ERIC Number: ED352102
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1992
Reference Count: N/A
Using Marketing Research Techniques To Improve Quality and Service.
Marketing in the business world has long used focus group interviews and survey techniques to explore the attitudes, behaviors, and perceptions of their customers. In the college setting, these same techniques are now being used to improve program quality, assess the effectiveness of publications, and explore the image of the college. At Durham College (DC) in Oshawa, Ontario, focus groups with secondary school students, guidance counselors, and DC students have led to significant positive changes in the college calendar. In DC's Program Review Model for Evaluation and Review, focus groups are used to obtain initial feedback, while surveys provide measures of attitudes toward programs, curricula, and instruction. Focus groups, involving loosely structured interviews with small groups of 5 to 12 people, allow for close, face-to-face contact with customers. Group interaction, facilitated by a moderator, allows for the free flow of ideas and opinions. The moderator should encourage people to express themselves, ensure topics are addressed, control dominant individuals, and avoid giving personal opinions. Taping of focus group sessions can assist in the subsequent process of analysis. Surveys are more complicated and costly than focus groups, but they provide important quantitative data. Steps to conducting an effective survey include determining the research topic, listing the needed data, conducting a preliminary investigation if necessary, determining who is to be surveyed and how to survey them, selecting the type of survey, creating and testing a questionnaire, and collecting and analyzing data. Survey types include mail and telephone questionnaires, and personal interviews. (PAA)
Descriptors: Ancillary School Services, Community Colleges, Data Collection, Educational Quality, Group Discussion, Group Dynamics, Institutional Advancement, Institutional Research, Instructional Improvement, Interviews, Marketing, Program Improvement, Questionnaires, Self Evaluation (Groups), Student Attitudes, Surveys, Teacher Attitudes, Total Quality Management, Two Year Colleges
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Durham Coll. of Applied Arts and Technology, Oshawa (Ontario).
Identifiers: Customer Relations; Durham College of Applied Arts and Technology ON; Focus Groups Approach