To define the drivers of student opinions and satisfaction, one needs to initially understand the role of student in an educational setting in terms of academic life. Educational institutions worldwide use the form of satisfaction questionnaires to investigate student views, therefore this is the student satisfaction measurement conducted for masters programme (MSc International Business Management) to develop the programme and to improve the student satisfaction levels. According to Kotler, the rapid development in education industry, significant increases in colleges and universities and demographic shift in the population may force the universities to think about the role of student satisfaction for their strategic improvement and survival in the competitive education industry (Kotler & Fox, 1995).
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According to (Crawford,1991) in UK Higher Education (HE) institutions students were considered to be primary customers of a university even before they were liable for payment of fees as direct recipients to service provided by a one year masters degree programme made up of number of modules at each level. So it confirms the status of students as customers and there is scope in this evaluation to include student’s experiences rather than limiting it only to assessment of quality of teaching and learning (Aldridge & Rowley, 1998)
According to statistics which indicates that more than “40 % of all entrants leave higher education without earning a degree, 75% of the students drop out in first two years of college and more recent 46.2% of freshmen do not graduate from college” (Kara & DE shields, 2004) So based on statistics we can see how important for university administrators and researchers to focus their attentions on service quality which gives rise to student satisfaction for better chance to compete Satisfying the students to retain them is important for educational universities. It might be argued that dissatisfied students may slash back on number of courses or drop out of university completely. The main aim of the study is to critically analyse the student satisfaction levels and quality dimensions in assessing the MSc International Business Management (IBM) programme.
1.1 Background of the Industry:
Liverpool John Moores University have 180 years of experiences in delivering high quality superior educational services and have 24,000 students plus 4500 oversees students of which 4100 are pursuing their post graduation education. Since the majority of the student are pursuing their under graduate education and only 17% student are post graduate or masters education there is a chance that post graduate student may be left dissatisfied. To measure the satisfaction level there is a need of undertaking a research it offers full range of post graduate and under graduate programs, of which MSc International Business Management is one which is recently launched in the year 2009 so total eight students were enrolled in the first batch September intake. It is a post graduate program to provide theoretical and practical perspective on International Business Management issues, to enhance student’s potential with in today’s dynamic behavior environment. This program has been designed to develop, achieve aims and objectives by integrating skills and academic knowledge with case studies taken from real world situation it has a range of assessment methods selected to be appropriate to what is being taught, and designed as far as possible to reflect the real-world tasks. These include written reports, individual reflection, class tests, group presentations, and dissertation. The analytical nature of the programme, particularly at the Research project stage, will require students to investigate a business or management problem that require independent research and the synthesis of acquired knowledge and data to address the problem (www.ljmu.ac.uk). The main intention is to critically appraise the student satisfaction levels, service quality and the development of the programme.
1.2 Problem Statement:
As IBM is newly introduced programme in LJMU the student expectations are not up to level of satisfaction due to lack of in sufficient students enrolled in this programme and the tuition fees is also high and the time tables arranged were not up to satisfaction due to work life balance with studies and students part time jobs author want to critically analyze the student satisfaction quality levels in new course.
1.3 Research Aim:
The main aim of the research is to critically appraise student satisfaction levels in MSc International Business Management (IBM), service quality measurement and to develop the programme at Liverpool John Moore’s University (LJMU).
1.4 Research Objectives:
To investigate and evaluate student satisfaction with course modules of perceived program quality
To investigate and evaluate student satisfaction with perceived quality of life with academic facilities and support
To investigate the perceived quality of outcomes
To propose recommendations to improve student satisfaction levels
2. LITERATURE REVIEW
The literature review is a concise step by step guide to conducting a literature search (Ridley, 2008).
2.1 Student Satisfaction:
According to (Danielson, 1998) student satisfaction refers to the attraction, pride, or positive feeling that students develop towards the program. But according to Kotler and Clarke (1987) defines satisfaction as a state felt by person who has experience performance that fulfils his or her expectation. According to (Stike, 1984) suggested that level of students positive feeling is associated with students being able to find adequate resources to meet their academic and social interests. But according to previous studies shows that students who report positive academic and social experiences expressed greater satisfaction with overall college experience. Interaction between faculty members and students is also a factor affecting student satisfaction in academic experiences (Tinto, 1993) which implies sufficient and positive faculty student interaction will contribute to overall student satisfaction (Danielson, 1998).
The most student satisfaction studies focuses on perspective of customer oriented, researchers facing the problem of creating standard definition for student satisfaction which provides a basic need of theory to be selected and modified so that it can explain the meaning of student satisfaction. Even though there is a high risk involved in marketing place of higher education, there is a new moral prerogative that students have become “customers” as fees payers (Tuition Fees) which has a reasonable demand that their views be heard and acted upon (William,2002).
2.2 Service Quality in Higher Education:
Quality may be defined as idea that quality has to be judged on assessment of user or consumer of the service. The focus on quality in services in this research is a broad aspect particularly service in higher education as it plays a key role in improving its services throughout the globe were urged to operate more commercially, quality been identified as core ingredient to success.
Owlia & Aspinwall (1996) pointed out that in order to measure quality, characteristics of quality need to be identified first. Whereas Cheng & Tam (1997) emphasizes importance of defining characteristics of quality for measurement of education process. Zhao (2003) proposed the quality of a university online education to be evaluated from stand point of its course effectiveness, academic satisfaction and student satisfaction. But Devinder and Datta (2003) argue that organizations which want to deliver quality program and services to students must be concerned with every aspect of student experiences and support on campus.
Quality in education not only includes lecturers, note taking and guidance but also includes student experience while interacting with various non academic personal components in university. Jones & Suh (2000) concludes that transaction specific satisfaction influences overall satisfaction, repurchase retention. In fact students also found to place great importance degree acceptance and university reputation in selection of university and the course program (Chun, 2005).
By taking different views into consideration the definition and dimensions of quality, researchers vary in measurement standards as they measure service quality used customer satisfaction as indicator for quality.
2.3 Conceptual Service Quality Models in Higher Education:
From the past decades various service quality models were used and practised to cover the aspects of conventional services to latest web services, so total 19 service models were used so as quality management of higher education was handled differently from manufacturing industries. Popular service quality models were practised by business world.
E.g: TQM has been applied to schools and universities in U.K and U.S.A
According to (Chua, 2004) a model called SERVQUAL was used to measure the quality in education which is a well known fact that service quality is influenced by attitude and behaviour of a service customer. There are three methods available to measure the service quality in education First method adapts the SERVQUAL instrument second uses methods for assessing the quality of teaching and learning and the third method for assessing quality of the total experience. SERVQUAL is the well know tool to measure the satisfaction and the perception on the service quality. But according to (Jabnoun & Al-saad, 2004) SERVQUAL is based on 5 quality dimensions which includes Tangibles, Reliability, Responsiveness, Assurance and Empathy. So it is best used for 5 point Likert scale to measure the student satisfaction and improve their satisfaction levels and development of the program.
According to (Kumar, 2005) methodology refers to the theoretical analysis of the methods appropriate to the area of investigation. The research is beneficial in two ways that is to maintain the whole research controlled, unbiased and straight forward and secondly to ensure that the audience conviction will be that the script is accurate and convincing. Research is seeking through methodological processes that adds to one’s own body of knowledge and to that of others, by discovery of nontrivial facts and insight (Sharp, Peters and Howard, 2002) and have different layers and acknowledged as “Research Process Onion” and it is illustrated in Appendix (4), which consists of research philosophy, research approach, In order to improve the quality of the research (Saunders, Adrian & Thornhill, 2003) explain that the research processes research strategies, time horizons and finally data collection methods
3.1 Research Approach:
A research hypothesis refers to a pattern or a model for research. It involves the philosophy of research, practices of research, preferences of practices and beliefs and identification of research questions (Denscombe, 2010). According to (Leedy & Ormrod, 2001) methodology is just an operating frame work within which the facts are placed so that they can be accurately measured, observed and interpreted, thereby find a solution. It is something that people undertake in order to find out new things in a systematic way, thereby increasing their knowledge. The research must be developed in such a way that it is able to make out and get all the key information which will help finding result for the research conducted.
To be able to ascertain the aims of the research, it was envisaged mixed methods research design. According to Creswell & Plano Clark (2007) mixed method research design is a procedure for collecting, analyzing and “mixing” both qualitative and quantitative research methods in a single study to understand the research problem. By assessing both outcomes of qualitative and quantitative process we can develop a complex picture of social phenomenon (Greene & Caracelli, 1997). The researcher uses Triangulation mixed methods design (Jick, 1979) in order to gathers both qualitative and quantitative data, analyzes both datasets separately, compares the results from the analysis of both datasets, and makes an interpretation as to whether the results support or contradict each other.
Qualitative approaches to data collection, analysis and report writing differ from then traditional, quantitative approaches. Use of purposeful sampling, collection of open ended data, analysis of text or pictures, representation of information in figures and tables, and personal interpretation of the findings all inform qualitative procedures (Creswell, Research Design, 2003)
Qualitative research lacks internal validity; qualitative analysis is not designed with an end goal of generalising to large group of population of people, times and settings (Charles & Robert, 2009).
Whereas the process involved in Quantitative methods are of collecting, analyzing, interpreting and writing the results of study. Specific methods exist in both survey and experimental research that relate to the sample and population, specifying the strategy of inquiry, collecting and analysing data, presenting the results, making an interpretation, and writing the research in a manner consistent with a survey or experimental study(Charles & Robert, 2009).
According to Hammersely and Martyn (1989) ‘qualitative data analysis should not be viewed as a distinct stage in research’ but then it continues throughout the research from problem formulation to final writing up. The data that is being analyzed should not only be made of primary data collected from field work but also the relevant secondary data should be taken into account. This meaning is true for any analysis either qualitative or quantitative. The data analysis consists of three elements ‘data reduction, displaying the data and drawing the conclusion’ and these are the same for any research (Miles and Huberman, 1994). For finding meaningful data in the gathered information surely the process of analyzation must include interpretation but not just techniques. Although there are similarities between different types of analysis it should be recognized that the selection of the analyzation technique depends on the type of research being done.
3.1.1 Data Collection:
As (Morse & Richards, 2002) point out, the volume of data that qualitative researchers must manager is enormous. Researchers tell stories of ‘drowning in data’ of stacking piles of data in their basements, or of not being able to use their dining room table for several months while the process of analysis in ongoing. The clear explained in a detail way please refer Appendix (5).
The following methods and procedures will be used to collect data for
4.1 Quantitative Analysis:
4.1.1 Questionnaire Survey:
4.1.2 Questionnaire Design:
Questionnaire provides a more structured approach to gathering data for quantitative analysis. It is a series of written question for which the respondent provides answers. A well defined questionnaire motivation the respondent to provide complete and accurate information (Sharp, Peters & Howard, 2002). The survey questionnaire should not be viewed as a standalone tool. Along with questionnaire there is field work rewards for the respondents and communication aids, all of which are important components of the questionnaire process. The strength of closed questions is that they are quick to complete and analysis; the weakness is that the data obtained may be very superficial. Open questions allow the possibility of asking deeper questions and obtaining unanticipated perspective on an issue, but the corresponding weakness is that completion and analysis can be difficult and time consuming (Smith, Thorpe & Lowe, 2006)
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4.1.3 Sample selection:
Sample selection is sub-group of population which is taken to represent the entire population. Most important feature of a sample is it is representative and displaying similar characteristics to the population as a whole they may be totally random or may be stratified to ensure that there are sufficient cases from each category example male/female students, different faculties, levels, modes of study. A purposive sample is the one where the researcher deliberately selects cases which are considered to be representative or relevant (Creswell J.W, 2008) In this instance the target population is that of those students enrolled on the post graduation MSc IBM program at LJMU and the sample population will be selected from this group.
Quantitative analysis conducted for students in MSc International Business Management(IBM) by using 5 point Likert scale statements were presented to students they agree or disagree with in them on five point scale from 1 = Strongly Disagree to 5 = Strongly Agree and then total numerical value can be calculated using response. It consists of total 50 questions one through eight were concerned with gathering demographic data. Question 9 to 20 focused on Course content & Assessment. Question 21 to 30 focused on Facilities. Question 31 to 40 focused on Lecturer & Faculty. Question 41 to 50 focused on Social Activities & Student support
4.1.4 Questionnaire Collection:
The Questionnaires will be handed out within university to all the MSC IBM students to complete questionnaire. Complete questionnaire will be collected and then all information from questionnaires is imported and coded in to SPSS. Since the time scale is involved we will design the survey is “survey monkey” and also send the web page link via email. Statistical package for analysis and hypothesis were tested using analysis of variance that is ANOVA which is used to uncover the effects of independent variables on an interval dependent variable. This procedure employs the statistic (F) to test the statistical significance of the differences among the obtained means of two or more random samples from the given population where statistic (F) is a ratio, which if sufficiently larger than 1, indicates that the observed differences among the obtained means are statistically significant. It is important to note here, however the samples were not random, which reduces the generalization of our results.
4.2 Qualitative Analysis:
Qualitative analysis was conducted on group of four students in MSc International Business Management (IBM) at LJMU based on Sample selection, Interviews, Interview preparation and setting and analyzing the interview.
4.2.1 Sample Selection:
This piece of research will be carried by interviewing the students of MSc IBM group management. Total there were 25 students enrolled for this program out of 25 a group of four students were selected for interview process. Prior to the interview the organization permissions will be sorted and their ethical considerations will be abided and held confidential in the course of research.
The author will carry out an interview with group of four students will be interviewed and data will be collected regarding the factors what they feel that are responsible for organization success and so on. The researcher will carry on a ‘semi-structured interview’ where the researcher has a list of questions or fairly specific topics to be covered. Questions may not follow on the way outlined on the schedule. Questions that are not included on the list may be asked as they pick on things said by the interviewers.
4.2.3 Interview Preparation and Setting:
As individual will design the questions as per the literature review because as he is the student representative for MSc IBM program in order to identify the appropriate questions. Prior to the interview pilot interviews will be done. The questions will be reviewed by experienced people as ‘what is straight forward to you as the investigator may be baffling to another person not fully in the picture. Sometimes you are too close to something and others can be more objective’ (Wragg.E.C, 1978). The Interviewer will inform the participants before the date of interview and requests them to arrange a comfortable location for the interview. The interview will be a one-to-one interview. The answers will be recorded in a camcorder borrowed from the university.
4.2.4 Analyzing the Interview:
All the interviewed information will be loaded into the computer and saved in RTF so that it can be loaded into the (QSRNvivo) where it can be analyzed. Then the necessary nodes will be developed by the individual and formulated to generate the necessary themes.
4.3 Instrument Reliability and Validity:
A goal of good research is to have measures that are reliable several factors can result in unreliable data. To determine the form of reliability, the researcher test at two different times to same participants at a sufficient time interval. Validity means that the individual’s scores from an instrument which enables the researcher to draw attention about conclusion. In quantitative analysis the questionnaire was designed by using survey monkey software tool through web services. Questions added to the survey were directly derived from existing literature pertaining to student satisfaction and course program evaluation because this survey was designed significantly to adapt the technology used in web based courses, the researcher performed a reliability analysis after data collection phase. The researcher will use an interval scale of a parametric test and he shall code words in numbers and further the program will examine the information and it will generate complex statistical results in a reliable way. Utilising a t-test analysis for the questionnaires, an evaluation of means (gender and age) will be done. A value of p<0.05 is considered noteworthy.
The data was examined according to statistical assumptions by using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) software. In order to examine linearity, several bivariate scatter plots were generated and examined which reveals abnormalities between variables due to instrument being a Likert scale. The Pearson correlative coefficient was examined to correlation matrix in order to determine multi co linearity. In order to this pilot studies were performed in order to establish reliability and validity of the instrument. A confirmatory factor analysis was performed to subtract factors relevant to student satisfaction to examine construct validity of satisfaction survey which includes Demographic data, Course content & Assessment, Facilities, Lecturer & Faculty, Social activities & student support
5. RESEARCH SUITABILITY
The researcher has software background from Computer Science & Engineering and is currently pursuing his Masters in MSc International Business Management (IBM) at Liverpool john Moore’s university. Since author is doing research on the same university where he is studying and he is the student representative for that program with his experience as a student he is well known about students opinions and suggestions, so it makes him easier to collect all the required information and in taking interviews and having questionnaire with students .Author have knowledge in research as he done coursework as a part of study where he collected some statistical data .Author also feels that SUPERVISOR is the key resource to the success of research he wants to take guidelines of supervisor and keep in contact with supervisor physically or via mails.
Through the self experiences of author by all his observations about student satisfaction and quality of studies in LJMU he feels that definitely this is an interesting area.
6. TIME SCALE AND PROJECT MANAGEMENT
A draft of the project plan is showed in the appendix. The time taken by the research will be determined by the cross sectional time horizon i.e., the research will be based on the information gathered in a short period from group of students in LJMU. Coming to the resources required, all the travelling expenses will be beared by the researcher himself and the survey and questionnaire is carried out in university from group of people.
The time line of the project starts on the 15th of June 2010 and goes through the various steps involved such as the literature review, the quantitative and qualitative research involving interviews, the collection and analysis of the data regarding the cases studied, report preparation, meeting with the supervisor and finally leading to the submission which has been set tentatively to the first week of December. The time factor is going to be the most important and decisive factor determining the execution of the dissertation
7. ETHICAL ISSUES
Please refer appendix (1).
8. RESEARCH ORGINALITY
There are very limited amount of researches available in this topic with concept of student satisfaction and development of the MSc International Business Management (IBM) program at LJMU University, researcher being a student representative research has a potential opportunity to provide a new view in student satisfaction which examines different dimensions in the Service Quality, satisfaction levels. More over this research used both qualitative and quantitative approaches. Researcher feels that this research can provide the problems in MSc International Management program, satisfaction levels and the development of the program.
Please refer appendix (2).
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