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Harvard grad student housing survey Essays

HARVARD GRAD STUDENT HOUSING SURVEY Understanding the process of questionnaire designing MM – II Case Presentation Group 5

• The real estate price hike threatening the student recruitments at Harvard – leading to 2001 survey • Harvard attempting to understand the consumer market for its housing complexes through new 2005 survey • Allston Initiative

The Case in Brief

Deciding the new research design for 2005 survey

Analysing & drawing insightsfrom the 2001 survey Merits/ Demerits of the survey method, questions, techniques Including questions from the 2001 survey relevant to new focus

Drafting questions to address aspects of new focus – demand, private housing.

Drafting questions to generate information for the Allston Initiative

Drafting the final questionnaire for the 2005 survey keeping it simple, short and likeable

2001 Management Decision To manage the housing crisis: no availability of houses to huge student influx. To neutralize the distinct recruitment disadvantage that housing was posing for Harvard

Marketing Research Objective To quantify aspects of the housing problem and afford unique insights for satisfactory and economical solutions


2005 Management Decision Allston Initiative Marketing Research Objective To assess students’ housing experiences and desires by updating, improving and expanding the earlier 2001 survey


Deciding the Research Design

OBJECTIVES: • Understanding the student perspective on housing preferences • • • •

space satisfaction facilities & amenities Location

Using questions from the 2001 survey to check changing trend of student preferences

• Understanding the demand for student housing and making it available to them at economical yet profit earning rates • Understand the changing conditions of private housing market • Define the areas of study for the most optimum use of the Allston Landing space, in line with the Harvard vision statement EXPECTED SURVEY RESULTS: • Demonstrating the importance of housing in the graduate student experience • Providing a segmented account of current experiences and desires regarding housing solutions

Objectives of the Survey

IMPROVING THE 2001 SURVEY IN LINE WITH NEW FOCUS • Change or remove questions regarding easily predictable preferences for amenities in housing • Select questions for which repeat measurement makes most sense • Choose new price sensitivity measures – from per unit to per person ALLSTON: DRAFTING NEW QUESTIONS TO UNDERSTAND • Student demand for graduate house models • Student preference between housing close to their own school campus versus an intellectual hub of all students • The different types of apartments to build in the new space


2001 Survey • Combination of Exploratory and Conclusive Research • Exploratory – expert and stakeholder opinions on impactful data, road shows to arrive at themes of interest • Conclusive – Causal questions on possible reasons for crisis and seeking student housing preferences


EXPLORATORY - qualitative

CONCLUSIVE - quantitative

Critical Analysis of Case Specifics


• Generating interest in the survey: • Providing incentive (lucky draw/ prizes) to the respondents to complete (not fill) the survey • Dynamic adaptability of the form based on responses • Making the questionnaire interactive, easy to read, short and simple • Email from Dean of different Institutes to lend credibility to survey

• Choice of web as survey mediating platform: • • • •

Self administered – Respondents may not complete the survey Likely to get an unrepresentative or biased respondent base Less expensive mode of survey administration Less time and effort consuming, easy to collate data

• Allocated budget for the survey: • $50,000 – comparable with market research exercises of similar scale

Critical Analysis of Case Specifics

2001 Questionnaire Analysis

Response Error

Researcher Errors

Measurement Error - Check for 5 Bs

Data Analysis Error - Check final data to insure respondents form representative sample

Potential Sources of Error

Respondent Errors

Inability ER - Allow multi-session submission

Nominal D Questions a)



What Harvard school do you attend – Participant grouping Do you live in Harvard Housing – Divides the participants into groups Which services did you use – Details on the expected services

Ordinal Questions



If you have children with you: In what age categories – Divides the respondents into age based subgroup What is the increase in rent since last year?

Interval Questions a)


How satisfied are you with the following aspects of your current housing? How much of an influence has housing had on achievement of your academic and social goals as a Harvard graduate student?

Ratio Questions a)

Levels of Measurement - Examples

How many children do you have living with you?

Comparative Paired Comparison Technique – Used for comparison between importance of Rent, Space and Time to commute

Scaling Techniques

Non Comparative Likert Scale and its variations – With an added “Not applicable” scale measure

• Restructure Questions to remove overlapping in the questions and reduce overall count -- Example: Two questions, who owns your housing and the location of your housing can be combined into one single question “Location of your housing”

• Remove the redundant questions -- Example: Information of country of origin is already with Harvard office • Restructure responses to be more intuitive -- Example: For question at what time you arrive at your Harvard destination, should have intervals as possible options and not the discrete values

Improving 2001 Questionnaire

• The sequence should be altered to move the compulsory questions of every section at the very start of survey so that even a partially completed survey can be included in the analysis. • Allow respondent to complete the survey in multiple sessions. Reminder mails should be sent at periodic intervals, requesting completing the survey. • The ‘web survey’ form should be dynamically adaptable -- Example: if the respondent selects he/she lives in Harvard Housing, all the questions relating to private housing should automatically be removed from the form

Adapting for Web Survey

Housing Demand

Extrapolating student influx for present and future using secondary data

Deriving detailed insights on graduate student life(eg. dining habits, socialising etc.)

Regression analysis to estimate the demand for on-campus housing in the future

Total number of units provided Types of housing units Urban planning

Determining preference of Harvard housing over other alternatives as a proportion of total students

Supply constraints such as space, location, financial feasibility

Estimating Housing Demand

Private Housing

Understanding the reasons for students choosing to reside in private housing

Understanding the current trends in private housing market

Finding gaps between Harvard and Private Housing

Study the expected and preferred services in a housing by the students

Cross sectional analysis across various student demographics

Understanding the Private Housing Market

Allston Initiative

• Area Next to the business school, needs to be developed for new housing society • 70 member faculty, student and staff task force was constituted to evaluate all aspect of the Allston Initiative • Three issues needed to be addressed via this survey

Housing Composition

Issues Graduate Houses

New Allston Initiative

Housing Types

Advantage of Graduate House model

Efficient life style Abundant community space Regular community activities

OBJECTIVES • Demand for Graduate housing model need to determined • To assess whether this type is preferred over the apartment type housing

Graduate Houses

• Assess the relative importance of the following factors

• Lounge and Lobbies • Laundry Facilities • Floor Lounge • Group Kitchens • Group Study room • Music Practise room • Exercise room • Game Room • Multipurpose room

METHODOLOGY • Relative importance of these attributed can be determined via a Likert scale or a constant sum survey and rank them during post analysis ANALYSIS • If the relative importance of lobby and laundry room is high then it can be concluded that not much benefit can be derived from a graduate house over apartment housing • Finally to assess demand of Graduate houses, number of respondent can be used to assess the future demand

Assessing Graduate House Preferences

VISION • Vision of the university was to develop and manage housing as a pooled resource open to graduate school & faculty in all schools OBJECTIVE • Decision to develop the Housing with varied school composition or house everyone with same school together need to be made METHODOLOGY • Ask respondents about the importance of interaction with the varied student as against need to live in proximity to their respective school

Housing Composition

OBJECTIVE To assess whether the survey helps predict apartments that need relevant in future

Exploratory research to assess the attributes that need to be part of the future apartment

Housing Type

Task force with member from the architectural community need to be formed (to get information about the future expected trends) and ask for their recommendations

The suggestion from that task force can be used as a base of a conclusive survey to asses the relevant importance of the recommended attributes

THANK YOU HARVARD GRAD STUDENT HOUSING SURVEY Understanding the process of questionnaire designing MM – II Case Presentation Group 5

• • • • • •

2 – 5 - sona 6 – 8 – shalini 9 – 14 – shailu 15 – 18 – chandan 19 – 22 – nagar 23 – 25 – bhuvi


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