• Development and characterisation of biosynthetic hydrogels for wound management applications

      Radecka, Iza; Gibson, Hazel; Kowalczuk, Marek; Gupta, Abhishek (University of Wolverhampton, 2020-04)
      Wounds that remain in the inflammatory phase for a prolonged period of time are likely to be colonised and infected by a range of commensal and pathogenic microorganisms. Treatment associated with these types of wounds mainly focuses on controlling infection and providing an optimum environment capable of facilitating re-epithelialisation, thus promoting wound healing. Hydrogels have attracted vast interest as moist wound-responsive dressing materials. Hydrogels facilitate wound healing due to unique properties and 3D network structures which allows encapsulation of healing agents. In the current study, biosynthetic bacterial cellulose hydrogels synthesised by Gluconacetobacter xylinus (ATCC 23770) and subsequently loaded with antimicrobial healing agents, were characterised for their wound healing properties. Loading parameters were optimised based on experimental findings. Natural bioactive materials with wound healing properties such as curcumin are attracting interest due to the emergence of resistant bacterial strains. The hydrophobicity of curcumin has been counteracted by using solubility enhancing cyclodextrins. In this study, water soluble curcumin:hydroxypropyl-β-cyclodextrin supramolecular inclusion complex was produced by a solvent evaporation method. The ratios of solvents to solubilise curcumin and hydroxypropyl-β-cyclodextrin were tested for the production of the inclusion complex with optimum encapsulation efficacy. The results confirmed that hydroxypropyl-β-cyclodextrin enhanced the aqueous solubility of curcumin and allowed loading into bacterial cellulose to produce antimicrobial hydrogels. Silver is a broad spectrum natural antimicrobial agent with wide applications extending to proprietary wound dressings. Based on the broad spectrum antimicrobial properties of silver, silver nitrate-loaded and silver zeolite-loaded bacterial cellulose hydrogels were produced. Recently silver nanoparticles have also attracted attention in wound management. A novel green synthesis of nanoparticles was accomplished in this study using a natural reducing agent, curcumin which is a natural polyphenolic compound, well known as a wound healing agent. In addition to physicochemical properties, these hydrogels were characterised (in vitro) for wound management applications. The results indicate that both silver nitrate and silver zeolite-loaded biosynthetic hydrogels possess antimicrobial activity against both Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Furthermore, the curcumin:hydroxypropyl-β-cyclodextrin-loaded bacterial cellulose hydrogels possess unique properties including haemocompatability, cytocompatability, anti-staphylococcal and antioxidant abilities. In addition to high cytocompatibility, curcumin reduced silver nanoparticles-loaded bacterial cellulose hydrogels dressings exhibited antimicrobial activity against representative wound infecting pathogenic microbes Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus. In conclusion, the results presented support the potential use of all the investigated bacterial cellulose hydrogels for wound management applications as dressings.
    • Not a proper mathematician, like those with a mathematics degree: ‘Subject switchers’ negotiating identities as beginning teachers of mathematics

      Matheson, David; Glendenning, Fay (University of Wolverhampton, 2020-04)
      In the context of a shortage of teachers of mathematics, the introduction of subject knowledge enhancement (SKE) courses has widened participation in initial teacher training (ITT) to include graduates of non-mathematical disciplines. In the absence of a term in the literature, the term ‘subject switcher’ is introduced to represent those whose degree is in a discipline that is not directly related to the subject they are training to teach. In the context of this study, a subject switcher is a participant in mathematics initial teacher training whose degree is in a non-mathematical discipline. This study explores how being a subject switcher might influence the negotiation of identities as a teacher of mathematics. Four participant stories were constructed, from a range of narrative sources, to explore individual journeys to becoming a qualified teacher of mathematics. The subject switchers participating in this study had a range of incoming identities, including existing mathematical identities as well as alternative subject identities from the discipline of their degree studies. The theoretical framework of learning and identity construction within communities of practice (Lave and Wenger, 1991; Wenger, 1998) was used to consider the identities of the participants, drawing on a framework developed from Wenger’s (1998) notion of trajectories. The incoming, transitioning and future-orientated identities of the participants are explored in the context of their trajectories and the communities of practice in which they participate. The findings reveal that the participants relied upon their incoming identities as they negotiated identities as teachers of mathematics. This negotiation of identities included their mathematical identities but, particularly, how they viewed themselves as mathematics teachers compared to those who were mathematics graduates. This study concludes that teacher educators should explore more inclusive strategies to support subject switchers to negotiate mathematical identities in becoming a teacher of mathematics.
    • Probation officers’ attitudes towards balancing public protection and human rights in the risk management framework of Mappa

      Iafrati, Stephen; Hadjisergis, Kyros (University of Wolverhampton, 2020-04)
      This study is a response to the need for reconsideration of the place of human rights in offender management following the Human Rights Act 1998. Probation has remained hesitant in engaging with the rights of offenders and victims when other expectations in relation to punishment, public protection and risk become the service’s priority. The same concepts have created dilemmas for probation practitioners who find themselves in the arena of rehabilitation where offenders, victims and the public coexist. The thesis’ emphasis is placed on unravelling these professional attitudes towards balancing the forces between the interests of the individual offender and the interests of victims and the public. The research initially examines the literature in the area and reviews the factors that appear directly linked to human rights, such as the current probation context, risk assessment, relationships, public protection, and the interplay between crime control and due process. The methods employed include documentary analysis of case law on offenders’ human rights claims to ascertain the legal expectations of practitioners, and content analysis of semi-structured interviews conducted with active MAPPA probation officers based in West Midlands to identify their human rights understandings and awareness, balancing approaches towards individual and public interests and what affects their perceptions. The study found a variability of human rights understandings that operate on the street-level and in most instances do not appear in line with the HRA or the accurate meaning of proportionality. There does not appear to be any human rights training in the experience of the participants or specific attention to human rights considerations in risk assessments. Their attitudes towards balancing rights, risk and public protection are rather constructed and cannot be considered as their own because they remain affected and determined by cumulative failures of the service, external socio-political factors, and misplaced public expectations.
    • Exploring the relationship between the board of directors and the Shari’ah Supervisory Board in Islamic financial institutions in Saudi Arabia

      Machold, Silke; Alasmri, Ahmed Dhaifallah (University of Wolverhampton, 2020-04)
      Shari’ah-based governance has grown in the last three decades to become a unique and exclusive system in Islamic financial institutions (IFIs). Although there has been growing research interest in the topic concerning the need to have an efficient and sound Shari’ah corporate governance (CG) system in IFIs, there are no insights into the role and function of governance bodies within this new framework. Specifically, there is a lack of academic studies that have focused on investigating the relationship between the board of directors (BODs) and Shari’ah supervisory boards (SSBs) in the IFIs in Saudi Arabia. The main objective of this research was to examine how the BODs and the SSBs exercise their roles in the Saudi Islamic banks. In order to address this objective, the thesis sought to provide answers to three questions. First, the research attempted to examine the nature of the relationship between the company directors and the SSBs in Saudi Arabia, focusing especially on the roles and tasks of these governance bodies. Second, the research was designed to identify the factors in the CG structure of IFIs in Saudi Arabia that either support or undermine the deployment of the SSBs. Third, it intended to explore potential areas of convergence or divergence which exist between the BODs and the SSBs. A qualitative research approach was used to collect relevant information from the study participants using interviews for the data collection process. Findings drawn from the interviews revealed that the nature of the current relationship between SSBs and the BODs is initiated and sustained by several factors. Some of the important factors which inform the relationship of these two boards include the growing focus and foundation in Saudi Arabia towards the important role that the boards play, including promoting the achievement of IFIs objectives and stakeholder interests. Results from the study also indicated that several factors have been reported to support or undermine the uptake of SSBs. Some of the important facilitators include increasing public and consumer support for the need to have SSBs, the growing consensus among stakeholders to ensure banks offer legitimate products in line with Shari’ah principles, changing perceptions in the Islamic financial sector towards CG, and the desire to achieve effective governance via compliance with Shari’ah and Islamic laws. Finally, data revealed that the roles which the boards play supplement each other towards achieving the same objective of financial growth and stakeholder interests. Fundamentally, the two boards engage in frequent communication and information exchange regarding banking practices, where the outcome includes improved policy and process formulation and practice for their companies. In conclusion, findings from this study show that the SSBs and the BODs need to be perceived as complementary units that supplement each other as opposed to being perceived as being separate and conflicting boards in the IFIs.
    • A framework for smart traffic management using heterogeneous data sources

      Georgakis, Panagiotis; Jones, Angelica Salas (University of Wolverhampton, 2020-03-31)
      Traffic congestion constitutes a social, economic and environmental issue to modern cities as it can negatively impact travel times, fuel consumption and carbon emissions. Traffic forecasting and incident detection systems are fundamental areas of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) that have been widely researched in the last decade. These systems provide real time information about traffic congestion and other unexpected incidents that can support traffic management agencies to activate strategies and notify users accordingly. However, existing techniques suffer from high false alarm rate and incorrect traffic measurements. In recent years, there has been an increasing interest in integrating different types of data sources to achieve higher precision in traffic forecasting and incident detection techniques. In fact, a considerable amount of literature has grown around the influence of integrating data from heterogeneous data sources into existing traffic management systems. This thesis presents a Smart Traffic Management framework for future cities. The proposed framework fusions different data sources and technologies to improve traffic prediction and incident detection systems. It is composed of two components: social media and simulator component. The social media component consists of a text classification algorithm to identify traffic related tweets. These traffic messages are then geolocated using Natural Language Processing (NLP) techniques. Finally, with the purpose of further analysing user emotions within the tweet, stress and relaxation strength detection is performed. The proposed text classification algorithm outperformed similar studies in the literature and demonstrated to be more accurate than other machine learning algorithms in the same dataset. Results from the stress and relaxation analysis detected a significant amount of stress in 40% of the tweets, while the other portion did not show any emotions associated with them. This information can potentially be used for policy making in transportation, to understand the users’ perception of the transportation network. The simulator component proposes an optimisation procedure for determining missing roundabouts and urban roads flow distribution using constrained optimisation. Existing imputation methodologies have been developed on straight section of highways and their applicability for more complex networks have not been validated. This task presented a solution for the unavailability of roadway sensors in specific parts of the network and was able to successfully predict the missing values with very low percentage error. The proposed imputation methodology can serve as an aid for existing traffic forecasting and incident detection methodologies, as well as for the development of more realistic simulation networks.
    • Caregiver wellbeing and the role of resilience in seeking support when caring for an individual with dementia

      Darby, Richard; Taiwo, Abigail; Jew, Ellen (University of Wolverhampton, 2020-03-31)
      Background & aims: To provide appropriate and suitable support to caregivers of people with dementia, it is important to explore the risk and protective factors related to their psychological wellbeing. The aim of this thesis, is firstly, to highlight lived experiences of dementia caregiver’s; secondly, to explore the role of psychological resilience in their ability to adapt and maintain their role; and finally, to identify and examine their perspectives of current support services in meeting their needs. Method: A sequential explanatory mixed method design was used. In Phase I participants completed a postal survey (n=45), including demographic information, a healthrelated quality of life measure and a psychological resilience scale. Results were used to inform and direct Phase II, in which semi-structured interviews were conducted (n=11), transcribed and analysed using thematic analyses. Results: The quantitative findings indicated that participants with higher mental health outcomes and high psychological resilience were more likely to access support services. Physical wellbeing had a greater association with factors related to providing care. Seven main themes were identified in the qualitative analysis, the majority relating strongly to a high degree of restricted opportunities and encroaching responsibilities. The findings indicate that caregivers are required to be flexible and adapt to their individual circumstances, within an ever-evolving situation. Implications: The results of this study suggest that identifying those with low levels of psychological resilience and wellbeing may be useful in identifying those in greater need of support. Recommendations for potential service developments are discussed, as well as the implications for Counselling Psychology practice.
    • The determinants and impact of foreign direct investment (FDI) in Kenya and Tanzania: an OECD and non-OECD perspective 1996-2016

      Cook, Mark; Zheng, Lucy; Odunga, Peter Shoko (University of Wolverhampton, 2020-03)
      This thesis investigates the determinants of FDI and FDI’s subsequent effect on the growth and export between and within Kenya and Tanzania, using panel data analysis (pooled and fixed effect models) comprising of 22 home countries for Kenya and 23 for Tanzania for the period 1996-2016. The investigation of both the determinants and impacts of FDI is considered on the basis of the heterogeneity of investing MNEs in terms of economic development levels by grouping the home countries into OECD and non-OECD countries between and within Kenya and Tanzania. The study employed quantitative methods and the findings of this thesis reveal for the determinants that imports, infrastructure development and institutional factors are important for both countries. However, mineral resources and cultural distance, financial crisis of 2008 are important for Kenyan full sample while human capital, labour force, agglomeration and exchange rates are important for Tanzanian full sample of FDI home countries. Exchange rates and infrastructure development determine FDI flows from OECD into both countries, whilst cultural distance and quality of institutions, agglomeration and financial crisis of 2008 are determinants of FDI from OECD countries into Kenya, imports and human capital and natural resources, agglomeration and financial crisis of 2008 determine FDI from OECD countries into Tanzania. Meanwhile, infrastructure attracts FDI from non-OECD countries into the two countries. However, non-OECD FDI in Kenya is determined by market size, exchange rates and quality of institutions as human capital, exchange rates, imports and inflation rates determine FDI flows from non-OECD countries into Tanzania. The findings obtained also show that the impact of FDI is positive and significantly correlates with economic growth in Kenya within all the three contexts of full sample, OECD and non-OECD home countries. However, it is only FDI from non-OECD countries that is positive and significantly correlates with economic growth in Tanzania. The results on economic impact further show that the magnitude of the effect of FDI is higher when the investments originate from non-OECD countries compared to OECD countries into both Kenya and Tanzania. The empirical findings further confirmed that while FDI from the full sample, OECD and non-OECD countries contribute positively and significantly to export performance in Kenya, only FDI from OECD countries make a positive and significant contribution to the export performance in Tanzania. There is a difference in the intensity of the impact of FDI on export performance in Kenya and Tanzania, with non-OECD countries having greater effect on export performance in both Kenya and Tanzania compared with OECD countries. The research contributes to the body of knowledge of FDI/IB literature by providing empirical evidence on the specific determinants of inward FDI and its impact on Kenya’s and Tanzania’s economic growth and export performance by considering the heterogeneity between investing MNEs. Another contribution is also, the comparison between two countries and examination of heterogeneity of inbound FDI as well as policies that can be used by governments of Kenya and Tanzania in managing FDI inflows.
    • The impact of performance-related pay on employees’ performance: case studies of Omani public and private sector organisations

      Seifert, Roger; Al Rashdi, Mohammed (University of Wolverhampton, 2020-03)
      Performance-related pay (PRP) has witnessed growing interest over the past two decades in Oman, alongside increasing attention to human resource management (HRM) practices. However, despite its continued adoption in various cultural contexts, gaps in its effectiveness remain the subject of widespread controversy. Consequently, this thesis is an attempt to examine the impact of PRP on various Omani public and private sector organisations in the form of four case studies. Three of these are on companies in the private sector which form the backbone of the Omani economy and one on a public sector organisation. The study gap lies in both the lack of studies on PRP in the public and private sectors in Oman, and the few numbers of studies in the pay literature in general in the region. The original contribution being made in this thesis lies in the attempt to bridge the research gap by viewing PRP systems through several lenses: from theoretical framework, managers, employees, contextual and documents (document analysis) perspectives. The different characteristics of the included organisations and the relevant findings can also be considered as an enhancement element of the originality and contribution of the thesis. However, with respect to the reservations of the participating organisations and to preserve their anonymity and confidentiality, they will be referred as Organisation A, B, C and D. Organisation A is a distinguished global organisation operating in Oman, while Organisation (B) is a local organisation working in the private sector. Organisation (C) is characterised by being a wholly-owned government organisation that operates in the private sector, and finally, Organisation (D) is a government entity operating in the civil service. Three research questions were formulated to provide a basis for the thesis structure. Accordingly, the mixed-method approach was adopted as a data collection strategy. The primary approach was face-to-face interviews with middle managers, while survey questionnaires were used with employees to measure their attitudes. In addition, document analysis was used to diversify the data sources and to increase confidence in the results. The thesis examination is based on a comparison of findings from multiple perspectives; for example, from those of middle managers, employees, document analysis, and the theoretical framework of the most important theories underlying PRP. These perspectives were then considered in the light of the literature review to determine the effectiveness of PRP in each organisation. The findings reveal that PRP in Organisations A and B was effective and achieved its goals. The reasons for this can be attributed to the methodological approach adopted in the implementation and operation of the PRP system, which were consistent with the strongest theories underlying the system, such as the agency theory, expectation theory and goal-setting theory, in addition to the systematic activation of the role of HRM and the effective development and preparation of middle managers. On the other hand, the findings related to Organisations C and D show that they do not appear to have achieved the sufficient objectives of PRP. Although the results were somewhat mixed, they revolved around the issues of fairness, favouritism, bureaucracy and the role of HRM.
    • Walking the Black Country tightrope: the development of white working-class males’ expectations toward (non) participation in higher education

      Karodia, Nazira; Gravestock, Phil; Dunne, Jackie; Blower, Alex (University of Wolverhampton, 2020-03)
      Over the last 25 years, a noted disparity in the levels of educational attainment between white working-class males and their more affluent counterparts, has been a common feature of discussion within research and educational policy in the UK. In more recent times, this discourse has widened to highlight a similar disparity in the rates of white working-class males accessing Higher Education. This study seeks to increase understanding of how, against such a backdrop, the white working-class males participating in this research accessed, accrued and mobilised available social, cultural and economic resource to form expectations for their future in education and work. In particular, the inquiry focused on how the participants’ expectations were negotiated in relational engagement with their specific social, geographic and historical context. Taking place at a school located in a small Black Country town, the research employed a qualitative approach to facilitate a richness of understanding. It analysed findings from semi-structured interviews with staff at the school, alongside data provided by several core participants and members of their social networks, to address three overarching research questions. Firstly, it investigated how the school’s staff deployed practices to develop the future orientations of students in alignment with certain educational and career trajectories. Secondly, the research examined how the study’s core participants drew upon social, cultural and economic resources when deciding what was ‘possible’ for their future in education and work. Finally, the study engaged with key individuals within the core participants’ social network, exploring how their experiences in education and work influenced the future orientations of those individuals who constituted the primary focus of the research. Mobilising the theoretical tools of Pierre Bourdieu (1977), alongside Hodkinson and Sparkes’ horizons for action (1996), the study contests notions of an ‘aspirational defecit’ amongst white working-class males in education. Instead, the study’s findings illustrate how future educational expectations are shaped in a relational engagement with intergenerational experiences of education and work in a de-industrialised Black Country town.
    • Optimised solder interconnections in crystalline silicon (c-Si) photovoltaic modules for improved performance in elevated temperature climate

      Ekere, Nduka Nnamdi; Amalu, Emeka H.; Ogbomo, Osarumen O. (University of Wolverhampton, 2020-02)
      The operations of c-Si PV modules in elevated temperature climates like Africa and the Middle East are plagued with poor thermo-mechanical reliability and short fatigue lives. There is the need to improve the performance of the system operating in such regions to solve the grave energy poverty and power shortages. Solder interconnection failure due to accelerated thermo-mechanical degradation is identified as the most dominant degradation mode and responsible for over 40% of c-Si PV module failures. Hence the optimisation of c-Si PV module solder interconnections for improved performance in elevated temperature climate is the focus of this research. The effects of relevant reliability influencing factors (RIFs) on the performance (thermo-mechanical degradation and fatigue life) of c-Si PV module solder interconnections are investigated utilising a combination of ANSYS finite element modelling (FEM), Taguchi L25 orthogonal array and analytical techniques. The investigated RIFs are operating temperature, material combination and interconnection geometry. Garofalo creep relations and temperature dependent Young’s Modulus of Elasticity are used to model solder properties, EVA layer is modelled as viscoelastic while the other component layers are modelled using appropriate constitutive material models. Results show that fatigue life decays with increases in ambient temperature loads. A power function model 𝐿=721.48𝑇−1.343, was derived to predict the fatigue life (years) of c-Si PV modules in any climatic region. Of the various ribbon-contact material combination models investigated, Silver-Silver, Aluminium-Aluminium, Silver-Aluminium and Aluminium-Silver are the top four best performing solder interconnection models with low deformation ratios, 𝛿𝑅, normalised degradation values, 𝑁𝑑𝑖<1, and normalised fatigue life 𝑁𝑓𝑖>1. Further findings indicate that only the solder layer demonstrates good miniaturisation properties while the standard dimensions for ribbon and contact layers remain the best performing geometry settings. Additionally, from the Taguchi robust optimisation, the Aluminium-Silver ribbon-contact material combination model (ribbon = 180μm, solder = 56μm, contact = 50μm) demonstrated the best performance in elevated temperature climate, reduced solder degradation by 95.1% and is the most suitable substitute to the conventional c-Si PV module solder interconnection in elevated temperature climate conditions – in terms of thermo-mechanical degradation. These findings presented provide more insight into the design and development of c-Si PV modules operating in elevated temperature climates by providing a fatigue life prediction model in various ambient conditions, identifying material combinations and geometry which demonstrate improved thermo-mechanical reliability and elongated fatigue life.
    • The potential of using mobile social media applications for language learning : A case study in Saudi higher education

      Traxler, John; Alshabeb, Abdulrahman Mohammed (University of Wolverhampton, 2020-02)
      This study aims to harness young people’s ubiquitous social media use to facilitate language education and explore how mobile devices and social media applications can promote and provide more autonomous, collaborative, motivated, and contextual learning experiences in a Saudi Arabian university setting. Hence, this study is grounded in the tenets of connectivism learning theory of collaboration and autonomy, and a design-based research (DBR) methodological approach, which entails developing solutions to problems and then testing out interventions, has been implemented. The research uses mixed methods approach, in which quantitative and qualitative data were obtained. The groups comprised two classes at a Saudi Arabian university - one with 14 males and the other with 14 females - who participated in a blended learning approach, utilising online educational materials, as well as classroom delivery, as part of the teaching process. The study has drawn on DBR to identify appropriate design principles for use in mobile language learning before investigating the ability of mobile social media applications to facilitate an interactive spontaneous learning environment by exploring whether these technologies can assist EFL students in collaborative learning that takes advantage of students’ familiarity with mobile phones, on the one hand, and social media applications, on the other. It was found that providing rich learning opportunities via the use of mobile apps is useful in the Saudi context as there are typically limited language learning opportunities and socio-cultural restrictions concerning face-to-face student interactions especially between genders due to cultural restrictions. Hence, the moderating faculties of social media applications WhatsApp and Instagram allowed a multitude of media to be shared with and between students, who were better able to connect and collaborate. Therefore, the study’s findings significantly extend the understanding of mobile learning, demonstrating its capability to offer more out-of-class contextual opportunities in scenarios that are characterised by limited language learning opportunities and socio-cultural restrictions of face-to-face student interactions, particularly in traditionally gender segregated societies such as Saudi Arabia. Moreover, communication between male tutor and female students in this way supports the Saudi government’s Vision 2030 program by preparing them for working and further study in mixed environments. Of particular note, students co-contributed to the design change and were motivated and engaged to experience the new learning opportunities afforded through the use of mobile apps, also leading to some improvements in their actual learning. Therefore, this study recommends for ‘reforming’ EFL education in Saudi Arabia by allowing students’ voices to be heard to enhance their contribution to the learning process and meet the needs of the new technologically minded generation. A crucial implication of the study is that independence and autonomy in the practice of learning via social media apps should be encouraged and supported, as while it is contrary to typical approaches to teaching in Saudi Arabia, it was found to be well received by the students in this study. Thus, the findings on the affordance and acceptance of mobile social media applications can facilitate policymaking to counter the authoritarian practices and teaching attitudes prevalent in Saudi higher education.
    • Linguistic expression and perception of personality in online dating texts and their effect on attraction

      Fullwood, Chris; Kirwan, Gráinne; Connolly, Irene; Morris, Neil; Fox Hamilton, Nicola (University of Wolverhampton, 2020-02)
      Online daters report difficulties, frustration and anxiety in conveying their desired impression of themselves and from their lack of ability in perceiving another dater’s personality accurately. There is a lack of research on how expression of personality traits in profiles impacts on perception and on assessments of attractiveness. This thesis aims to fill this gap by exploring the expression and perception of personality traits in online dating profile texts, and to examine whether textually expressed personality affects attractiveness. The first two studies employed a linguistic and content analysis approach to determine how personality was expressed in dating profiles across different dating platforms and a comparison creative story text. There was considerable variation in expression indicating that language may not be a reliable indicator of personality. A lens model approach, using Funder’s Realistic Accuracy Model, was taken in the third study where accuracy of personality perception was examined in two contexts to determine whether dating profiles provided more salient trait-related cues to personality. The linguistic and content cues utilised by judges in making personality assessments were investigated. While some accuracy of perception was possible for emotional stability in online dating profiles, it was context dependent and unreliable, and few cues were utilised accurately. The effects of actual and perceived personality, and similarity of personality, on attractiveness were investigated and had not been examined previously in this context. This research shows that actual traits and similarity only affect attraction when it is perceivable, whereas perceived traits and similarity can affect attraction without accurate perception. This thesis illustrates the complexity of accuracy of interpersonal perception in text, and how context drives a considerable amount of the variation in achievement of accuracy. Additionally, the results offer some practical implications for online daters.
    • Risk factors and health effects of overweight and obesity in older adults

      Chen, Ruoling; Danat, Isaac M (University of Wolverhampton, 2020-02)
      Introduction: The older adult population is rapidly increasing, and overweight and obesity prevalence is fast rising in older people globally. It is unclear whether excess body weight in older age reduces or increases the risk of incident dementia and whether it prolongs survival. Evidence of the risk factors for overweight and obesity in older age is scarce. This thesis investigated the risk factors and health effects of overweight and obesity in older age, with a focus on their impacts on incident dementia and all-cause mortality. Methodology: This study employed a mixed method of quantitative and qualitative approaches that are based on a large cohort study dataset from China and two focus group discussions from the United Kingdom. The cohort consisted of 3,336 participants in total: 1,736 aged >= 65 years recruited from urban areas in 2001 and 1,600 aged>=60 years from rural areas in 2003 in Anhui province, China. In the standard methods of interview, they were documented for sociodemographic, lifestyle, social network, disease, and other risk factors at the baseline survey. Body Mass Index (BMI) and waist circumference (WC) were measured, and dementia was diagnosed by the GMS-AGECAT for each of the participants. The cohort members were followed up for 10 years to monitor mortality and examine the cause of death. There were three waves of interview for surviving cohort members during the follow up to document incident dementia apart from the causes of mortality. The data of the Anhui cohort study were analysed in multivariate Logistic and Cox regression models. Two focus groups research were conducted in Wolverhampton UK. It included 12 twelve older adults who were recruited from the community through their place of worship. The focus group data were collected in a digital audiotape. They were transcribed verbatim and analysed thematically. Findings: The data from the cohort wave three surveys showed that the risk factors for overweight and obesity in older people included female gender, low education, low income, residing in urban areas, being married, watching TV/reading newspapers, and hypertension at baseline. Over the 10-year follow-up, 271 participants were diagnosed as having incident dementia. The continuous BMI at baseline increased the risk of incident dementia (multivariate-adjusted odds ratio (OR) 1.06, 95%CI 1.00-1.11). There was no significant increase in OR in participants who were overweight (1.34, 0.91-1.98) and obese (1.52, 0.86-2.70) when compared to normal weight, but separate data by gender showed that dementia risk was significantly increased in men with overweight (3.09, 1.65-5.77) and obesity (4.19, 1.75-10.03) and not in women (0.74, 0.43-1.27; 0.72, 0.32-1.64). The prediction was similar regardless of different adiposity measures used; the risk of dementia was elevated in non-smokers with obesity measured by BMI (4.28, 1.46-12.53) and in non-smokers with waist circumference classed as action level two (3.19, 1.04-9.77). The Anhui cohort data did not show significantly reduced mortality in older people with overweight (HR 0.78, 95%CI 0.56-1.08) and obese BMI (0.79, 0.47-1.33) when compared to normal BMI. There were no gender differences. But the risk of all-cause mortality was significantly increased in older people with underweight (2.04, 1.25-3.33), and the sex-stratified data analysis showed a stronger effect in men (2.31, 1.21-4.42) and not in women (1.59, 0.73-3.44). The focus group data also supported such findings of deleterious effects of overweight and obesity by major themes including theme-harm, impairment, and mortality. Conclusions: Overweight and obesity in older age increased the risk of incident dementia. They were not significantly associated with reduced risk of mortality although underweight increased the risk. Curtailing overweight and obesity and maintaining normal weight in older age could help reduce the risk of developing dementia and extend survival.
    • In the shadow of Elisabeth: a history of the battle for Bilston Iron and Steelworks, c. 1967-1980

      Gildart, Keith; Campbell, Greig (University of Wolverhampton, 2020-01)
      In July 1981, the last sections of the state-owned Bilston steelworks were unceremoniously shut, thus ending two centuries of hot metal production in the Black Country, the onetime workshop of the world. The devastating closure of this profitable facility occurred despite a decade-long grassroots defence campaign spearheaded by local rank and file workers. Using previously unexplored primary source material and oral testimony, this thesis provides a detailed analysis of the battle to save Bilston works. It explores how, in the midst of the 1970s steel crisis, an exceptionally diligent type of worker activist adapted traditional production practices to ensure the survival of the plant. With Bilston’s steelmen maintaining their uniquely profitable record, bungling industry officials conspired to marginalise their plant in order to justify a deeply flawed state-sponsored rationalisation programme. At the heart of this process were the activities of a senior and divisional management team who systematically rationalised the Bilston facility, whilst seeking to cynically undermine shop-floor solidarity. The thesis, therefore, highlights the ways in which management prerogative impacted the lives of steelworkers and their families. The work critically examines the actions of a small band of shop stewards who mobilised into a multi-union local action committee tasked with saving 2,300 jobs. A key focus here is their chosen strategic framework. As experienced activists, they initially recruited a cross-party coalition of political figures to convince sympathetic policymakers to absorb the facility into a medium-term operating plan. With the unfolding crisis prompting a less forgiving political landscape, Bilston’s enterprising shop stewards made a tactical transition, engaging in concerted collective direct action to persuade conservative union leaders to petition decisionmakers on their behalf. The thesis offers a critique of institutional behaviour, revealing how both the state and moderate steel unions undermined Bilston by repeatedly acquiescing to management prerogative. Abandoned by union and Government bureaucrats, the campaign eventually crumbled from within. The research identifies the ways in which ambivalent officials merely sat idly by as management undermined a profitable state concern before insidiously harassing its conscientious employees. The thesis concludes with an account of the legacy of the battle for Bilston works, demonstrating how redundant steelmen, politicised by their experiences, played essential roles in the post-industrial social, cultural and political culture of the town.
    • Temporality, authorial intentions, and truth in video game fiction

      Roberts, John; Dhanda, Meena; Ricksand, Martin (University of Wolverhampton, 2020-01)
      This thesis examines the claim that video games differ fundamentally from other media in terms of fictional truth. Fictional truth has been treated extensively in the field of philosophy of fiction, primarily in relation to literature and, to a certain extent, film, but video games have been far too neglected. Truth in game fiction has been discussed by game scholars, and one prevalent view is that fictional truth in games can be altered through the interaction of the player. Scholars support this claim with reference to the purportedly unique nature of games as a medium in terms of temporality and authorial intentions, asserting that these two factors determine truth differently in game fiction. Game scholars often argue that video game stories have other temporal properties than novels and films, that game stories take place in the present and that this makes it possible for players to alter the truth-value of fictional propositions. They also argue that games have an interactive fictional truth, and that the player is some kind of author. However, by applying theories from philosophy of fiction, and with a methodology based in analytic philosophy, the thesis refutes these claims. I show that there are fundamental issues with their conception of time in fiction and that they fail to show why the arguments used to defend this conception are applicable exclusively to games. I also show that they fail to connect their claims regarding authorship to corresponding discussions in philosophy of fiction, where there have been extensive debates surrounding the importance of authorial intentions and to what extent these can determine the fictional truth of a given work; the same issues making it problematic to ascribe too much authority to the creator of a fictional work are retained and/or exacerbated when players are seen as authors. The thesis thus refutes common claims in game studies and expands the scope of philosophy of fiction.
    • Working the boundaries: a dialogical narrative analysis of social work practice educators' stories

      Lamond, Catherine; Jopling, Michael; Murr, Anthea (University of Wolverhampton, 2020-01)
      Practice educators facilitate and assess the learning and professional development of social work students on placement. Ongoing political dispute about the nature and purpose of social work in England creates complexity that impacts on the perception and positioning of practice educators in social work education. This thesis explores practice educators’ experiences with a view to gaining fresh insight into how they position themselves, and are positioned by others, in this landscape. Within a qualitative, interpretivist narrative research design, practice educators’ experiences were gathered in the form of stories during semi-structured conversational-interviews. The participants were chosen by purposeful sampling. Dialogical narrative analysis (Frank, 2010) was used to analyse and interpret the stories. Frank (2010) describes dialogical narrative analysis as a method of questioning. It is underpinned by the premises that people think with stories and not just about them (Frank 2010), and that they transmit their theories and explanations of experience through stories (Shay, 2006; 2008a). New understandings of practice educators have been developed from the research, including fresh insight into their roles as facilitators and assessors of learning, and evaluators of learning experiences. Their role as boundary workers is also explored and a better understanding of the boundaried nature of the practice learning landscape in which they work has been developed. The capacity of practice educators to deploy relational agency in their role as boundary workers is discussed, along with consideration of the ways in which practice educators’ capacity for agency can be impeded by structural forces. The implications of these new understandings have informed recommendations to enhance practice educators’ recognition, to support their activity as a collective and develop their capacity to exercise their agency.
    • Contributions to the Computational Treatment of Non-literal Language

      Mitkov, Ruslan; Ha, Le An; Yaneva, Victoria; Rohanian, Omid (University of Wolverhampton, 2020)
      Non-literal language concerns the deliberate use of language in such a way that meaning cannot be inferred through a mere literal interpretation. In this thesis, three different forms of this phenomenon are studied; namely, irony, non-compositional Multiword Expressions (MWEs), and metaphor. We start by developing models to identify ironic comments in the context of the social micro-blogging website Twitter. In these experiments, we proposed a new way to extract features based on a study of their spatial structure. The proposed model is shown to perform competitively on a standard Twitter dataset. Next, we extensively study MWEs, which are the central point of focus in this work. We start by framing the task of MWE identi fication as sequence labelling and devise experiments to see the effect of eye-tracking data in capturing formulaic MWEs using structured prediction. We also develop a novel neural architecture to speci fically address the issue of discontinuous MWEs using a combination of Graph Convolutional Neural Networks (GCNs) and self-attention. The proposed model is subsequently tested on several languages where it is shown to outperform the state-of-the-art in overall criteria and also in capturing gappy MWEs. In the final part of the thesis, we look at metaphor and its interaction with verbal MWEs. In a series of experiments, we propose a hybrid BERT-based model augmented with a novel variation of GCN where we perform classifi cation on two standard metaphor datasets using information from MWEs. This model which performs at the same level with state-of-the-art is, to the best of our knowledge, the first MWE-aware metaphor identifi cation system paving the way for further experimentation on the interaction of different types of fi gurative language.
    • Breakthroughs and discoveries in theatre rehearsals: an ethnographic study of Close Quarters

      Prior, Ross W.; Marsden, Robert Michael James (University of Wolverhampton, 2019-12)
      This thesis contributes to the emerging field of rehearsal studies by examining the seldom-analysed (yet oft-referenced) moments of a text based theatre rehearsal where breakthroughs occur that advance the creative process. This thesis presents an original framework through which text-based rehearsal breakthroughs which concentrate primarily on the dynamic between the actor, director and text can be viewed, categorised, and ultimately analysed as ‘The Four Lenses of Breakthrough’. An ethnographic methodology is utilised to analyse data collected from a case study observation of the breakthroughs in the rehearsal period of Kate Bowen’s new play Close Quarters (2018). This thesis sharpens the language used to articulate these moments by creating a practical framework for rehearsal observation and analysis. The Four Lenses created are: (1) individual and small recognition moments that occur; (2) individual discoveries for actors and directors; (3) collective discoveries shared by actors and directors; (4) and, finally, a ‘wow’ moment shared by all, where all the variables coalesce. This thesis builds upon the work of scholars and practitioners whose objective has been to demystify the rehearsal period and to break apart the myth that the rehearsal room is a place of magic, and a mysterious place. With the expansion of rehearsal studies as a field within Western theatre, as well as performance studies since the 1970s, this thesis sits within the critical field of rehearsal studies, and argues for the importance of examining moments of breakthrough in rehearsal. The thesis attests that breakthroughs are unpredictable in a rehearsal period. Even with their ubiquitous occurrence in rehearsals, there is nevertheless a paucity in the literature of explicit analysis of breakthroughs; this thesis also draws together the extant literature as well as offering a new method of analysis.
    • The interplay between attachment and resilience in adolescents with sebd

      Nicholls, Wendy; Chen-Wilson, Josephine; Phull, Ranjit Kaur (University of Wolverhampton, 2019-11)
      Background: Investigations into young people with Social Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties (SEBD), shows an enormous number of these young people, growing up in adverse circumstances, some grow into competent, sociable, productive adults, whilst others do not (Atwool; 2006; Harvey & Deifabbro, 2004). What is not as clear is what individual differences account for the way in which they handle their disadvantages and risks; what makes some young people more resilient than others; and what role (if any) does their attachment have on the way in which they manage their SEBD, when they are at school and in relation to the world in which they reside? Aim: In order to explore these questions further, two studies were designed with the aim of investigating the impact of insecure attachment in relation to the resilience on young people who were experiencing SEBD. Study 1: The twenty five participants in study 1 (the comparison group) were aged 14 to 18 years old, and came from a secondary school in the West Midlands. The comparison group participants completed the Resiliency Scale for Children and Adolescents (RSCA) (Prince-Embury, 2013). Findings: Young people in the target and comparison groups scored in the low bands for the Sense of Mastery (MAS) and Sense of Relatedness (REL) categories, the differences between them were insignificant. The Emotional Reactivity (REA) category, differed somewhat in that the target group scored comparatively higher than the comparison group. Study 2: To expand on the findings of study 1, Study 2 explored the nature of young people’s SEBD in relation to how they manage their close relationships. Study 2 consisted of eight, participants with Social, Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties, from the same school as the comparison group. Participants were first asked to complete the same resiliency scale, as their peers from the comparison group. Participants then individually, took part in the Attachment Style Interview (ASI) (Biffulco 2010), which explored and captured their experiences. Findings: A detailed account of their relationships showed that the attachment style, which is derived from their ability to make and maintain relationships had an impact on how they managed their SEBD interactions with others. The presence of any insecure style co-occurred with poor support, low self-esteem and childhood adversity. Severe anxiety and anxiety and depression co-occurred with insecurity, whilst less severe anxiety although presented as insecure in attachment showed a milder level of security, when the ability to make and maintain relationships was slightly higher. Anxiety when the ability to make and maintain relationships was much higher showed a clearly secure attachment and was significantly related to positive parental relationships and positive support.
    • A framework for developing 4D LOD on construction projects

      Heesom, David; Oloke, David; Butkovic, Bogdan (University of Wolverhampton, 2019-11)
      The increasing application of BIM processes and technologies has facilitated an increase in the use of 4D (3D+Time) simulations of construction projects. Numerous studies have acknowledged the benefit of 4D models in project planning and construction phases, enhancing communication between construction teams and avoiding unforeseen conflicts during the build process. The development of BIM has prompted a deeper understanding of the issue surrounding Level of Development (LODt), Level of Information (LOI) and Level of Detail (LOD) relating to the graphical detail and non-graphical information of the static geometric design model. However, up to now there is limited research methodically investigating the issue of LOD within 4D BIM applications. This research aims to develop a framework for specifying the LOD of 4D BIM to enhance communication and planning at various stages of the construction process. A 4D simulation needs more dynamic elements to alter the current 4D static image in order to provide more realistic simulation and more accurate results. A mixed research methods approach was developed to address the needs for successful framework development. A combination quantitative and qualitative survey was undertaken to gather data from professionals engaged in the development of 4D BIM simulations on construction projects. A framework was developed to provide professionals with an approach to develop LOD for 4D simulations (LOD4d) and following this the framework was validated through qualitative interview with experts in the field. The uniqueness of the work required the invention of new terminology. The developed framework incorporates terms for Level of Graphical Detail (LODg) the graphical information of the model. Level of Detail of object geometry “granulated” (LODgran) into segments showing how the object was constructed over the time. The framework comprises a time period required between state changes in the model during the simulation which is Temporal Level of Detail (LODti). The outcome of the work is the generation of a framework which supports the development of 4D simulations at a range of LOD. This can then be utilised as part of the BIM process to support the generation of 4D simulations at levels of detail suitable to the operations being undertaken. This could then lead to the development of an additional protocol within the BIM suite. Beside the construction industry specialists have provided suggestions to further support approach of communication during the construction process.