Degree Name

Masters of Marketing (Research)


School of Management and Marketing - Faculty of Commerce


Many studies have tried to identify why parents might choose a particular primary school for their children, but none have taken advantage of established behavioural theories to analyse school choice systematically. This study uses the theory of reasoned action (TRA) and the theory of planned bhaviour (TPB) to gain insight into why parents choose government primary school in the Wollongong region, Australia. The research used a mixed methods approach comprised of a focus group (n=7), short surveys (n=40), long surveys (n=13), short interviews (n=10), long interviews (n=10) and a literature review to elicit salient beliefs of the parents. Based on the elicitation study, a questionnnaire was developed for a quantitative study (n=93) to predict parental behavioural intentions to choose a government school for their children. Results of the quantitative study showed that the TRA (R2=67.8 per cent) was more useful over the TPB (R2=66.9 per cent) in the prediction of government school choice intentions. Attitude emerged as the strongest predictor of behavioural intentions, while perceived behavioural control did not emerge as a significant predictor. The main factors that affected choice of a government school included the proximity of schools to homes and absence of religious teachings. The following important reference groups emerged as influential: husband and wife, relatives and school teachers. By demonstrating the significance of these predictors, this present study is helpful to public primary schools and policy makers in providing guidance which marketing measures could be taken to increase the probability of parents choosing a public primary school for their child.

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