Using Geodemographics to Analyse the Characteristics of Undergraduates in UK Higher Education

David Tonks, 2005

This thesis is submitted for the award of the PhD by Published Work.  It lies within the field of market segmentation and is particularly concerned with geodemographics as a basis for segmentation. It includes 12 publications, and of these, ten make express use of geodemographics, and seven do so in the context of access to and participation within UK higher education. A dominant theme in these publications is the use of geodemographics to create and broadcast a more detailed understanding of inequality of access to higher education.

The thesis includes a critical essay which builds on recognised literature and which effectively employs these 12 publications as exhibits. An examination is made of the process by which variables are chosen for the purposes of market segmentation. The process of constructing and construing geodemographic segments is also examined. The subjectivity associated with both these processes is assessed, and the critical essay then extrapolates from these assessments to consider the relativistic implications of rhetoric as a significant marketing impetus.