Demystifying Tuition? Building a framework for informational quality and accessibility

Resource Type
Dataset : images: photographs, drawings, graphical representations, observational data
  • Wolniak, Gregory (University of Georgia)
  • Davis, Laura (University of Chicago Consortium on School Research)
  • George, Casey (University of Louisville)
  • Nelson, Glen (Idaho State University)
Publication Date
Free Keywords
Tuition; Websites; Information quality
  • Abstract

    Colleges and universities increasingly rely on their websites to recruit students and convey information about tuition and costs of attendance. Given evidence of growing complexity in institutional tuition policies and cost-setting practices, the study examined how institutions’ websites present financial information to the public. Through content analysis of website data from 50 public colleges and universities, researchers sought to characterize patterns in the scope and quality of tuition information on institutional websites and to understand how these patterns might influence individuals’ conceptions of tuition and costs. The findings point to variation in informational quality across dimensions ranging from clarity of language use and terminology, to consistency and coherence of visual displays, which accompany navigational challenges stemming from information fragmentation and discontinuity across pages. Implications for research and improved institutional practice are discussed.
Temporal Coverage
  • 2017-10-01 / 2018-08-31
    Time Period: Sun Oct 01 00:00:00 EDT 2017--Fri Aug 31 00:00:00 EDT 2018
  • 2017-10-01 / 2018-08-31
    Collection Date(s): Sun Oct 01 00:00:00 EDT 2017--Fri Aug 31 00:00:00 EDT 2018
Geographic Coverage
  • United States
Sampled Universe
Public, four-year colleges and universities in the United States
The sample consisted of 50 institutions randomly selected from the overall population of public 4-year institutions and was largely representative based on a set of institutional profile characteristics.
Collection Mode
  • other~~

    Consistent with qualitative content analysis, search protocol were used to collect artefactual, process-oriented data, including detailed descriptive accounts of information searches and screenshot images of published page views from the websites of the 50-institution sample.

  • Cites
    DOI: 10.1177/2332858419867650 (Text)
  • Davis, Laura, Gregory Wolniak, Casey George, and Glen Nelson. “Demystifying Tuition? A Content Analysis of the Information Quality of Public College and University Websites.” AERA Open 5, no. 3 (n.d.): 1–27.
    • ID: 10.1177/2332858419867650 (DOI)

Update Metadata: 2019-07-30 | Issue Number: 4 | Registration Date: 2019-07-30