What Matters Most!
An Exploratory Analysis of
Shannon College of Hotel Management
THRIC 2011, Athlone IT
Purpose of the Study
It forms part of an ongoing quality assurance process which was
initiated five years ago.
To activate a student feedback database for the purpose of in-depth
Theoretically explore the concept of „student satisfaction‟ in light of
educational service delivery & standards
Uncover salient „factors‟ re: service satisfaction
Find out what we are doing well (and not so well)
Fill a gap in student satisfaction research from Irish & Hospitality
Why Focus on Quality?
“a quality culture should permeate throughout each
institution and underpin the range of activities provided for
students e.g., teaching, learning, research, library, computer
services, health and leisure facilities, etc. (HEA 2004: 19)
Why Focus on Student Feedback?
The need “to put in place systematic student feedback
processes covering the quality of both the teaching and
learning environment and other support services provided
for students” (HEA, 2009).
Students & Educational Services
Educational services play a central role in students‟
lives (Gruber, Fub, Voss and Glaser-Zikuda, 2010)
A satisfied student population is a highly sought after
competitive advantage for higher education institutions, lending
itself to desirable outcomes such as positive word of mouth
communication, retention and student loyalty..
(Thomas and Galambos, 2004)
Utility of Student Feedback
Richardson (2005) suggests that feedback can provide
diagnostic evidence for all stakeholders associated with the
The collection and evaluation of student feedback contributes
to educational quality management (Rowley, 2003).
Student feedback serves as an internal guide for educational
improvement and externally as a source of information to other
stakeholders (Harvey, 2003).
Richardson (2005) highlights the utility of taking a „holistic‟
institutional perspective to student satisfaction in that the
student‟s „total experience‟ is appraised.
Student Satisfaction: A Multidimensional Construct
The extant literature indicates that student
satisfaction is a multidimensional construct
influenced by a variety of contextual factors
1. Wiers-Jenssen et al., (2002);
2. Navarro et al., (2005);
3. Gruber et al., (2010)
4. Tsinidou et al., (2010)
1. The Navarro Study: North American students
Administration of the programme,
Support from teaching staff and
College infrastructures explained most of the variance in student
Strong correlation between the level of student satisfaction and
loyalty/intention to stay at the college.
2. The Wiers-Jenssen Study: Norwegian students
Physical facilities and
Administrative staff services were strong predictors
Emphasised „social climate‟ as an important factor for student well-
3. The Gruber Study: German students (n=544)
Lecturer support and
College reputation as important explanatory factors
4. The Tsinidou Study: Greek students (n=300)
Academic staff support and
What are the dimensions of student satisfaction among a
cohort of hospitality management students?
Which factor or factors contribute most to explaining and
predicting student satisfaction?
Are there differences in both the levels of and factors
which, predict student satisfaction based on Gender and
Anything missing from the picture?
Course Satisfaction Survey
Database of Year 1 students was selected for analyses in line with
suggestions proposed by recent reports given that “a positive first-year
student experience is crucial to achieving the goals of higher education”
(National Strategy for Higher Education, 2010 :56)
Survey instrument with 26 items designed to measure satisfaction
levels across a range of areas such as college facilities, teaching
quality, course content, welfare support services and academic
Purposive-convenience sampling approach (Sample n = 263)
Questionnaire completed during lectures for immediate collection.
All items were measured on a five point Likert scale (1 = very
dissatisfied to 5 = very satisfied).
Year 1 Student Composition
No significant differences in group Gender/Nationality composition based
on Х2 test
Avoids confounding analytical and inferential conclusions
Data Pre-check for Multivariate Analyses
Source: (Hair et al., 2006)
Present study within acceptable parameters for multivariate analysis
Exploratory Factor Analysis: A technique that explores the structure of the
interrelationships among a large set of observable measures and creates a set of
highly correlated variables known as factors.
Multiple Regression: A multivariate technique that explores the relationship
between several independent/predictor variables and a dependent variable.
Factor Analysis Solution
How Satisfied are the Students?
What are the relationships between factors?
Students are generally satisfied with the services offered
Academic Quality rated highest – Placement factor rated lowest
Academic, Welfare & Feedback services most correlated to student satisfaction
Personal & Academic Communication services are important to students
15 Any Differences in Satisfaction Between Groups?
- No significant
factors based on gender.
- Males marginally more
- Non-EU less satisfied
- EU less satisfied with
A series of Multiple Regression (MR) equations were
generated to determine the relative explanatory power of
the satisfaction factors on overall satisfaction
MR x Gender (2)
MR x Nationality (2)
A final Hierarchical MR of satisfaction factors
controlling for gender & nationality (1)
17 Male Students Female Students
EU Students Non-EU Students
Final Model of Satisfaction Determinants
What are those
Student Satisfaction = Multidimensional Construct - Six Factors extracted!
Current study supports previous international research.
1. Quality of Academic Support, Student/Welfare Support and adequate
college-student communications were the most important determinants
in this study
2. No Gender Differences but Females place significant importance on
welfare/personal support services over male peers. Males marginally
more satisfied overall.
3. Non-EU students less satisfied than EU peers. Why?
4. EU students less satisfied with „Pre-Placement Support‟ factor than
Non-EU group. Why?
5. The six factors explain approx 50% of students‟ satisfaction. What of the
Conclusions & Future Research
Efficacy of student feedback is acknowledged
Multivariate techniques capture what mostly matters -
but not what matters most
Concomitant and/or Follow-up qualitative research
required: Mixed Methods. Amend/Adjust/Expand and
Research Design scalable to all classes within the
institution – Longitudinal research potential
Regular collection and analysis of student feedback
important to attain educational service quality excellence
Institution to reflect, act upon and communicate to