The Use of Student Subjects in Hospitality Research: Insights from Subjective Knowledge

Heejung Ro, University of Central Florida
Marketa Kubickova


This study addresses the use of students as a research subject issue by examining three groups’ (hospitality students, other major students, and non-student adults) responses to service failure and recovery. The findings, based on two experiments, suggest similar levels of overall satisfaction and return intentions but differences in the magnitude of failure, negative emotions, complaint intentions and overall justice perceptions in the three sample groups. Hospitality students’ responses are closer to non-student adults’ than other major students’ and subjective knowledge of restaurant services provides an explanation for this pattern. Implications using student samples and evaluating research findings based on them are discussed.