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  • SELF EVALUATION VARIABLES AND SOCIAL MEDIA

    Harrad, Rachel (2018)
    People are motivated to self evaluate and undertake this in their interactions with others. Interactions with others are increasingly taking place online, including via social networking websites, which can contain several differences to face to face interaction. This thesis examined how specific self-evaluation factors (self-esteem, social comparison tendency and self-concept clarity) affect various behaviours on and psychological outcomes of engaging with social media sites, including Facebook. Self-esteem predicted positive mood during Facebook use, whilst one’s relationship with the site (i.e. how emotionally connected to the site one is – or ‘Facebook intensity’) predicted engagement with activities interpreted as indicative of a ‘fear-of-missing-out’ (e.g. finding out what friends were up to). High scorers in performance and appearance self-esteem reported a positive mood shift after profile editing whilst low scoring counterparts reported the reverse. Those who compared to others frequently experienced a negative mood shift after viewing the Facebook newsfeed possibly reflecting the cognitive effort associated with social comparison. Self-esteem predicted use of positive emotions in status updates whilst number of Facebook friends was negatively predicted by self-concept clarity and positively by social comparison tendency. Participants textually described both their actual and ideal self enabling consideration of the implications for self-presentation attempts in certain online environments. Low self-esteem individuals decreased their use of anxious language when idealising the self whilst those with low self-concept clarity increased their use of positive emotions. The discrepant word count between actual and ideal selves suggested that the actual self appeared more easily articulated, most 4 pronounced amongst those who infrequently compared themselves to others. When others rated these self descriptions it appeared high scorers in self-esteem and self-concept clarity and those who compared frequently to others were generally most positively received. It appears that whilst those with unclear self-concepts and low self-esteem can present a more positive and less anxious idealised self than actual self, the overall thesis findings appear to support the rich-get-richer hypothesis (Valkenburg, Schouten, & Peter, 2005) with high scorers on these self-evaluation factors garnering the most benefits from social media. Whilst those who compare frequently may be adversely impacted by viewing the Facebook newsfeed, idealisation of self attributes appears to benefit these individuals in terms of positivity of impressions formed by others. Findings suggest that social media engagement may hold advantages and disadvantages for users dependent on the type of activity engaged with and the individual differences variables of the user.
  • Predicting the Well-Being of Families with a Child with Down Syndrome

    Uppal, Jaspreet (2017)
    This research aimed to identify the factors that predict the well-being of parents/carers of children with Down syndrome. It was hoped that this would increase the understanding around what factors impact the well-being of such families and also influence future interventions and supports that may be available for these families. In total, 100 participants took part in this survey study that measured the impact of psycho-social factors, individual differences in carers, deprivation and the support needs of the child. Data was analysed using regression analysis to explore relationships between carer well-being and the listed factors. The analysis revealed that resilience was the strongest predictor of carer well-being, suggesting that higher resilience levels results in higher well-being. In addition, being a male carer, with a younger child with Down syndrome who has lower levels of behaviours that challenge is predictive of better well-being. Although not all factors were found to be significant overall, this study does highlight the importance of psycho-social factors and individual differences in the carer and child in relation to well-being. Finally, the findings suggest that the impact of deprivation and carer hardship on well-being could be an area of further research.
  • Institutional and Social Factors Influencing Informal Sector Activity in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Nigerian Case Study

    Joshua Adike, Abinotam (2018)
    The extant entrepreneurship literature is replete with competing narratives about the concept of informal sector (IS). Also, IS’ potential as a source of income and the behavioural tendencies of operators in the sector remain highly contested but under-researched. In particular, not much is known about the incentives and the motivations for engaging in informal economic activity from the perspective of Sub-Saharan African (SSA) context where a significant proportion of all economic activities are informal. Thus, the lack of conceptual clarity and consensus about the underlying factors driving individuals into informal economic activity constitutes a major knowledge gap. To fill this gap, this study seeks to clarify the domain of IS from a SSA viewpoint, and through this paves the way for a more holistic understanding of the behavioural tendencies and motivations of IS operators in SSA. Specifically relying on the institutional, social exclusion, and personality trait theoretical frameworks, the study demonstrates how a combination of separate yet related phenomena of personality traits, institutional factors, and more importantly, situational factors that manifest as perceptions of social exclusion serve as the incentives and the motivations to engage in informal economic activity in SSA. To achieve its goal, qualitative primary data obtained through thirty-eight semi-structured interviews were transcribed verbatim and analysed using Nvivo. Firstly, the study found that institutional ambiguity, institutional delinquency, institutional passivity, and institutional incongruence are sources of voids in Nigeria's institutional framework that influence an individual to enter the IS. Secondly, social exclusion regarding lack of access to requirements such as finance and formal education to start and sustainably operate a business influences people to enter into the IS. Lastly, the findings indicate that personality traits’ influence regarding the decision to engage in informal economic activities is dependent on individual circumstances. These are valuable contributions to the stock of knowledge about the IS. Particularly, the identification and categorisation of four specific institutional voids and partitioning of the sources of exclusion; the finding that in adverse economic circumstances personality traits could influence potential opportunity-entrepreneurs to start-up in the IS; the finding about the role of trade associations; and the new understanding about the collaborative dimension of corruption in the context of IS practice, represent a significant contribution of this study. These contributions are valuable not just in terms of creating new windows of research opportunities, but also for evidence-based policy relating to the IS that is appropriately targeted at relevant groups. This is in addition to facilitating collaborations for business support, enlightenment, improved business practice, and inclusive growth.
  • Corporate Governance in the Banking and Finance Sector.

    CHUNG Chun Pong, Thomas. (2017-08)
    The focus of this thesis is an examination of certain weaknesses in the corporate governance at UK and US banks which constituted an underlying cause of the crisis. It considers the regulatory responses to these identified weaknesses and assesses to what extent these have led to improvements in corporate governance at banks. This research is based on an examination of all the failures at UK and US banks during and after the crisis, and of its related responses. In addition to UK and US responses, several solutions to the weaknesses identified at UK and US banks are addressed through EU legislation. The conclusions are that board effectiveness was low due to a lack of knowledge and of challenging of senior management; there was a culture placing growth and profit over risk management; and remuneration was structured leading to unacceptable risk taking resulting in scandals. It is concluded that the mechanisms to limit the impact of a failure of a bank on its stakeholders were inadequate. A case study of the financial crisis in US during the 1990s is undertaken to consider whether the US regulatory response offers lessons to UK regulators and legislators. The finding is that analysis of regulation and corporate governance at banks is problematic. There were similarities between the two financial crises, the organisation and culture of the UK and US banks is so different that different regulatory responses follow.
  • Through the Lens: Using Auto-Driven Photo-Elicitation to Capture the Development of Career Aspirations of Business Management and Fine Art Students

    Turley, Helene (2018)
    The uniqueness of this study is primarily in the application of a visual research methodology to generate knowledge and understanding in an area that is often associated with quantitative research. Careers and employment research typically focuses on statistical information which can provide general information but does not give an in-depth understanding of the area under study. Visual research can give an in-depth understanding; in addition to giving access to a different kind of knowledge, supported by Harper (2002) who proposes “that images can evoke deeper elements of human consciousness than words alone.” I explore the various ways in which students perceive and develop different career aspiration including what motivates and what might inhibit students’ development of their career aspirations. This understanding will enhance my professional practice and encourage the Careers and Employment department within the University to adapt their service and give students the relevant tools and information to prepare them for employment. A visual research methodology is utilised as this fits comfortably with my background in art and gives the in-depth knowledge I require for my research (see Clark-Ibáñez, 2004; Collier (1957); Collier and Collier, 1986; Cousin, 2009; Guillemin and Drew, 2010; Harper, 2002; Harris and Guillemin, 2012 and O’Brien, 2013 for further information on the benefits of using a visual research methodology). Auto-driven photo-elicitation (ADPE) is used with six fine art and six business management students. These students often have less career direction and tend to struggle to secure graduate level positions (Swani, 2016); in addition, the two subject areas were chosen because they are a contrast in terms of how their curriculum is delivered. Using visual research to inform careers and employment is unique and through sharing my research and research experience I want to initiate a shift in how careers and employment research is approached in the future. In addition to the uniqueness of using a visual research methodology in careers and employment my findings indicate there are five orientations business management and fine art students’ use when developing their career aspirations: a strong sense of direction, intrinsic and extrinsic motivations, weak planning and dreams. This research discusses the five orientations and the factors that might contribute to a rich learning environment for career building. Subject and professional identity are discussed in relation to identity formation and career building. Four main sources of identity formation are identified: identity through being (transition from study to profession), identity through self-discovery, identity through belonging (concerning the informal and cultural aspects of community life), and identity through peripheral participation (activities that are akin to peripheral participation in a professional community). This research establishes there is a relationship between the development and building of identity and self-efficacy through belonging, professional experience and working alongside mentors when developing strategies to develop career aspirations.
  • Policy and Politics matter: The shaping of contemporary social work in times of neoliberalism.

    Simpson, Graeme (2016)
    The commentary draws on a range of work to demonstrate the argument that policy and politics are of central importance in shaping social work in England. I outline the development of my practice wisdom and then examine the contested nature of social work knowledge. Drawing on my practice with people who were poor and marginalised, I came to believe that social work must have a commitment to equality and social justice and that to achieve this social work must engage with policy and politics. My outputs begin by examining the connection between my practice wisdom and the dialectical nature of social work’s enduring tensions, located in a work that underlines the importance of sociology. A further four outputs focus upon aspects of social policy, notably key elements in the rise of neo-liberalism in contemporary social work in a text that argues explicitly that social workers need to develop a politically engaged practice. My other outputs illustrate the impact of politics, neoliberalism and its attendant policies in the early 21st century, gathering evidence from three broad areas. First, the nature of globalisation is examined focusing upon the movement of social workers and ‘cross-national’ social work. Second, there is an explicit exploration of social work under neoliberalism, drawing on the case of Children’s services and learning disability. Third, I examine ‘policy practice’ and the concept of ‘choice’. I argue that social work has always had a concern with politics and policy but that in more recent years this has declined and has been overtaken by a focus upon individualism. My core theoretical themes are the dialectic and an examination of hegemonic structures which impact on social work. I explore the continuing importance of my work in relation to contemporary social work, showing that policies and politics matter more than ever. I conclude by arguing that, as social work is under political attack from the current Government, the ‘radical tradition’ needs to be kept alive.
  • The use of arbitration in the construction industry in England and Wales: an evaluation of its continuing role following the Arbitration Act 1996

    Henry Fisher, William (2017)
    Due to the influence of the construction industry on the country’s economy, resolution of disputes is very important. The Arbitration Act 1996 was passed to remedy the complaints that had made arbitration unpopular. Comments from academics and practitioners indicated that construction arbitration remained unpopular and procedural innovation anticipated had not materialised. This study considers arbitration in the construction industry in England and Wales and evaluates its use and role since the passing of the Arbitration Act 1996. It also explores the potential use of arbitration against the use of litigation, statutory adjudication, mediation and expert determination having regard to variables of size of claim and dispute. A pragmatic theoretical perspective was followed, using a survey strategy. Initially a quantitative methodology was used, with structured questionnaires sent to users of arbitration, their legal advisers and construction arbitrators. To provide extension and clarification of matters revealed from questionnaires, interviews were conducted with construction arbitrators and construction lawyers, thereby incorporating a qualitative methodology. The study shows a significant decline in the use of construction arbitration, but comparing the two periods investigated, there was less of a decline for the more recent period, compared to the earlier period. As a dispute resolution method, arbitration was considered neutral, being neither poor, nor excellent. Arbitration’s standing, overall, is poor; however, for claims between £1 million and £10 million it is similar to the other methods referred to above. Positive influences towards choosing arbitration are that arbitration is private, providing fairness, allowing control of the process with an award that is final. Negative influences are that arbitration is costly, complex with procedures styled on litigation, subject to delays and confidence issues with arbitrators’ decisions. Cost and duration of arbitration remain the most problematic features, however the investigation suggests that users and particularly their lawyer advisers are reluctant to implement cost saving procedures.
  • Young people leaving care: plans, challenges and discourses

    Lamond, Catherine (2016-09)
    This small-scale study explored plans for four young people leaving care and the perspectives of twelve key adults supporting them. Using Fairclough’s model of critical discourse analysis, the rationale for this research was concern about the difference in outcomes between care leavers and young people in general. Aims were to explore if contradictions in plans and ideas contributed to problems for the young people, and to examine explanations and justifications made by the adult participants. Data were collected by semi-structured interviews from an opportunistic sample. Findings indicated that the established problem of young people having to leave care too early persists in spite of initiatives to prevent this happening. Theories drawn from the psychology of child development influence the professionals’ constructions of the young people, thereby limiting the responses which adults can offer. It is proposed that neoliberal discourses of individual responsibility and continuous self-improvement constrain systems which encourage young people to leave care before they are ready. Two concepts of chop (abrupt change, such as end of school phase) and churn (disruption, such as staff turnover) are used to examine how frequent disturbance in the life of a looked after child is exacerbated by points of rupture which are caused by the structures of children’s services. This study adds to calls for increased stability for young people, and recommends earlier planning for the future of young people in care. Implications for educational practice are presented, including the need to ensure that leaving mainstream education for segregated provision is not an irreversible decision. It is suggested that educators should consider critically the labelling of looked after children as having Special Educational Needs, as this can lead to practices which encourage compliance by young people, and pathologise resistance which could instead be re-framed as self-reliance.
  • LEARNING IN BOARDS: A GROUNDED THEORY STUDY OF UK BOARDS OF DIRECTORS

    ABAYOMI OJEBODE, ADEREMI (2017)
    Boards of directors have been described as an integral part of corporate governance research, being at "the apex of the internal control system" (Jensen, 1993, p.862). Early corporate governance research has examined whether, and to what extent, board characteristics impact on performance. However, the results of studies that focused on board structure/composition and performance produced mixed outcomes. Consequently, we saw the emergence of research on board processes and their impact on board task performance. Research on board processes is still ongoing, and scholars have been interested in, among other processes, how knowledge and skills by board members are being used (Gabrielsson and Huse, 2004; Kor and Sundaramurthy, 2009). At the same time, there is a gap within educational research on how knowledge is being created within teams that are episodic in nature, such as boards (Forbes and Milliken, 1999). As such, the concept of learning has to date been under-researched in a board context. In this thesis, board processes are studied by exploring the processes involved in the acquisition and sharing of knowledge and skills in boards. Further, as a response to calls for the adoption of alternative research approaches to the study of boards (Pettigrew, 1992; Johnson et al., 1996), this research is conducted using a qualitative method based on a grounded theory approach. The study is conducted based on evidence from semi-structured interviews with UK board members. The findings show that the creation of knowledge in boards depends on two dialectical processes of learning (acquisition of knowledge and skills from the external environment and sharing of knowledge and skills in the internal environment). The qualitative findings show that 1) directors possess certain levels of knowledge related to specific boards task – which is also known as directors’ knowledge base; 2) the gap between the level of knowledge and skills needed to perform specific board tasks and the directors knowledge base is regarded as a gap in directors’ knowledge; 3) that there are two processes of filling the gap(s) in directors’ knowledge – the process of acquiring knowledge and skills (from the external environment), and the process of sharing knowledge and skills within the board; 4) that there are factors which are impacting on the processes of acquiring and sharing knowledge in boards; and 5) the processes of learning in boards are circular and board members must continually update their knowledge to enhance their capabilities. The thesis contributes to knowledge by revealing new insights into how board members acquire knowledge and skills (processes of learning) and factors that are impacting on learning in boards, underpinning former conceptual models. Qualitative analysis itemised different types of processes for both acquiring and sharing knowledge and skills in boards. Additionally, the qualitative analysis revealed various forms of learning styles that are being employed by board members either to acquire or share knowledge and skills. Finally, this thesis contributes to qualitative research in boards and its findings have implications for board practice, especially boards’ tasks performance and processes of learning.
  • Exploring the language of adolescent emotion and its relationship with psychological wellbeing and therapeutic experience

    Tessa Apter, Nora. (2017)
    The study of emotional language use and production within UK adolescent therapeutic populations has received relatively little attention compared to other client-, process- and outcome factor research. In recent years, novel and distinct methods of delivering therapy that rely on the production and interpretation of language are increasing in popularity, compared to traditional therapeutic models that use non-verbal aspects of communication in the therapeutic process. In order to explore how aspects of emotional language production may inform clinicians about therapeutic interventions with a UK adolescent population, two studies were designed to analyse how adolescents use written emotional language to indicate their psychological wellbeing, identity and agency development through receipt of psychological intervention. A quantitative study was designed to measure therapeutic and non-therapeutic adolescents’ production of positive and negative emotional word frequency through free-response narratives. Positive and negative emotional word frequencies were assessed for relationships with measures of trait emotional intelligence (TEIQue-ASF; Petrides et al., 2006) and psychological wellbeing (18-item PWBS; Clarke et al., 2001). Multiple regression analyses determined that trait emotional intelligence significantly predicted psychological wellbeing, but positive and negative emotional word production and therapeutic experience did not. A qualitative study using Parker’s (2005) methods of narrative analysis of limited narratives focused on exploring how adolescents who have experienced therapy construct narratives. The analysis illustrated the construction of agency in developing adolescent identities and accounts of helpful and unhelpful events in therapeutic interventions, which became the primary narrative genres. Emotional contexts were highlighted in exploring the functions of emotional language in constructing stories of adolescent agency and identity in therapy. The results of both studies, their contributions to, and implications for clinical practice and counselling psychology are discussed in relation to novel or modern methods of delivering therapeutic interventions tailored to this developmental population, and in the wider socio-political context.
  • How are changes to assessment in BTEC Early Years perceived as influencing the vocational nature of the curriculum?

    Dudley, Kate (2017)
    Changes within vocational education have been consistent within England (Wolf, 2011, p4.) and are currently increasing within the education of 16-19 year olds (ONS in City & Guilds, 2001 p6.). Included in those changes was a recent reform to BTEC. Stemming from this reform was the introduction of assessment changes. More specifically, an increase in controlled assessments and exams, especially within the Early Years sector, which forms the focus of this research. The introduction of such assessment methods offers a conflicting argument to the notion of creating Early Years practitioners with vocational and industry skills (Nutbrown, 2012). Within current education, students on Early Years vocational courses have voiced concerns that examined assessments do not provide them with the skillset they need for employment. In order to explore the true influence of assessment methods on student outcomes, a range of methods were used to ensure validity, and strengthen findings. Firstly, pre-existing data in the form of modular reviews provided student’s perceptions on how different assessment methods have prepared them for practice and supported their learning. These findings are explored alongside others from the five semi structured interviews gathered from members within one institution. This was used to compare how well assessment methods within the institution were supporting learners compared to the literary findings gathered within the literature review. Each of the data collection methods presented findings which support the need for Nutbrown’s (2012) concept of assessment methods to be industry related. Although, findings also indicated that the institution analysed in this research is considering ways to support the vocational and industry skills of their Early Years workers. However, clear evidence suggests that controlled assessment methods have not provided students with as good an outcome for both grades and skills as industry related assessment methods. Therefore, it is important to make recommendations for change. Following the recognition that the key assessments being used, in line with the BTEC reform, are not providing learners with the best industry related experience they could achieve. Several recommendations are made in line with the key research questions and address both institutions- including teachers and management - and policy writers.
  • Beliefs and Perceptions in the construction of HIV stigma and sexual health seeking behaviour among Black sub-Sahara African (BSSA) communities in Birmingham, UK.

    Nyashanu, Mathew. (2017)
    There is ample academic evidence indicating high levels of HIV stigma among BSSA communities. The research suggests that disadvantaged and marginalised social groups like the BSSA communities experience high levels of HIV and sexually transmitted infections. There is a significant amount of quantitative research in the public domain on HIV and stigma. Quantitative research has shown that BSSA communities present late with HIV and sexually transmitted infections often owing to HIV stigma. Currently there is limited published qualitative information on the factors influencing HIV stigma and sexual health seeking behaviour among BSSA communities, particularly from the perspective of the communities themselves. This research study explored beliefs and perceptions in the construction of HIV stigma and sexual health seeking behaviour among Black sub-Sahara African (BSSA) communities in one city in the UK. The Silences Framework, which sits within aspects of feminism, criticalist and ethnicity-based approaches, provided the theoretical underpinning for this study. An exploratory qualitative study methodology was used to identify and explore the key factors influencing the construction of HIV stigma and sexual health seeking behaviour among BSSA communities. Five focus groups and fifteen one-to-one semi-structured follow-up interviews were conducted to collect the data. The institution of Marriage, Religion, Reported HIV statistics, Politics and Immigration, HIV as a Sensitive subject, sexual health professionals Cultural competence, gender stereotyping, Sexual Orientation and Social Media emerged as key pillars underpinning the social scripts associated with the construction of HIV stigma and sexual health seeking behaviour. The experiences emanating from the pillars of HIV stigma, identified in this study, showed the impact of social, political and personal contexts associated with specific sexual scripts among the participants impacting on the construction of HIV stigma and sexual health seeking behaviour. The 'silences' contained in the socially determined scripts were important in understanding the phenomenon under investigation. The findings from this study were reviewed in light of current sexual health policies and strategies to consider how sexual health professionals and services can best meet the health care needs of BSSA communities. This thesis contributes to current knowledge of HIV stigma and ethnicity, by concluding that the construction of HIV stigma and sexual health seeking behaviour among BSSA communities takes place during different contexts of socialization, in a bid to conform to the perceived expectations of society which may be real or imagined. Furthermore, conformity is also influenced by commonly shared and personal appraisal of socially determined relevant issues. These contexts form the bases on which sexual scripts are given meaning and HIV stigma is constructed alongside a socially sanctioned pattern of sexual health seeking behaviour. This study makes an additional contribution in that it is the first time that The Silences Framework has been used to research HIV and stigma among BSSA communities. This research study compliments the currently available pool of quantitative data linking issues of HIV stigma and ethnicity in the United Kingdom. The findings from this exploratory qualitative research study reveal a wide range of critical issues to encourage further qualitative research in the area, while indicating new issues to consider in developing UK based interventions to address HIV stigma and sexual health seeking behaviour among BSSA communities.
  • Policy and Politics matter: The shaping of contemporary social work in times of neoliberalism.

    Simpson, Graeme (2018)
    The commentary draws on a range of work to demonstrate the argument that policy and politics are of central importance in shaping social work in England. I outline the development of my practice wisdom and then examine the contested nature of social work knowledge. Drawing on my practice with people who were poor and marginalised, I came to believe that social work must have a commitment to equality and social justice and that to achieve this social work must engage with policy and politics. My outputs begin by examining the connection between my practice wisdom and the dialectical nature of social work’s enduring tensions, located in a work that underlines the importance of sociology. A further four outputs focus upon aspects of social policy, notably key elements in the rise of neo-liberalism in contemporary social work in a text that argues explicitly that social workers need to develop a politically engaged practice. My other outputs illustrate the impact of politics, neoliberalism and its attendant policies in the early 21st century, gathering evidence from three broad areas. First, the nature of globalisation is examined focusing upon the movement of social workers and ‘cross-national’ social work. Second, there is an explicit exploration of social work under neoliberalism, drawing on the case of Children’s services and learning disability. Third, I examine ‘policy practice’ and the concept of ‘choice’. I argue that social work has always had a concern with politics and policy but that in more recent years this has declined and has been overtaken by a focus upon individualism. My core theoretical themes are the dialectic and an examination of hegemonic structures which impact on social work. I explore the continuing importance of my work in relation to contemporary social work, showing that policies and politics matter more than ever. I conclude by arguing that, as social work is under political attack from the current Government, the ‘radical tradition’ needs to be kept alive.
  • Evaluation of Bacterial Polymers as Protective Agents for Sensitive Probiotic Bacteria

    Adebayo, Olajumoke O. (2018)
    Probiotics are live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer one or more health benefits on the host. Different processing conditions, the acidic condition of the stomach and exposure to hydrolytic enzymes affect the viability and efficacy of probiotic organisms. This study investigated the protective effects of two biopolymers poly-gamma-glutamic acid (γ-PGA) and bacterial cellulose (BC) on probiotics during freeze drying and during exposure to simulated intestinal juices and bile salts. The antibacterial property of Bifidobacterium strains was also investigated against four pathogenic bacteria. γ-PGA, a naturally occurring biopolymer was produced by two bacteria (Bacillus subtilis ATCC 15245 and B. licheniformis ATCC 9945a) in GS and E media, γ-PGA yields of about 14.11g/l were achieved in shake flasks and molecular weight of up to 1620 k Da was recorded, γ-PGA production was scaled up in a fermenter with B. subtilis using GS medium. BC, an edible biopolymer was produced by Gluconacetobacter xylinus ATCC 23770 in HS medium and a modified HS (MHS) medium. A yield of about 1.37g/l was recorded and BC production with MHS medium was used for probiotic application. B. longum NCIMB 8809 B. breve NCIMB 8807 and B. animalis NCIMB 702716 showed the best antimicrobial properties against the investigated pathogens. Survival of Bifidobacterium strains was improved when protected with powdered BC (PBC) although γ-PGA offered better protection than PBC. Viability of B. longum NCIMB 8809, B. breve NCIMB 8807 and B. animalis NCIMB 702716 in simulated gastric juice (SGJ) and simulated intestinal juice with bile salts was improved when protected with 5% γ-PGA and 5% γ-PGA+PBC with a reduction of <1 Log CFU/ml while a reduction of ≤2 Log CFU/ml was recorded in PBC protected cells. Protecting Bifidobacterium strains with γ-PGA, PBC or a novel γ-PGA + PBC combination is a promising method to deliver probiotic bacteria to the target site in order to confer their health benefits on the host.
  • ‘Soldier-Diplomat: a reassessment of Sir Henry Wilson’s influence on British Strategy in the last 18 months of the Great War’

    Spencer, John (2018)
    Sir Henry Wilson remains one of the most controversial British Army generals of the Great War. A colourful character in life, he attracted admirers and detractors in equal measure; in death, his reputation was ruined by a biography based on his personal diaries. The Wilson of the historiography is, at best, a politician rather than a soldier, at worst an ambitious Francophile intriguer. This thesis looks beyond this accepted characterisation, reassessing his role in the formation of British and Allied strategy in the final months of the war. Wilson attained influence, and subsequently power, when Lloyd George consulted him after failing to persuade Britain’s leading generals to change their strategic focus. The thesis re-examines Wilson’s policy critique, which led to the creation of the Supreme War Council, and negated plans for a major Allied offensive on the Western Front in 1918. This thesis aims to shine new light on Wilson’s work on the Council, with an analysis of its policy recommendations. The research will also explore the manpower crisis, the key issue for the entente in this period, and Wilson’s contribution to the establishment of Allied unity of command. The diplomatic skills Wilson deployed to defuse serious strains between the entente powers will be examined, with particular reference to his time as Chief of the Imperial General Staff. His contribution to the debate on Britain’s post-war imperial grand strategy will also be evaluated. The thesis will refute the long-established onedimensional view of Wilson and suggest that he played a more influential role in British strategic development than has hitherto been acknowledged.
  • ‘Doing the Portfolio’ – Pre-registration training for biomedical scientists and developing the capable practitioner

    Smith, Sara (2018)
    Integration of work-placements into undergraduate degrees is now established on awards linked to professional registration in healthcare. Pre-registration training forms the basis for development of capability and entry onto a professional register. This enquiry explores how key stakeholders on a programme leading to registration as a Biomedical Scientist (BMS) position themselves in their role and the subsequent impact of this upon the development of the capable BMS. It draws upon current knowledge of work-based pedagogy and utilises a constructivist grounded theory (CGT) approach to explore the perceptions and experiences of individuals and groups to develop an interpretative portrayal and deeper understanding of the implementation of pre-registration training in one region of England. Data gathering and analysis was divided into two stages. The first employed analysis of professional documents to provide an insight into current discourses around BMS training. This provided initial developing categories and directed the creation of a questionnaire. Questionnaire responses confirmed the relevance of the developing categories and a summary of responses provided an ‘ice-breaker’ to guide stage two of data gathering. This stage employed focus groups and interviews to enable a greater understanding of how individuals make sense of their experiences. Initial, focused and theoretical coding allowed synthesis and conceptualisation of the data gathered and presented direction for the enquiry. The findings expose the challenges of integrating professional registration training into an academic programme of study. Three theoretical categories were identified: Role conflict, Expectations and Ownership. Conceptualising the interactions and intersections of these categories enabled the recognition of ‘Doing the portfolio’ as a way of describing and conceptualising the stakeholders positioning within the current programme. The registration portfolio has become an objective reductionist measure of learning, reflecting the positivist typology of practice in this profession. This provides a theoretical explanation as to how the programme is delivered and why there is a need to rethink conceptualisation of the role of the programme in supporting pre-registration training and the development of the capable BMS. To ensure that BMS students are supported to develop not only technical skills but also professional capability there is a need for a paradigm shift from a positivist episteme to one that embraces both the positivist and socio-cultural paradigms, viewing them as complementary and parallel. The novel research approach used in this enquiry has generated rich insights into how stakeholders interact with the pressures of internal and external influences and the impact this has upon behaviours and strategies adopted. The theoretical understanding proposed, which recognises the tensions emerging from a positivist typology of practice, has a range of implications for practice and for the development of practitioner capability through pre-registration training and beyond.
  • Tackling the barriers to achieving Information Assurance

    Simmons, Andrea C. (2017)
    This original, reflective practitioner study researched whether professionalising IA could be successfully achieved, in line with the UK Cyber Security Strategy expectations. The context was an observed changing dominant narrative from IA to cybersecurity. The research provides a dialectical relationship with the past to improve IA understanding. The Academic contribution: Using archival and survey data, the research traced the origins of the term IA and its practitioner usage, in the context of the increasing use of the neologism of cybersecurity, contributing to knowledge through historical research. Discourse analysis of predominantly UK government reports, policy direction, legislative and regulatory changes, reviewing texts to explore the functions served by specific constructions, mainly Information Security (Infosec) vs IA. The Researcher studied how accounts were linguistically constructed in terms of the descriptive, referential and rhetorical language used, and the function that serves. The results were captured in a chronological review of IA ontology. The Practitioner contribution: Through an initial Participatory Action Research (PAR) public sector case study, the researcher sought to make sense of how the IA profession operates and how it was maturing. Data collection from self-professed IA practitioners provided empirical evidence. The researcher undertook evolutionary work analysing survey responses and developed theories from the analysis to answer the research questions. The researcher observed a need to implement a unified approach to Information Governance (IG) on a large organisation-wide scale. Using a constructivist grounded theory the researcher developed a new theoretical framework - i3GRC™ (Integrated and Informed Information Governance, Risk, and Compliance) - based on what people actually say and do within the IA profession. i3GRC™ supports the required Information Protection (IP) through maturation from IA to holistic IG. Again, using PAR, the theoretical framework was tested through a private sector case study, the resultant experience strengthening the bridge between academia and practitioners.
  • Increasing the success of community transfer when creating species-rich meadows using green hay strewing

    Wilkes, Alison. (2017)
    Methods of increasing the number, diversity and evenness of plant species establishing in species-rich meadows created or enhanced with green hay from a semi-natural source meadow were studied. Three experiments were conducted on grasslands in Birmingham and Herefordshire: (i) Comparisons of species and community transfer resulting from green hay being strewn in consecutive years onto a glyphosated receiver meadow. (ii) The effect on species-richness of introducing green hay into a species-rich created meadow. (iii) The effect of different levels of disturbance in combination with grazing on the introduction of species into an existing created species-rich meadow. Strewing hay twice resulted in vegetation containing more species and species with higher frequencies compared with haying once. Hay strewing increased the number of species in an existing species-rich sward and also increased the frequency and abundance of existing species. Source species frequency, flowering/seed set date and established life strategy had an important influence on species transfer. In general, species that did not transfer were those found at low frequencies in MG5 Cynosurus cristatus – Centaurea nigra community meadows and with stress-tolerance as part of their life strategy. There was a statistically significant three-way interaction between haying, grazing and disturbance. As several terrestrial orchid species are associated with this habitat type, techniques and media for axenic seed germination and propagation of a selected local MG5 meadow orchid species (Dactylorhiza fuchsii) were assessed. Comparisons were made of two media types in combination with mycorrhizae and a source of complex carbohydrates. Of these, oats medium with fungi produced significantly higher germination rates than other tested media. Oats medium also proved the most suitable medium for protocorms when replated, producing the greatest increase in protocorm length compared with Western medium after 15 weeks of growth.
  • Nitrous oxide and methane emissions from agriculture and approaches to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions from livestock production

    Webb, J. (2017)
    This thesis links papers reporting field measurements, modelling studies and reviews of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and their abatement from agriculture, in particular from livestock production. The aims of the work were to: quantify GHG emissions from litter-based farmyard manures; evaluate means by which GHG emissions from agricultural production may be abated; assess synergies and conflicts between the abatement of other N pollutants on emissions of nitrous oxide (N2O); analyse two records of soil temperature from 1976-2010 from Wolverhampton (UK) and Vienna (Austria). Agricultural emissions of GHGs are not readily abated by ‘end of pipe’ technologies. Large decreases in agricultural GHG emissions may require changes in the production and consumption of food that could have unwelcome impacts on both consumers and producers. However, identifying and prioritizing both modes and locations of production, together with utilizing inputs, such as N fertilizer and livestock feeds, more efficiently can reduce GHG emissions while maintaining outputs. For example, GHG emissions from livestock production may be lessened by increasing the longevity of dairy cows, thereby decreasing the proportion of unproductive replacement animals in the dairy herd. Sourcing a larger proportion of calves from the dairy herd would decrease emissions of GHGs from beef production. The distance between the region of food production to that of consumption has relatively little impact on total GHG emissions per tonne of food product. Due to greater productivity or lesser energy inputs, importing some foods produced in other parts of the world may decrease GHG emissions per tonne compared with UK production, despite the additional emissions arising from long-distance transport. Manure application techniques to abate ammonia (NH3) emissions do not axiomatically increase emissions of N2O and may decrease them. Soil temperature measurements from 1976 to 2010 were consistent with the warming trends reported over the last 40 years.

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