• Investigating the likely impact of new public management on human resource managers and academic lecturers in the Saudi Arabian higher education sector

      Ali, Shaukat; Iafrati, Stephen; Alhammami, Naser; Management Research Centre, University of Wolverhampton Business School, Faculty of Arts, Business and Social Sciences (University of Wolverhampton, 2022-03)
      Since the 1980s, new public management (NPM) has been considered the dominant model of public management. The model has many elements that have been adopted from different countries around the world, in particular Western countries, to reform their public sector organisations. This research examines four main models of NPM and extracts the common and most influential elements (e.g., decentralisation and empowerment) to build the theoretical framework for this research. Using this framework, the study investigates the implementation of aspects of the NPM model in a non-Western context, namely the higher education sector of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). Saudi Arabia is undergoing historic transformation since 2016, including the launch of the country's largest economic reform plan to date- Vision 2030. This plan aims to reduce the dependence on oil revenues and to enhance the role of the public and private sectors in the Saudi economy. The Vision aims also to modernise its public sector administrative model. This research investigates the likely impact of NPM-oriented public sector reforms on the Saudi HE sectors. The research takes the form of qualitative case studies. Five public universities were selected to represent the five geographical regions of the country. Data was collected using semi-structured interviews. Using an interpretive lens, the researcher explored the multiple interpretations, different meanings and experiences of the participants regarding the research issues. NVivo software was used in the coding and classification of the data. Content analysis helped with the analysis of the huge number of texts and identification of the patterns and relationships among the five cases. The results indicate that the Saudi HE sector has several managerial problems such as strict centralisation, lack of empowerment, participation and competition, which appear to have put pressure on the government to launch its reform agenda. The Vision 2030 has led to many positive effects, including the autonomy of three universities and the issuance of new civil performance measurement. From the research findings, the NPM model is unlikely to be applicable in Saudi Arabia due to the revealed challenges such as the prevalence of the central style, weak empowerment and participation. The working conditions of the Saudi public employees, such as job security, workload, work pressure, and salary, are expected negatively impact the applicability and implementation of NPM tenets in Saudi Arabia. This research contributes to the study of NPM reforms, and sheds new light on its applicability in the HE sector in a non-Western, nondemocratic context.
    • Exploring the applicability of a continuous improvement philosophy to a ‘self-improving school-led system’

      Suresh, Subashini; Lawton, Megan; Tsouroufli, Maria; Starr, Sean; Institute of Education, Faculty of Education, Health and Wellbeing (University of Wolverhampton, 2022-02)
      In recent years the concept of a ‘self-improving school-led system’ has been at the heart of the English Government’s education policy, with a core focus on ‘high-autonomy-and-high-accountability’ within the system. With greater autonomy comes the expectation that schools will be the main drivers of systemic improvement to ensure effective outcomes. Adopting a continuous improvement (CI) approach may reduce the impact of the changeable nature within an open system, such as those attributed to schools. A CI philosophy has been demonstrated to be a critical influence for sustained performance within unpredictable environments in sectors outside of education. The study explores the applicability of a CI philosophy to support school improvement. This research is situated within a human activity system (HAS) based around the dynamics of school improvement within six schools, situated in the West Midlands, during 2016. The literature review demonstrated an agreement on the critical success factors (CSFs) required to develop a CI philosophy. These CSFs situate around leadership, people, process, purpose and culture. The research was positioned in a interpretivsit paradigm and used a Soft Systems Methodology (SSM) approach to explore the dynamics of school improvement within compulsory education due to the complexity of this HAS. This inductive process reveals a congruence of elements associated with CSFs of CI within a compulsory school setting. However, this study concludes that a CI philosophy would be unsustainable under the current educational climate in schools. This is due to missing or under-represented CSFs, in particular those related to leadership and culture. If schools are to meet new demands associated with the external and strategic environment, it is essential that clarification and understanding between the implementation of CI and the schools’ improvement agenda be explored further.
    • Exercise & cardiopulmonary physiology in rheumatoid arthritis

      Vitalis, Panagiotis (University of Wolverhampton, 2022-01)
      Background: Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) individuals are at greater morbidity and mortality risk from developing cardiac and pulmonary disorders than the general population, primarily due to a sedentary lifestyle. Aims: This project aimed to (1) obtain information on the rheumatic and musculoskeletal disease (RMD) patents’ achieved/preferred exercise principles and awareness, (2) investigate the need to implement and safety, as depicted when a verification phase is added at the cardiopulmonary exercise tolerance test (CPET) in RA, to confirm the attainment of maximal effort, (3) evaluate potential differences between RA individuals and non-RA controls regarding the cardiopulmonary physiology and its association with the cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) level and (4) assess possible cardiopulmonary changes following a supervised three-month aerobic high-intensity interval training (HIIT) regimen and examine its adherence in RA. Methods: A total of 298 individuals were recruited. A newly developed questionnaire in RMDs explored qualitative data about exercise. CRF was evaluated through a combined CPET with verification phase protocol. CPET was analysed for its sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative likelihood ratios (LH+/LH-), and diagnostic odds ratio (DOR). The verifications’ phase safety was examined through CPET's absolute and relative contraindications during monitoring and patient’s acceptability. Cardiopulmonary physiology was investigated via both echocardiography and complete pulmonary function tests (PFTs). To estimate the disease activity score (DAS28) ‐ C‐reactive protein (CRP) was used in people living with RA. Results: Study 1: The most preferred exercise routine characterised by a frequency of “2-3 times per week”, moderate intensity, lasting “about an hour’’, with swimming being the best- suggested modality. In Study 2, a combined CPET with a verification phase protocol presented superior diagnostic accuracy and was free from safety issues for both people with RA and non-RA controls. In Study 3, in the absence of any overt cardiac and/or pulmonary disease, RA individuals presented with an eccentric cardiac remodelling and lung hyperinflation pattern compared to non-RA controls; CRF was associated (p<0.05) with left ventricular (LV) compliance and pulmonary function indices in both groups. Study 4: The HIIT programme revealed significant (p<0.05) improvements in pulmonary function, CRF, and reduced DAS28, while individuals adhered overall moderately to this regime. Conclusions: This Thesis concluded that: (1) exercise recommendations are not individualised according to the individuals’ needs and preferences in RMDs, (2) the combined CPET with a verification phase is a safe and necessary methodology to ensure a diagnostically accurate assessment of maximal effort for both people living with RA and non- RA controls, (3) people living with RA may present a parallel eccentric cardiac remodelling with a hyperinflation pattern in the subclinical phase, while CRF levels associate with cardiopulmonary function indices in both groups, and (4) a moderately adhered three-month aerobic HIIT exercise regimen can significantly improve pulmonary function, CRF, and RA's disease state.
    • In vitro investigation of the effect of disulfiram on hypoxia induced NFκB, epithelial to mesenchymal transition and cancer stem cells in glioblastoma cell lines

      Wang, Weiguang; Azar, Karim; Research Institute in Healthcare Science, Faculty of Science and Engineering (University of Wolverhampton, 2022-01)
      Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is one of the most aggressive and lethal cancers with a poor prognosis. Advances in the treatment of GBM are limited due to several resistance mechanisms and limited drug delivery into the central nervous system (CNS) compartment by the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and by actions of the normal brain to counteract tumour-targeting medications. Hypoxia is common in malignant brain tumours such as GBM and plays a significant role in tumour pathobiology. It is widely accepted that hypoxia is a major driver of GBM malignancy. Although it has been confirmed that hypoxia induces GBM stem-like-cells (GSCs), which are highly invasive and resistant to all chemotherapeutic agents, the detailed molecular pathways linking hypoxia, GSC traits and chemoresistance remain obscure. Evidence shows that hypoxia induces cancer stem cell phenotypes via epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT), promoting therapeutic resistance in most cancers, including GBM. This study demonstrated that spheroid cultured GBM cells consist of a large population of hypoxic cells with CSC and EMT characteristics. GSCs are chemo-resistant and displayed increased levels of HIFs and NFκB activity. Similarly, the hypoxia cultured GBM cells manifested GSC traits, chemoresistance and invasiveness. These results suggest that hypoxia is responsible for GBM stemness, chemoresistance and invasiveness. GBM cells transfected with nuclear factor kappa B-p65 (NFκB-p65) subunit exhibited CSC and EMT markers indicating the essential role of NFκB in maintaining GSC phenotypes. The study also highlighted the significance of NFκB in driving chemoresistance, invasiveness, and the potential role of NFκB as the central regulator of hypoxia-induced stemness in GBM cells. GSC population has the ability of self-renewal, cancer initiation and development of secondary heterogeneous cancer. The very poor prognosis of GBM could largely be attributed to the existence of GSCs, which promote tumour propagation, maintenance, radio- and chemoresistance and local infiltration. In this study, we used Disulfiram (DS), a drug used for more than 65 years in alcoholism clinics, in combination with copper (Cu) to target the NFκB pathway, reverse chemoresistance and block invasion in GSCs. The obtained results showed that DS/Cu is highly cytotoxic to GBM cells and completely eradicated the resistant CSC population at low dose levels in vitro. DS/Cu inhibited the migration and invasion of hypoxia-induced CSC and EMT like GBM cells at low nanomolar concentrations. DS is an FDA approved drug with low toxicity to normal tissues and can pass through the BBB. Further research may lead to the quick translation of DS into cancer clinics and provide new therapeutic options to improve treatment outcomes in GBM patients.
    • Manpower and military conscription in Acton, 1916-1918

      Ugolini, Laura; Henderson, Caroline; Faculty of Arts, Business and Social Sciences (University of Wolverhampton, 2022-01)
      The human resource – or ‘manpower’ – problem faced by the British during the First World War is a topic that has been neglected and is therefore much misunderstood. This thesis sheds light on the ways in which the nation attempted to organise its citizens to serve four concomitant manpower needs: the sufficient supply of men for the armed forces, the workforce required for the munitions industry, the personnel needed to cater for the needs of the civilian population, and the people who worked to maintain the country’s financial and economic stability. This is done through study of the implementation and administration of compulsory military service. The principal archival source is the Middlesex Appeal Tribunal archive, held at The National Archives in Kew. The urban district of Acton has been used as a data sample. This thesis examines five different occupations and considers the three groups of people involved in the tribunal process: the potential conscripts, their associated contemporaries and the tribunal members. This thesis demonstrates the complexities involved in balancing the nation’s manpower needs. Indeed, many of the problems were never fully solved. With little overall central guidance the demands made by various government departments, the military authorities, trade associations, employers, the local populace, family members and the appellants themselves were often difficult for the military service tribunals to resolve. This thesis shows that home front imperatives were a fundamental aspect of the decision making with regard to the nation’s manpower. A man’s skill, his local influence and his health were important points to consider when deciding whether he should remain on the home front or serve in the armed forces. In addition it is clear that tribunals paid mere lip service to some central government advice, such as that related to one-man businesses. Much of Britain’s manpower legislation was enacted as a reaction to the problems caused by the country’s implementation of compulsory military service in the middle of the war. As this thesis demonstrates, tribunals were expected to implement a manpower policy that was constantly evolving to deal with the very conscription they were supposed to manage.
    • Theatre, performance and digital culture

      Doyle, Denise; Marshall, Gregory; School of Performing Arts, Faculty of Arts, Business and Social Sciences (University of Wolverhampton, 2022)
      This thesis proposes that the theory of aesthetic agency derived from gaming in digital culture may be used as a lens through which live theatre and performance may be analysed. I argue that the aesthetics, immersion and play with identity in live theatre and performance are informed by digital culture through the behaviour and agency of the participants, be they audience or participants. Using a grounded theory methodological approach, four large-scale outdoor immersive productions and two traditional theatrical productions have been selected to provide a comparative analysis using aesthetic agency. Aesthetic agency is central to the analysis of immersion and play with identity in the productions selected. Comprising intention, perceivable consequence, narrative potential, transformation, co-presence and presence aesthetic agency is the feeling of pleasure audience and participants derive through the experience of live theatre and performance. Analysis using aesthetic agency in immersive productions examines qualities such as interaction and participation, discovery, understanding social rules, proximity to points of engagement within the performance, the use of narrative or gameplay, liminality and the suspension of disbelief and the use of physical or imaginary boundaries. Aesthetic agency in play with identity uses qualities of transportation, presence and co-presence and is analysed using themes of liminality, ritual, agency and memory which offer the opportunity of real experience within the virtual environments. The outcomes of the study highlight the opportunities to analyse and understand the meaning making process in live theatre and performance in a new manner through the lens of aesthetic agency derived from digital culture. Through examples, the outcomes show how digital culture theory may be used in live theatre and performance to examine and explain the experience for spectators and participants. The future use of aesthetic agency as a dramaturgical tool then becomes a possibility which may enhance the development process and enrich the subsequent experience of spectators and participants. Further, aesthetic agency may find utility as a dramaturgical tool when used to aid the creation of new live productions.
    • Shifting academic identities in a post 1992 university. What are the implications for gender?

      Thompson, David; Walton, Anita; Faculty of Education, Health and Wellbeing (University of Wolverhampton, 2021-12)
      Under the weight of the neoliberal agenda, higher education lecturers in the United Kingdom (UK) struggle to maintain their professional identity, destabilised by the pressures of marketisation and accountability. The questions explored within this thesis are based around a research project that aimed to examine the shifting academic identities of lecturers in a post-1992 university. The research adopted a qualitative methodology, informed by a post-structuralist perspective and a Foucauldian theoretical framework. Neoliberalism, marketisation of higher education and new managerialism have disrupted academic identities and altered the very nature of academic work (Fumasoli et al., 2015). Academics are required to meet students’ raised expectations in a business-based environment and are obliged to participate in the new culture of audit and increased accountability This thesis argues that academics’ identities have shifted to include three new identities: customer service-provider, carer and for some, researcher. Analysis of the data suggests that there are clearly gendered patterns of work at the university and highlights how the Research Excellence Framework (REF), also has gendered implications (Yarrow and Davies 2018). This thesis presents the concept of academic identity in a post-1992 UK university as a fluid and multifaceted entity. This is shaped by the broad relationship between the universities’ adoption of neoliberal agendas and the impact of this commitment on the life of academics, resulting in the appearance of a new identity of a ‘multifarious’ academic.
    • How do psychological practitioners construct the meaning of parental alienation: a social constructionist approach

      Morgan, Angela; Bisconti, Maria; Ahmad, Nahid; Stewart, Rebecca; Institute of Human Sciences, Faculty of Education, Health and Wellbeing (University of Wolverhampton, 2021-12)
      There is growing recognition of parental alienation [PA] amongst family courts and social workers within the United Kingdom [UK]. PA primarily occurs in family custody disputes, where there is manipulation of a child by one parent against the other. This study was developed to address the complexity of the phenomenon by exploring how aware psychological practitioners are of PA, how they meaningfully construct PA, and the implications this may have for clinical practice. A qualitative approach was utilised using a social constructionist grounded theory [SCGT]. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews in two stages, with eight psychological practitioners (including one negative case analysis). Data gathering and analysis followed the grounded theory [GT] methodology. The analysis of data reflects how psychological practitioners utilised ‘Conceptual Manoeuvring’ to develop an emerging interpretation of the meaning of PA. Three key sub-processes were identified: (1) using pre-existing knowledge to open a new interpretative space; (2) co-constructing parental alienation; and (3) becoming aware. The analysis found that there are multiple ways in which participants co-constructed the meaning of PA, which had multiple implications for the consideration of psychological interventions and practice. As part of conceptually manoeuvring PA, all participants were able to recall possible cases of PA in their clinical work with individuals. However, for seven participants, their understanding of PA was initially based on assumption, due to an identified lack of self and others’ awareness. This appeared to raise uncertainty when considering relevant psychological theory and intervention for PA; but despite this, counselling approaches appeared more favourable. It was indicated by seven participants that due to the relational aspect to understanding PA, counselling approaches (such as Humanistic and Psychodynamic) appeared more favourable in comparison to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy [CBT] approaches. However, some CBT interventions (such as cognitive restructuring) were considered helpful. A negative case analysis was purposefully sought to strengthen the GT following interviews with seven participants. The negative case analysis reflected similar conceptual manoeuvring to construct PA; however, their construction of PA and consideration of therapeutic interventions provided richer insight into the phenomenon and appropriate interventions. The implications of the research appear to highlight the gap in awareness of PA among psychological practitioners within the UK, a need for defining terminology, the construct of PA, and identification of evidence-based treatment. This research has contributed towards developing awareness of PA and provides recommendations for future research.
    • The continuation of female genital mutilation in Nigeria: a mixed methods study of Igbo men’s views and perpetuating factors

      Morgan, Angela; Bellingham-Young, Denise; Stonard, Karlie; Hemuka, Ngozika Jane; Faculty of Education Health and Wellbeing (University of Wolverhampton, 2021-12)
      Background/Aim: Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is a harmful practice involving the partial or total cutting of the external female genital organs or other injuries to the female genitalia for non-medical purposes. The views and attitudes of women towards FGM are widely researched and known. However, very little empirical research has been conducted to attempt to explain the views of men about the practice. This research was therefore undertaken to empirically investigate the knowledge, views, and attitudes of men from the Igbo tribe of Nigeria towards FGM. Methods: A mixed methods approach involving a survey and in-depth interviews was employed for this study. The study was conducted amongst Igbo men aged 18 years and older who are indigenes and currently living in Uturu, Nigeria, in 2017. Data were collected sequentially. 250 questionnaires were distributed, of which 215 were completed and returned, giving a high response rate of 86%. In-depth interviews were conducted for 10 participants. Bivariate and binary logistic regression was conducted for the quantitative data using the Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS version 24), while thematic analysis was carried out for the qualitative data using NVivo version 11 software. Results: The study showed that the sociodemographic predictors of favouring FGM continuation include age, education, and occupation. The protective factors include mass media and having a Christian faith. Believing that FGM is a religious requirement that increases marriageability of girls, enhances cleanliness/hygiene, and improves male sexual satisfaction, significantly (p < 0.05) predicts men’s view of favouring its continuation. Conclusion: The study provides evidence to suggest that some Nigerian Igbo men’s view of FGM is less than favourable. As an outcome of this study, an explanatory funnel model of factors influencing Igbo men’s views on FGM, which is grounded in both modernisation and masculinity theories was developed. The model presents measures to be put in place both at the individual and community levels, which may contribute even further to FGM decline. Findings from this study also demonstrate the importance of using a mixed methods approach to gain a broader understanding of men’s knowledge, views, and attitudes towards FGM continuation. This is the first mixed methods study to investigate Igbo men’s views of FGM, so this study is methodologically unique. Recommendations: In view of the findings, policy makers should focus on increasing access to media messages regarding the harmful consequences of FGM and develop more awareness campaigns against the practice and ensure access to higher education, particularly in rural areas to enhance employment opportunities. There is a need for sensitively designed health programmes for men to improve their knowledge of the normal structure and functions of the female reproductive system and, also, to offer psychosexual therapy to the affected male members of practising communities.
    • The impact of natural and synthetic zeolite when used in cementitious based systems

      Williams, Craig; Hodgkiss, Conner; School of Architecture and Built Environment, Faculty of Science and Engineering (University of Wolverhampton, 2021-11)
      The production of Portland cement, the most commonly used binding material in the construction and maintenance industry, is one of the principle carbon dioxide emission contributors. Indeed, up to 85% of the cement quantity produced is discharged into the atmosphere. As a result, efforts are being made to introduce new and advanced alternative construction materials to combat this adversity. Despite the recent introduction of new advanced materials such as polymer rubbers and alternative mineral sands, the overall percentage emission of carbon dioxide has not decreased. Improvement of cement mortar characteristics and the reduction of carbon emissions is of keen interest to researchers and industry experts in the field of construction materials engineering. Interestingly in the literature, zeolite minerals have the ability to absorb carbon dioxide and thus aid in reducing the concentration levels present in the atmosphere. Zeolites are very stable solids that are resistant to environmental conditions that challenge many other materials. They possess high melting points and can exhibit resistance to temperatures exceeding 1000°C. They can also resist high pressure, do not dissolve in water or inorganic solvents and their unreactive nature means that they exhibit no harmful environmental impacts. I believe that this makes them an ideal investigative compound to consider in terms of being adopted as a cement replacement in construction material. Zeolites have been used as a supplementary cementitious material in the construction industry and both natural and synthetic zeolites have shown interesting properties as mineral additions, notably increased compressive strength, resistance to sulphate attack and favourable leaching properties. However, there has been minimal research carried out on synthetic zeolites in this area in contrast to the abundance of natural zeolite study and notably research considering using zeolites as replacements for rather than in addition to cement. In this research programme, synthetic and natural zeolites were used to partially replace cement in mortar samples. Synthetic zeolites 3A, 4A and 13X were used to replace 5, 10 and 15% of the total cement mass in the mortar specimens with chabazite, mordenite, natrolite and philipsite chosen as a selection of natural zeolites. Ordinary Portland cement was used with a water-cement ratio of 0.40 and a sand-cement ratio of 1:3. All specimens were water-cured at 20°C before a suite of laboratory tests were performed, comprising of; specific gravity, ultrasonic pulse velocity, compressive strength testing, scanning electron microscopy, x-ray diffraction and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. All test results were determined at ages of two, seven, twenty-eight and seventy curing days. The research study demonstrated that mortar samples produced with zeolite incorporation as a replacement of cement demonstrated comparatively good engineering and chemical compositional properties when compared to control mixes. Encouraging data was recorded namely for the utilisation of mordenite and philipsite zeolite types, in that the zeolites demonstrated increased compressive strength in comparison to the control mortar as well as having decreased density and increased compactness. Notably, mordenite and philipsite can be utilised as a way of decreasing the cement content needed in a given mortar mix, indeed replacement of cement at 10 and 15% both produced increased compressive strength recordings when compared to both the control and synthetic zeolite incorporated samples.
    • ‘A matter of persistence’: Lessons learnt by the British Expeditionary Force and its operational development following The Battle of Festubert, 15-25 May 1915

      Badsey, Stephen; Woods, Michael; Faculty of Social Sciences (University of Wolverhampton, 2021-11)
      This thesis assesses the learning process of the British Expeditionary Force by its participation in The Battle of Festubert 15 – 25 May 1915.The study of this battle offers an important insight in the development of the BEF during this period, despite it being neglected in much of the historiography concerning the British Army in the First World War. It focuses on how well the BEF’s First Army, commanded by General Haig, was organised and equipped upon entering the battle. It draws upon First Army’s experience of two previous battles, one in March 1915 and another only six days before commencing offensive action again, to determine what knowledge had been gained and used in developing their battle tactics. Its central argument is that there was very much to learn from this previous action and great effort was made to modify the tactics at Festubert, particularly from the obvious failure on 9 May. The thesis relies on primary source material created by the units at the time, such as army and divisional records and battalion war diaries. It also examines some secondary literature and personal memoirs of key political figures and those that took part, to examine the effect of both coalition and national strategy and the pressure that placed on the shoulders of the BEF’s commander Sir John French as Festubert was taking place. This thesis argues that this pressure interfered with the ability of General Haig to fully realise the lessons of combat gained at Festubert, as he was pushed soon afterwards to launch in an even larger attack in the Battle of Loos (25 September – 8 October 1915), using tactics that contradicted what had just been learnt at Festubert. It will argue that some of the contribution to the learning process by key figures, such as Sir William Robertson and Major General Richard Haking has been missed in the historiography. This thesis asserts that despite not achieving any type of significant breakthrough at Festubert, the experience served the BEF well in that it supported the French Army as it fought in the Second Battle of Artois and it trialled new methods which would be further developed as the war progressed. Unfortunately for the BEF, by the time of the next Anglo-French offensive, the Battle of the Somme, German countermeasures had largely negated some of the lessons of Festubert and this has played a part its lack of examination in modern studies of the BEF’s operational development.
    • Expressions of psychological stress on Twitter: detection and characterisation

      Thelwall, Mike; Gopalakrishna Pillai, Reshmi; School of Mathematics and Computer Science, Faculty of Science and Engineering (University of Wolverhampton, 2021-11)
      Long-term psychological stress is a significant predictive factor for individual mental health and short-term stress is a useful indicator of an immediate problem. Traditional psychology studies have relied on surveys to understand reasons for stress in general and in specific contexts. The popularity and ubiquity of social media make it a potential data source for identifying and characterising aspects of stress. Previous studies of stress in social media have focused on users responding to stressful personal life events. Prior social media research has not explored expressions of stress in other important domains, however, including travel and politics. This thesis detects and analyses expressions of psychological stress in social media. So far, TensiStrength is the only existing lexicon for stress and relaxation scores in social media. Using a word-vector based word sense disambiguation method, the TensiStrength lexicon was modified to include the stress scores of the different senses of the same word. On a dataset of 1000 tweets containing ambiguous stress-related words, the accuracy of the modified TensiStrength increased by 4.3%. This thesis also finds and reports characteristics of a multiple-domain stress dataset of 12000 tweets, 3000 each for airlines, personal events, UK politics, and London traffic. A two-step method for identifying stressors in tweets was implemented. The first step used LDA topic modelling and k-means clustering to find a set of types of stressors (e.g., delay, accident). Second, three word-vector based methods - maximum-word similarity, context-vector similarity, and cluster-vector similarity - were used to detect the stressors in each tweet. The cluster vector similarity method was found to identify the stressors in tweets in all four domains better than machine learning classifiers, based on the performance metrics of accuracy, precision, recall, and f-measure. Swearing and sarcasm were also analysed in high-stress and no-stress datasets from the four domains using a Convolutional Neural Network and Multilayer Perceptron, respectively. The presence of swearing and sarcasm was higher in the high-stress tweets compared to no-stress tweets in all the domains. The stressors in each domain with higher percentages of swearing or sarcasm were identified. Furthermore, the distribution of the temporal classes (past, present, future, and atemporal) in high-stress tweets was found using an ensemble classifier. The distribution depended on the domain and the stressors. This study contributes a modified and improved lexicon for the identification of stress scores in social media texts. The two-step method to identify stressors follows a general framework that can be used for domains other than those which were studied. The presence of swearing, sarcasm, and the temporal classes of high-stress tweets belonging to different domains are found and compared to the findings from traditional psychology, for the first time. The algorithms and knowledge may be useful for travel, political, and personal life systems that need to identify stressful events in order to take appropriate action.
    • Effect of ATF2 transcription factor on DLL4 gene expression in angiogenesis

      Armesilla, Angel; Kalyanakrishnan, Krithika; Research Institute in Healthcare Science, Faculty of Science and Engineering (University of Wolverhampton, 2021-11)
      INTRODUCTION: ATF2 belongs to the AP1 transcription factor family that homodimerize or heterodimerize with other members of the bZIP family and regulates the transcriptional activation of target genes. Previous studies have shown that ATF2 mediates VEGF-induced angiogenic processes but the molecular mechanisms implicating ATF2 as a regulator of angiogenesis and its effect on other angiogenic related genes are largely unknown. METHODS: The sequences of the enhancers and the promoter of the DLL4, which is an angiogenic-related gene, were obtained from the ensembl website and using the ConTraV3 R software, the putative binding sites of ATF2 on the regulatory regions of DLL4 were identified. Among the four enhancers and the promoter regions identified, it was attempted to clone one enhancer sequence in a luciferase-based reporter plasmid. ATF2 functionality was suppressed by infecting HUVEC with an adenovirus expressing a phosphorylation-mutant, dominant-negative version of ATF2 (Ad-ATF2AA). HUVEC infection with an adenovirus encoding GFP (Ad-GFP) was used as a control. Alternatively, ATF2 expression in HUVEC was suppressed by siRNA-mediated knockdown. qPCR was performed to determine the effect of ATF2 functional suppression on the expression of DLL4-target genes and other genes related to angiogenesis. A colony of ATF2flox/flox mice was established by crossing ATF2flox/flox breeders with the intention of a future development of an endothelial-specific ATF2 knockout mice for future in vivo studies. RESULTS: In silico analysis revealed that ATF2 has potential binding sites on the regulatory regions of the DLL4 locus suggesting its involvement in the regulation of DLL4. HUVEC deficient in ATF2, achieved by overexpression of a mutant protein or knockdown of ATF2, showed a significant increase in the expression of the Notch ligand DLL4 in basal and VEGF-stimulated conditions. The gene expression of angiogenic related genes HEY1 and NRARP were also altered, suggesting ATF2 involvement in the regulation of these proteins. CONCLUSION: This study shows that activation of ATF2 is essential for the negative regulation of DLL4, HEY1 and NRARP. Interestingly, activation of these Notch-related genes has been reported to have an inhibitory effect on angiogenesis. These results indicate that the negative effect of ATF2 suppression observed in angiogenesis might implicate upregulation of DLL4, HEY1 and NRARP.
    • Evaluation of sustainable strategies adoption for competitiveness within the Qatar oil and gas sector

      Renukappa, Suresh; SARRAKH, Redouane; School of Architecture and Built Environment, Faculty of Science and Engineering (University of Wolverhampton, 2021-11)
      With the increasing importance given to sustainable development, now-a-days countries around the world are shifting their focus and efforts to changing the previous unsustainable growth framework that has been ineffective. Qatar seems to be following the rest of the world and has decided to introduce a sustainability plan to ensure prosperity through its national vision and strategy plans. However, despite Qatar’s National Vision 2030 implementation, several organisations within the oil and gas sector still have difficulties in embedding sustainability agenda in their systems and processes. There is, also, a paucity of empirical research on the implementation of sustainability strategies within the Qatar oil and gas sector to improve competitiveness. Therefore, the aim of this research is to evaluate the Qatar oil and gas sector implementation of sustainability strategies so as to improve its competitiveness. A qualitative approach was adopted to collect and analyse data based on 24 interviewees from eight Qatar oil and gas organizations. The research started with a purposive sampling method that was later adapted to snowball. Semi-structured interview was selected as the data collection tool, and thematic analysis was chosen to acquire an in-depth knowledge of the interviews. Systematics approaches, such as the Total Interpretive Structural Modelling (TISM), Fuzzy Matrice d’Impacts Croises-Multiplication Applique an Classment (FuzzyMICMAC), maturity model and Graph Theoretic and matrix Approach (GTMA), were selected appropriately in order to achieve the research objectives. A framework and readiness tool were developed as the output of the research findings. The results of the study revealed that the Qatar oil and gas sector identified six main areas of interest to evaluate the performance of the sector and its organisations: workforce, health and safety, society, environment, climate change, and economy. Overall, the Qatar oil and gas sector is operating within or above governmental laws and regulations, which is evident in some organisations’ adapted policies and strategies. It is found that international standards and governmental regulations and laws are amongst the main drivers that fuelled for the implementation of sustainability initiatives within the sector. While strategic issues were highlighted as the main inhibitor to sustainability implementation within the sector. The findings of this research provide valuable insights that would help the Qatar oil and gas industry’s decision makers to implement sustainability initiatives to improves the sector’s competitiveness.
    • How can pedagogic mediation develop better listening practices in early years settings?

      Pascal, Chris; Bertram, Tony; Williams-Brown, Zeta; Lyndon, Helen; Institute of Education, Faculty of Education, Health and Wellbeing (University of Wolverhampton, 2021-11)
      A praxeological approach provides the predominant paradigm for this thesis which is based in praxis and seeks to ensure an ethical approach throughout (Pascal and Bertram, 2012). In utilising ethnographic techniques and focusing on pedagogy this research is embedded within the early years sector. The research aims to explore pedagogic mediation as a context-based approach to professional development and an ethical way to develop listening practices within early years (Oliveira-Formosinho and Formosinho, 2012a). Pedagogic mediation provided the mechanism through which relationships with practitioners in three central research sites were developed over a period of two academic years. Pedagogic mediation has been cultivated in Portugal as a central tenet of Pedagogy in Participation (Formosinho and Formosinho, 2008). This research sought to transport this approach to England within the context of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and to explore how it could support pedagogic developments, in this case to better listen to children. Pedagogic mediation is considered in light of Kennedy’s (2005; 2014) model of continuing professional development (CPD), and this research demonstrates how it sits at the transformative end of this spectrum. The elements of pedagogic meditation are mapped through this thesis and the attributes of the mediator are explored to illuminate the role. Critical research interactions, defined as encountering within pedagogic mediation, were utilised to develop listening methods. The listening methods developed were as a result of a participatory approach as practitioners were the expert within their own context. A reflective field diary (Ortlipp, 2008) supported the research throughout and then specific listening methods were developed, most notably photo-elicitation, family voice and drawing methods, including an innovative graduated framework. Encountering research interactions were also mapped against Bronfenbrenner’s bioecological system theory (Bronfenbrenner and Ceci, 1993) to illustrate the range of processes and the aspects of societal influence which they represent. In one setting encountering research interactions tackled the complexities of process within the macrosystem demonstrating the ability of pedagogic mediation to shift ideological thinking well as daily practice. Overall, this research provides guidance on the role, responsibilities and attributes of the pedagogic mediator to support future CPD within the early years sector. Such mediated interactions have the opportunity to raise the consciousness (Freire, 1996) of a neglected workforce and to further support the professional development of the sector.
    • The incredible disappearing soldier and other adventures in British military recruitment: How is masculine identity constructed by British military recruitment films in the decades 2000–2020?

      Kossoff, Adam; Adkins, Kirsten; Faculty of Arts (University of Wolverhampton, 2021-10)
      The Incredible Disappearing Soldier is a practice-led enquiry which explores the visual and discursive construction of masculinities in British military recruitment and promotional films produced during the first two decades of this century. Its title alludes to the 1957 US film The Incredible Shrinking Man, in which the subject becomes smaller and smaller and eventually disappears from view. The study engages theoretical and practice-led applications to open up aesthetic and conceptual questions surrounding the body, identity and the gendered military subject. It explores a phenomenon where soldiers and enemy targets are often defocused, or they are absented from staged scenes of military action. Attention is often directed away from the heroic individual, away from representations of the sentient body and towards abstract themes of belonging where the self gives way to a collective identity. Heroic endeavour is sometimes visualised through the technologies of war and a destruction of landscapes, often replacing visual representations of the soldier subject. On the surface the films’ direct appeal to women, minority ethnic and sexual minority groups preclude traditional representations of heteronormative male stereotypes associated with a hegemonic military ideal. Yet in many respects such narratives are counter-positional to the realities of a soldier’s life: at the time of writing this study the British military remains an overwhelmingly homosocial institution. This study therefore proposes that beneath the surface of the ambiguous visual language of these promotional films, traditional hegemonic ideals associated with a gendered military identity are still present. The Incredible Disappearing Soldier takes an interdisciplinary approach in the examination of thirty short promotional films made across a twenty-year period. This coincided with the so-called ‘war on terror’, the US and Allied military campaign started after 9/11 in the United States. The study utilises deconstructed filmmaking practice combined with critical approaches including gender studies, post-structuralism and film theory to develop an enquiry into how British military masculinities are constructed, interpreted and understood. It is concerned with ethical and political implications associated with a visual blurring of the gendered subject in the mediated framing of state-controlled violence. It also asks why military recruitment in the UK is increasingly framed through a disavowal of the individual and the vulnerable body. Film analysis and practical responses are facilitated by a methodology which is conceptualised as blur. This concept relates to an undecidability surrounding meaning, the image and subjectivity and builds on work around deconstruction, particularly in respect of the writing by Judith Butler, Jacques Derrida and Michel Foucault. Deconstruction here includes the material breaking of film texts and establishes a synthesis between making and interpreting, practice and theory. Blur also facilitates discussions around a visual and conceptual blurring of the gendered subject. Centrally, Butler’s considerations of gender construction, a relationship with the body and subjectivity are explored through practice in performance and film. Postproduction methods are also used to engage and examine themes of continuity and discontinuity, coherence and incoherence. A deconstructed methodology is interpreted as a provocation, whose aim is to open up critical and reflective spaces when examining the visual construction of gender subjectivity and the framing of war.
    • Screening and evaluation of multifunctional excipients: a novel approach for the local delivery of chlorhexidine against streptococcus mutans biofilms

      Rahman, Ayesha; Mohamed Zaid, Norhaziland; School of Pharmacy, Faculty of Science and Engineering (University of Wolverhampton, 2021-10)
    • A comparison of German and British therapists’ explicit and implicit reasoning about white and non-white clients – a vignette study

      Galbraith, Niall; Chen-Wilson, Josephine; Bisconti, Maria; Landmann, Sophie; Department of Psychology, Faculty of Education, Health and Wellbeing (University of Wolverhampton, 2021-09)
      Objectives – This doctoral study explored the impact of a client’s ethnic background on the perception and chosen therapeutic approach of UK and German therapists. This study sought to identify how a therapist’s held explicit and implicit biases influence their practise with clients of various ethnic backgrounds. Methodology – A sample of 51 therapists from the UK and Germany was recruited to take part in this online study. Participants were randomly allocated to either ‘Condition Caucasian’ or ‘Condition Diverse’ and first presented with three vignettes accompanied either by a photo of a person with European ethnic background or a person with African or South-Asian ethnic background. The participants then answered nine questions about their potential approach with each presented client, which were designed to identify explicit bias. In the second step, all completed a modified race implicit association test (IAT) that further quantified the therapists’ implicit and explicit bias towards individuals of various ethnicities. Results – Multivariate Analysis of the vignette data found no statistically significant differences between the two conditions; thus, no explicit bias was found within this sample. A subsequent comparison between the two nationalities was impaired due to uneven sample sizes, yet differences between the scores became visible. The analysis of the IAT data found slight implicit pro-white bias in the complete sample, as well as indicators for a priming effect in participants assigned to ‘Condition Caucasian’. The IAT study replicated previous research findings of implicit pro-white bias and the inconsistency between the tested implicit and the self-reported explicit bias within a therapist sample. Discussion – While explicit bias could not be identified within this sample, implicit pro-white bias was uncovered. It was concluded that therapists are as fallible to implicit bias as other healthcare workers, though they may be better at masking its conscious impact. Steps towards a less biased practise were outlined. Follow-up research will have to determine whether all findings, and in particular the cross-cultural comparison, can be replicated with a larger sample.
    • An exploration of the roles and experiences of governance officers in an NHS trust

      Kanjilal, Mahuya; Jester, Rebecca; Haynes, Mike; Ahme, Taiwo Jumoke; Faculty of Education, Health and Wellbeing (University of Wolverhampton, 2021-09)
      Background Accountability is a key issue in the UK National Health Service (NHS). Clinical governance officers are a relatively new group of staff that are employed to help ensure accountability at the local level of the NHS. Aim This thesis explores the role of governance officers in an NHS Trust. It examines how they negotiate the space between managers and clinicians to ensure accountability. Method Using a phenomenological approach, semi-structured interviews and a focus group were conducted to explore lived experiences and views of governance officers. The study draws on theoretical frameworks relating to role theory, Foucault’s theory of power and Bourdieu’s theory of habitus. The data is analysed thematically using Braun and Clarke’s (2006) method. Findings and Discussion The key themes emerging from the data are the governance officer role; pleasures and pains; unity versus diversity; in pursuit of accountability; the dual role of the governance officer (policing and nurturing); self-perception and perception of others; complex connections. Surveillance, a network of interactions and power dynamics influence how governance officers ensure accountability and this shapes their identity. Recommendations The major recommendations of the study are to review training relating to the governance officer role; to streamline processes in order to efficiently enhance accountability; to develop the role of the governance officer and its positionality within ensuring accountability, by the formation of Communities of Practice in order to enhance their identity and professional standing. Conclusion This study has addressed a gap in knowledge by providing an insight into the governance officer’s role. This pivotal role is important in ensuring accountability at the local level of the NHS and also in providing high-quality patient treatment and care.
    • Life after death: An interpretative phenomenological study of men who have experienced a sudden bereavement

      Mangiorou, Lamprini; Cockshott, Christopher; Finney, Emily; Faculty of Education, Health and Wellbeing (University of Wolverhampton, 2021-09)
      The presented study investigated the lived experience of suddenly bereaved men. The aim was to identify the felt impact of such a phenomenon, including the meaning men ascribed to their experience, and to provide insight into interventions which participants recognised as helpful and unhelpful in their bereavement. Three men whose wives had died of natural causes within six weeks of admission to a hospital critical care setting, volunteered to be interviewed. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis methodology was adhered to throughout the research process and used to develop themes which represented participants’ experiences. Three super-ordinate themes emerged, focussing on meaningful aspects of participants’ experiences. Firstly, ‘Sudden Loss’ details the impact of the suddenness of the loss and the resulting emotional impact, including the occurrence of an apparent ambivalence towards aspects of social support. The second super-ordinate theme, ‘Transitioning Self’ brought together features of participants’ experiences which were key within the process of transition to a new reality without their wives, including adaptions to their sense of self, re-evaluation of their lives and the felt impact of social influences on their grief. Lastly, the ‘Supporting Transition’ theme highlights facets which were supportive in navigating their journey post-bereavement. The findings illustrated the lived experience of a sudden bereavement impacted across multiple aspects of participants lives, including their sense of self, independent futures and considerations for social elements. Conflicting views within their experiences were also impactful within participants’ mourning. Implications for Counselling Psychology and professional practice are discussed, highlighting issues surrounding the reduction of social stigma regarding the demonstration of emotion in men’s mourning and the supportive value of continued bonds post-bereavement. Suggestions for future research are also identified.