The desired teaching qualities of lecturers in higher education: A means end analysis

Roediger Voss, Thorsten Gruber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose - The purpose of this research is to aim to develop a deeper understanding of the teaching qualities of effective lecturers that students desire and to uncover the constructs that underlie these desire expectations and reveal the underlying benefits for which students look. Design/methodology/approach - A semi-standardized qualitative technique called laddering was applied that allows researchers to reach deeper levels of reality and to reveal the reasons behind the reasons. The study was conducted amongst teacher education students at a large German University of Education and laddering questionnaires were handed out to 53 students enrolled in a business management course. Findings - The exploratory study gave a valuable first insight into the desired qualities of lecturers. In particular, the study results indicate that students want lecturers to be knowledgeable, enthusiastic, approachable, and friendly. Students predominantly want to encounter valuable teaching experiences to be able to pass tests and to be prepared for their profession. This study also showed that students are mainly concerned about vocational aspects of their studies and are less interested in their subject. Research limitations/implications - Owing to the exploratory nature of the study and the scope and size of its sample, the results outlined are tentative in nature. As the study involved only a single group of university students from one university, the results cannot be generalized to the student population as a whole. Originality/value - The study was the first to successfully apply the means-end approach and the laddering technique to the issue of service quality in higher education. The study has, hopefully, opened up an area of research and methodology that could provide considerable further benefits for researchers interested in this topic.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)217-242
Number of pages25
JournalQuality Assurance in Education
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • Germany
  • Higher education
  • Quality standards
  • Teaching


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