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2018, Cilt 8, Sayı 1, Sayfa(lar) 051-061
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DOI: 10.5961/jhes.2018.247
Determining the Quality of Life of Students in Higher Education
Seyithan DEMİRDAĞ
Bulent Ecevit University, Ereğli Faculty of Education, Department of Educational Sciences, Zonguldak, Turkey
Keywords: Quality of life, University students, Higher education, Turkish universities, Mixed method
Abstract
Quality of life is affected by people’s cultures, situations, expectations, goals, standards, and value systems. This study aims to determine the quality of life of students in terms of their relations with academicians, other students and administrative personnel, opportunities offered by the university, and their satisfaction level with their university in three major Turkish universities in 2016-2017 academic school year. A total of 417 participants including 131 males and 286 females were selected through a non-random selection. The study included a mixed method approach. The survey model of descriptive method was used in the quantitative part of the study. The qualitative part of the study included a semi-structured interview technique involving open ended questions. The quantitative data was analyzed according to the research questions using one-way analysis of variances (ANOVA), Pearson’s correlation, and stepwise regression analysis. In addition, content analysis method was employed to analyze qualitative data. The findings showed that university students were uncertain about factors affecting their quality of life.
  • Top
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Disscussion
  • References
  • Introduction
    American sociologists were interested in determining the living conditions of their families and started examining this issue by 1918. They investigated this issue under the topics of living conditions, socio-economic status, lifestyle, and social status. Investigations on quality of life were first conducted by Chapin (1933). He developed an instrument and tried to determine the level of social welfare of the working class. The instrument measured the living conditions related to a household. Similarly, Sewell (1940) developed another instrument to conduct research on quality of life of farmers. Later, McKain and Walter (1939) and conducted similar research by adding more parameters to previously conducted studies in their work.

    Quality of life has recently been a subject of research among multi-disciplinary areas including social sciences and health sciences. In social sciences, quality of life has been investigated in fields of education, politics, economics, and sociology. All disciplines defined the concept of quality of life from different perspectives. The sense of well-being or the degree of satisfaction determine the level of quality of life of people (Schuessler & Fisher, 1985). Such approaches made it difficult to make a standard definition of quality of life. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines quality of life as culture, situation, expectations, goals, standards, and value systems of individuals based on their perceptions on how they experience their own living conditions (WHO, 2017). Bauer (1966) defined quality of life as the level of feeling of satisfaction or dissatisfaction in their various areas of lives. Andrews and Withey (1976) argues that quality of life is the level of relationship between satisfaction and pleasure associated with a person’s life. Campbell, Converse, and Rogers (1976) define quality of life as a relationship between the quality of resources and the individual satisfaction received from these sources. The main aim in quality of life is to determine how satisfied an individual is from his psychological, social, physical and economic situation (Cılga, 1994; Farquhar, 1995).

    Theoretically, the concept of quality of life was examined by researchers in different ways. In the studies carried out, the quality of life qualities are generally examined in two dimensions: Objective indicators and subjective indicators. Objective indicators include physical well-being and economic status. Subjective indicators include satisfaction of life itself (Tekkanat, 2008). Lehman’s (1983) research has led many studies of quality of life. The participants of research included adults in nursing home cares. The main goal of the study was to determine the level of life satisfaction based on the adults’ living conditions in nursing home, family relations, social relations, leisure time activities, employment status, financial condition, personal confidence, and health status.

    When it comes to quality in education, it needs to be impeccable, satisfying, innovative, and provide opportunities for human development (Yıldırım, 2002). Quality in education may be provided through effective education given in right time and place by effective educators (Bulut, 2010). Having quality education services is based on the principle of ensuring effective use of all available resources. The quality of the education system may be increased by enriching human resources, physical resources, student services, social and cultural environment, education technology, and collaboration among students, schools, and private sector (O’Connor, 2000).

    Quality of life is defined as students’ interest and happiness towards school in general (Newcomb, Bentler, & Collins, 1986). The root of the concept of quality of life in schools is generated from quality of life, which includes a broader meaning (Land & Spilerman, 1975). Education is one of the dimensions of overall quality of life (Kubey, 1990). Quality of life in schools is well-being, satisfaction, and experience of the students based on their daily school life (Mok, & Flynn, 2002; Williams, et al., 1996). Epstein and McPatland (1976) are one of those, who first mentioned the concept of quality of life in schools. They conducted their research in primary schools and high schools and explained quality of life in schools based on the environmental conditions of the students. Schools are not only responsible for the academic development of students, but also responsible for their school development (Linnakylä & Brunell, 1996). Gander and Gardiner (2010) suggested that school experience may contribute on both professional and social development. Ainley (1999) conducted studies on the quality of life of schools and found that the tasks of schools, along with the transfer of information, include creating democratic and independent individuals. The majority of the students’ time is spent in the school environment. Therefore, schools are supposed to be places where students enjoy spending time and learning new things rather than thinking as a place where they are forced to be at (Weinstein et al., 1997). Studies have shown that school quality of life is related to the academic achievement and the well-being of students (Mok, & Flynn, 2002). It has been seen that students who have a quality school life can take more responsibility for their own behaviors (Ferrans & Powers, 1985). In addition, research findings showed that quality of life in schools is correlated with students’ academic achievement.

    Studies investigating quality of life in schools examined the topic from different aspects of quality of life. In their research Epstein and McPartland (1976) found that quality of life in schools was affected by formal and informal expectations, social and task-related experiences, authority figures and colleagues in the school. Williams et al. (1996) examined quality of life in schools based on students’ positive and negative emotions, status, identity, success, and type of teachers in the school. In addition, Karatzias, Power, and Swanson (2001), examined quality of school life in schools through its association with school program, attendance, teaching methods, instructional styles, learning, personal needs, evaluation, school value, support systems, career, and relationships. Lastly, Fish, and Dane (2000) conducted research on this topic based on its relationship with school-wide innovations, communication, and participating in decisions.

    Some of the studies on quality of life of students were conducted in universities. The different structure of universities from other educational institutions necessitated a separate consideration quality of life in such settings. University admin istrations have stated in their missions about the solutions of the various problems of the students. The solutions are about students’ academic, social, housing, nutrition and, transportation problems (Sirgy, Grezeskowiak, & Rahtz, 2007). Most universities try to increase quality of life in their settings through their own resources and facilities. The university’s quality of life includes the university’s degree of satisfaction and the experience of students creating positive emotions throughout their university life (Doğanay & Sarı, 2006). Educational services, administrative services, and facilities are the most important determinants of quality of life in universities (Kim et al., 2008). Students need to have a meaningful relationship with their universities in order to be successful meaning that these students should not be alienated from their school (Clifton, Mandzuk, & Roberts, 1994).

    Argon and Kösterelioğlu (2009) conducted a study to determine the relationship between the quality of life of the students and the culture of the university. In terms of university quality of life, participation in decisions had the highest mean scores. In addition, the relationship between the quality of life of the students and the culture of the university was highest on interactions between lecturers and students. In their research, Singh et al., (2010) found that students had positive feelings towards the quality of life in their Mara Technology University. Doğanay and Sarı (2006) examined the level of democratic life in Çukurova University. Their findings showed that students had the highest mean scores on social identity and social facilities of the university. However, they had the lowest mean scores on classroom environment and participation in decision making processes.

    Milbrath and Doyno (1987) measured the level of satisfaction of faculty members at SUNY- Buffalo University about campus life. They found the level of satisfaction at satisfactory level. In another study, Tekkanat (2008) investigated quality of life of students at a university’s teacher education classrooms. The findings suggested that there was a positive and significant relationship between quality of life of students and their physical activities on the campus. Kangal (2009) examined the quality of life of students at Akdeniz University. The findings showed that academic level of students and their satisfaction about university’s social life were not meaningful indicators of their quality of life. However, the findings also suggested that facilities and services provided by the university were meaningful indicators of their quality of life. Sirgy, Grezeskowiak, and Rahtz (2007) conducted a study to measure the quality of university life at three major university campuses in USA. They found that students’ academic levels and their satisfaction in university’s social life had meaningful effects on the quality of university. In a study, Michalos and Orlando (2006) found that among university-related domains, quality of life of university students was affected the most by students’ satisfaction with their instructors. Leelakulthanit and Day (1992) found that economic well-being and human capital (education) are one of the main important factors to people’s quality of life regardless of the level of economic development of the country they live in. The findings of a study conducted in an Iranian university showed that social environments had crucial effects on quality of life students (Ghaedi et al., 2010). D’Andrea, S. (1998) suggested that what mainly affects quality of human life includes perceptions, expectations, concerns, and areas of satisfaction.

    Over the time, the concept of quality of life was used to increase productivity in quality of life of students in educational institutions as well. Because universities have different and autonomous structures than other schools, the quality of life in universities has emerged as a separate research topic. Universities need to meet students’ expectations such as academic, social, housing, nutrition, and transportation ones. Meeting high-level expectations in these areas and serving high standards has been one of the core tasks of the universities. Mainly, researchers studied quality of life in a variety of organizational contexts (Ryff & Keyes, 1995). After reviewing these studies, it was found that only one percent of these studies were conducted in educational organizations (Michalos, 2003). Most of these studies were conducted at the elementary and secondary school levels (Fraser, 1998), and little research was conducted at the higher education level both in Turkey and abroad. Those conducted in Turkey mainly focused on quality of life of academicians or administrative staff at a single university. However, this study focused on examining and comparing quality of life of students in three major Turkish universities. As the main reason for the existence of schools and universities is the students, this study may play a pivotal role to make universities better places for all students. From this point of view, it is thought that this research will contribute to the studies conducted on quality of life of students in Turkish universities.

    Therefore, the main goal of this study was to determine quality of life of students in three major Turkish universities. The study includes the following research questions for both quantitative and qualitative portions of the study:

    1. What is the level of quality of life of students based on their universities?
    2. What kind of metaphors do university students use about their university?
    3. What do university students like the most about their university?
    4. What do university students dislike the most about their university?

  • Top
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Disscussion
  • References
  • Methods
    As a design of mixed method approach, a triangulation design was employed for this research. In the design, quantitative and qualitative data are collected simultaneously. The main purpose of using triangulation design is to determine whether the data support each other based on the findings of the study. This method; focuses on collecting and analyzing both quantitative and qualitative data. The main point of this method is to provide a better understanding of research problems using both quantitative and qualitative approaches together instead of using a single approach (Creswell et al., 2007). The survey model of descriptive method was used in the quantitative part of the study. In such approach, the researcher tries to determine the current events in detail and give detailed information about the situation (Karakaya, 2009). As the instrument, Quality of University Life Scale (QULS) was used to collect data in the study.

    The qualitative part of the research constitutes a phenomenological approach. According to this approach, the most important factors shaping an individual’s behavior include his perceptions based on the situations related to him or the environment itself. In this context, it is aimed to define and explain the perceptions of the participants in the study. So, in the qualitative part of the study, it was aimed to explain the situation such as the level of quality of life among university students. Therefore, a phenomenological approach including semi-structured questions was adopted in order to enable students explain their opinions and perceptions about the phenomenon of quality of life (Creswell et al., 2007).

    Study Group
    The participants of this study for both quantitative and qualitative parts included students from three state universities in Turkey. Although the researcher aimed to collect data from one university in each region of Turkey, he was only able to collect data from three universities, each in different region. These universities were located in Central Anatolia (University A) with 156 (37.4%) participants, Marmara (University B) with 102 (24.5%) participants, and Western Black Sea (University C) with 159 (38.1%) participants. A total of 417 participants including 131 males (31.4%) and 286 females (68.6%) were selected through non-random selection. The participants included 72 (17.3%) freshman, 98 (23.5%) sophomore, 90 (21.6%) juniors, 152 (36.5%) seniors, and five students (1.2%) from preparatory classrooms.

    Data Collection Tools
    Quality of University Life Scale (QULS) including 35 items was used in the quantitative part of the study. The five-point (Never- 1 to Always-5) Likert type scale instrument was developed by Eriş ve Anıl (2013). The instrument included five sub scales: Relations with academicians (RWA) with 11 items, inter-student relations (ISR) with six items, relations with administration (RWA) with six items, offered opportunities (OOP) with six items, and satisfaction with university (SWU) with six items. The researcher of this study pilot tested the instrument and found that the coefficient of α was .90 for overall instrument.

    In the qualitative part of the study, four open ended questions were added at the end of the quantitative instrument to collect both data simultaneously. The qualitative construct included questions on university students’ uses of metaphors and on what they like or dislike about their university. Accordingly, this approach was employed to enable the qualitative data support the quantitative data obtained. For the internal validity of the instrument, a semi-structured form consisting of two questions was presented to four field experts. After making changes and adjustments based on the feedbacks provided by the experts, the final form of the construct included three questions. Then, a pilot study was conducted with a student other than the participants, and then the voice record of this interview was transcribed into writing. Later, an area specialist reviewed the interviews in terms of whether the questions were clear and understandable, whether they covered the topic of the study and provide the necessary information. After making necessary controls over the form, no problems were found and the interview form was finalized. In order to analyze the reliability of the instrument, the answers provided by the researcher and an expert in the field on the construct were compared. The comparison was conducted according to the formula (reliability = same opinions / (same opinions + different opinions) proposed by Miles and Huberman (1994). As a result, the reliability of the construct was calculated as 91%.

    Data Analysis
    The analysis of the quantitative part of the study was made in a pattern revealing the levels of students’ quality of life in their universities. These levels were examined based on students’ university, the relationship between sub dimensions of quality of life, and how some of these dimensions were able to explain students’ relations with university’s administration. SPSS 20.00 was used for data analysis. Mean scores of each subscale were determined based on the following calculations: 1.00-1.80 (never), 1.81-2.60 (rarely), 2.61-3.40 (sometimes), 3.41 to 4.20 (often), and 4.21 to 5.00 (always). The data was analyzed according to the research questions using one-way analysis of variances (ANOVA), Pearson’s correlation, and stepwise regression analysis.

    Qualitative data was analyzed using content analysis method. The basic process in content analysis is to bring together similar data within the framework of specific concepts and themes and to interpret them in an understanding way (Yıldırım & Simsek, 2005). As soon as the qualitative construct was collected from the participants, the answers on it were organized. After identifying the meaningful data, they were encoded and then draft themes were specified. According to the determined draft themes, the codes were arranged. Then, the data was re-arranged according to the draft themes and codes.

  • Top
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Disscussion
  • References
  • Results
    Findings from Quantitative Part of the Study
    Quality life of students in universities based on the type of university was determined using ANOVA test (Table 1). The data was analyzed according to dependent variables such as relations with academicians, inter-student relations, relations with administration, offered opportunities, and satisfaction with university. The findings showed that there were significant differences on relations with academicians (F = 54.11; p = .00; p < .05), inter-student relations (F = 21.8; p = .00; p < .05), and relations with administration (F = 12.1; p = .00; p < .05) favoring University C. There were significant differences on offered opportunities (F = 14.14; p = .00; p < .05) favoring University B. In addition, the results showed significant differences on satisfaction with university (F = 15.5; p = .00; p < .05) favoring University A.


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    Table 1: Table of Anova for Type of University

    Table 2 indicates that the participants had a mean score of M = 3.28 (SD = .46) on inter-student relations, M = 3.13 (SD = .47) on offered opportunities, and M = 3.09 (SD = .55) on relations with academicians. In addition they had a mean score of M = 3.07 (SD = .45) on relations with administration and M = 2.91 (SD = .45) on satisfaction with university. This may mean that students were mostly satisfied with their friendship environment. However, they were least satisfied with their university.


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    Table 2: Means, Standard Deviations, and Correlations

    Pearson correlations are calculated in order to find the relationships between the dependent and independent variables in research. The findings for the correlations are also presented in Table 2. Considering the correlations of dimensions of quality of life, the highest relationship is found between relations with administration and relations with academicians (r = .56; p < .01), and the lowest is found between satisfaction with university and relations with academicians (r = -.16; p < .05). In addition, there were positive correlations between inter-student relations and relations with academicians (r = .41; p < .05), relations with administration and inter-student relations (r = .39; p < .05), and satisfaction with university and offered opportunities (r = .26; p < .05). There were also a negative correlation between relations with academicians and offered opportunities (r = -.13; p < .01).

    A regression analysis is conducted in order to determine the direct relationships between the variables and the explanatory power of independent variables on the dependent variables. Relations with administration is evaluated as dependent variable and the effects of the dimensions of quality of life on these variables are defined. After that, a stepwise regression analysis was conducted. The findings showing the effects of the dimensions of quality of life on relations with administration are presented in Table 3.


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    Table 3: Table of Stepwise Regression Analysis

    The findings of stepwise regression analysis showed that relations with academicians had a significant and positive effect on relations with administration (F1 = 189.54; p < .001) and that relations with academicians explained 31.4% of variance on relations with administration. The results also indicated that inter-student relations had a significant and positive effect on relations with administration (F2 = 109.62; p < .001) and that inter-student relations were only able to explain 3.3% of variance on relations with administration.

    Findings from Qualitative Part of the Study
    The answers provided from university students were coded and explained in the fashion of frequencies and percentages so that the levels of quality of life may be emphasized according to their importance. In Table 4, the frequency values for university students’ use of metaphors about their universities are given. These metaphors are examined within two dimensions: Metaphorical analogies in spiritual sense (f = 42) and metaphorical analogies in materialistic sense (f = 233).

    Metaphorical analogies provided in spiritual sense are being examined in three dimensions: Emotions (f = 42), abstract concepts (f = 24), and community or group (f = 18). The metaphors used by university students were examined based on their explanations. For the metaphors associated with emotions, SC-179 (Student Coded-179) expressed that “I feel like hell at my university”, and SC-47 said that “University life is like the actual life”. Students’ use of metaphors about abstract concepts were mainly about the metaphors such as nightmare and friendship. SC-100 stated that “What we go through in this place is no different than having a nightmare”. However, SC-137 pointed out that “I learned the meaning of true friendship in my college”. For the metaphors associated with community or group, SC-8 mentioned that “I have experienced family warmth here”.


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    Table 4: Answers Given on the Question: What Kind of Metaphors do University Students Use about Their University?

    Metaphorical analogies provided in materialistic sense are being examined in six dimensions: Location or venue (f = 147), animal (f = 14), plant (f = 12), goods (f = 31), food (f = 5), and geographical terms (f = 24). SC-7 expressed that “my life in my university is very similar to my life in my own home”. On the other hand, SC-12 said that “my college life is just like a cemetery”.

    In Table 5, the frequency values for reasons behind why students like their universities are given. These reasons are examined within three dimensions: Type of education provided (f = 91), general structure of the universities (f = 149), and social life of the universities (f = 106).


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    Table 5: Answers Given on the Question: What do University Students Like the most about Their University?

    Type of education provided in the universities are being examined in six dimensions: Teachers’ attitude (f = 25), competence of teaching staff (f = 26), adequate classroom setting (f = 9), ease of passing classes (f = 11), quality of education (f = 17), and university’s vision and mission (f = 3). Type of education provided in terms of teachers’ attitude was explained by SC-96 as “our teachers are not evil, they are understanding”. For the competence of teaching staff, SC-163 stated that “our instructors are well equipped with information”. SC-70 said that “there is sufficient material available, including tables and seats in the classroom” to explain the situation of the classroom settings. Ease of passing courses was stated by SC-89 as “passing lessons at this university is like a child’s play”. SC-169 asserted that “we are able to receive a high level of education at my college” to mention the quality of education. University’s vision and mission was pointed out by SC-236 as “I like vision, mission, and education staff of this place”.

    General structure of the universities are being examined in two dimensions: The interior of the university and opportunities and life in the university. The interior of the university included three dimensions: Library (f = 12), campus setting (f = 64), and university cafeteria (f = 11). In addition, opportunities and life in the university included four dimensions: Location of the university (f = 23), the beauty of the city where the university is located (f = 18), natural beauties (f = 14), and easy access (f = 7). General structure of the universities in terms of the interior of the university was explained by SC-244 as “my favorite thing here is the school library. I can easily find everything I’m looking for”. SC-46 stressed that “the campus here is awesome. I think it’s quite impossible to get bored here”. In addition, SC-167 emphasized that “having cafes where we can spend time on campus makes our university more livable and enjoyable”. General structure of the universities in terms of opportunities and life in the university was explained by SC-345 as “in terms of location, having a protected and a safe area where strangers cannot enter is the most enjoyable characteristic of our university” to mention about the location of the university. For the beauty of the city where the university is located SC-398 asserted that “the beauty of the city in which my school is located makes me a more connected person to this atmosphere and lessons”. SC-52 stated that “the fact that my school is nested with the natural environment brings me a situation that both cheers and refreshes me” to point out the natural beauties surrounding the university. Lastly, SC-18 said that “it is very easy to reach the place where my faculty is located. This is what I like the most about my university” to explain the easy access of the university.

    Social life of the universities are being examined in four dimensions: Friendship environment (f = 38), social activity (f = 14), the name of the university and the facilities it offers (f = 30), and respect, tolerance and free-thinking environment (f = 24). Social life of the university in terms of friendship environment was explained by SC-72 that “the atmosphere of friendship is one of my favorite things at this university”. For social activity, SC-305 said that “with a nice campus atmosphere, our university is not only a place for education but also an institution with a social environment”. The name of the university and the facilities it offers was explained by SC-405 as “this is an educational institution whose facilities are considerably much better than other universities”. Respect, tolerance and free-thinking environment of the university explained by SC-402 as “being able to express ideas freely is one of the most important characteristics of this university”.

    In Table 6, the frequency values for reasons behind why students do not like their universities are given. These reasons are examined within three dimensions: Physical features of the university (f = 103), academic features of the university (f = 127), and in-house service characteristics of the university (f = 104).


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    Table 6: Answers Given on the Question: What do University Students Dislike the most about Their University?

    Physical features of the university are being examined in two dimensions: Physical inadequacy within the university (f = 48) and Characteristics of the settlement area with the sub-dimension of university’s residential area and transportation (f = 52). Physical features of the university in terms of physical inadequacy within the university was explained by SC-40 as “because of physical insufficiencies, we cannot get the level of education we need from the school. These also affect our success and our sense of belonging to the school”. For the characteristics of the settlement area of the university SC-56 mentioned that “transportation is bad and we feel like we are high school students”.

    Academic features of the university are being examined in two dimensions: Situations arising due to academicians and inadequacies arising from administrative staff. Situations arising due to academicians included three sub-dimensions such as technical competence of academicians (f = 39), intensity of lessons (f = 17), and the egocentric behaviors of academicians (f = 10). In addition, Inadequacies arising from administrative staff included four sub-dimensions such as inadequate work done by student affairs (f = 10), inadequate administrative staff (f = 26), restricting the freedom of opinions (f = 11), and irregularity of plans (f = 12). Academic features of the university in terms of situations arising due to academicians was explained by SC-63 as “the inability of the lecturer teaching the courses negatively affects us”. For the technical competence of academicians SC-268 pointed out that “the constant intensity of the courses is affecting our enjoyment of life”. Intensity of lessons was explained by SC-265 as “teachers’ selfish behaviors have become quite prevalent and unacceptable”. The egocentric behaviors of academicians mentioned by SC-384 as “lecturers’ high levels of egos and their related attitudes in higher education institutions demoralize us”.

    Academic features of the university in terms of inadequacies arising from administrative staff was emphasized by SC-51 as “student affairs is experiencing difficulties in providing answers for students. We have to wait too long to get answers from them” to express how student affairs acts reluctant to provide help for students. For inadequate administrative staff SC-88 stated that “the administrative staff in our university is not concerned about our problems. There is a very irregular working environment”. In addition, the instructors are inadequate in teaching courses”. Restricting the freedom of opinions was explained by SC-224 as “in our university, ideas are not freely expressed, and school administration plays an important role in this case”. Lastly, irregularity of plans was stated by SC-282 as “things are done in unplanned ways at my university. These ways include serving food in school’s dining room and even cleaning the toilets”.

    In-house service characteristics of the university are being examined in three dimensions: Scientific environment and lack of materials (f = 26), social inadequacies (f = 56), and inadequate space (f = 22). In-house service characteristics of the university was explained by SC-36 as “the fact that the teachers who are teaching courses in their fields are not able teach things in scientific ways. What they do includes depending mainly on books or power-point slides while teaching” to emphasize lack of materials and scientific environment. For social inadequacies SC-39 asserted that “grouping among students is prevalent in my college. Being away from social and scientific activities are things that I don’t like about my university”. For inadequate space SC-95 stated that “there isn’t enough space for us to participate in some activities”.

  • Top
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Disscussion
  • References
  • Discussion
    This study included a mixed method approach and aimed to determine quality life of students in terms of relations with academicians, inter-student relations, relations with administration, offered opportunities, and satisfaction with university in three major Turkish universities. The levels of quality of life based on the type of university of the participants were examined and the results showed that the mean scores of University C were higher than other universities on relations with academicians, inter-student relations, and relations with administration. These results imply that compared to other universities, students in University C are satisfied more with their life on items associated with their instructors, friends, and school administration. Research suggests that university lecturers (Williams et al., 1996), friendship environments (Karatzias, Power, and Swanson, 2001), and the decision makers (Epstein and McPatland, 1976; Fish and Dane, 2000) in educational institutions may have positive effects on students’ quality of life. The results also showed that the mean scores of University B were higher than other universities on offered opportunities. According to such results, one may suggest that the availability of opportunities including facilities for leisure time activities may increase the quality of life of students as becoming more pleasurable in their universities. In parallel findings, researchers found that social and cultural environments involving activities provided by schools may determine the level of life satisfaction of students (Cılga, 1994; Farquhar, 1995; Lehman, 1983; O’Connor, 2000). Lastly, the findings indicated that the mean scores of University A were higher than other universities on satisfaction with university. It may be concluded that students are satisfied in this university due to having democratic and independent settings that enable them to learn through effective transfer of information (Ainley, 1999; Gander & Gardiner, 2010).

    Based on the results, mean scores for all dimensions of quality of life were considered to be at “Sometimes” level. These meant that university students were not able to be precise about their quality of life in terms of reasons related to their instructors, friends, administrators, facilities, and university. Although the study results suggest that students are uncertain about their quality of life in their universities, previous studies indicate that quality of life of students includes satisfaction associated with various areas of life (Andrews & Withey, 1976; Campbell, Converse, & Rogers, 1976; Cılga, 1994; Farquhar, 1995; Tekkanat, 2008). Similarly, researchers found that students may be aware of their quality of life through their interest and happiness linked to their school life (Mok, & Flynn, 2002; Newcomb, Bentler, & Collins, 1986; Williams et al., 1996). In addition to mean scores on all dimensions, there was a positive and significant relationship between relations with administration and relations with academicians, but there was a negative and a significant relationship between satisfaction with university and relations with academicians. Students, who are satisfied with their academicians at their university may tend to be more satisfied with the administration of the university as well. This perception may be possible as students may think that school administration is successful at providing quality academicians for teaching. In parallel findings, Sirgy, Grezeskowiak, and Rahtz (2007) suggested that students’ academic levels and their satisfaction with their academicians affect their quality of life. Results of this study also showed that students, who are satisfied with their university may not be satisfied with their academicians. The main reasons may include ineffective teaching skills, assignment of difficult projects, unfair grading, and unpleasant behaviors of academicians towards their students. Previous research findings show that the interactions between academicians and students are one of the most important indicators of quality of life of the students (Argon & Kösterelioğlu, 2009). In another study, researchers found that students, who had positive feelings towards their university could have a quality of life in such settings (Doğanay & Sarı, 2006; Milbrath & Doyno, 1987; Singh et al., 2010).

    The results of the qualitative part of the current study support the findings from quantitative part of the study as current study’s results show that students’ use of metaphors and what they like or dislike about their university depend on how they perceive their quality of life on such setting. In terms of use of metaphors, students mainly used types of metaphors involving both spiritual and materialistic senses. It may be said that students’ positive or negative perceptions were about equal in such senses related to the types of metaphors they used for their universities. These findings show that students’ perceptions, expectations, concerns, and areas of satisfaction may differ from one another in determining their quality of life in university (D’Andrea, 1998). What students liked or disliked the most about their university included type of education provided, general structures of university, and social life on the campus. When the findings were compared, it was seen that more students liked general structures of university and social life on the campus than those who disliked such items. Parallel to these findings, researchers found that there was a positive and significant relationship between quality of life of students and their social life on the campus (Kangal, 2009; Sirgy et al., 2007; Tekkanat, 2008). However, more students disliked type of education provided or academic structure of university than those who liked such items. Similarly, Sirgy, Grezeskowiak, and Rahtz (2007) found that students’ academic levels had meaningful effects on the quality of life in the university. In addition, Michalos and Orlando (2006) found that quality of life of university students was affected the most by students’ satisfaction with their academicians. In contrast to these findings, Kangal (2009) indicated that academic level of students and their satisfaction about university’s social life were not meaningful indicators of their quality of life.

    University students’ quality of life was determined according to their relations with academicians, inter-student relations, relations with administration, offered opportunities, and satisfaction with university. The effects of these factors on quality of life of students may vary depending on the type university. Current study suggests that students are not decisive about which of the factors impact their quality of life. Depending on the results, one may suggest that there is a need in terms of raising awareness among students about what actually affect their quality of life on campus settings. In conclusion, when managed effectively, higher education institutions have a tremendous impact on knowledge, skills, and values of students to have better living conditions. Because these institutions prepare all students as professionals for real world situations, more attention should be paid to increase quality of life of university students. Stakeholders in higher education institutions must create necessary conditions so that university students as future professionals, who will lead, teach, and influence society may have a unique academic freedom, develop innovative ideas, and be eager to find effective solutions to societal problems.

    Quality of life of university students was determined according to the perceptions of the students attending to three different state universities. In the future, the numbers of the participants may be increased and research may be conducted at both state and private universities instead of just the state ones. In addition, the current study examined quality of life of students into account on individual level rather than on organizational level. Determining quality of life of students on organizational level may make substantial contributions to the literature. This research also includes some limitations. First, although there were seven regions in Turkey, the data was collected from universities located in three different regions. Secondly, when all grade levels of university students were considered, the majority of the participants of this study included senior students, which constitutes another limiting factor for research.

  • Top
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • References
  • References

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  • Top
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • References
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