Perceived quality in higher education: an empirical study

Cristina Calvo-Porral (Facultade Economia y Empresa, University of La Coruña, La Coruña, Spain)
Jean-Pierre Lévy-Mangin (University of Québec, Ottawa, Gatineau, Canada)
Isabel Novo-Corti (University of La Coruña, La Coruña, Spain)

Marketing Intelligence & Planning

ISSN: 0263-4503

Publication date: 21 October 2013



The purpose of this paper is to address two issues. First research goal is about analyzing differences in perceived quality in higher education (HE) between a private and a public university centre. Second, the research aims to analyze which are the key dimensions in perceived quality in HE from the students’ standpoint.


An analysis based on a modified SERVQUAL instrument was used to respond to the objectives put forward. Then, a mean comparison and covariance structure analysis approach was carried out to test the differences in perceived quality between the students from both centres, as well as the dimensions with higher influence in perceived quality.


The results suggest that tangibility and empathy dimensions are the most influent variables on perceived quality in HE. Furthermore, some relevant significant differences were found between the public and the private centre.

Research limitations/implications

The results give an opportunity to HE institutions’ managers to develop enhancing quality strategies for their institutions, given that the present study relies on a sample of actual undergraduate university students.


The present research provides with a comparative analysis between a private and a public centre, in order to assess which one offers higher educational and teaching quality from the students’ viewpoint, as well as an approach to the main variables in HE perceived quality.



Calvo-Porral, C., Lévy-Mangin, J. and Novo-Corti, I. (2013), "Perceived quality in higher education: an empirical study", Marketing Intelligence & Planning, Vol. 31 No. 6, pp. 601-619.

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