Chun-Nan Lin

Assistant Professor, Department of Agribusiness Management, 

National Ping-Tung University of Science and Technology, Taiwan

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Food and farming education has a highly specialized curriculum. To successfully select the right course, students exchange information about food and farming education courses. Among the various sources of information available for course selection in food and farming education, word of mouth (WOM) is the most commonly used source. Although WOM is valuable, research on how students exchange information on electives related to food and farming education is limited. This study first conducted focus group interviews with 40 interviewees and explored the profile, motivation, and behavior of students participating in WOM for food and farming education courses. Subsequently, content analysis was used to examine the timing and the common channels and network of WOM communication. Accordingly, students’ motivation for engaging in WOM regarding food and farming education course selection was summarized. Results revealed that students’ motivation to disseminate information about electives through WOM can be summarized into the following six aspects: to benefit mutually, to support or retaliate against teachers, to improve social contact, to avoid being alone, and for altruism and self-enhancement. The classification following focus group interviews and findings from relevant literature were employed to create a questionnaire for quantifying and corroborating the qualitative research results. This study not only bridges the gaps in research on food and farming education but also provides scholars with recommendations for future research to examine food and farming education issues from different aspects. Moreover, to keep up with the changing educational environment, school authorities should value students’ views on food and farming education courses and faculty. They should improve the administrative system and communication between teachers and students by understanding how students participate in WOM for food and farming education courses in order to create a favorable food and farming education teaching environment and improve student satisfaction, thus facilitating agribusiness in the long term.

Keywords: Food and Farming Education, Word-of-Mouth, Decision-Making Motivation.

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