Perceptions of research structures and service quality within various faculties at Durban University of Technology: staff and students perspective

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In order to compete, retain and attract postgraduate students, and overcome the lack of postgraduate throughput, universities of technology need to be more customer orientated. Therefore, to gain competitive advantage, university management needs to identify and assess the service quality gaps in research support structures and analyze the impact they have on students and staff within the university. The purpose of the study is to investigate the perceptions of staff and postgraduate students with regard to research structures and service quality support by relevant offices with specific reference to Durban University of Technology. Data were collected from academic staff and students across six faculties at the Durban University of Technology. The sample consisted of 278 academic staff and 260 postgraduate students, using a simple random sampling. A mixed method approach of qualitative and quantitative techniques was used, with a closed and open-ended questionnaire developed, by adapting the SERVQUAL instrument developed by Parasuraman et al. (1985), to evaluate and assess the quality dimensions (gap) for reliability, responsiveness, assurance and empathy. The findings of the study indicated that staff and students were dissatisfied with the research support structures across six faculties. Further research should aim at assessing performance management of research support structures and service within the relevant research offices

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