What do prospective students look for in higher degrees by research? A scale development study

Muhammad Abid Saleem, Lynne Eagle, Naveed Akhtar, Allah Wasaya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This empirical investigation was aimed at conceptualizing, developing and validating a scale for the measurement of the quality of higher degrees by research (HDR-QUAL). For that purpose, this study specifically measured perceptions of higher degrees by research (HDR) students about the constituents of HDR quality in Pakistani tertiary education institutions. Following the 7-step process of scale development, three studies were conducted in order to develop an initial pool of scale items, establishing proposed scale validity and reliability, and assessing nomological behavior of the proposed scale. The principal component analysis with Varimax rotation method resulted in a 3-factor solution, subsequently proposing a 15-item scale. The model fit indices of measurement and the higher-order model indicated a satisfactory fit to data. Finally, the resultant three factors, i.e. financial assistance, supervisory expertise, and infrastructural support, converged into a unidimensional HDR-QUAL scale that was found positively associated with student satisfaction, thus, confirming nomological validity as well. Important policy measures and directions for future research are proposed at the end.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-65
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Marketing for Higher Education
Issue number1
Early online date22 Oct 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2020
Externally publishedYes


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