious, which will affect their daily behavior.

The Gap of Knowledge and Research Focus

All above literature and secondary data from published external, databases sources can be used to obtain some relevant information on green consumption. Furthermore, it helps to confirm the research problems in a short time with a minimum cost. (Bryman and Bell, 2007). However, those studies focus on people from America, Finland etc, the specific population, the students at the UL, has not been covered. It is the information gap.

Therefore, further primary research is needed to dig original data. The population is the students at UL. (Client's brief, 2010).

Primary research can be done through quantitative and qualitative methods. (Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, 2009). However, comparatively, qualitative research methods are more suitable in further research. There are the following reasons. First, it links to the epistemological position as interpretivism . Considering qualitative research focus on words, it can be obtain richer and deeper data on students' insights so that their perception, behaviour and commitment to green lifestyle can be interpreted and understood. It is quite different from natural scientific model of quantitative research methods. Second, because of limited conceptual framework on the student's green living at the UL, qualitative research methods can develop theory by inductive view so that the information gap can be filled. The research will be led by multi-qualitative research methods, focus group and in-depth interview, to fill the information gap, as interviewees' behaviour, attitude can be observed. (Malhotra & Birks, 2006)

Marketing Decision Problem

The UL should made decisions to create awareness and conviction for students at the UL to greener lifestyle.

Marketing Research Problem

There is a lack of understanding how students at the UL perceive green issue and the degree of green commitment

Research Needs:

Based on the research problem, the following information was focused:

understanding and perceive on green consumption

Students' current lifestyle in terms of buying, using and disposing products and service

The motivation towards their daily life

Key barriers to engage with green lifestyle


Research Aim

The aim of the research is to explore the students' choice and behaviour in buying, using and disposing products and service in their daily lives at the University of Leicester.

Research objectives

In order to achieve above aims, more specific research objectives have been followed, which focus on the students at the UL.

To gain insight of students' understanding and perception of issues surrounding "green lifestyle"

To determine the factors/motivations towards their green lifestyle

To understand to what extend the current lifestyle of students at the University of Leicester reflect their perceptions and motivations

To determine the key barriers that may prevent students engaging with green lifestyle and consumption.

To determine the recommendations to improve their green lifestyle


The Nature of Research

Considering the secondary data of understanding of the UL students' perception and behavior on green issue is lacking, it is quite suitable to engage with exploratory research. Because it is to discover new social insights and evaluate social phenomenon from a new perspective.(Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, 2009 & Robson, 2002).

Furthermore, because the aim of the research is to explore students' choice and behaviour in terms of buying, using and recycling products and services, therefore, everyone has their own characteristic rather than objects, thus "ones' mind is ones' world" (Holden and Lynch, 2004:400). Hence, the assumptions of subjectivist can be led. In such situation, relevant epistemological stance is that knowledge cannot be discovered so that it is necessary to relate all information about the UL students' green lifestyle and make subjective interpretation. Therefore, the research is led by an epistemological stance of interpretivism, which "is necessary for the researcher to understand differences between humans in our role as social factors". (Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, 2009, P116). It is opposite with positivism, which is "law-like generalisations". (Remenyi, et al. 1998, P 32). In such situation, it is necessary to interpret and understand the students' choice and behavior so that the research aim will be achieved.

In addition, due to there is little hypothesis of green lifestyle for students at the UL needed to test; it indicates that relevant themes will be emerged from data interpretation. Therefore, the inductive research theory was employed. It is building theory based on thought and observation due to limited existing theoretical framework (Bryman and Bell, 2007) on students green lifestyle at the UL.

In terms of research methods, qualitative research methods will be conducted, because it contains the social view and links to inductive research theory. (Wagner,2003). Furthermore, qualitative research methods can be effective to achieve exploratory research purpose. Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill (2009) supported comparing with quantitative research methods, qualitative methods can be used to exploring, understanding and answer new social phenomenon. Although Bryman and Bell (2007) argue that qualitative methods are too subjective, richer and deeper data can be obtained so that research objectives can be met.

In terms of time horizons, multiple Cross-sectional designs (Malhotra and Birks, 2007) were involved to assess participants at a single time. (Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, 2009). Furthermore, Because of time constraints for the research, the multiple cross-sectional designs are more time-consuming than longitudinal designs.

Data Collection Methods

The research was undertaken by multi-method qualitative studies: two focus groups and two In-depth interviews.

Focus group is a group interview conducting by non-structure and natural manner. (Malhotra and Birks, 2007). The interview is a traditional method to gain insights and understand social phenomenon. (Morgan, 1988). Thus, the objectives of exploratory and understanding can be achieved. Meanwhile, comparing with other qualitative methods, focus group can observe students as more as possible within limited time, and the information will be more spontaneity. (Morgan, 1988). Therefore, the information on students' lifestyle can be obtained directly. Thus the objectives can be achieved. Moreover, it is noble that the methods can not only interview the opinion from the participants, but also can gain information from their argument. Thus it is serendipity. (Morgan, 1988). Therefore, through analysing their arguments, different perception, motivations and barriers surrounding green lifestyle can be understood.

However, it is undoubted that sometimes, it is hard to reflect which participants answer the questions when doing discussion among groups. Therefore, two in-depth interviews were engaged as well so that the each responds can directly link to interviewees. Furthermore, in-depth interview can explore deeper information on the students' green lifestyle than focus group.

The in-depth interviews were carried after the focus groups. Because through exploring data by focus group, some omitted questions can be found out. (Morgan, 1988). Therefore, it could collect more comprehensive information.

Moreover, the triangulation with focus groups and in-depth interviews can improve the total quality of research project. (Malhatra and Birks, 2007)

Rationale and Procedure of Sampling

The target samples are students at the UL, which was divided into two groups: green consumers and non-green consumers. Therefore, the data can be correlated and used to compare and contrast different perception and behaviour on green lifestyle so that the objectives of exploring and understanding can be achieved.

Non-probability technique of judgmental sampling was applied, which based on the judgment of researcher (Malhotra and Birks, 2007). In the situation, researcher can choose interviewees according to research topic so that the research results can be more accurately and adaptability. (Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, 2009 ). However, there is a limitation of sampling errors. (Malhotra and Birks, 2007). In order to reduce the sampling errors,question on the topic was asked to students at the UL before making judgment (Appendix 4).

In terms of the size of focus groups, each groups had seven participants. It is because small size of sampling can be controlled more easily. Furthermore each student's experience and understanding on green issue can be heard clearly. However, the main limitation is that the students' interactions are more significant. (Morgan, 1988).

Research Procedure

The type of questions of focus groups and in-depth interviews were semi-structure questions. It is because this type of question can not only avoid the inflexibility of structural questions, but also can make up the limitations of non-structural question, which are time-consuming and energy-consuming. (Malhotra and Birks, 2007). Furthermore, Morgan (1988) stated that semi-structural questions are widely used in exploratory research so that the objective of exploratory can be achieved. The interviews were begun by introductory questions, as participants can easily understand the purpose of the research in comfortable way. (Ghauri and Gronhaug, 2005). Furthermore, transition questions were engaged to interview participants' the experience of green lifestyles. It is an effective way to connect participants with the research topic-green lifestyle together. Then, key questions were designed, as deeper insights of students' perception, behaviour and key barriers to green issues can be explore and understand. It was explored from choosing transportation, buying eco-products, energy and water consumption and recycling. Moreover, probing was used in the stage to justify general views. (Malhotra and Birks, 2007).During the interviews, recoding and note taking was engaged in order to re-listen the interviews and take some non-verbal cues. (Ghauri and Gronhaug, 2005).

The library at the UL was chosen to engage the interviews, because the familiar location can make participants more comfortable and raise their views more freely.

Furthermore, it should be mentioned that two groups of homogeneous participants was selected in focus group by asking question beforehand. (Appendix 4).Based on their answers, participants was classified into two groups: green consumers and non-green consumers. Those two groups were conducting separately, because it can directly compare the discussion from different categories. Furthermore, in order to make up the limitation of small sizes, "food exercise" and "recycling quiz"(Appendix 3) were conducted; PowerPoint guide was used (Appendix 6) as those can create an active discussion atmosphere.

Ethical Concerns

In terms of ethics, all the participants have been noticed that their conversation would be confidential, anonymous and be recording. Furthermore, the aim and objectives of the focus group have been mentioned in the beginning as well. In addition, consent forms (Appendix 7) have been filled by participants.

Data Analysis

Hermeneutic phenomenology data analysis method was employed. The goal of the method is to describe and explain the meaning of living experience of phenomenon or theme under research. (Thompson et al, 1994). Considering the research is to describe and understand the core structure of students' daily living experience, the data analysis method can be used to show both description and interpretation of students' daily lifestyle, in order to emerge key themes. It is not only satisfied research aim and objectives, but also meets the characteristic of inductive research theory.

The data has been transcripts from recording. (Appendix 2).During the process, it is not just interested in what they said, but more concentrate on how they said, such as gesture, tone. It is because those non-verbal communications can reflect participants' potential psychology and improve the accuracy of data analysis. (Morgan, 1988). The data analysis is manually. Considering the assumption is subjectivist so that individual (researcher) assumption, experience and background literature would influence the data collection and interpretation, therefore, regularly addressing data modified individual pre-conceptual. Thus, it brought revised understanding about students' perception and behaviour surrounding green lifestyle. In order to interpret the data more accurately, Coding was used to divide data into categories. (Bryman and Bell, 2007). The process is significant because it make the scattered data be meaningful.(Malhatra and Birks, 2007).

Furthermore, through familiar with participants' words, meaning and feeling, the analysis was engaged by interpret each individual lifestyle to the narratives of the whole participants. Thus, it is hermeneutic circle. During the analysis, memo was used to note some initial ideas, (Appendix 5), which is a useful tool to move from data description to interpretive level. (Bryman and Bell, 2007).

In addition, narrative discourse linguistic analysis was used during line-by-line analysis. Considering the qualitative data is full of word, therefore, it is necessary to put meaning and insight into interviewees' language, actions so that uncovered social reality (Bryman and Bell, 2007), the UL student's perception and behaviour on green lifestyle, was obtained. Through the narrative analysis, the way in which the participants tell their experience was detected (Bruner, 2005). Furthermore, because our samples are multi-culture, the narrative analysis was used to detect how different culture backgrounds affect their language. (Bruner, 2005).

During the period of formulating themes, the data was synthesized with background literature, so that the broad themes about the UL students' perception, behaviour and barriers on green lifestyle were developed, which met the aim and objectives of the research.


Through data collection and analysis from two focus groups and in-depth interviews, 5 key themes has been emerged. (1) The different perception and understanding surrounding green lifestyle depends on whether they are voluntary or forced. (2) Financial factors influence students' choosing green transportation and buying eco-products. (3) Habits cause different level of commitment to use energy and water in green way. (4) Pursuing convenience is key factors that impact on their motivation to be recycling. (5) The key barrier to prevent the students' from engaging with green lifestyle and consumption are lack of education

Theme 1: The different perception and understanding surrounding green lifestyle depends on whether they are voluntary or forced

Through analysis and comparison between green and non-green respondents, it can be summed up that whether students engage with green lifestyle voluntarily or not leads total different understanding on green lifestyle.

"It's not all about resources. Being green is all about using your share, and no more. So if you live, do not use too many resources. That's my point of view. You shouldn't use any more than you need, to live, basically, the using more resources we have, is not sustainable. I try to do that every day. There is be a time that resources run out. What you gonna to do then? There is no resource, so that's my opinion. But each person has had their own kind of level of how many resources they using. And you know, not use too much." (Danny, 34 PHD)

Based on Danny's view, due to he is voluntary to be save resource and engages in green lifestyle, so that he thinks being green is a common sense. It can be beneficial to society and to humanity. Danny says the word "resources" for 6 times repeatedly. It indicates the rational usage of resources is the fundamental issue to implement green consumption. Furthermore, Danny uses a question "What you going to do then?" to emphasize his view. It reflects that Danny argue against excessive consumption. He shows a high sense of social responsibility. However, Alvin raises his view on total opposite way.

"Totally I don't think individual green lifestyle can change something. So…… Yes, government and some institutions promote the green thinking. But, even I do some green issues; it is just because of social and legal pressure. For example, I do recycling only because my friends, who are very environmentally friendly, urge me under pressure. Is it a green lifestyle for me? How ridiculous it is. I believe the lifestyle is an individual issue. As a human being, I can do a little thing. I can't think too much. So I think I just need to focus on the ones that will impact our lives mostly, rather than being green necessarily." (Alvin, 24. New Media and Society, Postgraduate)

Here, Alvin conveys his view totally different from Danny's opinion because of forced by social and legal pressure. From his view, it reflects that Alvin's perception on green lifestyle is that it cannot direct positive effect on the changing of climate. Furthermore, the "SO…" implies that he is not commitment to green lifestyle. Moreover, Furthermore, it can be identified he pays more attentions on his own needs. It means that Alvin's perception on green lifestyle stay in his own level due to force by social group. Therefore, he reflects less social responsibility than Danny. It also implies that he has a resistance to pressure. Moreover, the objectives, "ridiculous" indicates Alvin holds suspected attitude on green consumption. It can be linked with background literature from Alfredsson (2002) holding reserved attitude on green consumption. Moreover, when he says the last words, he slows his speech rate and rising tone. It means that he wants to emphasis his reservations about the green lifestyle.

The following themes are emerged through exploring motivations of choosing, buying, using and recycling, and analyse them by combining the students' understanding and perception on green issue.

Theme 2: Financial factors influence students' choosing green transportation and buying eco-products

Buying Eco-products

When the subject of environmental-friendly products was brought up, almost all the respondents show low commitment. The price factors are the key issue. It can be related with the findings by Yankelovich (2008), which suggested that money is the key issue for consumers' commitment to purchasing eco-products.

"Well, I don't concern whether they are eco-products or not when I buy them. I just consider the things that affect me a lot. Now, price is the key issue, because I am just a student, and I have no ability to earn money. If I were very rich, I will take them into consideration. For example, I have a flatmate who seems in her 30s'. She can buy the organic food frequently, but we don't. I think the consumption ability is a crucial factor. Yes, it is my point. Furthermore, in terms of package, I prefer the large package because…you know, it is too inconvenient for us to buy products here. Large package is quite suitable for us. And generally, large package is much cheaper than minimal and recyclable package. Parents earn money uneasily so that I cannot waste them..." (Zhang, 23, Management, undergraduate student)

Here, Zhang makes comparison and contrast with her flatmate to express that if she can afford the price of eco-products, she is willing to buy them. It indicates at the moment she is not committed to buy eco-products. Furthermore, when she talks about her consumption ability, she expresses a feeling of helpless. It can be linked to the secondary data by Wagner (2003), who discovered consumers based on some information, such as price to choose products. Moreover, she revealed a sense of guilt when she said something about her parents. Based on her views, Zhang expresses that being green living should be concerned her own interests and shows weak understanding on the benefits of eco-products on environment. Although this is the major reason, Pie raised his views and showed an opposite opinion.

"Eco-products? It depends…It depends… For example, I won't buy organic meat. Not because it is much expensive than ordinary one, but because often the animals don't get any medicine would get ill. So in terms of welfare, organic form is not always the best! A lot of organic forms are good, but some of them are not. It depends on what they are. After all, they are benefits for the environment" (Pie, 24 Management, Postgraduate)

Here, Pie takes organic meat as an example to support his point. He thinks the natural of the product is the key factors. Based on his voice, it is obvious that he thinks buying organic food is good for environment. It indicates his perception on buying eco-products reflects a sense of social responsibility. Furthermore, it is clear that he has enough ability to afford the price of eco-products. And the sentence "It depends on what they are" shows that he has considered buying organic meat. However the bad organic form led his low commitment to buy them. It revealed that although Pie has a high sense of social responsibility in terms of understanding green lifestyle, the low credit external information causes his non-green behaviour in terms of buying eco-products sometimes. It can be linked to the cognitive studies by Moisander (2007), who shows the similar argument.

Choosing transportation

When asked the methods to go and leave the university, almost all the respondents say walking. Furthermore, they illustrated a sense of high commitment for walking in the future. There into, cost-saving is the main reason.

"I walk; I walk everywhere, walk way to the city centre. The only time I take bus is when I go to Odbey because it is a bit far, ha-ha, for me to walk. But I actually have a couple of friends who walk all the way from Odbey to the university because they want to save money. Yes, so they usually walk. But, yes, that's a…That's the only time I take bus as I told you. Of course, I consider buying a bike, but it's too expensive here. So I am willing to walk." (Sam, 27, Management, Postgraduate)

Here, it is obvious that Sam explains his reason for walking from the financial perspective. Furthermore, he cites examples of his friends to support his point of view. It reflects that the price factor is the primary motivation for students at the UL in the choice of transportation. And the repeated words, "I walk, I walk" indicates that he likes walking and shows high commitment to continue going and leaving the university by foot. However, Stu shows the opposite view in terms of choosing transportation go and leave the university.

"Of course, I prefer to walk to and leave the university. I lived in the university accommodation. It only takes me 10 minutes to walk to and leave the university. So why do I need to change the other transportation. Furthermore, if I buy a cycle, I need to find place to park. It is much inconvenient. So I insist on walking." (Stu, 30, MBA)

Both the beginning and the coda show Stu's firmly stand to walk to and leave the university because of short distance. Furthermore, he correlates walking with bike to support his view. It indicates he chooses walking rationally. Moreover, it means that the behavior cannot be changed easily, which revealed high commitment.

Theme 3: Habits cause different level of commitment to use energy and water in green way

When the subject of energy and water consumption was brought up, the habits were the key issues that many respondents talked about. It directly reflects different level of commitment to save energy and water.

"I think using washing machine may the largest place to waste energy and water. But I used to wash clothes by hand, especially personal clothing. In general, I will not use the washing machine. Ha-ha. After all, the resources are limited. In the way, it cannot only save water and electronic,but also can practice self-ability. I think all of us should do that." (Irene, 24 MSc Marketing)

Here, Irene took washing machine as an example to explain that her green behaviour in terms of water and energy consumption is a kind of habit. The "ha-ha" revealed a sense of proud. It also indicates she will continue to do that and have high commitment to persuade others to save energy and water. Furthermore, based on her voice, her perception on green lifestyle in terms of energy and water consumption is a useful thing for society because she does them from her heart. It reflects her high social responsibility.

"It's a habit…It's a habit. For example, I used to turn the lights on when I go to the bed. Moreover, I will put lights on if I went out because it can bring me a sense of security. Of course, I know, it may waste a lot of energy, but it is a habit. Yes. For me, it's hard to change."(Mina, 25 management)

Mina repeatedly emphasized the word "habit", which indicates that her personal habits restrain her green behaviour. It concurs with the secondary literature that individual habits bring challenges to be green lifestyle. (Autio et al., 2009). Moreover,Mina's words reflect that her understanding on green lifestyle is totally different from Irene's. She believes lifestyle should focus on personal needs. Furthermore, she reflects there are limited relationships between saving energy and environmental protection in her mind. Furthermore, according to his last sentence, it reveals she won't commit to manage his carbon emission in terms of saving energy.

Theme 4: Pursuing convenience is key factors that impact on their motivation to be recycling

Most students cite that they will do some simple classifications, but other rubbishes they do not used to recycle because recycling is time-consuming and inconvenient.

I think for a can, I would recycle it. Other rubbish I would just put into a rubbish bin. I think it is very inconvenient when you have several bins and you should separate from one to another. It's very hard to deal with. You see, there four kinds of bin and you have to deal with different rubbish. (Hebe, 23, Computer, Postgraduate)

Here, it is clear that although Hebe said she would recycle can, she mentioned other rubbish with a sort of irritated mood. She though doing recycle is complex and time-consuming. It indicates that he may have the ability to do recycle, but his subjective desire cause his low commitment to do recycle. It can be reflected that he thought green issues as inconvenience. However, Mini showed total different opinion.

"Well, can't be specific enough, since usually the rubbish I throw in my room is just the regular stuff…like cans… yes, the kitchen should have separated bins can improve a lot. I don't know why we don't have enough landfill, and I even haven't seen the recycle for paper…yes, if there is… I will do that because it is an effective way to protect environment, isn't it? (Mini, 22, Management, Undergraduate)

It is obvious that the lack of facilities lead to his non-green behaviour. The sentence, "yes, if there is… I will do that" indicates Mini's high commitment for recycling in the future daily life. Here, Mini shows her perception on green lifestyle that it is a way to protect environment, which reveals her high social responsibility.

Theme 5: The key barrier to prevent the students' from engaging with green lifestyle and consumption are lack of education

The subject is combined the above theme to discuss. The major respondents believed that the lack of education is the key barrier for them to commit to greener living.

"Education, yes, education. I think the basic issue is lacking green awareness. Thus, it is lack of education. Yes, I think lacking of education is the key barriers for students to be green. It comes from two perspectives: family and school. For example, my parents taught me how to manage and recycle the waste disposal when I was a child. And they also set an example. To be honest, I am not a super greener, but I am sure I am a real greener. In terms of the education in the university, the education about environmental protection is just developed. So, the relevant educational experience on being greener is limited, which leads many students don't know how to contribute the environmental. Yes, the BIG GREEN WEEK seems a good idea, but I think they need more promotion." (Zheng, 22 management)

Zheng used "yes" repeatedly to affirm that the lack of education is the current key barrier for the UL students to engage with greener living. Furthermore, he shared his own experience to illustrate the importance of education. However, when he spoke about some students who do not know how to be greener, he expressed a sense of pity. On the other hand, he proposed to step up promotion for BIG GREEN WEEK to improve students' awareness of environmental protection. This is not only a good suggestion for future green education, but also reflects his great degree of concern on the green issues. Although lack of education can be seen as the main barrier for students at the UL to commit to greener lifestyle, Cacy showed the different perspective.

"I believe that I am a greener. I am used to saving energy and water; I usually recycle disposal. And I will bring empty bottles to the University and throw them into the special containers when every class. However, sometimes, I can't do that. For example, there is just one large rubbish bin in our kitchen. How frustrating it is. Meanwhile, there is something problems on our harem. Whenever I'd like to turn it off, it won't be shut. The water was wasted in this way…you know. It is too bad. I think the University should improve relevant facilities to reduce barriers to be green" (Cacy, 24, Accounting)

Based on the Cacy's narrative, it can be identified she can be said as a greener, who likes do recycling and have high commitment to save water. Similar as Zheng, Cacy proposes a suggestion for being green lifestyle, improving facilities. However, the word "frustrating" indicates that the inadvanced facilities bring her perplex when she was engaging with green behaviour. Furthermore, when she spoke about the water wasting, it can be identified she cannot endure such behaviour.


The key themes suggest that the students' understanding of green consumption and green lifestyle emerged two opposed perspectives. Whether students are voluntary to being green or not reflects different understanding and perception on green lifestyle. Generally, students, who engage with green lifestyle voluntarily, consider that individual green lifestyle is useful for the society and environment. They think all of us should do that and don't waste any extra resources. Comparatively, other students, who are forced by social and legal pressure, show individual green lifestyle cannot change the environment too much. They believe being life should consider their own interest, which reflect negative attitude on green issues. The key theme answers the first objective.

Moreover, based on the themes 2-4, it can be identified financial issue, individual habits and convenience issues are the key factors, which affect students to be "green" in terms of choosing, purchasing, using energy and water and recycling. Furthermore, those three themes suggest that those selective motivations (i.e. saving money, less time consuming et.) and different perception on green lifestyle may lead students' at the UL to different behaviour and level of commitment in terms of choosing, buying, using and recycling. Those ideas have answered the aim and third objectives of the research. Moreover, 2 main barriers for green lifestyle and consumption have been explored: lack of education and facilities. Therefore, the theme answered the fourth objectives. Furthermore, students suggest that enhancing promotion on green issues and improving facilities can improve being green lifestyle in the future in certain extension, which answer the last objective. Specific recommendation to the client will be shown in the following part.


Green week is a good activity and tool to create awareness and teach students to how to be green lifestyle. But relevant promotion need to be improved so that every students can understand and participant into it.

To improve facilities both in the dormitory and on campus. For example: add more rubbish bin with clear instruction to guide students how to do that.

Need to strengthen environmental protection education so that students can be cultivating a sense of green awareness.

Further conclusive research is needed. (Appendix 8).


Considering the assumption of the research is subjectivism,therefore, it cannot be avoid subjective judgement when doing data analysis. When doing data analysis, secondary data was correlated to avoid the limitation. Furthermore, the other main limitation of the research is that it lacks the conclusive results because the research is exploratory research project. Although it should be admitted that the qualitative data is rich and deep so that the UL students' insights can be explored, it is hard to reach conclusion. It is because the current sample is too small and qualitative data cannot be quantified. The suggested further research should be conducted by conclusive research by large represented sampling. The quantitative research should be based on the findings from preliminary research-exploratory research. The suggested further questionnaire has been shown in appendix 8.

In order to ensure the data quality, background literature was investigated so that relevant knowledge can be understood. It is one of the effective ways to ensure the data accuracy. Furthermore, the research design was discussed within team group so that the data can be ensured availability and reliability. Moreover, recording was applied during the research process; Member checking was engaged with when doing transcripts. Those ways can bring more opportunities to correct mistakes and ensure the data would be more reliability and validity. At the end, the most appropriate data was chosen when analysing and reporting so that the data quality was improved.


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Appendix 1

Focus Group Interview Guide

Introduction Checklist

Greet your participants

Explain the research purpose

Tell participants the time for the focus group

Introduce who is the client. Explain that they are observing the interview to help them get first-hand experience of the customer's views.

Seek permission for video or filming

Explain there is no right or wrong answer. But it is absolutely vital to give spontaneous answer.

Explain it will be confidential

Ask participants if they have any questions

Good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to our focus group interview. My name is Irene and the other researcher is Sovia. This interview is to explore your attitude and daily behavior to green issues. The University of Leicester is client, who is observing the interview to help them get first-hand experience of the customer's views. The focus group will be lasted for 1and half an hour.

So, everyone, here to permit video or filming?

OK, all your information will be confidential. It will only be showed to our tutor.

There is no right or wrong answer. But it is absolutely vital to give spontaneous answer.

So, are there any questions so far?

Warm up sessions (15')

Beginning with Name relay. (From right anti-clock wise).

Using name card

Let's begin by telling us your names and where you come from.

Please write your name on Name Card

General discussion

Objective: To understand /Barries (30')

Why don't you think you are greeners?

What's the real green lifestyle in your mind?

Why don't you take actions to green lifestyle? (Barries)

Are you committed to become to a 'green lifestyle'.

What should be done to help students live green?

Daily life (1 hour)

Objective: To explore students' lifestyle both at home and on campus.

Now, let's know each other deeply. In the second section, we want to explore your daily life both at home and on campus. It will be divided into 4 parts: food, transportation, energy saving and recycling.


How would you best describe your daily diet?

Firstly, let's begin with a bit exercise to know your daily diet. I have given out diet exercise already. Please choose your daily food.


Is it organic food?

--Yes: Great, how often do you buy them? Why do you think organic food is better? What's the difference between organic food and common food?

--No: Why, as …mentioned, organic food is …., so why not?



yours are common style. So, generally speaking, Compare with men/women…..

So, guys, Would you like to purchase food with recyclable or minimal packaging?


How do you go to school?


(For reducing carbon emission, for keeping fit, saves money on gym)


(For reducing carbon emission, for keeping fit, save money on gym, safety than motor)


(Too far away from university; no like walking/cycling; saving time)


(Convenience, high carbon emission, to far from school, no bus stop)


Would you like to change your transportation to and from university to reduce carbon emission?


Before asking questions, there is a bit game to let me know your recycling knowledge.

It seems almost know how to manage your waste disposal. Well, how many your guys are used to recycling? Both at home and on campus, or either do it?

If not, why you don't do recycling, cause you seems know how to do that.


Energy saving

How do you save energy, such as water, electricity on campus?

How do you save energy, such as water, electricity at home?

(Bills cover, Can it be a barrier for you to keeping saving energy?)


It is the end of our interview. Thank you for your attending. Indeed, your opinions are really valuable for our research.

Is there anything you think that we have not covered?

As mentioned earlier, we will retain your anonymity and privacy. Before you go, we would like to present you with gifts

Appendix 2

Focus Group Transcript

Moderator: Irene and Sovia

Date of the focus group: 28 November 2010

Time of the focus group: 13:00-14:30


Good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to our focus group interview. My name is Irene and the other researcher is Sovia. This interview is to explore your attitude and daily behavior to green issues. The University of Leicester is client, who is observing the interview to help them get first-hand experience of the customer's views. The focus group will be lasted for 1and half an hour.

So, everyone, Can we take recordings?

OK, all your information will be confidential. It will only be showed to our tutor.

There is no right or wrong answer. But it is absolutely vital to give spontaneous answer.

So, are there any questions so far?

Let's begin our focus group.

Q: Who you are

First, so who are you? And, just maybe you can talk about your hobbies, your studies, such as these matters. So, who are the volunteer to introduce you firstly?

A: Lady first, I think


C: Hello, my name is Cynthia from China. And, I am studying in Financial Economics, postgraduate. And my hobby…I think… I am interested in.. no I am crazy about travelling. Yes, I like travelling everywhere.. yes…en …what else. What else you have mentioned?

M: Maybe, you can tell us you are crazy with …

C: Yes, travelling. I taught you.

M: How about others

C: eating, but not cooking (laughing). Yeah, just eating.

M: eating someone else cook for you. And another guy? Yes, you have the right to choose who you want to know.

C: that guy, lady first. Yes please

A: Ok, my name is Alvin. I am from China as well. I am studying in new media and society.

M: so simple?

A: I love sports, and I do exercise every day. Almost every night..

SA: What sports you do?

A: Gym, because I don't have much time for other sports

C: can you show us your muscle?

A: I don't have very big muscle.

P: only small one

M: Yeah, I think you have muscle.

CA: And his face is always red.

M: yes, full of energy. And you have the right to choose the following one.

SA: Ok, my name is Sam. I am doing PHD in math and computer science. And my main hobby is cars. Anything related to cars. I would like to eat other people's food. (Laughing)

M: eating others food is common hobby I find. And then you choose the other guy.

CA: I am Cacy, from the US. And I am doing the master in international relationships.

M: You can do a survey from our focus group.

CA: Probably yes, this is the international relationship, I guess. I like cooking, I like dancing, hip-hop. Yeah. I like cats. A lots.

P: do you have cats?

CA: at home. Not in our dormitory.

M: ok, you choose the other guy.

SU: Hello, everyone. You can call me sun, like sunshine, and I come from Beijing, China. And my hobby, a lot of things, and when I came to Leicester, I joined a karate club. And each week, I have two lessons to practice karate. And on Monday, I hurt my knee, So, sometimes, it's so strong, but I enjoy it.

M: I think you like Challenge in your life .

CA: Sum likes muscleXX also.

A: which kind of ..

SU: the same as judo.

CA: Is it the same as boxing?

M: no …taikundo

SU: I like Japanese kongshoudao.

M: and you can choose the next guys?

P: ok, my name is pie,P-I-E.


M: Apple Pie.

P: then ,you can eat me. I am from Shanghai, China. The reason my name is pie is because the middle of my Chinese name is bing. It means pie. (Laughing)

M: you like this kind of food. So you name is pie. You want to eat yourself.

P: because it is the nickname from my girlfriend. My hobby is do some exercises, but not gym, do some running. And I like watching movies. I have watched for at least one thousand movies.

M: and the last one

I: Well, my name is Irene. My hobby is almost same as Cynthia. I like Travelling and eating, but also I like cooking especially. Some of my hometown food, I am quite good at it. Also, I like swimming. If you know any places is good for swimming, you can make recommend for me, cause I can't find a good place, which is cheap, clean and near my accommodation.

CA: what about the gym. Oadby.

I::Is it expensive?

CA: I don't know. I am not sure.

IR:the one in our campus is too expensive

M: Maybe, you can go there to have a check.

IR: It may be over 30 pounds per month…and you should keep the contract for over 3 months.

M: yes, it's really a big bill.

Q2 Now, we have know each other. We can begin our topic. Just discuss did you attend the big green week?

All: shake head.

M: no? do you know that? Because there are a lot of activities.

C: Yes, I saw it

SA: Yes, there is in a café.

M: yeah, A big..

C: There are so many things, sausages, bread, or anything, cakes.

M: do you know other events?

C: I don't know

M: How about you, Sam?

SA: yeah, I think it is a carbon cube

SU: in the front of the library

M: do you have any other idea about that?

SA&C: no, just see that

M: how about others, you know, it last a week. A lot of activities.

C: E. en...it's none of my business. (Why? You are the student of our university). Well, I think…(what's the reason) a… yes. you asked me whether I am a greener or not a greener. I think, I am not a greener. (So you don't take care of the big week, cause it says green , so you don't care that.). Yes… Maybe.

M: how about you?

P: I went to the Queen's Hall…(Sorry, lady first)

SU: yes, I knew it. But the big green week, I was so busy with my essay (just during this period of time, you are busy with your essay) yes. so I didn't have enough time. (If you have time, you will attend to …). Yes, I must.

M: How about you?

A: I just notice there is a big box outside the library. I thought there was something in that, finally I found it just a box.

Q: don't you learn something new from the big green week. Did you get some books from the big green week?

CA: I didn't know anything about it

M: Did you get a book just for the Big Green Week?

C: yes, I get a book. (did you read that?). No.

CA: No, I didn't get that book.

PIE: you didn't go to the library?

CA: my brother was visiting …from the US. So, I don't know.

M: but it was sent all round our university in that week. You didn't receive that? Maybe, they should be responsible for that.

A: I think they mostly sent outside the library.

M: But in the front of student union, and other building, I also see that. So why you didn't get that. so you didn't know some new or interesting about the big green week

CA: I mean I am not super green. But I am a very green person, but I didn't know about that. I didn't hear anything about it.

I didn't go to the café.

C: what activities did they have apart from…

A: send gifts

I: I got a lot of gifts from the big green week, like the pencil box and recycle bags. It is very useful.

M: you get some gifts, did you learn something new about how to protect the environment or how to reduce you carbon footprint.

I: yeah, I did, because before the big week, I just throw the rubbish into the basket, after that I notice there are some classification, rubbish bin in our campus. So I will throw it according to the guidelines, But there are something, well, you see during the big green week, there is a big footprint cube in front of the library, but I don't know what is for. It just stand there for show, not any..

M: why didn't you find the answer?

I: I try…(but no one can tell you?).yes. It just stay there for the whole week. I don't what did it for( SA: and it disappear.)

M: all right, now we just talked about the big green week. Then Just think about what's the green lifestyle in your mind.

C: recycle everything. Like bottle, (If you can recycle that thing, you must recycle. It is the green lifestyle in your mind? )Yes. (How about others)

A: switch off the lights. I always do that, because the electricity bills is very expensive. (If you should not pay the bill, you will not…) I will think about it. (How about other guys)

I: Well I may go some place on foot instead of bus. (This is green lifestyle in your mind?) Yes.

SA: that raises an interesting question. Because bus can do that journey whether you ….or not. So maybe you should get a bus.

IR: cause I study from niche staff from everyday life

CA: Also they catch up how many the bus every year, depends on how many people live there..so you might keep fitting..

M: So what' s your opinion toward the green lifestyle?

CA: I think, you know you should do recycling, so looking for waste improved. Like our house has plastic, glass, paper recycling, but not metal. So, Sometime, we save every one's cans and bring them to the campus recycling. I think we need cans recycling in our houses as well.

M: Sure, how about you?

SU: If you go to the supermarket, you bring your green bag instead of plastic bags, and go travelling, cycling and walking intead of by airplane, bus. (but sometime you should by the air) yes, (you mean if you can, you will reduce the consumption of airplane), Cycling around the world is a new lifestyle.(CACY: yes, I think so)

I: where are you going to deal with the can when you collected it.

CA: where to take it? En, we go to Edinburg building, there is a can instead of plastic can, glass.

I: Is it far away from the campus?

CA: We live on Regent Road, so we just walk to campus, not every far. ten minutes.

I: so do you think it brings you some inconvenience.

CA: I guess it doesn't have to cause when I came to class I can bring it , when I came to the campus anyway. I would like to do it. It meight be helpful. But a lot of people in our building don't know the cans bin ,so they throw the cans away. So if we had the bin for cans in house, more people will recycle them. But we should go to the accommodation office about that.

I: will you tell anyone in the accommodation? Ask them to do this?

CA I think I have mentioned a couple of people, we should probably put box in our kitchen for people to bring cans into it(Maybe, you can make a notice fliers to do that..)

P: Maybe, our school can published your great activities

I: What's the motivation for you to do this?

CACY: E. I don't know.

A: what about if you live far from the Edinburgh building? For example, it will take you 30 minutes from your home to Edinburgh building. Will you take cans with you.

CACY: I think just do when you come to the class, or according you schedule. In your building like someone go to class on Tuesday, they can take glass to campus.

M: How about other items? We should do to live green.

P: I think government could make some regulations, rules to encourage people. If you don't use too much electricity, they can get free electricity. If you use above the level, you need to be fined. Try to not use too much electricity or water. Only use electricity or water when you need

SU: New energy instead of traditional energy. Such as wind or solar.

A: But it is expensive.

M: yes, I think so, but it is really greener than the traditional energy.

P: With development of the technology, we can solve this problem.

A: But so far, I prefer the traditional energy because it is so cheap.

C: I told just like recycling. I like this sense of recycling..

M: Just like Cynthia, you know sometimes somebody know what we should do, but actually they can't do that. What the key barriers is for you? Just think about that.

C: Unconvenient, waste time.

SA: habits

M: Could you give me an example?

SA: Like throw things away rather than recycle. It is very difficult to change.

C: Get used to it. In China, we don't, just take things, paper, can, or bottle; you just mix them together, and then throw it away. So..

A: I think there is a law. If you don't put things in wrong place, the government will fine you. If you live in private house, there are two bins. You need o put things in right place.

I: But there is no classification in my accommodation. It is just the same rubbish car. So everybody just pack up their rubbish and then throw..

CA: is there something outside the kitchen? What accommodation do you live?

I: Opal, Just rubbish, everybody throw into it. Even though you want to classify it, but in the end, they will just pack up all together. So people live in there does no need to do so.

M: Maybe, just for the facilities, we can't do that. It is one of the barriers. How about you? Maybe sometimes you live not so green just because some reasons, what's the main one?

CA: I believe that I am a greener. I am used to saving energy and water; I usually recycle disposal. And I will bring empty bottles to the University and throw them into the special containers when every class. However, sometimes, I can't do that. For example, there is just one large rubbish bin in our kitchen. How frustrating it is. Meanwhile, there is something problems on our harem. Whenever I'd like to turn it off, it won't be shut. The water was wasted in this way…you kn