Now showing items 21-40 of 616

    • The role of Human Endogenous Retrovirus K10 (HERV-K10) in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis via molecular mimicry

      Attridge, Kesley; Trela, Malgorzata (University of Wolverhampton, 2019-03)
      Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic joint disease of unknown aetiology. The autoimmune nature of RA is underlined by abundant generation of rheumatoid factor (RF) autoantibodies to IgG1 Fc, and anti-citrullinated protein antibodies (ACPA) to citrullinated autoantigens such as fibrinogen. Although RA pathogenesis has not been elucidated, genetic predisposition, environmental insults and viral pathogens are considered contributory factors. Human endogenous retrovirus K10 (HERV-K10) is one such virus as it retained the capacity to produce viral particles in RA synovium. This study set out to explore how HERV-K10 Gag matrix region could contribute to RA pathogenesis and perpetuation, with particular emphasis on its ability to mimic host autoantigens. We showed that Gag region exhibits high levels of sequence and structural homology to IgG1 Fc and it could provide a key epitope important for auto-reactivity in RA. Analysis of how HERV-K10 may evoke immune responses in RA was broadened by investigation of serological cross-reactivity of novel anti-K10 polyclonal antibody (PAbMAG) with IgG1 Fc. We showed that PAbMAG cross-reacted with linear and conformational epitopes on IgG1 Fc. In a further development, we showed a significantly elevated mean IgG response to HERV-K10 epitopes in serum samples from RA patients when compared to other arthritides. These data suggest that molecular mimicry between viral and host proteins has the potential to lead to antigen-driven high-affinity RF IgG immunological reactivity in RA. Finally, we broadened our study of mimicry in RA by the investigation of citrullinated autoantigens. Structural studies demonstrated high levels of homology between citrullinated fibrinogen, IgG1 Fc and HERV. We further explored how protein citrullination affects the cross-reactivity of autoantibody responses in RA. These experiments revealed that generation of neoepitopes through citrullination of HERV-K10 and autoantigens IgG1 Fc and fibrinogen enhanced the reactivity of RA sera to these targets. Moreover, we showed that RF autoantibodies could mediate responses to a classical ACPA target fibrinogen, only when it is citrullinated, in the absence of ACPAs. These data provide a new insight into the initiation and propagation of immunological responses in RA and how viral/host molecular mimics and citrullination could modulate serum cross-reactivity profiles in RA.
    • Building query-based relevance sets without human intervention

      Oakes, Michael; Makary, Mireille (University of Wolverhampton, 2019-06)
      collections are the standard framework used in the evaluation of an information retrieval system and the comparison between different systems. A text test collection consists of a set of documents, a set of topics, and a set of relevance assessments which is a list indicating the relevance of each document to each topic. Traditionally, forming the relevance assessments is done manually by human judges. But in large scale environments, such as the web, examining each document retrieved to determine its relevance is not possible. In the past there have been several studies that aimed to reduce the human effort required in building these assessments which are referred to as qrels (query-based relevance sets). Some research has also been done to completely automate the process of generating the qrels. In this thesis, we present different methodologies that lead to producing the qrels automatically without any human intervention. A first method is based on keyphrase (KP) extraction from documents presumed relevant; a second method uses Machine Learning classifiers, Naïve Bayes and Support Vector Machines. The experiments were conducted on the TREC-6, TREC-7 and TREC-8 test collections. The use of machine learning classifiers produced qrels resulting in information retrieval system rankings which were better correlated with those produced by TREC human assessments than any of the automatic techniques proposed in the literature. In order to produce a test collection which could discriminate between the best performing systems, an enhancement to the machine learning technique was made that used a small number of real or actual qrels as training sets for the classifiers. These actual relevant documents were selected by Losada et al.’s (2016) pooling technique. This modification led to an improvement in the overall system rankings and enabled discrimination between the best systems with only a little human effort. We also used the bpref-10 and infAP measures for evaluating the systems and comparing between the rankings, since they are more robust in incomplete judgment environments. We applied our new techniques to the French and Finnish test collections from CLEF2003 in order to confirm their reproducibility on non-English languages, and we achieved high correlations as seen for English.
    • Can elite male academy players be taught to perform under pressure?

      Devonport, Tracey; Lane, Andy; Nicholls, Wendy; Kent, Sophie (University of Wolverhampton, 2019-04)
      To gain a professional contract in UK academy football, young players must demonstrate an ability to perform under pressure (Larsen et al., 2014). A systematic review was conducted to synthesise findings from applied studies that focus on interventions developed to enhance an individual's ability to cope under performance pressure. Simulation training alongside cognitive-behavioural (CB) workshops was an intervention format that may develop an academy football player’s ability to perform within the highly-pressurised environment of academy football (Bell, Hardy and Beattie, 2013). A limitation of much simulation training that is intended to help individuals perform in highly-pressurised environments is the failure to generate meaningful performance pressure. Similarly, CB workshops can also be limited in their effectiveness due to a failure to identify contextually specific factors that may develop coping skills. Such factors should be embedded within CB workshops to align with the needs of individuals in their respective pressure domain. Moreover, study one of this programme of research aimed to identify meaningful pressure conditioned stimuli, along with factors perceived to be facilitative or debilitative of performance under pressure within academy soccer. The perceptions of pressure, and factors of influence identified within study one were used by academy coaches to inform the design of a contextually specific pressure intervention. Study two, presents and evaluates this pressure training intervention. A mixed-methods approach using quantitative (simulation training data) and qualitative data (interviews with players and reflective diary extracts) provided insight into the effectiveness of the pressure intervention. Findings indicate that simulation training alone could enhance performance under pressure within age groups 11-14 years. Players across all age groups described improvement in confidence, emotional intelligence, meta-cognition, focus and challenge appraisal following the intervention. Future research is warranted to investigate the benefits of simulation training and CB workshops within a larger sample, over-time.
    • An Analysis of British Army Veterans’ Oral Testimony and the Campaign in Northwest Europe, 1944-1945

      Buckley, John; Cheetham, Thomas (University of Wolverhampton, 2019-04)
      War veterans have long been seen as natural subjects for oral history, and the task of collecting their reminiscences has been the focus of substantial attention by institutions such as the Imperial War Museum. Military historians often draw upon such interviews in their research; however, their handling of this evidence remains hesitant and largely divorced from the substantial theory which has been developed by academic oral historians. Oral historians have themselves devoted little attention to the particular problems posed by the use of veterans’ testimony. This thesis applies oral history theory to the testimony of thirty-three British Army veterans of the 1944-5 campaign in Northwest Europe, in order to explore the unique features of veterans’ oral history and assess its usefulness in military history. This involves firstly establishing the basic reliability of oral evidence, and then considering the effects of popular memory, the individual circumstances of the interviewees, and trauma, in order to gain a well-rounded understanding of the distortions that can arise in veterans’ testimony. The interview evidence is then applied to three key issues of the 1944-5 campaign, combat experience, morale, and doctrine, to assess the contribution it can make to key issues in military history. The thesis outlines a more complex understanding of veteran’s testimony than has previously been put forward, and contends that when subjected to an appropriate research methodology interview evidence can be a valuable tool in the military historian’s arsenal.
    • Banking regulation and the Basel III Accord: an examination of the risks and shortcomings posed by Basel III

      Haynes, Andrew; Chatterjee, Charles; Jacobs, Lézelle; Barnes, Matthew R. (University of Wolverhampton, 2019-01)
      In 1974 the Committee on Banking Regulations and Supervisory Practices was created and supported by the Bank for International Settlements. It was envisaged that a forum should be created so that regular interaction and co-operation could be achieved by member countries to improve financial stability and to enhance the quality of banking supervision. The aim of this research is to examine the risks and shortcomings posed by Basel III; specifically capital ratios, credit rating agencies and value-at-risk. These are based on the author’s initial research that indicated these to be the most problematic. The research also aims to provide recommendations in order to improve Basel III. Additionally, the research includes Basel I and II to illustrate the developments, problems and milestones to create a wider appreciation of this area. The title of this research is tackled extensively in Chapters 4 and 5 where the risks and shortcomings are considered in the former and recommendations are put forward in the latter. This consists of changes that are taking place or have been suggested. It is argued that there is still much work to do, but there has been significant improvement(s). The main contribution to knowledge and understanding the field in the form of originality is found throughout the research in its treatment of the subject matter and can also be viewed substantially in Chapter 5. The recommendations can be summarised below. Capital Ratios 1. A longer implementation period for liquidity coverage ratio and high quality liquid assets. 2. A longer implementation period for high quality liquid assets in a European context. 3. High quality liquid assets need re-categorisation. 4. The creation of a dedicated liquidity risk management team. Credit Rating Agencies 1. International Organisation of Securities Commissions model and more enforceability through regulators and governments. 2. Tighter regulation through the Basel regulations. 3. The creation of a public credit rating agency. 4. Uniformity on whether agencies offer opinions or advice and more accountability through the Basel regulations. Value-at-Risk 1. Research and investment to improve credit value adjustment value-at-risk. 2. The use of all three conventional approaches - Analytical Variance/Covariance, Historical, and Monte Carlo. 3. Penalising those who manipulate value-at-risk to turn products/positions from high risk to low risk.
    • The conservation ecology of the Dorcas gazelle (Gazella dorcas) in North East Libya

      Young, Christopher H.; Algadafi, Walid (University of Wolverhampton, 2019-04-27)
      The Dorcas gazelle (Gazella dorcas) is an endangered antelope in North Africa whose range is now restricted to a few small populations in arid, semi-desert conditions. To be effective, conservation efforts require fundamental information about the species, especially its abundance, distribution and genetic factors. Prior to this study, there was a paucity of such data relating to the Dorcas gazelle in Libya and the original contribution of this study is to begin to fill this gap. The aim of this study is to develop strategies for the conservation management of Dorcas gazelle in post-conflict North East Libya. In order to achieve this aim, five objectives relating to current population status, threats to the species, population genetics, conservation and strategic population management were identified. These were explored using three distinct methods: questionnaires, a distance sampling field survey and genetic analysis. The findings from both the questionnaires and the field survey indicated that there had been a significant decrease in the population in the study area compared to historical records from the 1970s. The respondents to the questionnaire estimated the decrease in the wild gazelle population to be in the range of 80% and 100% following the conflict in Libya in 2011. The responses also indicated that the main threat to the survival of Dorcas gazelle is illegal hunting and that, to reverse the decline, protected areas should be established and protection laws enforced. The respondents also believed that local communities and international conservation efforts are necessary, including captive breeding and reintroduction programmes. The findings suggested that the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) classification of Dorcas gazelle in Libya should be revised from ‘Endangered’ to ‘Critically Endangered’ and conservation efforts increased. Questionnaire and distance sampling methods gave different population estimates at 233 and 1070 respectively, with the distance sampling results considered to be the more accurate. The genetic analysis of the sampled Dorcas gazelle population from North East Libya found eight haplotypes, four of which have not been identified elsewhere, indicating a unique genetic diversity. This suggests that, at present, there is no major risk of a genetic bottleneck. The strategic management outcomes identified seven intervention strategies: declaration of the study area as a protected area, protection laws, awareness-raising, research and monitoring, supplementary feeding, captive breeding and international cooperation, each of theses upported by short-, medium- and long-term activities. However, achieving these requires input from local and international stakeholders and experts in a way that reflects the IUCN’s ‘One Plan’ approach.
    • Influences on conceptions, perceptions and experiences of employability

      Thompson, David W.; Cramp, Andy; Edwards, Emma (University of Wolverhampton, 2019-01)
      This research explores the responses to the employability agenda of staff working within a post-1992 Higher Education Institution (HEI). Recent policy and discourse has served to drive this issue to the top of many HEI agendas. HEIs are required to provide data about the employment rates of their students at course level (Office for Students, 2018). University marketing material emphasises these statistics as publicity and promotion to prospective students (Burke et al, 2017, p.88). Employability is, therefore, a priority for many institutions operating within a competitive, marketised higher education (HE) sector. This research contributes to existing work on employability by examining, in one institution, the lived experiences of the following key participants in the agenda: senior leaders, middle managers and academics. By adopting an Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) approach, rich data was generated revealing the often hidden institutional conversations taking place. The findings of the research reveal a complex and varied response to employability, influenced by several factors, principally: personal experience, values and beliefs, position within the institution and the nature of the institution itself. Common experiences emerged in terms of surveillance and auditing, characteristic of an HE environment governed by increasingly standardised policies, where measuring employability has become mandatory. Participants were united in advocating a bespoke approach to employability policy development and evaluation, which takes account of and recognises various macro and micro issues, for example: the region in which the research setting was based, the nature of the institution, and the diversity of the student body. The research further indicates that institutional approaches to employability can be understood as a change process, impacting on individuals in the sector in various powerful ways: identity, loss of control, agency and increased pressure are significant issues for participants. The research demonstrates that the implementation of the employability agenda within HEIs is clearly challenging and requires an understanding of the influencing factors on perceptions and conceptions of employability, and negotiation with key staff. For academics in particular, local adaptation of policies and strategies was seen as crucial to meaningful developments in the agenda and the avoidance of being merely policy-led.
    • Development of Relationship Model between Occupant Productivity and Indoor Environmental Quality in Office Buildings in Qatar

      Arif, Mohammed; Kaushik, Amit (University of Wolverhampton, 2019-05-31)
      The green building and sustainability revolution from the early 21st century provided a significant improvement in building performance and reduced their carbon footprint. When building and operational costs are compared, personnel cost accounts for 85% of the operational cost of any organisation. Major green building guidelines across the world discuss human comfort and health aspects but don’t focus on human productivity in the office or other building typology. This gap presented an excellent opportunity to develop a model that establishes the relationship between indoor environmental quality and occupant productivity in office buildings. The study was conducted in Doha, Qatar using experiment and survey using 90 sensors in 15 zones in an office building for a period of nine month. Occupant productivity was captured using online survey with nine questions. Occupant response was analysed against various indoor environmental quality parameters using Response Surface Methodology to outline various relationships. Research study achieved its aim and objectives and produced eight innovative equations that represent the relationship between various indoor environmental factors and occupant productivity. Results also indicate that outside temperature and humidity have an indirect impact on occupant productivity; while temperature, relative humidity and light levels have the most significant impact on productivity. Lux levels have an indirect effect on an occupant’s perception of temperature, and outdoor relative humidity has an indirect effect on thermal comfort. Indoor environmental quality factors have direct impact on occupant productivity. This study’s unique focus and research design can be used to extend occupant productivity studies in different types of buildings in different climatic regions. It has provided a substantial contribution to the knowledge gap that existed between indoor environmental quality and occupant productivity. Future researchers can use this study to investigate occupant productivity and indoor environment further.
    • One transition: three journeys

      Chen-Wilson, J.; Brown, Z.; Watkins, Cheryl (2019-04)
      The focus of the research was to explore the transition period from primary to secondary education for those with Autism Spectrum Disorder, their parents’ and the professionals’ perspectives. This would facilitate future recommendations of the challenges faced and alterations to improve current procedures to make the process smoother. The analysis followed Charmaz’s (2006) constructivist grounded theory approach. Semi-structured interviews with five adolescents, seven mothers and eight professionals were conducted to ascertain their transitional experiences. The findings developed three theories of the transition period. The Mothers’ theory ‘the transitional emotional rollercoaster’ encapsulated the core category emotional response. For the mothers the sense of being prepared and involved with the transition and the choice of school were significant factors in feeling emotionally balanced. The central storyline for the adolescents’, ‘weighing up the transitional balance’, related to the emotional reaction during the transition. The adolescents wanted to be informed of their new school, with information on timeframes and support to prepare them, alongside meeting peers to increase friendships and interactions. The professionals storyline, the ‘nitty gritty’, referred to achieving a smooth transitional process by being a prominent figure in the bigger transitional process, ensuring and facilitating the needs of the adolescent, parents and professionals. The professionals desired to be equipped with an awareness of Autism Spectrum Disorder, to understand the needs of the adolescent and to have resources to manage the adolescent efficiently in the education setting. All of the populations referred to being powerless in the transition process, so future focus would benefit on empowering all entities through inclusion. Counselling Psychologists would benefit from the findings to support the different populations. Future development of working together as a collective to form a robust support network, good planning, communication and distribution of information would enable a smoother and more successful transition for all.  
    • Queering the Black Country: a critical and creative response

      McDonald, Paul; Colbert, Ben; Francis, Robert Mark (2018-09-01)
      This project explores the following research questions: How might Black Country fiction illuminate the possible connections – in theory and practice – between the post-industrial liminality of the region and queer identity or experience; and, in what ways might a close analysis of contemporary Black Country fiction function as an enabling or energising factor in the production of a new creative work about the region? Using Environmental Psychology and Psychogeography, I critically examine the ways the literature of the region depict its geography and the impact this has on the identity of its characters. Freudian and post-Freudian psychoanalysis is utilised to discuss ideas of liminal states of being - focusing on the uncanny, the abject and Lacan’s Lamella. These ideas are set within the framework of Queer Theory, connecting place and identity with non-normative sexualities. Psychogeography and environmental psychology illustrate how one’s culture, heritage and environment help form communal identity and sense of place. I examine sense of place in the region’s literature and investigate the liminal aspects of its geography and socio-politics, exposing how liminal place affects the inhabiting cultures and communities, and how liminal place forges liminal experience and identity. I investigate identity by looking at literary depictions of abjection and the uncanny; using Freud, Lacan and Kristeva, this project looks at notions of coming into being, and the anxieties formed from the return of the repressed. Queer Theory focuses on non-normative desire and sexuality. I discuss how queer experience and identity can be read as liminal, uncanny and abject. These theories are set against the landscape of the Black Country, examining how the region can be used as a fruitful backdrop for dealing with identity politics and how the Black Country, in its borderlessness, plays a significant role in specifically local types of queerness. An important thematic thread of contemporary Black Country literature deals with notions of identity in a post-industrial landscape. The region can be identified as post-industrial in several ways. I examine how Black Country writers deal with it as a borderless place – a place difficult to map, a place where new meets old, where rural life sits next to heavy industry, a place geographically and socio-politically liminal. This thesis is a piece of literary criticism of existing Black Country Literature, an original piece of creative writing and a reflective commentary on my creative practices. Queering the Black Country investigates the research questions through three different methodologies, resulting in an overall conclusion that draws on three distinct academic / creative practices. The critical output sets out how Black Country writing can be read as examples of liminal, post-industrial and queer literature. This also develops the theoretical framework the creative element uses. The creative output develops and adds to the existing dialogue of these ideas of liminality and queer experience, offering an original creative perspective on the traditions of this region’s literature. My reflective commentary explores how creative writing practices and processes, in terms of narrative devices, add to the ways one produces liminal and queer literature. This part critical - part creative project investigates slippery notions of liminality through criticism of existing Black Country literature and through production of an original piece of creative fiction.
    • Fulfilling roles: Midland women, developing roles and identities C.1760-1860

      Ponsonby, Margaret; Gildart, Keith; Maitland-Brown, Katrina (2018-09-15)
      This thesis examines the lives of a group of Midland women in the period c. 1760-1860. They were the wives, sisters, daughters and mothers of the middle-class entrepreneurial and professional men of the region. During this period the Midlands produced individuals who expanded production and commerce, often with little technical innovation, but with a shrewd sense of what was marketable. Men such as the Wedgwoods, Boultons and Kenricks built businesses, sponsored canals and highways, and invented, produced and sold an ever-expanding supply of goods world-wide. Yet while the lives of such men have been celebrated, the women of these families have often been overlooked. They are the focus of this thesis, which will address this gap in the history of the entrepreneurial and professional families of the Midlands. Examining the identities of these women through a range of archival and printed sources, both as individuals and as members of families, communities, networks and organisations, particular attention is paid to changing social and cultural attitudes. The thesis will investigate whether and how their experiences contributed to the wider debates on women’s roles in this period, examining the role of networks in assisting women to operate in a variety of spaces, broadening their political consciousness, and questioning what, if any, generational changes are visible. The thesis will argue that in this period, middle-class women negotiated social and cultural conventions of class and gender through a variety of roles which empowered them to shape their own identities. A microhistory study such as this highlights the more subtle and complex efforts made by women in search of autonomy, filling in gaps created in broader studies. In revealing contradictions of the norm, a more nuanced view of women’s experiences can also emerge. The thesis aims to extend existing knowledge in the field of social and cultural history by researching the experiences of these middle-class women of the Midlands who, for the most part, notwithstanding their achievements as businesswomen, religious figures and contributors to science and literature, have escaped the notice of scholars of women’s history. Yet knowledge of women’s activities beyond feminist campaigns can broaden our understanding of what may have been important to their social group. They all had something to say, even the quieter ones. In examining their activities this thesis restores their social and cultural histories and, by highlighting their concerns and interests, allows a more inclusive picture of British middle-class women’s experiences in the period 1760 to 1860 to emerge, with some surprising results.
    • Beside engagement: a queer and feminist reading of socially negotiated art through dialogue, love, and praxis

      Penzin, Alexei; Sunshine Wong, Yet Chor (2019-04-01)
      This thesis constructs a concept of socially negotiated art as an emergent practice. Displacing a socially engaged art, it uses a methodology of “beside” (Sedgwick, 2003) to explore the affective and corporeal relations that are made, maintained, and transformed as part of the artistic process. The research draws upon queer studies, feminist studies, and affect studies to formulate an embodied criticality that self-reflexively confronts the more difficult dimensions of these art practices. The opening chapter analyses and disrupts a selection of influential concepts that have shaped the understanding of socially “engaged” art. Their “refractions” are interventions on art theories including relational aesthetics (Bourriaud, 2000), participatory art (Bishop, 2012), concatenations of art and revolution (Raunig, 2007), and the continuing avant-garde project (Léger, 2012) through the lens of embodiment. A number of refractions, including counterpublics and disorientation, recur as important anchor points throughout the research. The subsequent three chapters investigate the “relational material” of socially negotiated art. Each one of them breaks down one of its constitutive aspects: dialogue (chapter two), love (chapter three) and praxis (chapter four), which are parameters borrowed from the work of radical educator Paulo Freire. Because of the significant overlap between radical education and socially negotiated art in politics and practice, and because Freire’s pedagogy offers clear demonstrations of situated practice, his writings are used to help centre relations within the context of a socially negotiated art. Ultimately, the three components are unsettled by corporeal and affective proximity: the open inclusivity of dialogue is questioned by intimate, frictive forms like gossip and teasing; the mobilisation of political love multiplies into attachments, body borders, and caring labour; and the transformative urge of praxis is complicated by subjective displacement and situatedness. Together, they present a theoretical articulation of a more peculiar and textured relational material that contributes towards a socially negotiated – rather than engaged – art.
    • The influence of lesson design on the teaching and learning process in secondary school mathematics

      Rickhuss, Michael G. (2019-03-01)
      This study involves a collaborative qualitative case study in a single secondary school with two classes of 11 and 12 year old pupils and a group of mathematics teachers. Its aim was to investigate the use of pedagogical language and terminology relating to lesson design for the teaching of mathematics. The rationale was based on a critical review of the literature arguing that pedagogical terms are often used interchangeably by teachers and that these have particular meanings when designing lessons and for the learning of mathematics. The research was viewed through the lens of a single study school with a group of teachers who had all received their initial teacher training in the same institution (the one in which I work). The research process involved the plan-do-review cycles during which the participating teacher facilitated the video recording of the lessons with the classes. Each of these lessons was followed by a conversation in the form of semi-structured interviews between the teachers and researcher supported by video recordings of classroom interactions. Following each analysis and evaluation of the lessons the participating teachers had time and space to develop lesson plans using their newly acquired understandings of the pedagogical terminology. The thesis outlines the ways in which the project developed through the cycles. The conversations between teachers and researcher were analysed using a form of analysis based on dialogic assumptions about the multi-voiced nature of talk. The findings suggest that there were changes in the ways in which the teachers communicated with each other about their ideas of lesson design. Pupil interview data suggests that children experienced an increased opportunity to explore an aspect of mathematics. Pupils also developed a deeper conceptual understanding of what is a mathematical abstract concept (the division of fractions), and that this was independent of prior attainment. Although the findings do suggest a shift in teacher use and understanding of pedagogical terminology relating to lesson design, there were issues around using small groups of pupils and a single setting for generalisation but not for transferability to other mathematical topics. The study does conclude that there is a strong link between teacher shared understandings of pedagogical terminology and lesson planning with the result being pupils from across the attainment range being able to access a mathematically difficult topic. Finally, it is acknowledged that there are multiple demands being placed upon practising teachers attempting to implement a myriad of changes together with the approaches from this research. Even given these multiple constraints their enthusiasm and learning resulted in changes to lesson design and a common shared understanding of terminology for the framing of lessons.
    • How infant massage enhances pedagogical attachment in families facing challenging circumstances

      Rouse, Elizabeth (2018-12-05)
      This doctoral research project aimed to contribute a needed in-depth understanding of the effects of infant massage for families around the times they faced stressful life events. It was developed in response to Bennett, Underdown and Barlow’s 2013 meta-analysis and critique of studies examining the influence of infant massage on young babies’ health outcomes, and their recommendation that future studies explored the effects for groups they described as ‘higher risk’. The research was underpinned by five key concepts identified as potentially important themes, namely touch, intersubjectivity, attachment, resilience and infant massage. Located in the constructivist paradigm, and using a praxeological case study methodology, this qualitative study used methods including video, storyboarding, interviews and questionnaires with families and practitioners. The central ethical issues were around the assent, consent and voices of three infant-carer dyads who participated in the filming, and addressed through an innovative matrix of approaches to informed consent, and co-interpretation of the data with families. Infant massage was found to facilitate a unique multi-modal form of joint communication which I termed ‘visceral interaction’. This connectivity was set in a series of delicately balanced and nested environments (Bronfenbrenner, 1979) and was found to enhance carers’ understanding of infants’ cues, respect for them as individuals, and to support intersubjective and attachment relationships. Infant massage can offer families a special environment focusing on the infant-carer connection, and offering important respite from the challenges that may disrupt its development. However, the environments surrounding the families, and timing of the programme were found to be critical; the massage context needs to support infant and carer feelings of containment (Bion, 1962) and regulation (Gerhardt, 2015) as they adjust to a new life phase. Drawing on these findings, this study recommends that future research focuses on practices which may support families’ increased participation in this vital service, and that there is a move to widen the offer of compassionate, respectful and individualised services to all families at this critical early stage.
    • An interpretative phenomenological analysis investigation into the subjective experience of being diagnosed with dyslexia in adulthood

      Njoku, Chinenye (2018-04-01)
      A large number of adults remain unaware that the difficulties they encounter may be related to dyslexia. Diagnosing dyslexia in adulthood may provide the means to reasonable accommodation to help in areas of difficulties but may also impact on the individual’s sense of self. To date, little research attention has been paid to idiographic experiences of adulthood diagnosis of dyslexia and subsequent adjustment issues related to the diagnosis. The aim of this study is to develop indepth understandings on subjective conceptualisations, meaning making and adjustments issues to the experience of adulthood diagnosis of dyslexia. Semistructured interviews were conducted with seven individuals diagnosed with dyslexia in adulthood to explore this experience. Interviews were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) from which five superordinate themes emerged: ‘De-constructing the past to make sense of the present’, ‘Roller coaster of emotions to dyslexia and diagnosis’, ‘Stigma, stereotypes and stereotypical attitudes towards dyslexics’, ‘The Paradox of self-disclosure’ and ‘Support following dyslexia diagnosis’. These superordinate themes, with their associated subordinate themes, are expanded into a narrative account of adults’ experiences. The findings revealed that adulthood diagnosis of dyslexia entailed a range of experiential processes that culminated to ‘identity transformation’. These findings can help in deepening understandings of the effect of adult dyslexia diagnosis on identity; contribute to existing practices in counselling psychology, educational institutions and employment agencies providing supportive services for individuals with dyslexia. Keywords: Dyslexia, dyslexia diagnosis, adulthood, adult dyslexia, dyslexic experience, diagnosing dyslexia in adults, dyslexia disclosure, dyslexia and impact and dyslexia support.
    • Emotional intelligence in binge eating disorder among the obese population

      Gnanaiah, Raj (2019-02-10)
      This research sought to investigate several differences between obese individuals with a Binge Eating Disorder (BED-O) and obese individuals without a Binge Eating Disorder (Non-BED-O). The first focus was on investigating whether these two groups of participants have differing levels of (a) the global Emotional Intelligence (EI) trait and its constituting dimensions, (b) the engagement in overeating behaviours (i.e., Emotional, External, and Restrained Eating), and (c) the engagement in different Coping styles. The research further sought to establish whether the global EI trait and its constituting dimensions predict the engagement in overeating behaviours, and whether coping styles mediate this relationship after controlling for depression scores. The sample consisted of 109 individuals who were recruited at a diabetic clinic in Wales. Sixteen participants (14.7%) were classified as BED-O and 90 participants (82.6%) as non-BED-O. Results revealed that BED-O and non-BED-O participants did not differ on global EI scores, although there were some differences on certain constructs and dimensions of EI. BED-O group displayed lower levels of the self-control construct and higher levels of the sociality construct. This group also had lower levels on the dimensions of self-esteem, emotional regulation, stress management, and higher levels of impulsivity, emotional management, and social awareness. BED-O individuals were also found to engage in more emotional, external, and restrained eating. Emotional eating was predicted by global EI trait and self-control; external eating by self- control; and restrained eating by emotionality and emotion regulation. BED-O individuals were additionally found to engage in less adaptive coping, more emotional coping, and less rational and detached coping when compared to Non-BED-O individuals. Finally, adaptive and maladaptive coping scores were found to mediate the relationship between global EI trait and emotional eating, after controlling for depression scores. The obtained findings are discussed in relation to both the literature and practice.
    • Exploring the mental health help-seeking experiences of British South Asian women and using these findings in the development of an intervention

      Ashiq, Mehmoona (2017-05-01)
      Research has shown that a high number of South Asian people suffer with mental health problems and that South Asian women specifically, are at high risk of attempting self -harm or suicide. However, there seems to be a low uptake of the mainstream services offered by the South Asian community as a whole, compared to their white counterparts. Furthermore, the existing literature in this area is scarce and focuses on identifying barriers that South Asian women face in accessing help. This mixed methods study explored the mental health help seeking experiences of British born South Asian women. For the first part of the study, six (N=six) women who had successfully accessed therapy were interviewed and the qualitative data was analysed using Braun and Clarke’s (2006) framework for thematic analysis. The main superordinate themes identified included: therapy as a positive experience, perseverance and persistence, need to know basis, fears about being judged, the need for more publicising and awareness, recovery as an ongoing process, medical professionals needing to be more proactive, developing autonomy and putting your own needs first, developing understanding and the importance of the first step. Various subordinate themes were identified for some of these main superordinate themes. The second part of this study involved delivering a psycho educational workshop (which was partly based on the qualitative data generated in the first part of the study) to a group of South Asian women (N=25). Their attitude towards help seeking was measured before, immediately after and four weeks after the workshop using Fischer and Farina’s (1995) Attitudes toward Seeking Professional Psychological Help Scale. An ANOVA Test indicated a statistically significant difference in attitudes to help seeking before, immediately after and four weeks after the workshop. This study helped to get a better understanding of the experiences of a marginalised group and demonstrated how such information can be used to develop new and innovative interventions that can be used with a client group that appear to have low levels of engagement with and referral to mental health services.
    • Academic perceptions of educational technology: towards communicative rationality in the higher education institution

      Sembi, Pritpal Singh (2019-03-05)
      This thesis explores the management of change in higher education by applying a Habermasian conceptual framework to understand, explore and operationalise academic perceptions of Educational Technology. It questions the uncritical acceptance of techgerialism (i.e. managerialism through technology) in the Higher Education Institution (HEI) in a case study of academic perceptions of Educational Technology over a decade of change in one post-1992 HEI. Perceptions were drawn from participants in one school in the HEI to counter the paucity of research focusing on academics’ views of Educational Technology. Increasingly in-depth interviews were conducted over three rounds of data collection in an emergent research design based on narrative analysis. Each phase of change was interpreted as an example of formal, political and then more collegial change respectively. Academic participants expressed broadly similar negative perceptions of Educational Technology change in their HEI: suspicion, resistance, displacement and lack of confidence in leadership. These were categorised as examples of Habermasian social pathologies (anomie, alienation, disintegration and social instability) rooted in concerns about an increasingly powerful HEI systemworld. When discussing Educational Technology, participants expressed socio-cultural concerns more readily than they addressed pedagogic issues and demonstrated both critical and tolerant beliefs towards the management of change. The insider-outsider position of the researcher changed during the research which influences its development. The impact of this shifting perspective is considered reflexively throughout the thesis. The main contribution to knowledge is the augmentation of a Habermasian conceptual framework around lifeworld, systemworld and communicative rationality. Adapting his theory of social pathologies, the thesis suggests that there are corollary values, predominantly unarticulated by the participants, which may ameliorate these pathologies. The Educational Technology pathologies found in the data are ‘inverted’ to values (e.g. anomie to enculturation, alienation to solidarity) as part of the analysis. The thesis concludes by presenting a mechanism for operationalising a Habermasian public sphere, informed by these identified values, as a forum for developing intersubjective consensus and undistorted communication in the HEI.
    • Personality as a predictor of visual self-presentation and motivations for photo sharing via social media

      Khansari, Azar Eftekhar (2018)
      A growing body of research provides evidence that it is possible to accurately predict personality traits from online activities on social media, Facebook in particular. Despite the popularity and importance of photo sharing, there is little known about whether it is possible to study the expression of personality in Facebook using visual communication data (e.g. the content of uploaded photos). Therefore, this thesis aims to identify the quantity and quality of personality- relevant information from photo-related behaviours on Facebook. Furthermore, since personality traits and motivations are integrated constructs, this thesis also explores the role of personality in determining specific motivations for photo sharing on Facebook to better understand the visual manifestation of personality traits in the online environment. These main objectives of this project are pursued in three empirical studies. Study One (phase one) employed a content analysis approach and was designed to identify which elements of the Big Five personality traits could be a good predictor of certain photo related behaviour (e.g. number of self-generated photo albums). Multiple regression analyses showed that all of the tested features/behaviours were significantly predicted by at least one of the five traits or by the Facebook membership length. Study One (phase two) aimed to gain a deeper understanding of the role of the Big Five in users’ photo uploading behaviours by examining whether it is possible to find personality cues from themes and content of photos such as self-portraits, photos of others, and nature/animals. From the content analysis of photos and conducting multiple regression analyses, the results showed not only can the Big Five personality traits be predicted from certain photo themes (e.g. the more cartoons as tagged photos, the less Agreeable the users), but also traits can be predicted from the location of uploaded photos (e.g. cover section). Study Two investigated possible motivations behind photo sharing on Facebook via qualitative thematic analysis of focus groups. Results revealed that motives for the general use of Facebook can differ from motives for the use of particular features. As ‘self-expression and self presentation’, ‘keeping and sharing memories/ life documentation’, and ‘preference for visual communication’ appeared to be three unique factors encouraging users to share photos. While the other three motives, including ‘relationship maintenance’, ‘social/peer pressure’, and ‘enjoyment and entertainment’ were similar to previously identified motives for the general use of Facebook. The final study of this thesis aimed to use, validate and extend the findings from the last three studies. In particular, a photo-sharing motivations scale was devised based on the key themes extracted from Focus group discussions in Study Two. Principal component analysis identified seven distinct motivational components. The motivations were successfully predicted by Narcissism and the Big Five personality traits through a series regression analyses. Therefore, it is suggested that users with different personality traits pursue photo-sharing goals that are in line with their personality needs. This thesis extends research on online expressions of personality and visual self-presentation. The findings support several theoretical assumptions, such as self- presentation, online manifestation of personality, the uses and gratifications model, and the extended real-life hypothesis. Additionally, the results offer some practical implications.
    • The development of 5D BIM framework to facilitate costing in contractor-led projects

      Tochukwu, Moses Gift (2018-06-15)
      Building Information Modelling (BIM) as an ambitious Government Construction Strategy (GCS) on all publicly procured sector projects, is leading to a significant shift and changing the dynamics of cost professional functions. This therefore requires the current fragmented construction industry to urgently review approaches to existing cost estimating and cost planning processes leading to a reliable project budget. This drive, along with 2025 construction strategy is key to achieving the requirement of GCS for 25 percent cost reduction. To successfully implement Level 2 BIM, relevant costing framework, enabling 5D BIM cost protocol or standard significant to changing dynamics of cost functions within BIM environment is required to be embedded within design development stages. Using phenomenological qualitative research method and thematic data analytical process, interviews involving 21 participants from seven construction organisations with design, construction and cost management practices were conducted. Scope was intentionally provided for extensive discussion to identify issues beyond the literature findings. Findings suggest strong commitment and leadership from organisational management will facilitate cost savings, generate accurate cost information in a Level 2 BIM project. A considerable cultural shift towards automating and digitising cost functions virtually; stronger collaborative working relationship relative to costing in design development, construction practice, maintenance and operation is required across the built environment. The 5D BIM Costing Framework (5B-CF) which informed the creation of 5D BIM Cost Protocol (5B-CP) as developed would allow contractors fully utilise BIM facilitating more effective 5D costing in a contractor-led project.