Experimental methodology for segmenting the postsecondary education market Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/r494vn542

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  • The objective of the study was to identify and evaluate a methodology of market segmentation analysis for use in postsecondary education institution enrollment management. Two approaches to segmentation were examined: A priori and post hoc., The a priori approach was based on subject's intent to enroll at one of five types of schools, colleges or universities. The post hoc approach grouped subjects on a basis of their similarities on attributes desired at the schools at which they planned to enroll. Methodology for developing descriptive profiles of segments and for predicting membership in segments was then evaluated. Five categories of descriptors were used: Demographics, sociographics, psychographics, achievement/participation, and choice influencers. The scales contained 485 variables. The study involved 195 subjects. These were graduating seniors at four Salem, Oregon high schools. The data were gathered in three self-administered instruments without time limit. Data analytic techniques employed included Chi-square, analysis of variance, hierarchical cluster analysis, and multiple discriminant analysis. SELECTED FINDINGS The overall conclusion of the study was that market segmentation methodology developed for the commercial sector may be used to disaggregate a large, heterogeneous market for postsecondary education. The study showed that it was possible to identify distinct segments using either an a priori or a post hoc segmentation methodology. Both methods found significant differences in the way subjects responded on scale questionnaires. Differences were also found in the attribute preferences and descriptive characteristics of all segments. Three of the five categories of descriptive characteristics were found to be effective as discriminators between a priori segments and for predicting membership in segments. All five categories were effective as discriminators between post hoc segments and as segment membership predictors. RECOMMENDATIONS It was recommended that: 1. Segmentation studies be conducted prior to development of student recruitment programs. 2. The segmentation process include two preliminary steps: (a) establishment of segments using as a basis for segmenting either an a priori criterion or a post hoc clustering process. (b) construct a descriptive profile for each group using a combination of several categories of descriptive characteristics. 3. That the descriptive categories to be used for a priori segment be sociographics, achievement/participation, and choice influencers. Demographics and psychographics may be used in addition for describing post hoc segments. 4. That a control group sample be tested first to serve as a benchmark for comparing experimental sample results. A split-sample technique may be substituted for the benchmark approach. 5. That the results of similar analyses not be used for the admissions decision process. 6. That the procedure be further evaluated with other markets for postsecondary education, including the community college transfer market, older adults, and clients of vocational rehabilitation agencies.
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