University choice: What do we know, what don’t we know and what do we still need to find out?

Jane Hemsley-Brown, Izhar Oplatka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Scopus citations


Purpose-The purpose of this paper is to systematically document, scrutinise and critically analyse the current research literature on higher education choice to: Establish the scope of the studies; map the factors associated with choice; identify the key strengths and weaknesses in the research literature; critically analyse the extant research and make recommendations for further research in this field. Design/methodology/approach-The authors conducted extensive searches of relevant and education and management databases. The search is limited to publications between 1992 and 2013 and is intended to cover national and international research. The review is based on 75 papers which focus on institutional choice, assembled on an Excel database (45 surveys, 13 secondary data studies, one experimental study, two longitudinal studies, 11 qualitative studies and three studies that use both qualitative and quantitative techniques). Findings-Results are presented under thematic headings which emerged from the analysis: First, demographics and academic factors; second, factors which relate to the institution: Quality, outcomes and benefits, facilities, and characteristics of institutions. Finally factors which affect both the institution and the students: Price and price sensitivity, information and information sources, and travel and geographical factors are considered. Originality/value-Comprehensive analysis of prior research in the field of institutional choice is long overdue. Theoretical models for future research are presented as a result of the findings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)254-274
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Educational Management
Issue number3
StatePublished - 13 Apr 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Decision making
  • Higher education choice
  • Institution choice
  • Marketing
  • Student choice
  • University choice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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