Design of experiments in a higher education setting

Jiju Antony, Laxman Sivanathan, E.V. Gijo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to explore the use of Design of Experiments (DoE) in a higher education setting and to remove the misconception that it is only applied to a manufacturing environment. The authors demonstrate a simple case study here to illustrate its application in a typical non-manufacturing context.
Design/methodology/approach: The methodology involves the execution of a simple study in the form of an experiment in the Faculty of Engineering, University of Strathclyde. The experiment was performed with the assistance of both undergraduate and postgraduate students in one department in the Faculty of Engineering.
Findings: It was found from the experiment that postgraduate students prefer a case study approach of teaching with multiple speakers and prefer their classes in the morning. As for undergraduate students, similar results were obtained but would prefer their classes in the afternoon. Moreover further analysis shows that the postgraduate students prefer a 30 minutes introduction to the topic in a one hour lecture. Moreover the students prefer more time to be spent on the exercises and less time on the discussion.
Research limitations/implications: The sample size of the experiment was considered small in the study although this was a pilot study to investigate the use of DoE in a higher education setting. The authors will continue to collect more data for further validity of results obtained from the pilot study. The authors will also explore the use of different designs as part of the future investigations.
Practical implications: The outcome of this experiment would help everyone who is involved in teaching to understand the factors and their influences to improve students' satisfaction scores during the delivery of teaching.
Originality/value: This paper shows how DoE as a pure manufacturing technique can be extended to a higher education setting. The results of this study were quite an eye opener for the authors in terms of understanding the key factors which influence any process irrespective of the sector.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)513-521
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Productivity and Performance Management
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • analysis
  • design of experiments (DOE)
  • higher education
  • process improvement
  • service industry


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