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ERIC Number: EJ1083965
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 17
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0826-435X
Perspectives: Using Critical Incidents to Understand ESL Student Satisfaction
Walker, John
TESL Canada Journal, v32 n2 p95-111 2015
In a marketized environment, ESL providers, in common with other postcompulsory educational institutions, canvass student satisfaction with their services. While the predominant method is likely to be based on tick-box questionnaires using Likert scales that measure degrees of satisfaction, qualitative methodology is an option when rich data is desired. The well-established Critical Incident Technique (CIT) is particularly useful in this regard as an exploratory methodology with potential to increase knowledge about previously unknown phenomena. A pilot study with a small sample of ESL students was set up to explore ESL student satisfaction using CIT. The data obtained were analyzed within the framework of Johnston's (1995) quality factors, then further categorized in terms of satisfying, dissatisfying, or neutral factors. The findings provided some tentative indications of differentiation among ESL quality factors as perceived by ESL students. Insights were obtained regarding procedural, analytical, and student response issues in the use of CIT in conjunction with satisfaction data. The outcomes supported the view that information obtained through CIT could assist ESL managers and teachers in developing and enhancing quality factors that more accurately reflect student expectations of the service.
TESL Canada Federation. 408-4370 Dominion Street, Burnaby, BC V5G 4L7, Canada. Tel: 604-298-0312; Fax: 604-298-0372; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A