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A study of consumer expectations and perceptions in undergraduate higher education

Gibbs, Vivien



There is an increasing trend in higher education for institutions to view themselves as competitors. This has led to mounting pressures for each college and university to provide high quality courses in order to obtain a continuous supply of able students seeking entry. Quality in academic terms is a controversial concept, with different stakeholders each having their own view on what constitutes quality. This study's primary objective was to design and implement a way of measuring the quality of the courses offered by a university department, in order to highlight areas in which additional funds need to be allocated to improve performance. Following a review of literature on the subject, it was apparent that measurement of customer perceptions of quality is important in any service organisation. A questionnaire was therefore designed, based on Zeithaml et al's SERVQUAL instrument, to measure the difference between student expectations and perceptions of quality of service delivery. The results indicate areas where the university is failing to meet student expectations and provide a framework for managers to use and redirect resources. In addition, measurement of customer perceptions of service quality can be used over a period of time to monitor the impact of quality improvement activities initiated through an organisation's strategic planning process. © Greenwich Medical Media Ltd. 2004.


Gibbs, V. (2004). A study of consumer expectations and perceptions in undergraduate higher education. Journal of Diagnostic Radiography and Imaging, 5(2), 69-78.

Journal Article Type Review
Publication Date Mar 1, 2004
Journal Journal of Diagnostic Radiography and Imaging
Print ISSN 1460-4728
Publisher Cambridge University Press
Peer Reviewed Not Peer Reviewed
Volume 5
Issue 2
Pages 69-78
Keywords perceptions, expectations, service gap, service quality, SERVQUAL
Public URL
Publisher URL