Word-of-mouth information gathering : an exploratory study of Asian international students searching for Australian higher education services

Chen, Chia-Hung (2006) Word-of-mouth information gathering : an exploratory study of Asian international students searching for Australian higher education services. Masters by Research thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


Word-of-mouth communication (WOMC) has been recognized as a powerful marketing communication medium that many consider beyond marketers' control and yet is a reliable, creditable, trustworthy information-gathering tool, especially in credence-based services (CBS). To date, the various types of WOMC messages have not yet been adequately studied in the context of CBS. Using the individual face-toface convergence interview (CI) technique as the primary data collection method of exploratory research, this study attempts to fill this gap by describing the types, the characteristics, and the significance of WOMC messages involved in a CBS information gathering process (e.g. selection of an Australian higher education service). Marketers in the higher education sector feel WOMC advertising is unfamiliar and less manageable, but powerful in practice, especially in recruiting overseas Asian students.

This study took the strengths of computer-assisted qualitative data analysis software (CAQDAS), N*Vivo 2, to manage qualitative transcriptions and enhance the data analysis process in organizing, linking, coding categorizing, organizing, summarizing behaviour patterns in order to explore the insightful findings and answer research questions. The study summarizes participants' motivation items and the specific information gathering steps as the foundation to discover the three types of WOMC messages (service information gathering, subjective personal experience, and personal advice) the characteristics of WOMC messages and the significance of WOMC messages in the CBS information gathering process. In theoretical terms, the findings on the role of types of WOMC messages have extended Beltramini model in the information gathering stage. In terms of the management implications, this research advances the current understanding of the types of WOMC messages, insightful WOMC characteristics and significances in behaviour patterns in the CBS information gathering process. As a result, university marketers are able to effectively cultivate various types of WOMC messages in promotion campaigns.

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ID Code: 16275
Item Type: QUT Thesis (Masters by Research)
Supervisor: Patti, Charles & Everett, James
Keywords: market communication, word-of-mouth adverting, information search, service marketing, promotion management, credence-based service, higher education services, international students / foreign students, HERN
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Current > Schools > School of Advertising, Marketing & Public Relations
Department: Faculty of Business
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Copyright Owner: Copyright Chia-Hung Chen
Deposited On: 03 Dec 2008 03:59
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2011 19:45

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