Now showing items 1-20 of 655

    • ‘Standing in the shadows’?: Reframing homosexuality in musical theatre

      Whitfield, Sarah; Gowland, Gus (University of Wolverhampton, 2019-11)
      This thesis explores how the gay male is represented in musical theatre and considers how musical theatre writing practice can be utilised to create new iterations of the homosexual male character in musicals. The study has three main objectives: to explore the persistent patterns of gay representation in musicals, to investigate dominant heterosexual ideologies with musical theatre practice and to consider how I might create an intervention against the heterosexist, heterogenous norms of the form. Whilst there is existing scholarship that explores the connections between the homosexual male and the musical, both on stage and in the audience, there is little research examining the subject from the perspective of the musical theatre writer. This research addresses this gap by creating an original musical, Pieces of String, and providing an analysis of the creative process and the creative product. Whilst the investigation considers the Broadway/UK musical theatre canon, the primary focus is on contemporary musicals written and produced since 2000 which further contributes to the field and affords academic consideration to newer musicals which have not yet received such scholarly treatment. The study uses Sara Ahmed’s theory of queer fatalism, Daphne Brooks’ ‘occupation’ theory and Miller’s idea of the showtune as denial as frameworks through which to examine the existing texts and also to create an original work. The findings of this research question the cultural assumption that the musical is a gay genre, and conclude that the form actually repeatedly asserts its heterosexual hegemony. Pieces of String locates itself within that hegemony and subverts it through its inclusion of multiple leading gay characters and focus on gay-specific narratives.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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 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 qualitative investigation of the therapeutic relationship in the facilitation of empowerment in psychological therapy for adults with learning disabilities

      Chadwick, Darren; Wesson, Caroline; Alonso, Phoebe (University of Wolverhampton, 2019-11)
      Background Many authors in the field of adult learning disabilities have described the challenges experienced by clinicians in obtaining evidence regarding the effectiveness of psychological therapies for this particular client group (e.g. it can be a costly, lengthy, time-consuming process) (Taylor, Lindsay, Hastings & Hatton, 2013). Gaps also exist in the area of social justice and empowerment in relation to this population, which has historically experienced significant inequalities. This research intended to contribute to the current information available for researchers and psychological practitioners and to focus upon particular practical issues highlighted as important to the service-users, therapists and support workers within a single UK NHS service. The aims of this research project were: 1. To investigate what factors clients with learning disabilities find most helpful and empowering in the psychological therapy received from psychological therapists. 2. To ascertain how the therapeutic relationship affects psychological well-being within a learning disabled population, as facilitated by their therapists and support workers. 3. To explore the importance of support workers’ involvement in providing support with psychotherapeutic work for PWLD. 4. To consider how empowerment is experienced and conceptualised by the main stakeholders in the therapeutic encounter, between PWLD, their therapist and their support worker. Method Five triads were interviewed, each consisting of a person with learning disabilities, a psychological therapist and a support worker. Qualitative methodology was used to analyse the data obtained, via Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). Findings The resulting research findings highlighted the importance of four super-ordinate themes: i) Values, Stigma & Social Equity; ii) Building Relationships, Collaboration & Trust; iii) Coping & Adaptations and iv) Positive Outcomes. Implications for various key groups including counselling psychologists, were considered and findings were contextualised with prior research findings. Conclusions The researcher’s original contribution to knowledge relates to the inclusion and exploration of the experiences and perspectives of three related stakeholder groups, including previously under-represented participants with learning disabilities, in order to voice what was important to them in terms of the therapeutic relationship and the facilitation of empowerment through psychological therapy.
    • 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.
    • Development of a model for health and safety management in Saudi Arabian oil and gas construction projects

      Oduoza, Chike; Alamri, Reem (University of Wolverhampton, 2019-09)
      Health and safety is regarded as the foundation of the construction and production process in the oil and gas sector. However, in the Saudi Arabian oil and gas construction industry, this very foundation is threatened by the proliferation of work-related hazards that leave workers permanently or temporarily incapacitated. In comparison with other industrial sectors, workers on oil and gas construction sites are at greater risk of facing a variety of health and safety related risks, and that is the reason why it is essential to prevent the increasing level of accidents on these sites. Although, efforts were made to minimize exposure to such risks in the Saudi oil and gas sector, there is still a need for radical changes in the way the sector approaches health and safety issues. In this regard, this study examines the effectiveness of existing health and safety measures followed in Saudi Arabia, while looking at critical areas that require immediate attention as well as new measures that can be implemented to improve in those areas. To achieve this, both quantitative and qualitative research methods were used. For the quantitative research, questionnaires were designed and distributed to 300 respondents who work in construction companies in Saudi Arabia. For the purposes of obtaining answers from relevant respondents, construction companies who have experience from working on oil and gas construction projects were targeted. A total of 200 questionnaires were completed and returned. The quantitative data was analysed by descriptive and inferential statistics using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) software. For the qualitative data, semi-structured interviews were conducted with nine professionals purposely selected due to their knowledge, years of experience and familiarity with health and safety policies and standards on oil and gas construction sites. The analysis of the qualitative data was achieved using qualitative data analysis software QSR Nvivo. During qualitative data analysis, thematic analysis was adopted to build themes from the data which formed the basis for the presentation of the results from this research. Findings from the research suggest that all participants are of the view that oil and gas construction projects have more health and safety issues compared to average construction projects. It was found that the nature of the oil and gas industry coupled with the risky nature of construction activities presented higher risk which led to increased health and safety issues when constructing in the sector. The results also indicated that there was a low level of involvement from the construction site teams and workers in the development of health and safety policies for oil and gas construction projects. It was also identified that there was very poor adherence to health and safety standards and regulations on oil and gas construction sites due to little or no understanding of requirements andprocedures, as well as the advantages of adhering to such. Poor enforcement of government legislation was also identified to be another major cause for the poor health and safety performance of oil and gas construction projects. Based on the aforementioned results and the findings obtained from literature, a framework was developed to ensure that health and safety was properly institutionalised throughout the processes undertaken by construction firms during project management. The framework recommends both corporate level and project level policies that could facilitate the adoption and implementation of health and safety guidelines on construction projects in the oil and gas sector. An implementation guide was equally presented alongside the framework in view that it would ensure that users covered all the necessary areas in terms of health and safety and that all parties were involved in the process. The research concludes that construction projects in the oil and gas sector are riskier and demand approaches and strategies specific to the type of projects undertaken. The study finally recommends that further research should be undertaken to propose alternative models and national level legislative framework for enhanced health and safety guarantee especially in the Saudi oil and gas construction industry.
    • Defining the molecular, genetic and transcriptomic mechanisms underlying the variation in glycation gap between individuals

      Dunmore, Simon; Naseem, Fakhra (University of Wolverhampton, 2019-10)
      The discrepancy between HbA1c and fructosamine estimations in the assessment of glycaemia has frequently been observed and is referred to as the glycation gap (G-gap). This could be explained by the higher activity of the fructosamine-3-kinase (FN3K) deglycating enzyme in the negative G-gap group (patients with lower than predicted HbA1c for their mean glycaemia) as compared to the positive G-gap group. This G-gap is linked with differences in complications in patients with diabetes and this potentially happens because of dissimilarities in deglycation. The difference in deglycation rate in turn leads to altered production of advanced glycation end products (AGEs). These AGEs are both receptor dependent and receptor independent. It was hypothesised that variations in the level of the deglycating enzyme fructosamine-3-kinase (FN3K) might be as a result of known Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs): rs1056534, rs3848403 and rs1046896 in FN3K gene, SNP in ferroportin1/SLC40A1 gene (rs11568350 linked with FN3K activity), differentially expressed genes (DEGs), differentially expressed transcripts or alternatively spliced transcript variants. Previous studies reported accelerated telomere length shortening in patients with diabetes. In this study, 184 patients with diabetes were included as dichotomised groups with either a strongly negative or positive G-gap. This study was conducted to analyse the differences in genotype frequency of specific SNPs via real time qPCR,determine soluble receptors for AGE (sRAGE) concentration via ELISA, finding association of sRAGE concentration with SNPs genotype, and evaluate relative average telomere length ratio via real time qPCR. This study also aimed at the investigation of underlying mechanisms of G-gap via transcriptome study for the identification of the DEGs and differentially expressed transcripts and to consequently identify pathways, biological processes and diseases linked to situations in which DEGs were enriched. The relative length of the telomere was normalised to the expression of a single copy gene (S). Chi-squared test was used for estimating the expected genotype frequencies in diabetic patients with negative and positive G-gap. Genotype frequencies of FN3K SNPs (rs1056534, rs3848403 and rs1046896) and SLC40A1/ferroportin1 SNP (rs11568350) polymorphisms within the studied groups were non-significant. With respect to genotypes, the rs1046896 genotype (CT) and rs11568350 genotype (AC) were only found in heterozygous state in all the investigated cohorts. No association between sRAGE concentration and FN3K SNPs (rs3848403 and rs1056534) was observed as the sRAGE concentration was also found not to be different between the groups. Similarly, the relative average telomere length was not different in both groups. Plasma sRAGE levels were not different in the cohort studied even though the Wolverhampton Diabetes Research Group (WDRG) previously reported that AGE is higher in positive G-gap. The latter is a more likely consequence of lower FN3K activities. In this study, it was found that SNPs in the FN3K/ferroportin1 gene are not responsible for the discrepancy in average glycaemia. The transcriptomic study via RNA-Seq mapped a total of 64451 gene transcripts to the human transcriptome. The DEGs and differentially expressed transcripts were 103 and 342 respectively (p < 0.05, fold change > 1.5). Of 103 DEGs, 61 were downregulated in G-gap positive and 42 were upregulated in positive G-gap individuals while 14 genes produced alternatively spliced transcript variants. Four pathways (Viral carcinogenesis, Ribosome, Phagosome and Dorso-ventral axis) were identified in the bioinformatics analysis of samples in which DEGs were enriched. These DEGs were also found to be associated with raised blood pressure and glycated haemoglobin (conditions that coexist with diabetes). Future analysis based on these results will be necessary to elucidate the significant drivers of gene expression leading to the G-gap in these patients.
    • What do therapists perceive are the enablers and barriers to working with transgender clients?

      Gutteridge, Robin; Thomas-Gray, Lisa (University of Wolverhampton, 2019-07)
      This research aimed to explore what therapists perceive are the enablers and barriers which can arise when working with transgender clients. Some research studies have previously been carried out exploring the client’s experiences of the therapeutic process, with a large proportion finding the counselling profession to be wanting. However, there is a dearth of literature exploring the reasons behind this from a clinical perspective, including potential ways of addressing the issues raised. This qualitative study explored the perspectives of five experienced clinicians, from varying backgrounds who work therapeutically with transgender clients. The participants recognised that while there is positive work occurring within the field, there remains room for growth and improvement across all services including medical, social, psychological and legal. Due to the role and impact of individuation, personal beliefs and experiences, background and therapeutic approach, a Thematic Analysis as carried out on the data gathered from semi-structured interviews. The resulting themes highlighted the role of self-disclosure, training, the theoretical approach utilised and the use of language were all considered to be key elements; which can have a significant impact on the therapeutic relationship and subsequent outcomes. These themes were considered with reference to the implications both as an enabling and barrier on therapeutic outcomes and for Counselling Psychology practice.
    • An investigation into health and safety management by SMEs and the risk of corporate manslaughter prosecution

      Ndekuri, Issaka E.; Ankrah, Nii A.; Perez Jimenez, Pablo Ariel (University of Wolverhampton, 2019-04)
      The construction industry is consistently considered one of the most dangerous industries in the United Kingdom (UK) and the rest of the world due to reported work-related fatalities and injuries. The majority of these incidents are attributed to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) as they perform a significant role in the UK construction supply chain. There is a common belief that safety performance in these types of organisations is strongly linked to the effectiveness of the implementation of safety management systems. Whilst the industry has made an outstanding effort to improve health and safety (H&S) practices, there are some areas which still need refinement. The legal system is one of the approaches considered for the improvement of H&S management in the industry. The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 (CMCHA) was passed with the intention of improving the law on corporate criminal liability for poor H&S management. Since the Act came to force in 2008, over 30 percent of the convictions are attributable to the construction industry. Interestingly, all convictions for corporate manslaughter are attributable to SMEs. This therefore suggests that the size of the company is a major factor in the degree of exposure to corporate criminal liability. Since SMEs are labelled as risky in terms of exposure to hazards and death in the workplace, it is of importance to investigate their H&S management practices. However, not much attention has been given to the way SMEs manage H&S in the working environment and how they are influenced by recent H&S regulations. This study employed a mixed methods approach over two stages to investigate the level of implementation of the basic elements of a Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) H&S management system UK construction SMEs and assess to what extent they were aware of the legal obligations towards their employees. The study also seeks to explore how the CMCHA influences their management activities. The first stage conducted a questionnaire survey to gather relevant data from construction SMEs in the UK. From the analysis of data, it was found that these types of organisations are currently implementing, albeit to a certain level, a structured health and safety management system in the workplace. However, there was evidence of a lack of balance between the different stages of the PDCA cycle, showing potential room for improvement. This research revealed that SMEs should put more attention into seeking a fair balance between H&S, time, cost and quality as well as involving workers in H&S matters and monitoring ill-health. There were also causal interactions between the implementation of a H&S management system in SMEs and the level of awareness of their duties of care to their employees and persons other than employees. Furthermore, it was concluded that the CMCHA had ‘some’ influence in the way SMEs manage H&S. During the second stage, the study looked further into these results by conducting interviews to experts in the senior management level of SMEs. Findings from this stage added that morality and the wellbeing of the employees is one of the main factors that drive SMEs to improve their safety performance. Interviewees highlighted that significant change is yet to be seen from the CMCHA as prosecuting large organisations remains a challenge. In the view of the findings, organisations should devote resources to orientate and motivate their senior level to improve their H&S management systems in respect of the flaws identified. It is also important that they monitor their H&S practices, thus it would be possible to identify possible areas of improvement and ensure compliance with legislation.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Investigating HK2 as a potential therapeutic target in glioblastoma

      Warr, Tracy; Blakeway, Daniel (University of Wolverhampton, 2019-09)
      Glioblastoma is the most common high-grade primary brain tumour in adults. Current treatments have limited success with average survival comprehensively low. Effective drug treatments are hindered predominantly by the complex genetic background of glioblastoma heterogeneity, as such there is a compelling need for the development of effective therapeutics. An approach is to target abnormal metabolic pathways that are universally dysregulated in glioblastoma. The identification of potential targets and the development of therapeutic agents is crucial for the advancement of treatment. Hexokinase 2 (HK2) has a prominent role in glycolysis, acting as the rate-limiting step in the pathway. HK2 is highly expressed in many cancers and its role as the rate-limiting step of glycolysis may potentially contribute to tumour growth. Overexpression of HK2 has also been associated with drug resistant phenotypes, in parallel, its inhibition has improved the effectiveness of anticancer agents, suggesting HK2 as a potential therapeutic target. The role of methylation and its association with expression levels of HK2 was determined in glioblastoma fresh frozen biopsies and patient-derived cultures, through pyrosequencing and quantitative PCR. CRISPR knockout was utilised to investigate the effect of inhibiting HK2 on proliferation and to determine the role of HK2 in chemoresistance. The anti-proliferative effects of HK2 inhibitors 3-bromopyruvic-acid (3-BPA) and metformin were investigated via cytotoxic assays and FACS analysis was used to determine their mechanism of action. Additionally, downstream expression changes were investigated via expression profiler arrays, across 84 key genes involved in the regulation and enzymatic pathways of glucose metabolism. Hypomethylation was demonstrated in all biopsies (n=100) and cultures (n=15) compared to normal brain tissue; with average methylation of 4.6% compared to 26% respectively (p<0.0001) determined across 15-CpGs. A significant increase (p<0.0001) in HK2 expression was discovered, ranging between 6 to >1000- fold change in all biopsies and cultures compared to normal brain tissue and a strong correlation between hypomethylation and increased level of expression (p<0.0001) was established. Furthermore, elevated levels of HK2 revealed notably poorer survival outcomes. Sensitivity to 3-BPA in glioblastoma cultures was associated with elevated expression of HK2. Significantly different levels of apoptosis were observed with average levels 38% greater in high HK2 expressing cultures (p=0.0014). A significant growth rate reduction (p<0.007) was demonstrated in HK2-KO cultures compared to parent cultures. Importantly sensitivity to both metformin and TMZ was also significantly increased (p<0.0001) in response to HK2-KO, with substantial reduction in both ID50 values and cell survival. Notably, HK2-KO cultures yielded greater synergistic effects with metformin and TMZ combination treatment. Array data revealed significant downstream gene expression alterations (p<0.005) with HK2-KO and with the supplementation of both 3-BPA and metformin, where >50% genes demonstrated reduced levels of expression compared to the corresponding parent/non-treated cultures. This study demonstrates the predominant role of HK2 within the glycolytic pathway, with overexpression potentially key in driving the genetic alterations downstream. This study also verifies a strong correlation between increased expression of HK2 and hypomethylation, additionally highlighting the impact HK2 has on inferior patient prognosis. HK2-KO revealed considerable ubiquitous reductions in downstream gene expression compared to glioblastoma biopsy tissue and parent cultures. Additionally, an increase in drug sensitivity was depicted with the loss of HK2 signifying the potential of targeting HK2 as a novel therapy in a significant subset of glioblastoma.
    • 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.
    • Mental health clinicians’ motivation and awareness of key considerations as predictors of online therapy uses and applications

      Attrill-Smith, Alison; Orchard, Lisa; Agathokleous, Georgios (University of Wolverhampton, 2020-05)
      Despite their well-documented effectiveness, online psychological interventions seem to be underperforming with the latest evidence revealing high client dropout rates. The literature indicates that online client engagement tends to improve through a sound online therapeutic alliance and interventions that are credible, reliable and of high-quality. There is little research, however, as to the specific clinician-related factors that might predict the adoption of online therapy practices and interventions that map onto the above online therapy qualities. To address this gap in the literature, the current thesis assesses statistically, whether online practicing clinicians’ awareness of key considerations in online therapy (AKCOT) and motivations are linked to the adoption of associated (outcome) online therapy uses and applications (OOTUA). It was hypothesised that clinicians’ AKCOT and motivations would predict OOTUA. Two studies were employed to this effect. Study one (n= 19, UK-based participants) developed a series of purpose-built scales measuring AKCOT and OOTUA. It also evaluated pre-existing motivational scales such as intrinsic, extrinsic motivation, perceived competence (in forming an online therapeutic alliance) and attributional style towards mental health stigma, ascertaining their usefulness in the context of the current project. Study two adopted a multiple regression analysis design where a total of 174 (138 UK-based and 36 America-based) online practicing clinicians completed an online survey. The factors of AKCOT were measured by the purpose-built scales developed in study one, assessing awareness of key consideration in online disinhibition theory, online therapy ethical considerations and training requirements. The corresponding OOTUA factors were measured on self-report scales capturing associated (to the AKCOT) online therapy applications. The motivational constructs were measured using an intrinsic motivation inventory, general causality-controlled orientation and perceived competence scales. The main findings showed that the AKCOT predictors consistently accounted for approximately 30% and the motivation predictors for approximately 10-20% of the variance in OOTUA. Discussion of the findings considers theoretical and practical implications at the professional regulatory and training level. It is proposed that professional psychological bodies update their regulations around online therapy, and counselling and psychotherapy training courses ensure that trainees are familiarised with online therapy theoretical and practical key considerations as part of their core qualifying training.
    • Sentence Simplification for Text Processing

      Orasan, Constantin; Evans, Richard (University of Wolverhampton, 2020-05)
      Propositional density and syntactic complexity are two features of sentences which affect the ability of humans and machines to process them effectively. In this thesis, I present a new approach to automatic sentence simplification which processes sentences containing compound clauses and complex noun phrases (NPs) and converts them into sequences of simple sentences which contain fewer of these constituents and have reduced per sentence propositional density and syntactic complexity. My overall approach is iterative and relies on both machine learning and handcrafted rules. It implements a small set of sentence transformation schemes, each of which takes one sentence containing compound clauses or complex NPs and converts it one or two simplified sentences containing fewer of these constituents (Chapter 5). The iterative algorithm applies the schemes repeatedly and is able to simplify sentences which contain arbitrary numbers of compound clauses and complex NPs. The transformation schemes rely on automatic detection of these constituents, which may take a variety of forms in input sentences. In the thesis, I present two new shallow syntactic analysis methods which facilitate the detection process. The first of these identifies various explicit signs of syntactic complexity in input sentences and classifies them according to their specific syntactic linking and bounding functions. I present the annotated resources used to train and evaluate this sign tagger (Chapter 2) and the machine learning method used to implement it (Chapter 3). The second syntactic analysis method exploits the sign tagger and identifies the spans of compound clauses and complex NPs in input sentences. In Chapter 4 of the thesis, I describe the development and evaluation of a machine learning approach performing this task. This chapter also presents a new annotated dataset supporting this activity. In the thesis, I present two implementations of my approach to sentence simplification. One of these exploits handcrafted rule activation patterns to detect different parts of input sentences which are relevant to the simplification process. The other implementation uses my machine learning method to identify compound clauses and complex NPs for this purpose. Intrinsic evaluation of the two implementations is presented in Chapter 6 together with a comparison of their performance with several baseline systems. The evaluation includes comparisons of system output with human-produced simplifications, automated estimations of the readability of system output, and surveys of human opinions on the grammaticality, accessibility, and meaning of automatically produced simplifications. Chapter 7 presents extrinsic evaluation of the sentence simplification method exploiting handcrafted rule activation patterns. The extrinsic evaluation involves three NLP tasks: multidocument summarisation, semantic role labelling, and information extraction. Finally, in Chapter 8, conclusions are drawn and directions for future research considered.
    • A feasibility study for the reporting of cervical large loop excisions of the transformation zone (LLETZ) biopsies by consultant biomedical scientists in the UK

      Dunmore, Simon; Ellis, Kay M. (University of Wolverhampton, 2019-09-30)
      Objective – A previous pilot study had shown that there was potential to extend the roles of advanced biomedical scientist practitioner (ABMSPs) now referred to as Consultant Biomedical Scientists (BMS) to report the histology of large loop excision biopsies of the cervical transformation zone (LLETZ) within the NHS Cervical Screening Programme (NHSCSP). Methods - 157 consecutive LLETZ specimens reported by four experienced Gynae-specialist Consultant Histopathologists at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, were also reported by six Consultant BMS, and compared against the final issued report. Neoplastic abnormalities were reported to NHSCSP standards as well as the Bethesda system. Completeness of excision and histological features associated with the presence of human papillomavirus (HPV) infection were also assessed. The reporting of HPV is part of the proforma for reporting cervical samples, it does not affect the patient management but allows for correlation with the cervical cytology report and hence was included as part of the study. Results - There was overall good inter-observer agreement for both the three tier and two tier system of grading squamous lesions plus good agreement for glandular and invasive carcinomas identified by the Consultant BMS. There was variable inter-observer agreement for the completeness of the excision of the margins and the presence of HPV. Conclusions - This report provides evidence that suitably experienced Consultant BMS can be ‘fast-tracked’ through an approved training programme of selected specimens to meet the needs of the Histopathology service that is facing a chronic shortage of Histopathologists in a timely manner and provide a cost-effective solution.
    • 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.
    • 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.