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Student Satisfaction in the University of Buckingham Research Paper


Covering Statement

First of all, the scope of the study was added because it was necessary to outline the paper in detail and logically present all sections to show the reader how they are combined and what issues they approach. The section ‘Operational definition of terms’ was also expanded because the terms presented in the previous version of the paper were not linked to the research literature; therefore, they could not be correctly applied to or used in the research.

The section that discusses the factors influencing the students’ satisfaction was also revised; additional information from the literature sources was added. The factors presented in different sources were discussed and critically reviewed. Additional information was added to the section where gaps in literature sources were discussed; it seemed reasonable to stress how this research aims to advance the existing knowledge in the field, as well as underline the issues that are not directly addressed by the literature.

‘Research methodology’ section was also updated in order to explain why the mixed method was used and how this method has contributed to the study. I also edited the sections ‘Sampling method’, ‘Data collection method’, and ‘Data analysis method’ as they lacked clarity as well.

Introduction

Background of study

In modern society, learning has shifted from the teacher-centred model to the student-focused approach (Weimer 2013). It has become apparent that the only way to make learners understand concepts taught in classroom settings is to give them the power to determine the flow of their academic lives. They have to be the drivers of their success. The empowerment of students has created a scenario in which learners are very demanding concerning the main features of their institutions of higher education. They have a clear understanding of the main qualities of this educational entity and are not willing to settle for less (Alpern 2010).

Student satisfaction has become a critical issue since many learners are interested in continuing their education and are trying to identify the most appropriate institutions. Universities are now under great pressure to ensure that they offer all that the learners require to satisfy their educational needs. Consequently, the primary goal of this paper is to understand the factors influencing student satisfaction at the University of Buckingham.

A common view is that satisfied students are more likely to be loyal to the university. Thus, they might remain in the program and possibly maintain contact with the institution after graduation. Furthermore, student feedback enables institutions to benchmark their performance, monitor their progress and glean information that is useful for recruiting (Douglas, Douglas, & Barnes 2006; Moller 2006).

This study focuses on student satisfaction at the University of Buckingham, the only private university in the United Kingdom under a Royal Charter. It was granted university status by Royal Charter in 1983. The University of Buckingham is located in Buckingham, Buckinghamshire, and consists of seven schools: School of Business, School of Education, School of Humanities, School of Law, School of Science, Medical School and the Foundation School.

Students with diverse cultures and backgrounds study in the University of Buckingham (Diversity in the UK’s private schools 2013). Education in internationally oriented institutions and schools is more challenging, as it has to comply with the needs and expectations of diverse cultural groups. In this case, discovering the levels of student satisfaction at the University of Buckingham will make the research more profound and reveal new insights to scholars and policy makers.

Scope of study

In the first place, it is critical to highlight the importance of student satisfaction in institutions of higher education. In this case, the primary focus of research is on the University of Buckingham due to its international orientation and the difficulties associated with student diversity (Diversity in the UK’s private schools 2013). More specifically, it seeks to identify the critical factors that affect the satisfaction of students at the University of Buckingham.

In this case, conducting a literature review will define the core concepts, such as satisfaction and dissatisfaction, and identify particular aspects that influence them. After that, a mixed research method will be applied to measure student satisfaction with the assistance of interviews and questionnaires. Descriptive statistics, typology and regression will shed light on the interdependence between the variables. In the end, conclusions and recommendations will be provided to summarize the findings.

Despite the clarity of the research topic, the critical limitation of this research study is its focus on a particular educational institution. As a private school, this institution is dependent on particular aspects and is associated with particular social classes (Diversity in the UK’s private schools 2013). Consequently, the results of the study might not be broadly applicable to other types of educational institutions.

The reason why I chose this topic is the lack of the research about the students’ satisfaction in universities; specifics about the factors that influence the students’ satisfaction are also often neglected in research papers. Moreover, there is little to none research devoted to the problem of students’ satisfaction at the University of Buckingham. Although the outcomes of the research might not be applicable to other universities, as it was stated above, it is still able to provide some valuable results and new infromation about the issue.

Operational definition of terms

Satisfaction

In the context of this paper, satisfaction pertains to meeting one’s expectations of quality or other specific features (Hill 1995). It is a pleasant emotional state related to one’s feeling of pleasure while reaching one’s goals.

Dissatisfaction

On the contrary, dissatisfaction is the condition or feeling of being displeased or unsatisfied. This term often refers to the extreme term of a rating scale such as being ‘dissatisfied’ (Vavra 1997).

Student

This term refers to any person who is studying at a university or other place of higher education. Students can be viewed as a critical part of the educational process throughtheir interactions with the teachers (Guolla 1999).

Student satisfaction

In the educational context, student satisfaction can be definedas students’ perceptions of enjoyment and accomplishment in the learning environment (Sweeney & Ingram 2001). The primary difference from the general term is its focus on learning outcomes.

Literature Review

Student satisfaction

There is little debate over the need to satisfy students, arriving at a precise meaning of what that entails are still a matter to be settled (Guolla 1999). In one sense, one can refer to students as customers, as they can be regarded as consumers of education. They tend to select only the schools and universities that comply with their individual needs and preferences.

Its known from services marketing that customers are thought to be satisfied when the quality of service they receive matches or exceed their expectations (Hill 1995; Kelley et al. 1990; Munteanu et al. 2010; Sirvanci 1996; Swan et al. 2002). Thus in higher education student satisfaction happens when ‘perceived performance meets or exceeds the student’s expectations’ (Elliott & Shin 2002, p. 199).

Student satisfaction is an important aspect of higher education; it determines how students perceive their institutions service and educational experience. A critical concern to educators is retaining and understanding the reasons why students may choose to leave a program (DeShields, Kara &Kaynak 2005, pp. 129-131). Anwowie, Amonako, and Abrefa (2015) stated that higher institutions find that student’s expectation is seen as a priority, in terms of improving university’s facilities and services. ‘Students perceptions of service quality exceeded their expectations on four service dimensions namely tangibility, responsiveness, assurance and empathy’ (Anwowie 2015).

Measuring student satisfaction

Student satisfaction can be derived when the institution fulfils the expectation of the students. Student feedback is an important tool in accessing and measuring student satisfaction. It can be used to improve the service as well as identify the positives and the negatives of the institutions system.

Student satisfaction evaluation is usually derived when student compare their expectations before their educational experience to what is actually experienced from attending a university. Student satisfaction results when actual performance meets or exceeds the consumer’s expectations (Zeithmal, Berry & Parasuraman 1993).

Addressing this question from the consumer perspective helps develop a parallel to students. If expectations exceed actual performance, it is possible that dissatisfaction will result. Thus, defining dissatisfaction and its connection with expectations is also critical, as it expands the horizons of the results and makes the terms clearer.

Even though the importance of student satisfaction has been widely recognized, most overall student satisfaction measurements are designed to simply assess the global or net satisfaction. Even though satisfaction is a well-defined term, it is difficult to measure. A plethora of factors such as technology, education, instructional style and brand image of the institution affect it (Ngamkamollert & Ruangkanjanases 2013). The critical challenge associated with the measurement of satisfaction is the inability to clearly determine the impact of each variable on the results.

Despite the apparent complexity of the student satisfaction construct, researchers have often used a single-item rating scale of four to seven points between the extremes of “very dissatisfied” and “very satisfied.” Vavra (1997) argues that many practitioners prefer a composite measure because it is more statistically reliable than any single measure. Universities can continuously update information about changing perceptions and expectations of students.

Ratings by students should enable universities to set priorities. These priorities would be helpful to determine where to allocate limited resources effectively and how to make concerted efforts on the attributes considered important by students.

Factors that determine student satisfaction

Various actors have a critical impact on the satisfaction of students and their motivation to continue their education. One of the most defining contributors is a teacher or instructor (Wright 2014). In this case, selecting appropriate teaching methods contributes to student satisfaction. According to Luo, Niamtullah, Xu and Shafi (2015), the relationship between student satisfaction and teacher-student relationship is important. Teacher’s commitment, campus facilities and staff’s response impacts on student’s motivation.

Therefore, some students are satisfied by improvement of quality of lecture and performance, some are motivated by helping others and others by fulfilment. Some students get satisfied by personality improvement. Alternatively, peers and staff of the institution are the most common contributors to student satisfaction (Wright 2014). Their attitudes and beliefs highly affect the degree of satisfaction among students. Nonetheless, one cannot underestimate the role of parents in the educational process, as they affect the student’s quality of living and interest in learning.

There are different factors that influence student satisfaction and dissatisfaction; academic factors such as ‘quality of teaching, skills and knowledge acquired and the curriculum itself are the most significant determinants of overall satisfaction’ (Gibson 2015, p. 251) and ‘non-academic factors however, such as the students feeling of ‘belonging’ and perceptions of the institution’s responsiveness and concern, also contribute significantly to overall satisfaction’ (Gibson 2015, p. 251).

For example, the factors affecting student satisfaction according to Sembiring (2015) are associated with persistence, academic performance, retention, and its relations to career advancement were examined. The following factors were said to influence the student’s satisfaction; Responsiveness, assurance, tangible, reliability and empathy are known to be in harmony with satisfaction. Career advancement, retention, academic performance, and persistence were influenced by satisfaction.

The factors of persistence, academic performance, and retention as a result of satisfaction were consistent with maintaining the size and growth of the student body. It is believed that student satisfaction of higher education benefits from being treated like customers. It is important that the institution ensure students’ satisfaction and for the institution to fulfil short-term demands of the students. It is argued that the students are only satisfied when they get what they paid for; which according to Eddie Mark is ‘quality education is a field of their choice with an accompany credential that is valued in the labour market’

In turn, Dicle University, ZiyaGokalp Education faculty and Educational Sciences department (2015) The students’ attitudes in terms of alienation is seen to have an impact on their general satisfaction levels. Alienation is an element affecting organisations and human relations, and it negatively influences educational institutions in terms of student behaviour towards the teaching profession (Kacire 2015).

According to Long, Ibrahim and Kowang (2013), lecturer competence has an important impact on student satisfaction in a private university setting. Lecturer competence is seen as a factor that determines student satisfaction. The study examines the importance of lecturer competency as a determining factor of student satisfaction. Student satisfaction is viewed as one of the most important objectives in all higher education institutions because it has an impact on the representation of the institution and its future intake of students. It is also important for students to be satisfied because their levels of satisfaction affect their academic performances.

Gaps identified in the reviewed literature

The majority of the papers reviewed in this chapter focused on a common set of academic predictors of student satisfaction such as academic staff/teaching, classes/curriculum, advising support, and skill development, as well as non-academic predictors such as services/facilities, accommodation and social integration. Although the conducted research will support similar topics, it will focus more on social integration, participant diversity and other important details such school calendar. Examining these factors will make the research unique and allow it to contribute to the development of other policies.

Research Methodology

When conducting a research, it is often important to come up with clear method of data collection, analysis, and presentation (Healey & Sharp 2010). The presented research study will utilize a mixed research approach that combines the elements of qualitative and quantitative research. Using this method assists in uncovering information from dissimilar angles (Healey & Sharp 2010).

Interviews concerning student satisfaction compromise the qualitative component and willassist in gathering detailed information. At the same time, quantitative measures help determine underlying trends related to satisfaction. For this reason, the mixed method is most appropriate to achieving the primary objectives of the research. In this study, because time was the biggest constraint, a large sample size could not be used.

Objectives of study

The critical aim of this paper is to evaluate the factors that influence student satisfaction at the University of Buckingham. The following are the objectives of this paper:

  • To evaluate student satisfaction at the University of Buckingham;
  • To explore factors that influence student satisfaction at the University of Buckingham; and
  • To improve student satisfaction at the University of Buckingham by recommending new polices to enhance the learning environment.

Research questions

  • What are the factors that influence student satisfaction?
  • What are the reasons for student satisfaction or dissatisfaction with their higher educational programmes?
  • How can policy makers enhance the level of satisfaction among students by focusing on different policies?

Research approach

The respondents will be students of the University of Buckingham, who are interested in participating in the interviews and questionnaires. Data will be collected through a semi-structured interview and also questionnaires. Usable questionnaires were obtained from 43 students and interviews from nine (9) participants.

Sampling method

The interviews conducted for this study were limited to undergraduates and postgraduate students of the University of Buckingham. The sample size consisted of nine (9) participants. The respondents had to comply with several characteristics such as 1) being current students of the University of Buckingham and 2) being eager to participate in the research study.

In turn, the sample size for the quantitative questionnaire consisted of 43 respondents. In this instance, the sampling method was snowball sampling, which gave the participants a chance to distribute information among their peers regarding the opportunity to participate in the research study (Allen 2012). Only voluntary participation was accepted.

Data collection method

The data was collected from students of the University of Buckingham in two ways: directly through interviews and through a questionnaire created to explore the factors affecting student satisfaction.

The data used in this study was based on a questionnaire survey taken by students of the University of Buckingham with regards to their overall satisfaction as well as academic factors (quality of teaching, lecturers knowledge, additional support, library resources, academic skills developed, practical skills developed) and non-academic factors (food quality at university restaurant, university accommodation, student union events, social interactions and friends made) that may influence student satisfaction.

In this case, a four point Likert scale ranging from ‘strongly disagree’ to ‘strongly agree’ was used (e.g. ‘I feel that the teaching at the university of good quality’, ‘the lecturers that teach me are knowledgeable’, ‘there are many good sports facilities available’). There were middle options available ‘agree, neutral, disagree’. In addition, the survey included items related to respondents’ demographics, such as gender, age, degree level and department.

Despite the clarity of the selected method, the primary weakness of this approach is that it fails to recognize the quality attributes of an educational experience, as well as each student’s varying degree of satisfaction with each attribute. In this case, the proposed scale tends to focus on a specific variable at once. However, multiple scales can be used to gauge satisfaction using every measure. The questionnaire survey was conducted within one week at the University of Buckingham.

Data analysis method

The data analysis of this research was represented in a quantitative manner with the assistance of descriptive statistics acquired from the surveys. The results are represented in the form of tables, diagrams and linear regression. Using these methods helps reveal correlations between the variables. In turn, the interviews were evaluated using qualitative methods. The researcher divided the answers into types and interpreted them based on a personal understanding of satisfaction.

Research design

The purpose of this study is to understand factors that influence students’ satisfaction or dissatisfaction with their higher education experience in the University of Buckingham. For example, what are the main factors influencing student satisfaction or dissatisfaction in the University of Buckingham and how to improve the students overall experience.

Quantitative research design

The quantitative questionnaire was created to evaluate the factors that affect student satisfaction in the University of Buckingham. It was designed on SurveyMonkey(a free online survey software and questionnaire tool)and distributed via email, text messages and WhatsApp by the researchers in order to gain respondents to participate in the research. We got a total of 43 responses to the questionnaire, thereby the sample size for the quantitative research was n=43, which is a rather small sample to size therefore findings cannot be generalized.

In turn, the specific measurements for construct included age, gender, degree, department, level of academic satisfaction, ways to be acquitted with the university and degree of non-academic satisfaction. As mentioned above, the findings could be biased. Nonetheless, the primary ethical concern is the confidentiality of the responses, especially because students can share their opinions via the online platform. An alternative method is to conduct an analysis of secondary data from previous research.

Qualitative research design

The design of the interview was based on exploring the two kinds of experiences faced in higher institutions according Gibson (2010), which are ‘academic experiences’ these connote of experiences with teachers, classes etc. in students’ evaluation of their overall experiences with other aspects as well as ‘non-academic experiences’ such as administrative practices and staff, academic facilities etc.

The interviews were conducted by the three researchers for this paper, each researcher interviewed three students, making the total of nine (9) students. Focusing on both undergraduate and postgraduate students willing to be interviewed for the purpose of the research. The primary drawback of this method is its limited number of participants, as they might share their opinions with each other and decrease the validity of the findings. Potential alternative methods include observations, which would help the researcher gather similar results without being in direct contact with participants.

Pilot interview

A pilot interview was conducted to test run the interview questions, and a willing postgraduate student was interviewed. After the pilot interview was conducted, we made the needed amendments to the interview questions before proceeding to the nine (9) interviews to be used for the research paper.

Data Analysis and Interpretation

This chapter addresses findings of the study, their interpretations and results extracted from the study. It covers the objectives and the questions that made researchers investigate and conduct this study.

Qualitative analysis

Each researcher interviewed three (3) willing participants for the interview making a total of nine (9), they were informed about the aim of the study. They were given the consent form to ensure that indeed they were willingly participating in this research. The researcher conducted a face-to-face interview as a way of determining their level of satisfaction as students of the University of Buckingham.

The researcher used questionnaires to guide the interview process (Hsiung 2008). The analysis of the findings from these participants was analysed quantitatively. Quantitative research design was considered appropriate in determining the degree to which these learners feel satisfied with various facilities and services, which are offered at the university.

Interviewees A B C D E F G H I
Age 20 30-45 20 18-24 18-24 25-30 22 Did not disclose age Did not disclose age
Gender F F M M M M F M M
Degree Postgraduate Postgraduate Undergraduate Undergraduate Undergraduate Undergraduate Undergraduate Undergraduate Undergraduate
Department School of business School of business Foundation School of business School of business School of business School of humanities School of law School of law
How they heard of university of Buckingham Open day Family/friend Family/ friend Family/ friend Family/ friend Family/ friend Family/ friend Advert Family/ friend
Academic experience Satisfied Satisfied Satisfied Satisfied Satisfied Satisfied Satisfied Satisfied Satisfied
Non-academic experience Neutral Neutral Satisfied Satisfied Satisfied Satisfied Satisfied Satisfied Satisfied
Would you recommend university of Buckingham ton a friend? yes Yes Yes yes yes Yes yes Yes yes

Table 1; demographical features of respondents

The above table illustrates that the interviewees who took part in the interview. There were nine (9) participants, the majority of the participants between the age of 18-24, only two students were not comfortable disclosing their age during the interviews. Seven (7) out of the nine (9) were undergraduate students, while only two were post graduate students.

Majority of the students were satisfied their academic experience. A pattern occurred as the undergraduates were satisfied with their academic and non-academic experiences, unlike the postgraduates were satisfied with their academic experiences but were ‘neutral’ about their non-academic experience in the university. All the participants were likely to recommend the University of Buckingham to a friend.

As it has already been mentioned in the literature review section of this research, most of the studies that address ths problem, emphasize the importance of a range of academic factors predetermining student satisfaction (such as academic staff/teaching, classes/curriculum content, advising support, as well as ways to acquire new knowledge and develop new skills).

Despite the fact that non-academic predictors (such as services/facilities, accommodation and social integration) are also taken into consideration, such important issues as social integration, intercultural communication, diversity of the participant, etc. are generally ignored by researchers. Thus, the conclusion can be drawn that the conducted study contributes to the existing bulk of literature on the topic by taking a closer look at non-academic constituents of student satisfaction, which can help shape a more complete picture of the problem.

Quantitative analysis

VARIABLES N %
Gender Female 13 30 43 100
Male 30 70
Age 18-24 32 74 43 100
25-34 7 16
35-44 3 7
45-54 1 2
55-64 0 0
65-74 0 0
74 or older 0 0
Race White 3 7 43 100
Black 17 40
Asian 10 24
Arab 11 26
Hispanic 0 0
Mixed 1 2
Degree level Postgraduate 18 42 43 100
Undergraduate 25 58
Department School of business 31 72 43 100
School of
education
2 5
School of humanities 2 5
School of law 2 5
School of science 4 9
Medical school 0 0
Foundation department 2 5

Table 1. Demographics of respondents.

Table 1 represents the data on the demographic of the respondents of the questionnaire.

According to the data in Table 1, 30% (n=13) of the respondents were female and 70% (n=30) are male. When the population was distributed by, then majority of the respondents were in between 18-24 which was 74% (n=32) of the respondents. The majority of the students were undergraduates 58% (n=25) and 42% (n=18) were postgraduate students.

The majority of the race of the respondents were black at 40% (n=17) followed by Arabs at 26% (n=11), Asian at 24% (10), white at 7% (n=3) and finally 2% (n=1) of the population was mixed race. The respondents from the School of Business are 72%, (n=31), 9% (n=4) from the School of Science, the School of Education was at 5% (n=2), School of hHumanities 5% (n=2), school of law 5% (n=2) and Foundation Department was at 5% (n=2).

Descriptive Statistics
N Minimum Maximum Mean Std. Deviation
Academic factors 41 .00 11.00 3.8537 2.20863
Non academic 41 .00 28.00 11.7317 5.25844
Valid N (listwise) 41

Table 2. Descriptive statistics.

Descriptive statistics are given in Table 2; it consists of the minimum, maximum, mean and standard deviation of all the factors that effects student satisfaction in the University of Buckingham. The instruments used for the data collection comprise five points Likert scale from strongly agree to strongly disagree. The mean score of academic factors is 3.8537, while the mean for non-academic factors is 11.7317. Using this method helped summarize the findings and highlight the main trends in the research.

Report
Overall, are you content with your experience at this university academic factors non academic
extremely content Mean 1.1429 9.8571
N 7 7
Std. Deviation 1.21499 8.82097
very content Mean 4.4375 11.5625
N 16 16
Std. Deviation 2.27944 4.81621
moderately content Mean 4.2941 12.4706
N 17 17
Std. Deviation 1.64942 3.92297
not content at all Mean 6.0000 15.0000
N 1 1
Std. Deviation . .
Total Mean 3.8537 11.7317
N 41 41
Std. Deviation 2.20863 5.25844

Table 3. Overall satisfaction of students.

The table (Table 3) above is the report of the overall satisfaction of the student’s experience at the University of Buckingham. Majority of the students were ‘moderately satisfied’ with their overall experience at the university, which represents 41.46% of the respondents.

Findings, Discussion, Conclusion, Limitation, Recommendation

The research specifically focused on the satisfaction of studentsat the University of Buckingham with the facilities and services offered to them by the university. The responses obtained from these participants were analysed quantitatively using SPSS software. In the section below are the findings made from this study.

Qualitative findings

When asked about their level of satisfaction with the facilities and services offered to them at the university, nine (9) out of the nine (9) student interviewed noted that they were satisfied. None of them registered any negative comment about the services and facilities at this university.

When asked ‘What is your level of satisfaction with the social integration at the University of Buckingham?’ a student responded;

My level of satisfacion with social intergration at this university is nuetral as I do not attend social function’

– Student

It was clear that the respondent did not socialise in the university. Seven (7) out of the nine (9) students stated that they were satisfied with social integration at the university. Another student stated that she was neutral about the social interaction at the university as she was an off campus student. It was noted that there was a student who registered dissatisfaction in terms of social integration at the university.

It was apparent that most of the students were very satisfied with the student centeredness approach used in this institution. Two of the respondents stated that they were very satisfied and one stated that he was satisfied. No negative feedback was registered by the respondents.

One of the things I find most satisfying about the University of Buckingham is the student teacher ratio.’

-Student

By the above statement, it is clear that the student is satisfied by the teaching methods of the university. Another student responded

The time of the year which my course began played a role in my satisfaction of the university’

-Postgraduate student

An important finding in the interviews conducted is that no matter the level of satisfaction overall the participants had, they would still recommend the university to a friend.

Quantitative findings

In the quantitative research that was derived by questionaire responses inputted into SPSS, it was seen that the Asian and Arab population of the students that toom part in the questionaire were less satisfied with the non academic factors such student union events.

The majority of the students that took part in the questionaire were from the business school and were mostly satisfied with the academic factors in their department such as teaching, library resources and skills developed.

The findings revealed that the students were generally satisfied with the pre-enrolment factors that made them join this university. One student stated that he was very satisfied with these factors while two students stated that they were satisfied. None of the students registered any negative comment about the pre-qualification factors.

This paper intends to assess the extent to which satisfaction with the proposed factors and overall satisfaction in the University. An important finding as seen in Table 3 comparing the dependent variable ‘overall, are you content with your experience at this university?’ and independent variables ‘academic factors’ and ‘nonacademic factors’. Themajority of the students were ‘moderately content’ (n=17) with their overall satisfaction non-academic factors played a role, as it had the highest mean of 12.4706.

Discussion

It is clear from the above analysis that student satisfaction is very important for institutions of higher learning in the modern society. Service and facilities are some of the most important factors that influence students’ satisfaction. The University of Buckingham has was eager to ensure that it has state-of-the-art facilities that students need to ensure that in their academic and social lives.

The institution also offers superior academic services to its students as a way of enhancing their level of satisfaction. Almost all the student indicated that one of the biggest advantages of their university is that it provides the ability to work in small groups. The small group environment not only influenced their academic achievements in a positive way but also contributed to their socialization skills. Thus, the following advantages of a small groups can be inferred from the interview conducted:

  • no matter if we deal with seminars, practical classes, or project work, the small group environment gives all students a unique opportunity to take part in discussions and receive an immediate feedback from their teachers and group mates, which is highly important as they understand what they do wrong and what they are successful at;
  • it allows teachers give their students more hands-on assignments;
  • teachers can help students build their self-confidence by encouraging them to learn using an individual approach, which significantly improves their scores;
  • a more personalized contact can be established with teachers and group mates as nothing hinders communication;
  • small groups make it possible to step aside from theoretical discussions and explanations and pass on to performing more practice-oriented tasks; this is especially important for students in business classes, where a lot of project work and problem-based classes are integral for students’ future success as businessmen;
  • more independent learning can be achieved as teachers do not have to give directions all the time and can allow students do more following their own initiative as a small number of learners simplifies the assessment procedure; therefore, creativity and initiative are developed;
  • small groups also improve non-academic achievements of students allowing them to integrate better as they have a chance to know all their peers in a short period of time;
  • working in a small group improves performing skill as students feel more at ease talking in front of an audience that they know well; in this case the fear of making an error and be laughed at is minimized or completely eliminated.

Social integration is another important factor that influences students’ satisfaction. When students are able to integrate with their peers, they tend to be more comfortable than in instances when they struggle to make friends. Issues such as racism and segregation based on social class are the main factors that may hinder integration at institutions of higher learning.

It is unfortunate that one of the respondents stated that he was not very much satisfied with the level of integration at this institution. This is an indication that the firm has a lot to do as a way of enhancing integration at this institution. The following suggestions can be made to enhance social integration of foreign students:

  • despite the fact that there are a lot of studies that address the issue and the importance of social integration at the universities, most of the practitioners are simply unaware of their findings and have no idea how implement changes in practice; that accounts for the fact that at lot of universities have to reinvent the wheel every time they encounter problems, and the comprehensive model cannot be developed;
  • although there are a lot of data on student satisfaction, its components are usually analyzed in separation and the links between them are not established, which means that it is difficult to say for sure what place integration occupies in their system of values;
  • most university authorities are convinced that the motivation to enter intercultural communication must come from an individual student, not from the university, which is a mistake; universities must create specific social conditions that foster intercultural interactions;
  • it is often the case that owing to the absence of one holistic program, Academic Departments, Administrative Services, and Students’ Unions choose different strategies to deal with integration that are often contradicting; thus, their efforts are fruitful and can be even harmful;
  • integration is wrongly viewed as a unidirectional process, which means that foreign students are supposed to do their best to fit in; however, mutual adjustment is required as domestic students should also be committed to the idea of racial and cultural tolerance and peaceful coexistence in the learning environment and outside of it;
  • universities often undervaluate the significance of activities that foster integration;
  • international students are often not provided any kind of assistance beyond the academic one that would help them learn more about the local culture and people and make them feel at ease having to deal with domestic students.

Only if all the enumerated problems are addressed, it will possible to eliminate racial, religious and cultural prejudice that can have a negative impact on the overall satisfaction of students.

Centeredness and responsiveness are issues critical to students’ satisfaction. Students currently prefer learning in an environment where they are empowered to drive the learning process other than being in systems where learning is driven by their teachers. At this university, it was apparent that all the participants stated that they were satisfied with the level of student-centeredness approach promoted by the administration.

Pre-enrolment factors also influence students’ level of satisfaction. It means that institutions of higher learning need to invest in the advertisement to ensure that they are viewed favourably by the public, especially the parents and potential students who may want to study in this institution in the future. The following recommendation can help universities increase their potential students’ pre-enrolment satisfaction:

  • all the university authorities and staff must be aware of its strategy, goals, and opportunities that it provides; otherwise it will be impossible for them to attract students;
  • the most prestigious universities hire the best scholars, which means that it is crucial for a higher educational institution to have the best positions occupied by the most prominent researchers;
  • students must be sure that the university does its utmost to control quality;
  • the policies of the university must be clear and appealing;
  • some of the respondent in the study at hand mentioned that they were not satisfied with the equipment in the library as it was outdated; it means that universities must invest money in the best possible facilities that are necessary for comfortable learning;
  • universities must offer wide opportunities for extra-curricular activities; a lot of students are displeased that there is nothing they can do on the campus in their leisure time;
  • the red tape must be cut to the possible minimum as a lot of potential students get scare away when they encounter it.

In this case, future research should expand upon the scope of this study and conduct several longitudinal studies to measure the effectiveness of the interventions. Pursuing these avenues of future research will help expand the understanding of student satisfaction issues. Moreover, future studies should focus on a precise definition of research participants to avoid bias.

Conclusion

Understanding factors that influence student satisfaction is very critical for any university that seeks to attract local and international students. These institutions must understand the forces that influence the learners when they are making a decision on which university to join. In this paper, the researcher has conducted an interview with a small sample of students at the University of Buckingham.

Based on their responses to the questions posed to them, it was noted that the services and facilities that university offers, social integration, students’ centeredness approaches, and pre-enrolment factors are some of the most important factors that influence the students’ level of satisfaction.

Limitations

The list of factors investigated in this study was not exhaustive, only the academic and non-academic factors and in future other researchers could look at other factors such aspersonal factors, environmental factors, student’s education background, the nationality and student’s commitment to assess further how the factors affect student satisfaction. Also, the scope of study could be extended to cover more institution, as this study was limited to only one institution, which is the University of Buckingham.

The research relied on the interviews and questionnaire, the sample size of the research methods was relatively small so results cannot be generalised.

The objective of improving student satisfaction in the University of Buckingham was not addressed.

The interviews were not as in depth as anticipated as participants were not willing to be interview for a long period of time. It could be said that one of the potential solutions is to make the conversation more interesting and interactive. Alternatively, shortening the length of the interviews may also assist in gathering participant responses. Some other solutions can be suggested:

  • when you do you survey, you must think of students’ benefits and provide some incentives that do not have to be monetary but still must be appealing enough for them to take part in the interview (for example they can get some bonuses at their exams on the related subject);
  • the positive, action focused must be used to promote the idea of the survey as students must understand that they contribute to an important study;
  • the interview or the questioner must be made as simple as it is possible since most of the participants will be scared away if you make them answer some complicated questions requiring a lot of time and effort;
  • most students get bored when taking part in the research, which means that you must kindle their interest by explaining to them what real benefits the university will get from your study if they help complete it;
  • students must know that there are no right or wrong answers and they can express their dissatisfaction freely.

This research was conducted by three (3) individuals, work was delegated, this hindered inconsistency in terms of interpretation and understanding.

Recommendations

Based on the data, there is a significant figure shows that the equipment in both school libraries should be changed in order to improve the student satisfaction in the University of Buckingham. This should be taken into account by the university.

Student feedback should be used as means of improving student satisfaction and checking what can be improved in the university both in the academic and non-academic aspect.

Bibliography

Allen, A. (2012) ‘Research skills for medical students’, SAGE Publications, Thousand Oaks.

Alpern, B. (2010) ‘Factors that influence community college transfer students’ satisfaction with their baccalaureate institutions’, Cengage, New York.

Buschmana, L. (2001) ‘Using Student Interviews to Guide Classroom Instruction: An Action Research Project’, Teaching children mathematics. 8(4), pp.222–227.

’ 2013, The Guardian.

Douglas, J. A., Douglas, A., McClelland, R. J. and Davies, J. (2013) ‘Understanding student satisfaction and dissatisfaction: An interpretive study in the UK higher education context’, Studies in Higher Education. 40(2), pp.329–349.

William, E. Edward, G,&Dario, D. (1997) .

Farlex, A. (2003) .

Gibson, A. (2010) ‘Measuring business student satisfaction: A review and summary of the major predictors’, Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management. 32(3), pp.251–259.

Guolla, M. (1999) ‘Assessing the teaching quality to student satisfaction relationship: Applied customer satisfaction research in the classroom’, Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice. 7(3), pp.87–97.

Healey-Etten, V. and Sharp, S. (2010) ‘Teaching beginning undergraduates how to do an in-depth interview: A teaching note with 12 handy tips’, Teaching Sociology. 38(2), pp.157–165.

Long, C. S., Ibrahim, Z. and Kowang, T. O. (2013) ‘An analysis on the relationship between lecturers’ Competencies and students’ satisfaction’, International Education Studies. 7(1).

Luo, S., Gao, N., Xu, J., Shaf, D. and Khurrum (2015a) ‘Factors Leading to Students’ Satisfaction in the Higher Learning Institutions’, Journal of Education and Practice. 6(31), pp.114–116.

Luo, S., Niamatullah, Jianying, G., Dan, X. and Khurrum, S. (2015b) ‘Factors leading to students’ satisfaction in the higher learning institutions’, Journal of Education and Practice. 6(31), pp.114–118.

Marini, F., Bowen, D. E., Chase, R. B., Cummings, T. G., Lyons, W. E., Lowery, D., DeHoog, R. H., Zeithaml, V. A., Parasuraman, A., Berry, L. L., Zemke, R. and Schaaf, D. (1993) ‘‘Can’t get no satisfaction’: Customers, citizens, service, and satisfaction’, Public Administration Review. 53(2), p170.

Mark, E. (2013) ‘Student satisfaction and the customer focus in higher education’, Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management. 35(1), pp.2–10.

McIntosh, C. and Cambridge Dictionaries Online (2016) .

Ngamkamollert, T., & Ruangkanjanases, A. (2013). ‘Factors influencing foreign students’ satisfaction toward international program in Thai universities.’ International Journal of Information and Education Technology, 5(3), pp. 170-178.

Sembiring, M. G. (2015) ‘Validating student satisfaction related to persistence, academic performance, retention and career advancement within ODL perspectives’, Open Praxis. 7(4).

Sinclaire, J. K. (no date) ‘Student satisfaction with online learning: Lessons from organizational behavior’.

(2016). Wikimedia Foundation.

Weimer, M. (2013). ‘Learner-centred teaching: five key changes to practice’, John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken.

Wright, R. (2014). ‘Student-teacher interaction in online environments’, Information Science Reference, Hershey. Citations, Quotes & Annotations

Allen, A. (2012) ‘Research skills for medical students’, SAGE Publications, Thousand Oaks.

Alpern, B. (2010) ‘Factors that influence community college transfer students’ satisfaction with their baccalaureate institutions, Cengage, New York.’.

Buschmana, L. (2001) ‘Using Student Interviews to Guide Classroom Instruction: An Action Research Project’, Teaching children mathematics. 8(4), pp.222–227.

’ 2013, The Guardian.

Douglas, J. A., Douglas, A., McClelland, R. J. and Davies, J. (2013) ‘Understanding student satisfaction and dissatisfaction: An interpretive study in the UK higher education context’, Studies in Higher Education. 40(2), pp.329–349.

E, S., William, G, H., Edward and O, P., Dario (1997) .

Farlex (2003) .

Gibson, A. (2010) ‘Measuring business student satisfaction: A review and summary of the major predictors’, Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management. 32(3), pp.251–259.

Guolla, M. (1999) ‘Assessing the teaching quality to student satisfaction relationship: Applied customer satisfaction research in the classroom’, Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice. 7(3), pp.87–97.

Healey-Etten, V. and Sharp, S. (2010) ‘Teaching beginning undergraduates how to do an in-depth interview: A teaching note with 12 handy tips’, Teaching Sociology. 38(2), pp.157–165.

Long, C. S., Ibrahim, Z. and Kowang, T. O. (2013) ‘An analysis on the relationship between lecturers’ Competencies and students’ satisfaction’, International Education Studies. 7(1).

Luo, S., Gao, N., Xu, J., Shaf, D. and Khurrum (2015a) ‘Factors Leading to Students’ Satisfaction in the Higher Learning Institutions’, Journal of Education and Practice. 6(31), pp.114–116.

Luo, S., Niamatullah, Jianying, G., Dan, X. and Khurrum, S. (2015b) ‘Factors leading to students’ satisfaction in the higher learning institutions’, Journal of Education and Practice. 6(31), pp.114–118.

Marini, F., Bowen, D. E., Chase, R. B., Cummings, T. G., Lyons, W. E., Lowery, D., DeHoog, R. H., Zeithaml, V. A., Parasuraman, A., Berry, L. L., Zemke, R. and Schaaf, D. (1993) ‘‘Can’t get no satisfaction’: Customers, citizens, service, and satisfaction’, Public Administration Review. 53(2), p170.

Mark, E. (2013) ‘Student satisfaction and the customer focus in higher education’, Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management. 35(1), pp.2–10.

McIntosh, C. and Cambridge Dictionaries Online (2016) .

Ngamkamollert, T., & Ruangkanjanases, A. (2013). ‘Factors influencing foreign students’ satisfaction toward international program in Thai universities.’ International Journal of Information and Education Technology, 5(3), pp. 170-178.

Sembiring, M. G. (2015) ‘Validating student satisfaction related to persistence, academic performance, retention and career advancement within ODL perspectives’, Open Praxis. 7(4).

Sinclaire, J. K. (no date) ‘Student satisfaction with online learning: Lessons from organizational behavior’.

(2016). Wikimedia Foundation. Available at:

Weimer, M. (2013). ‘Learner-centred teaching: five key changes to practice’, John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken.

Wright, R. (2014). ‘Student-teacher interaction in online environments’, Information Science Reference, Hershey.

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1. IvyPanda. "Student Satisfaction in the University of Buckingham." July 31, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/student-satisfaction-in-the-university-of-buckingham/.


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IvyPanda. "Student Satisfaction in the University of Buckingham." July 31, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/student-satisfaction-in-the-university-of-buckingham/.

References

IvyPanda. 2020. "Student Satisfaction in the University of Buckingham." July 31, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/student-satisfaction-in-the-university-of-buckingham/.

References

IvyPanda. (2020) 'Student Satisfaction in the University of Buckingham'. 31 July.

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