Applying services marketing principles to postgraduate supervision

Dann, S. (2008)

Quality Assurance in Education, 16(4): 333–46.


The paper aims to describe the application of two key service quality frameworks for improving the delivery of postgraduate research supervision. The services quality frameworks are used to identify key areas of overlap between services marketing practice and postgraduate supervision that can be used by the supervisor to improve research supervision outcomes for the student. 

Design/​methodology/​approach: The paper is a conceptual and theoretical examination of the two streams of literature that proposes a supervision gap model based on the services gap literature, and the application of services delivery frameworks of co-creation and service quality. 

Findings: Services marketing literature can inform the process of designing and delivering postgraduate research supervision by clarifying student supervisor roles, setting parameters and using quality assurance frameworks for supervision delivery. The five services quality indicators can be used to examine overlooked areas of supervision delivery, and the co-creation approach of services marketing can be used to empower student design and engaged in the quality of the supervision experience. 

Research limitations/​implications: As a conceptual paper based on developing a theoretical structure for applying services marketing theory into the research supervision context, the paper is limited to suggesting potential applications. Further research studies will be necessary to test the field implementation of the approach. Practical implications: The practical implications of the paper include implementation suggestions for applying the supervisor gaps for assessing areas of potential breakdown in the supervision arrangement. 

Originality/​value: The paper draws on two diverse areas of theoretical work to integrate the experience, knowledge and frameworks of commercial services marketing into the postgraduate research supervision literature.

Cite this article

Dann, S. (2008)

Applying services marketing principles to postgraduate supervision.

Quality Assurance in Education, 16(4): 333–46

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