What students want: using a choice modelling approach to estimate student demand

Sheppard, P; Smith, R; (2015) What students want: using a choice modelling approach to estimate student demand. Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, 38 (2). pp. 140-149. ISSN 1360-080X DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/1360080x.2016.1150236

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Higher education institutions operate in an increasingly competitive global market, and require precise knowledge regarding the preferences of potential students. Traditional methods for evaluating what potential students look for in a degree tend to be descriptive, and while informative, do not assess the strength of students' preferences; how important they are relative to each other, and hence where efforts and investments may best be targeted. To do this, more statistically rigorous methods are required. We used a discrete choice experiment to estimate the relative importance of the attributes that inform student choice and also quantify these trade-offs in monetary terms using 'willingness to pay'. Using data from a UK postgraduate institution we illustrate how this method can be applied and can provide an accurate measure of student preferences as well as quantifying the trade-offs students are willing to make. Our results show that staff expertise, and flexibility of the teaching platform, were the attributes that students most highly value when choosing a postgraduate degree.

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Public Health and Policy
Faculty of Public Health and Policy > Dept of Health Services Research and Policy
Research Centre: Population Studies Group
Web of Science ID: 372129700004
URI: http://researchonline.lshtm.ac.uk/id/eprint/2551687


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