Collections in this community

Recent Submissions

  • Expression of sigma receptors in human cancer cell lines and effects of novel sigma-2 ligands on their proliferation

    Abbas, Haider (2018)
    Sigma receptors originally thought to be an opioid receptor is now categorized as a distinct class of receptor. There are two main subtypes, the sigma-1 receptor and an uncharacterised binding site, named the sigma-2 binding site. The presence of the sigma-2 binding site shows high correlation with proliferation of cells and is associated with cancer. I have categorized sigma-1 and sigma-2 binding sites in 11 human tumour cell lines. I have demonstrated that tumour cell lines from a range of tissues express both sigma-1 and sigma-2 binding sites. One exception is the MCF7 breast cancer cell line, which lacks sigma-1 receptors. I show that the quantitation of sigma-2 binding sites using the “masking” protocols are flawed, significantly overestimating levels of sigma-2 binding sites. I propose novel protocols to determine levels of sigma-1 receptors and sigma-2 binding sites in cell lines and tissue. Using radioligand binding assays in MCF7 cells, I have characterised novel sigma-2 ligands. These ligands are simple ammonium salts containing a single nitrogen atom. They are simpler than the previously recognised pharmacophore for the sigma-2 site. I have shown that these simple ammonium salts show graded affinity for the sigma-2 binding site. The highest affinity ligands were dihexylammonium (pKi 7.58) and dioctylammonium (pKi 7.9). I have used these ammonium salts and previously characterised ligands to determine sigma-2 binding site biology. I have shown that the biological activity of these drugs is related neither to their hydrophobicity nor their ability to effect calcium signalling in cells. I propose that the Hill slope of binding is inversely related to the efficacy of a ligand to inhibit metabolic activity of cancer cells. Furthermore, I offer an explanation as to why concentrations of sigma-2 ligands far higher than their determined binding affinities are required to inhibit metabolic activity.
  • VideoTag: Encouraging the Effective Tagging of Internet Videos Through Tagging Games

    Lewis, Stacey. (2014-05)
    Abstract The tags and descriptions entered by video owners in video sharing sites are typically inadequate for retrieval purposes, yet the majority of video search still uses this text. This problem is escalating due to the ease with which users can self-publish videos, generating masses that are poorly labelled and poorly described. This thesis investigates how users tag videos and whether video tagging games can solve this problem by generating useful sets of tags. A preliminary study investigated tags in two social video sharing sites, YouTube and Viddler. YouTube contained many irrelevant tags because the system does not encourage users to tag their videos and does not promote tags as useful. In contrast, using tags as the sole means of categorisation in Viddler motivated users to enter a higher proportion of relevant tags. Poor tags were found in both systems, however, highlighting the need to improve video tagging. In order to give users incentives to tag videos, the VideoTag project in this thesis developed two tagging games, Golden Tag and Top Tag, and one non-game tagging system, Simply Tag, and conducted two experiments with them. In the first experiment VideoTag was a portal to play video tagging games whereas in the second experiment it was a portal to curate collections of special interest videos. Users preferred to tag videos using games, generating tags that were relevant to the videos and that covered a range of tag types that were descriptive of the video content at a predominately specific, objective level. Users were motivated by interest in the content rather than by game elements, and content had an effect on the tag types used. In each experiment, users predominately tagged videos using objective language, with a tendency to use specific rather than basic tags. There was a significant difference between the types of tags entered in the games and in Simply Tag, with more basic, objective vocabulary entered into the games and more specific, objective language entered into the non-game system. Subjective tags were rare but were more frequent in Simply Tag. Gameplay also had an influence on the types of tags entered; Top Tag generated more basic tags and Golden Tag generated more specific and subjective tags. Users were not attracted to use VideoTag by the games alone. Game mechanics had little impact on motivations to use the system. VideoTag used YouTube videos, but could not upload the tags to YouTube and so users could see no benefit for the tags they entered, reducing participation. Specific interest content was more of a motivator for use than games or tagging and that this warrants further research. In the current game-saturated climate, gamification of a video tagging system may therefore be most successful for collections of videos that already have a committed user base.
  • Growing pains to growing shame and beyond: a reflexive dyadic on stigmatised identity

    Pursehouse, Lucy (2018)
    Stigma surrounding mental health is a significant concern within the UK. Education, is considered an important aspect in attempts to address negative attitudes. This thesis opens a dyadic space in which I explore personal stigma stories relating to mental health. In addition, to consider how these connect to my doctoral journey and practice. Furthermore, how such phenomenological expression contributes pedagogically to a contemporary policy imperative; one aimed at tackling mental health stigma. The research design is methodologically grounded in the autoethnographical method and I have developed both an ‘analytical’ and ‘evocative’ approach. Five central themes emerged from my personal stigma stories and data analysis, ‘dissimilitude’, ‘disconnection’, ‘bifurcation’, ‘assimilation’ and ‘transformation’. Theoretically rich stories were then crafted, that re-presented these themes to provide further sense-making. A perspective transformative process is tightly woven within and throughout, capturing a critical pedagogic frame of reference for the inquiry. The study adds to the existing body of literature, by contributing personal narratives in the form of stories and poetry, which may be used within my anti-stigma education. The methodological processes revealed the importance of autoethnography and its analytic reflexive potency for moving beyond a stigmatised identity. Insights gathered, enabled the development of a Model of Learning on stigma, Right Stigma Capabilities, a learning tool to be utilised in practice, and the theoretical conceptualisation of a ‘Pseudo-Medicalised Identity’. Robust mechanisms for education, continuing professional development and mentoring are required, across a multi-disciplinary health and social care context. Further research is required on the lived experience of stigma, and the generative processes involved in liberation from this complex social phenomenon.
  • Volunteering in the higher education curriculum: the politics of policy, practice and participation

    Green, Pat (2018)
    This study explores the extent to which government policies for higher education impact upon the ways in which higher education institutions (HEIs) implement these and the students themselves experience their studies. The focus is accredited volunteering in higher education. A case study approach has been undertaken to scrutinise the impact of policy directives on several stakeholders within one post-1992 HEI, the University of Wrottesley (a pseudonym). The methodological approach is qualitative. Semi-structured interviews were carried out with senior university staff and Students Union personnel, and a detailed on-line survey was conducted with three cohorts of students undertaking the Volunteering in the Curriculum (ViC) programme. What emerges is the extent to which the dominant discourse of ‘employability’ is foregrounded in government policy directives, and the pressures thus placed on the university management of Wrottesley to respond effectively to first destination scores (DHLE). ‘Employability’ in this sense is understood as a graduate student obtaining employment, rather than a broader sense of good learning which embraces both learning (cognitive, theoretical and practical) and employability (Knight & Yorke, 2004). The findings expose the ways in which volunteering has been drawn into the dominant discourse of ‘employability’, yet what emerges from the student survey of their participation in the ViC programme is a broader, more nuanced learning experience which draws on both experiential and theoretical learning that encompasses academic studies, personal development, social action and graduate employment. The evidence validates the theoretical and pedagogic practice of ViC whereby students experience holistic learning. Universities such as Wrottesley are missing an opportunity in not embracing wider objectives of initiatives such as ViC which enable enhancement of graduate employability and also learning gain with the development of well rounded critical citizens and institutional permeability between community and the academy.
  • Developing a model for assessing the effect of physical indoor environment quality on teachers’ performance in Saudi education buildings

    Alzahrani, Hamdan M. (2018)
    The nature and quality of the built learning environment affect occupants’ comfort, wellbeing and performance. Within the broad range of studies of the physical indoor environment reported in the literature, there are several which have focused on the effects of these environmental conditions on the comfort and physical health of students and teachers, while the main consideration in others is the organizational health of the school. The parameters, which are measured often concern the state and condition of the physical environment. Categories of building features, which appear to influence comfort, health and wellbeing, include thermal sensation, acoustics, lighting, air quality, classroom equipment, learning resources and other aspects of the teachers’ workspace. Those components of the physical of indoor environment, which are considered to most strongly affect occupants’ comfort, wellbeing and performance, are subject to sets of standards. The aim of this study is to elucidate the association between the indoor environmental quality (IEQ) of educational buildings and teachers’ performance. Following a comprehensive review of the literature on the effects of IEQ on teachers’ comfort, wellbeing and performance, a case study was conducted in which physical measurements were made of a range of indoor environmental variables in the classrooms of a technical college in Saudi Arabia, during lessons. At the same time, the teachers of those classes were asked to complete a questionnaire designed to investigate the quality of the indoor environment and explore teacher performance. An artificial neural network was then used to create an assessment model in order to test the hypothesis that the quality of the indoor physical environment in educational buildings is related to teacher performance and to predict future data. This research makes both academic and practical contributions to the study of the relationship between IEQ and teachers’ performance. The findings of this research will be used as a primary knowledge resource for future researches and to identify initial IEQ parameters and tools for further in-depth studies. In practical terms, it offers standards to help designers to consider the importance of IEQ and its impact on building users.
  • Metformin as a potential therapy for malignant astrocytoma

    Eagles, Lawrence (2018)
    Background Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM) is the most commonly occurring tumour of the central nervous system (CNS). Currently GBM is considered an incurable malignancy with patients experiencing abysmal life expectancies. Lack of progress in the discovery of novel treatments has led to the repurposing of existing licenced medication as a possible alternative option. Metformin is from the biguanide family of drugs and is the most common medication used in the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Clinical studies have reported that, in type 2 diabetic patients, metformin might reduce cancer incidence and severity. Currently, metformin is being assessed in clinical trials as a treatment for a range of cancer types including GBM. The antineoplastic mechanisms utilized by metformin and other biguanides have not been fully elucidated. Methods The effects of metformin were evaluated, alone and in combination with other agents, on a panel of GBM cell cultures. Functional analysis of metformin mechanism of action was assessed through measurement of apoptosis, depolarisation of the mitochondria membrane, caspase pathway activation, cell cycle progression and the expression levels of micoRNAs. Results Analysis of fourteen GBM cell cultures showed a cytotoxic response to metformin that was significantly linked to the P53 status (p=0.0024). In combination drug testing, one of the four drugs showed a synergistic pairing with metformin. The kinase inhibitor sorafenib, showed synergism (CI ≤ 1) in eight GBM cell cultures. Flow cytometry of metformin treated GBM cells showed no significant increase (p>0.005) in apoptotic cell populations. Caspase 3/7 levels showed no significant increase post metformin treatment (p>0.005). Metformin caused depolarisation of the mitochondrial membrane in six GBM cell cultures. Four microRNAs were shown to have expression levels changes post-metformin treatment. Upregulation of expression was identified in miR-140, miR-192, let-7c. Downregulation was identified in miR-222. Conclusions Metformin was shown to have cytotoxic effect on a GBM cell cultures and has potential as GBM therapeutic agent and possible treatment synergy with sorafenib. The significance of P53 status to metformin sensitivity may suggest that its use should be directed to a sub-set of GBM patients. Mechanism for cell death by metformin was shown not to rely on apoptotic pathways but caspase 3/7 independent depolarization of mitochondrial cell membranes and cell cycle arrest. Investigations into autophagy may help to further define the pathways metformin is utilising to promote cell death. The impact of metformin on the expression profile of miR-222, miR-192 and let-7c is in line with clinical studies of other cancer types. This shows possible insight into the cancer independent actions of metformin. The interplay recorded between glucose availability and cell death indicates a possible key factor in the utilisation of metformin as a therapeutic agent. This finding may warrant the addition of dietary control regimes in clinical trials to maximise metformin efficacy. This work highlights the strong potential for biguanides in the development of new drug treatments and in expanding our knowledge of cancer metabolism.
  • Perceptions of mental illness in south-eastern Nigeria: causal beliefs, attitudes, help-seeking pathways and perceived barriers to help-seeking

    Ikwuka, Ugo (2016)
    To provide empirical basis for mental health interventions in the deprived sub-Saharan African region, this study explored the perspectives of the Igbo people of south-eastern Nigeria on four dimensions of mental illness: causal beliefs, attitudes towards sufferers, preferred treatment pathways and perceived barriers to accessing formal psychiatric care. Mixed sampling methods were used to select participants who completed quantitative questionnaires. The number of participants varied between 200 and 706 in the exploratory studies but remained constant (n = 1127) in the confirmatory studies. The study found mixed endorsements of the supernatural, biological and psychosocial causal explanations with supernatural causations being significantly more endorsed. The study also found mixed treatment preferences with formal psychiatric care being significantly more preferred to the spiritual pathway which was in turn significantly more preferred to the traditional pathway. Significant negative attitudes and desire for social distance from persons with mental illness were observed across groups. Barriers to accessing mental healthcare were also significantly perceived with ideological barriers being significantly more perceived than instrumental barriers. Systematic associations were found between causal beliefs and treatment preferences: supernatural causal belief predicted preference for the spiritual and traditional treatment pathways while psychosocial causal belief predicted preference for both formal psychiatric care and the traditional treatment pathway. Mixed causal attributions and treatment preferences reflect holistic view of health and healing and calls for the evolution of complementary model of care that would incorporate people’s spiritual and cultural needs. The prospect is supported in psychosocial causal beliefs being associated with preference for the traditional treatment pathway. Significant negative attitude is a contradiction in the traditionally communitarian and predominantly Christian culture, and is deserving of intervention in the context where the solidarity of the social network should compensate for the inadequate mental healthcare. Significantly more ideological than instrumental barriers have crucial policy implication; improved conceptualizations of mental illness should precede improvement of facilities and services or else these could be underused. Demographic correlates of causal beliefs, negative attitudes, pathway preferences and barriers to accessing formal mental healthcare care were determined for targeted interventions.
  • Investigation of pollution coming from copper, lead, and zinc mining, and factors controlling mobility and bioavailability of pollutants at Ecton Hill, Staffordshire, UK

    Al-Ibrahim, Zahid Omar Mustafa (2017)
    Former mining areas are well-known globally to be a significant anthropogenic source of contaminants being dispersed into the surrounding environment. Various human activities, including ore mineral mining, industrial activities, domestic waste production, and the agricultural application of fertilisers and pesticides, are likely to contribute to the release of huge amounts of potentially toxic metals into the ecosystem, which have harmful effects on the flora and fauna and on human health. Therefore, the main aim of this study is to evaluate the contamination that arises from some selected heavy metals (Cu, Pb, Zn, Mn, Cr, Ni, and V) in topsoil and floodplain samples from the Ecton mining area. Ecton Hill is located in the southern part of the Peak District, Staffordshire, England, and bounded by the River Manifold from the west. This area has been mined for sulphide minerals, which were extracted extensively from the 16th century until the mid-19th century; the area is currently being used for cattle rearing and agricultural purposes. Therefore, it would be worth finding out the extent to which the area has been polluted by the aforementioned metals. To this end, topsoil and floodplain samples were collected and analysed for their total concentrations using XRF technique and different granulometric classes (i.e. clay, silt, and sand) using a (Malvern Mastersizer Long Bed) laser granulometer with a presentation unit of MS-17. In addition, soil specific factors, including organic matter content, organic carbon, pH, Eh, and cation exchange capacity were also measured. Spatial distribution maps were constructed using a GIS approach for the metals studied over the study area. Contamination and ecological risk assessments were carried out via the geoaccumulation index (Igeo) and enrichment factors (EF) respectively. Moreover, collected soils for different land uses have been assessed using the UK government soil guidelines (i.e. ICRCL and CLEA’s SGVs soil values). Furthermore, the bioavailability, leachability, and fractionation (using five-steps sequential extraction) of the metals in various soil phases were characterised using correlation matrix and principal component analysis (PCA) approaches. The GIS- based spatial analysis maps reveal that elevated concentrations of the metals are located around the sites of the mining waste in the area. The contamination assessment results indicate that Cu, Pb, Zn have a contamination degree ranging between strongly contaminated (class 4) and extremely contaminated (class 6). The results of the ecological assessment by enrichment factor (EF) show that Pb has the highest enrichment factor. The bioavailability results of the heavy metals under study, via EDTA, show that Cu, Pb, Zn have the highest bioavailable fractions. The regression analysis demonstrates that Mn gives the best fit regression equation with the highest R2 value of 0.825. The leachability results reveal that, of the seven heavy metals, Zn has the highest leachable value, whereas the lowest leachable was recorded for Cr. Speciation was measured using the five-steps procedure, and the results show that Cu, Pb and Zn are mainly associated with the organic matter fraction, whilst, Cr, Ni and V are associated with the residual fraction. The principal component analysis (PCA) revealed that oxides of Fe/Al, organic matter, and the clay and silt fractions are the main soil parameters responsible for binding heavy metals to the soil surfaces of the study area. Changing the redox potential conditions and acidification was investigated and the results indicate that such changes have significant effects on the release of heavy metals from the soil particles at Ecton Hill.
  • 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.
  • 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.

    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.

View more