Analysis of the data collected through the survey provides important information, which can settle the dispute concerning the establishment of the shopping mall. The findings show that the students are willing and ready to shop frequently, but they lack enough shopping opportunities within the university. Hence, the establishment of the shopping mall is essential and must include retail outlets that provide specific products that meet diverse needs of students. Therefore, the report recommends that:-
- The university should establish shopping mall because it has massive support of students (94%) and most of them indicate that they would shop often at the mall.
- The university should incorporate retail outlets such as fashion, cosmetics, jewelry, electronic bookstores, and cinema into the shopping mall, as the students predominantly proposed them.
- The university should incorporate a hotel to accommodate family members of students when they visit them.
This report analyzes the proposal to establish 400 meter by 700 meter multi-storey shopping mall, which is the size of Mirdiff City Center, within the grounds of American University of Sharjah. The proposal has elicited mixed reactions amongst all stakeholders of American University of Sharjah. The opponents of the proposal argue that the establishment of the shopping mall will be an eyesore for it makes the university to be a commercial center rather than an educational center.
In contrast, the proponents of the proposal argue that the establishment of the shopping mall in the grounds of the university is essential because it will expand shopping opportunities for students and local residents within Sharjah region. Additionally, the shopping mall will include a food court, a health spa, a 7-screen cinema, fine dining restaurants, and a small hotel, where visiting family members of students can stay.
In this view, as the chair of the committee, which examines views of fellow students regarding the need to establish the shopping mall, the committee aims to recommend retail outlets that students prefer to be in the shopping mall. Therefore, the report conducts a survey among students, analyzes their views, and presents findings to the university chancellor, Dr. Bjaern Kjerfve.
American University of Sharjah is an international university, which is in the United Arab Emirates. In 1997, Sheikh Dr. Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qassimi, who is not only the ruler of Sharjah, established the university with the objective of making it to be an international university that serves the interests of the United Arab Emirates and the international community.
The university is a leading educational institution in the United Arab Emirate because it offers opportunities to students by making them “experience quality and authentic American education in the Gulf” (American University of Sharjah, 2014, para. 1). For the past decade, the university has grown exponentially and attracted thousands of students within the gulf region and across the world.
A wide range of educational programs that the university offers has made it attract students from diverse cultures and geographical regions. Since the populations of students are increasing exponentially with time, they require additional services such as recreational centers and shopping malls (Swan, 2012). Hence, to meet diverse needs and interests of students within the university, the establishment of a huge shopping mall is necessary.
In the collection of views of students regarding the establishment of essential retail stores, the report used surveys in collection of primary data. The strategy of collecting data through surveys entailed qualitative approach. According to Kothari (2011), qualitative approach to data collection and analysis focuses on the views, opinions, attitudes, and behaviors of participants.
Since the study seeks to find out the views of students concerning the establishment of the shopping mall within the grounds of the university and their preferred stores that should be in the shopping mall, the use of survey is an appropriate method of data collection.
To obtain appropriate data that has statistical significance, a study should use a representative sample (Gravetter & Forzano, 2008). Hence, the study administered surveys to 200 students after seeking their informed consent. In sampling the participants, the study employed stratified sampling, where 100 male and 100 female students were sampled from the population of students.
The participants of the study were 100 male and 100 female students from different areas of residence. The distribution of students among their areas of residence is that 26% lived in AUS dorms, 19% in Dubai, 18% in Abu Dhabi, 12% in Ajman, 4% in Ras Al Khamah, 15% in Furairah, and 6% in Umm Al Quwain, as shown in figure 1 in appendix B. Regarding the establishment of the shopping mall, 94% supported the establishment of the mall, whereas 6% did not support.
As distraction was a major issue affecting the establishment of the shopping mall, 55% stated that it does not affect academic environment, while 45% indicated it affects learning environment.
In the ratings of retail outlets (figure 2 appendix B), which should be present in the shopping mall, 90%, 85%, 88%, 75%, and 87% of the students rated fashion, cosmetics, jewelry, electronic bookstores, and cinema respectively, while supermarkets and restaurants received significant weak ratings. Johnny Rockets, McDonalds, and 800 pizzas are restaurants that got strong rating, according to figure 3 in appendix B.
When asked how often they go shopping, most students (42%) said that they would perform their shopping weekly followed by 32%, who stated that they would shop twice a week. Others, 25%, 12%, and 5% indicated that they could shop monthly, daily, and rarely respectively.
If the shopping mall would have cinema, 34%, 26%, and 36% of students indicated that they would visit it once a week, once in every two weeks, and once a month respectively. Concerning visitation, most students indicated that their family members visit them once in a semester (45%) and twice in a semester (23%). Moreover, 30% and 35% of students are correspondingly very likely and likely to stay at the hotel in the shopping mall.
Shopping Behavior of Students
Analysis of the findings obtained from the surveys indicates that most students are likely to shop their products twice a week and weekly. Evidently, 42% of students indicated that they would do their shopping weekly and 32% said that they would do their shopping twice a week.
Such findings show the lucrative purchasing behavior of students, and thus, make them potential customers for the proposed shopping mall. Although opponents of establishing the shopping mall argue that it causes a distraction, 94% of students support the establishment of the shopping mall.
Regarding the proposition of retail outlets that ought to be at the shopping mall, students gave diverse suggestions. The ratings of fashion, cosmetics, jewelry, electronic bookstores, and the cinema were 90%, 85%, 75%, 88%, and 87% respectively. These findings indicate that students prefer retail outlets, which offer grooming products such as clothing, shoes, jewelry, beauty products, salon, and other related artworks.
Tice (2012) argues that good looks is an important aspect of campus life because every student strives to groom well and achieve social recognition. Moreover, 87% of students require entertainment in terms of cinema and 88% of them need learning material as they stated that they need electronic bookstore.
Accommodation of Family Members
Most students, 45% and 23% stated that their family members visit them once in a semester and twice in a semester. Additionally, 30% of the students stated that their family members are very likely to stay in the hotel, while 35% indicated that their family members are likely to stay. Therefore, these findings show that the shopping mall should host hotel that would accommodate visiting family members.
- As 94% of students do support the establishment of the shopping mall and most of them indicate that they would shop often at the mall, the university should establish the shopping mall.
- The university should incorporate retail outlets such as fashion, cosmetics, jewelry, electronic bookstores, and cinema into the shopping mall, as the students rated them strongly.
- Given that a significant number of students indicated that their family members visit them once or twice in a semester and are willing to stay within the university, the proposed shopping mall should incorporate a hotel, which caters for their accommodation needs.
The report, therefore, holds that the university should establish the shopping mall because students offer a potential market for they currently lack enough shopping opportunities within the university. To meet the unique needs of students, the shopping mall should contain fashion, cosmetics, jewelry, electronic bookstores, and cinema as they are major retail outlets that the students proposed. Moreover, the shopping mall should provide restaurants for students and hotel for visiting family members.
American University of Sharjah: Why AUS. (2014). Web.
Gravetter, F., & Forzano, L. (2008). Research Methods for the Behavioral Sciences. New York: Cengage Learning.
Kothari, C. (2011). Research Methodology: Methods and Techniques. New York: New Age International.
Tice, K. (2012). Queens of Academe: Beauty Pageantry, Student Bodies, and College Life. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Swan, M. (2012). American University of Sharjah to get multimillion dirham facelift. The National. Web.
Appendix A: The Survey Administered to the Students
- Male (50%)
- Female (50%)
- Are you supporting the proposal to build a shopping mall in the university?
- Yes (94%)
- No (6%)
- Where do you live?
- AUS dorms (26%)
- Dubai (19%)
- Abu Dhabi (18%)
- Ajman (12%)
- Ras Al Khamah (4%)
- Fujairah (15%)
- Umm Al Quwain (6%)
- Which types of outlets do you propose be incorporated in the mall? Rate them using scale of 1 for highest to 8 for lowest?
- Which restaurants should be incorporated into the shopping mall? Rate using the scale of 1 for highest to 5 for lowest
- How often would you visit the mall if it had cinema?
- Once a week (34%)
- Once every two weeks (26%)
- Once a month (36%)
- None (4%)
- Other (0%)
- How often would you visit the shopping when constructed in the university?
- Daily (12%)
- Twice a week (16%)
- Weekly (42%)
- Monthly (25%)
- Rarely (15%)
- How often does your family visit you in the university?
- Once a semester (45%)
- Twice a semester (23%)
- More than twice a semester (21%)
- Never (12%)
- Other (0%)
- What is the likelihood that your family will stay at the hotel in the shopping mall?
- Very likely (30%)
- Likely (35)
- Neutral (10%)
- Unlikely (21%)
- Very unlikely (4%)
- Does the shopping mall distract students from their studies?
- Yes (55%)
- No (45%)