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Adoption of smart and sustainable strategies in the State of QatarWith the increasing importance given to sustainable development nowadays, countries around the world are shifting their focus and efforts to changing the previous unsustainable growth framework that has been ineffective. Therefore, Qatar, following in the footsteps of the rest of the world, decided to introduce a sustainability plan to ensure the population’s prosperity through its Qatar National Vision 2030 (QNV 2030). However, little is known about how Qatar organisations are responding to this encouragement. The aim of this research is to investigate how Qatar public sector organisations are embedding smart and sustainable strategies in order to achieve the QNV 2030. Given the relatively new and unexplored nature of the research problem, a qualitative research method was adopted to collect and analyse data. Semi-structured interviews with 56 professionals were used to collect data which was then analysed using content analysis for inference and conclusion. The study concluded that smart and sustainable issues are complex, dynamic, and multifaceted. A complex mix of government, economic, social and environmental forces drives Qatar organisations to implement smart and sustainable strategies. Overall, the outlook for improved sustainable strategies efforts from the state of Qatar looks quite promising at present. Qatar organisations face significant challenges in taking the first steps towards implementing smart and sustainable strategies. To improve smart and sustainable performance, therefore, leaders have to recognise and better understand the concept of smart development and sustainability. The current study results suggest that, to meet the goals of the QNV2030, the implementation of healthcare strategies is still evolving in the State of Qatar. Therefore, there is a need to re-examine the National Health Strategy to Qatar’s health challenges, aligned to a global shift in thinking towards population health and smarter and more integrated care. The scarcity of knowledge and expertise associated with sustainable strategies is, and will continue to be, a huge challenge for Qatar public sector organisations. Therefore, training programmes related to the management of smart and sustainable related knowledge will help leaders, managers, and change agents better understand how to craft and implement various smart and sustainable strategies to achieve QNV 2030. An innovative business model for the integration of smart and sustainable strategies into day-to-day operational decisions was developed and validated. This model is intended to offer guidance for the successful implementation of smart and sustainable strategies to simultaneously improve environmental, social and economic performance. It is recommended to explore the level of embeddedness of smart and sustainable strategies in the public sector between developed and developing countries.
Can the empathic underpinning of counselling psychologists detect gelotophobic responses to expressions of joy above non-counselling psychologists and psychology others?Gelotophobes have a negative attribution bias skewing appraisal of laughter meaning expressions of joy negatively affect interpersonal interactions and could be a barrier to positive outcomes in therapy. This study investigated participants’ perceptions of gelotophobes and non-gelotophobes responding to expressions of joy and examined whether the empathic underpinnings of counselling psychology afforded greater empathy and was a predictive factor in correctly identifying facial affect. This study was a quasi-experimental design employing a quantitative method. Participants (N = 144) consisted of counselling psychologists (CP) (n = 44), non-psychologists (NP) (n = 54), and psychology other (PO) (n = 46). Participants were shown emotional stimuli, pre-coded using Facial Action Coding System (FACS), depicting gelotophobes and non-gelotophobes responding to expressions of joy and asked to identify the emotion from a choice of seven basic emotions. Participants also completed the Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI) and the Empathy Quotient (EQ) questionnaires to discern affective and cognitive empathy levels. Results found significant differences in the correct identification, and perception, of non-gelotophobes’ and gelotophobes’ facial affect. CP had significantly higher levels of cognitive empathy and identified significantly more gelotophobe emotional states than NP, but differences with the PO were non-significant. There was also a positive correlation between cognitive empathy and number of emotions correctly identified. Cognitive empathy, however, did not mediate between participant group and correctly identifying gelotophobes’ facial affect; as such, further research is needed to understand these findings. There were also no significant differences in affective empathy. Research highlights factors contributing to gelotophobes’ interpersonal difficulties, a factor in the development of gelotophobia, as well as factors that will facilitate positive therapeutic outcomes.
Family learning in English for speakers of other languages (FLESOL): a case study of Yemeni women’s perspectivesThis research examined a group of Yemeni women enrolled on a Family Learning (FL) and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) programme in the UK. The study addressed three central elements: the ways in which the women conceptualise learning, their motives for engaging in FLESOL, and the barriers to learning they experience. The investigation begins by reviewing Government policies on ESOL learning in Adult Education (AE) and considers the challenges faced by ESOL learners. The review explores the wide-ranging factors which impact upon learning as discussed in existing research and literature. This research argues that government policy and cuts in funding underestimate the complexities of developing life chances for learning. The study contributes to the debate about the value of FLESOL in community learning and aims to provide a deeper understanding of the benefits for this group of learners. The notion of community underpins the learner-centred approach employed in the study, which used a narrative inquiry methodology. An in-depth narrative inquiry was conducted with five participants, involving qualitative semi-structured interviews and a focus group. The study employed imaginative strategies including memorable items and photo elicitation to prompt the views of the participants and to examine their experiences. By selecting a group of FLESOL participants who have not received consideration before, and whose voices are rarely heard, the research demonstrates the nuances of their learning, motivations and perceived barriers. Participants’ stories provide insights into what they feel is important for their learning in a FLESOL environment. Their stories have important implications for decision-makers regarding funding allocation and eligibility criteria to access ESOL. The emergent findings highlight the importance of learning English as a tool which supports change in women’s social capital, well-being and empowerment. It also illustrates that these changes have to come from within the Yemeni women themselves through balancing their new life in the UK with traditional family roles and expectations.
Associations of pre-pregnancy impaired fasting glucose and body mass index among pregnant women without pre-existing diabetes with offspring being large for gestational age and preterm birth: a cohort study in ChinaIntroduction Associations of pre-pregnancy impaired fasting glucose (IFG) and body mass index (BMI) with large for gestational age (LGA) and preterm birth (PTB) have been poorly understood. We aimed to investigate the associations of maternal BMI, separately and together with pre-pregnancy IFG, with LGA and PTB in Chinese population. We also aimed to quantify these associations by maternal age. Research design and methods This was a retrospective cohort study of women from the National Free Preconception Health Examination Project with singleton birth from 121 counties/districts in 21 cities of Guangdong Province, China, from January 1, 2013 to December 31, 2017. Women were included if they did not have pre-existing chronic diseases (diabetes, hypertension, etc). Participants were divided into eight groups according to their BMI (underweight (BMI <18.5 kg/m 2), normal weight (18.5-23.9 kg/m 2), overweight (24.0-27.9 kg/m 2), and obesity (≥28.0 kg/m 2)) and pre-pregnancy fasting glucose status (normoglycemia (fasting glucose concentration <6.1 mmol/L) and IFG (6.1-7.0 mmol/L)). Adjusted incidence risk ratios (aIRRs) and 95% CIs of LGA, severe LGA, PTB and early PTB were estimated. Results We included 634 030 women. The incidences of LGA, severe LGA, PTB and early PTB for the study population were 7.1%, 2.5%, 5.1% and 1.1%, respectively. Compared with normal weight mothers with normoglycemia, overweight and obese mothers irrespective of IFG had a higher risk of LGA (eg, obesity with IFG aIRR 1.85 (1.60-2.14)) and severe LGA (eg, obesity with IFG 2.19 (1.73-2.79)). The associations of BMI and pre-pregnancy fasting glucose status with LGA were similar found among women of all age groups. Underweight with normoglycemia had 6.0% higher risk of PTB (1.06 (1.03-1.09)) and 8.0% higher risk of early PTB (1.08 (1.02-1.17)), underweight with IFG had 14.0% higher risk of PTB (1.14 (1.02-1.27)), and obese mothers with IFG had 45.0% higher risk of PTB (1.45 (1.18-1.78)). The associations of BMI and pre-pregnancy fasting glucose status with PTB differed by maternal age. Conclusion Overweight and obesity regardless of IFG were associated with an increased risk of LGA, and these associations were similarly observed among mothers of all age groups. Underweight regardless of IFG, and obesity with IFG were associated with an increased risk of PTB, but the associations differed by maternal age. Findings from this study may have implications for risk assessment and counselling before pregnancy.
Financing renewable energy projects in the Dominican Republic: An empirical studyPurpose Currently, Renewable Energy (RE) sources represent a crucial pillar in obtaining sustainable development, one of the global goals for all countries. However, this presents a unique challenge for emerging and developing countries. Since, the technical and financial issues remain a significant barrier in implementing RE projects several mechanisms are available to aid the financial aspect of investing and implementing clean energy projects. This paper discusses new and traditional trends in the financial area of renewable investment, focusing on the Dominican Republic (DR), identifying the gaps in the financial area regarding RE. Design/methodology/approach An empirical study was conducted in the Dominican Republic. This country is located at the heart of the Caribbean. Given the complexity of RE and developing countries issues and the scarcity of comparable research in the area, an interpretivist research paradigm along with the qualitative methodology was adopted. Primary data was collected through semi-structured interviews. The study sample includes: Directors, Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) and Managers responsible for the implementation of RE strategies in their respective departments/organisations. NVivo software was used for data management and the collected data was analysed using content analysis. Findings The research highlighted several severe financial handicaps regarding RE in the DR: The lack of RE assets recognition; Lack of RE investment loans; Perceived RE risk; and Lack of financial guarantor. After extensive interviews with critical actors in the RE sector in the DR, the possible solutions and recommendations for avoiding locking the energy and economic sector in fossil fuel debt, are: (a) diversification of RE technology assets recognition (b) implementation of government RE fund (c) RE education on all actors (d) introduction and adoption of new financial trends such as: green bonds, bank pooling, cooperatives and more. Originality/value This paper provides information and knowledge related to financial tools and policies that are available for the RE projects in the DR. The results have a socio-economic impact. This research provides a better understanding of the key financial tools to be explored by RE project developers in the developing countries. This study shows the gaps that exist between the knowledge that the stakeholders should possess and the actual knowledge that exists in the country regarding the financial aspect of an RE project.