Recent Submissions

  • Systems modelling and ethical decision algorithms for autonomous vehicle collisions

    Burnham, Keith; Pickering, James Edward (University of Wolverhampton, 2020-08)
    There has been an increasing interest in autonomous vehicles (AVs) in recent years. Through the use of advanced safety systems (ASS), it is expected that driverless AVs will result in a reduced number of road traffic accidents (RTAs) and fatalities on the roads. However, until the technology matures, collisions involving AVs will inevitably take place. Herein lies the hub of the problem: if AVs are to be programmed to deal with a collision scenario, which set of ethically acceptable rules should be applied? The two main philosophical doctrines are the utilitarian and deontological approaches of Bentham and Kant, with the two competing societal actions being altruistic and selfish as defined by Hamilton. It is shown in simulation, that the utilitarian approach is likely to be the most favourable candidate to succeed as a serious contender for developments in the programming and decision making for control of AV technologies in the future. At the heart of the proposed approach is the development of an ethical decision-maker (EDM), with this forming part of a model-to-decision (M2D) approach. Lumped parameter models (LPMs) are developed that capture the key features of AV collisions into an immovable rigid wall (IRW) or another AV, i.e. peak deformation and peak acceleration. The peak acceleration of the AV is then related to the accelerations experienced by the occupant(s) on-board the AV, e.g. peak head acceleration. Such information allows the M2D approach to decide on the collision target depending on the selected algorithm, e.g. utilitarian or altruistic. Alongside the EDM is an active collision system (ACS) which is able to change the AV structural stiffness properties. The ACS is able to compensate for situations when AVs are predicted to experience potentially severe and fatal injury severity levels.
  • Prescriber use of Medicines Information Service advice in their decision-making and patient care: an exploratory qualitative study

    Paniagua, Hilary; Rutter, Jill (University of Wolverhampton, 2020-09)
    Pharmacy-led Medicines Information (MI) Services provide evidence-based advice to clinicians, with high levels of user satisfaction. However, satisfaction does not necessarily reflect improved patient care or patient outcome. This has led to MI research concentrating on the effect MI advice has on patients, despite a lack of agreed definitions of effectiveness and the construction of inappropriate outcome measures. Although the majority of prescribing happens in primary care, most MI research has focused on secondary care. The aim of this qualitative study was to better understand how primary care clinicians used MI advice in shaping their prescribing decision-making and subsequent patient care. Taking an interpretive, idealist perspective and using a generic qualitative, exploratory methodological approach, this study tried to understand how prescribers use MI advice in decision-making and patient care. Prescribers (general practitioners and dentists) across England who contacted MI Services with a medicine-related question, were interviewed by telephone. To expand on findings from these interviews, additional prescribers in North West England were interviewed face-to-face. All interviews (n=55) were analysed inductively using constant comparison to identify themes. Key findings of this study were clinicians describing using MI advice as a safety net to shape, support, or do their difficult research and make prescribing decisions, especially for complex or high risk cases. New knowledge was incorporated into their ‘mindlines’ and shared with their ‘community of practice’, for future decision-making. They valued advice provided by a trusted, expert ‘help desk’, which empowered them to make prescribing changes for their patients confidently and safely, and was also quicker than, and avoided, patient referrals. To conclude, this is the first study to describe the direct influence MI advice has on clinician decision-making and prescribing. In light of this work there is a need to revisit currently used definitions describing impact and outcome, with MI services working alongside health library services to achieve this goal. The role of medicines advice giving in prescribing models also needs to be recognised.
  • A collaborative and co-ordinated approach to success – how can the rail industry learn from the recent military campaigns (2001–2015) for the development of strategic resilience management leadership?

    Badsey, Stephen; Gracey, Aaron (University of Wolverhampton, 2020-05)
    According to business and military researchers, the world within which today’s organisations operate is more technologically advanced than a decade ago, with globalisation making businesses and supply chains more interdependent. The impacts of disruptive events are increasingly felt across operational, tactical and strategic operating levels and in some cases, they can cause national and international crises. Simultaneously, organisations are being forced to diversify and innovate to maintain their share of global or local markets, thus importing risk into the daily operating model. These organisations maintain the foundation of society by building the economy; they provide employment, wealth generation, material goods, services and a spirit of community. If a large organisation collapses, invariably the community within which it operates will also feel the impact. It is impossible for any organisation to build a framework to protect it from all disruptive events. Such capability is not possible, no matter the size or resources of the organisation and, therefore, it is also impossible to plan for every eventuality. The skill is having the ability to develop the capability to adaptively think, understand the root causes of the disruptive event and dynamically plan accordingly. This allows the utilisation of the resources, finances and time available to minimise the impact and maximise the opportunity as competitors struggle to recover. This is the concept of Organisational Resilience; delivering a holistic approach to enable an organisation to dynamically respond, recover and grow in the face of disruption. Organisations with a higher level of internal resilience are better poised to mobilise resources, allocate personnel and prioritise key functions, with leadership teams unafraid to make difficult decisions based on intelligence and evidence-based analysis. However, organisations also struggle to fully understand, appreciate and demonstrate the need for resilience until faced with the disruptive event. There is still a limited understanding of how a resilience framework can benefit the bottom line. This thesis is a study of the UK military which, by default, must demonstrate a high level of resilience and the ability to adaptively plan in a dynamically changing and hostile environment, in order to develop a framework to develop and manage organisational resilience.. Research identified that effective leadership, evidence-based decision-making and business intelligence collection and dissemination are critical to success, which informed the development of the Organisational Resilience Management Maturity Model (ORM3). Organisational Resilience in this thesis is defined as a people focussed event, with case studies, interviews and observations of military units in preparation for deployment on operations being used to support this research. These lessons are then applied to the railway industry, in a bid to improve current resilience capabilities. Future work is likely to continue to develop the ORM3 framework, supported through the development of a cross industry learning methodology to continue to build capability. This research has already contributed to the development of resilience within the UK, having been consulted in the development of the UK national standard on resilience (BS65000: Organisational Resilience) and the UK Defence Contribution to Resilience Operations doctrine for government and local councils. It has also been used in the development of tools that can be used by organisations to develop their own awareness and resilience capability.
  • Contributions to the Computational Treatment of Non-literal Language

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

    Bartram, Brendan; Lewis, Lydia; Martin, Christopher (University of Wolverhampton, 2020-06)
    The decline in modern foreign language (MFL) learning in UK secondary schools is well-researched, particularly from the point of view of language attitudes and motivation (Bartram, 2006b; Coleman, Galaczi & Astruc, 2007; Lanvers, Hultgren & Gayton, 2016; Martin, 2019; Lanvers & Martin, 2020), although the role of parents in the MFL learning process is seldom explored. The rationale for the research comes from an extensive appraisal of the literature on foreign language learning education and parental engagement in learning, coupled with teaching experience. Six motivational constructs were explored: general motivation, sense of achievement, internal attribution of success/failure, external attribution of success/failure, intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation. A mixed-methods research design, employing questionnaires and semi-structured interviews, was adopted to explore the impact of parental orientations towards MFL on child motivation from different perspectives. Quantitative analysis shows that there is a strong, positive correlation between parent and child data for five of the six motivation constructs. Inferential statistics show that parental independent variables such as level of general education, level of language education and ethnicity have statistically significant impacts on four student motivation constructs. Results from the interviews indicate that parents had mixed experiences of language learning and that curriculum policies which restrict the option choices for some students could be detrimental to engaging them with learning a language that they choose to learn rather than one that is imposed. Students and parents also presented positive views on the importance of languages for career progression and travel. Improving the dialogue between schools and parents on the importance of language learning through sharing important curriculum information, engaging in careers events and supporting parents for whom languages pose a particular challenge could make a small contribution to changing the current MFL learning climate.
  • Risk factors and health effects of overweight and obesity in older adults

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

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

    Hartley, Thomas; Worrallo, Adam Grant (University of Wolverhampton, 2020-09)
    Research exploring natural virtual reality interaction has seen significant success in optical tracker-based approaches, enabling users to freely interact using their hands. Optical based trackers can provide users with real-time, high-fidelity virtual hand representations for natural interaction and an immersive experience. However, work in this area has identified four issues: occlusion, field-of-view, stability and accuracy. To overcome the four key issues, researchers have investigated approaches such as using multiple sensors. Research has shown multi-sensor-based approaches to be effective in improving recognition accuracy. However, such approaches typically use statically positioned sensors, which introduce body occlusion issues that make tracking hands challenging. Machine learning approaches have also been explored to improve gesture recognition. However, such approaches typically require a pre-set gesture vocabulary limiting user actions with larger vocabularies hindering real-time performance. This thesis presents an optical hand-based interaction system that comprises two Leap Motion sensors mounted onto a VR headset at different orientations. Novel approaches to the aggregation and validation of sensor data are presented. A machine learning sub-system is developed to validate hand data received by the sensors. Occlusion detection, stability detection, inferred hands and a hand interpolation sub-system are also developed to ensure that valid hand representations are always shown to the user. In addition, a mesh conformation sub-system ensures 3D objects are appropriately held in a user’s virtual hand. The presented system addresses the four key issues of optical sessions to provide a smooth and consistent user experience. The MOT system is evaluated against traditional interaction approaches; gloves, motion controllers and a single front-facing sensor configuration. The comparative sensor evaluation analysed the validity and availability of tracking data, along with each sensors effect on the MOT system. The results show the MOT provides a more stable experience than the front-facing configuration and produces significantly more valid tracking data. The results also demonstrated the effectiveness of a 45-degree sensor configuration in comparison to a front-facing. Furthermore, the results demonstrated the effectiveness of the MOT systems solutions at handling the four key issues with optical trackers.
  • Developing novel therapeutic agents for Acanthamoeba infection and investigating the process of encystment

    Heaselgrave, Wayne; Hamad, Anas (University of Wolverhampton, 2020-06)
    Acanthamoeba Keratitis (AK) is a vision-threatening disease which can lead to blinding corneal tissue infection. Many patients who have been infected with Acanthamoeba in their eye do not respond to the current medical treatments involving polyhexamethylene biguanide or chlorhexidine despite the in vitro sensitivity of Acanthamoeba to these drugs. There is an urgent need for new therapeutic agents to eradicate the AK infection. This study focuses on the mechanism by which Acanthamoeba may distinguish between trophozoite, cyst and the newly identified lifecycle known as protocyst. The current study has tested 56 novel and existing therapeutic agents for their activity against Acanthamoeba spp. and their toxicity against a human epithelial cell line. The results of this research have revealed several compounds of interest for further study on their potential use in the treatment of AK. These compounds included, octenidine hydrochloride, alexidine, miltefosine and quaternary ammonium (didecyldimethylammonium chloride). The anti-amoebic effect of benzalkonium chloride, povidone iodine and tetracaine are superior to the current diamidines and slightly lower to the biguanides applied in the treatment for AK. The formulation of novel amidoamine compounds including myristoleyl-amidopropyl-dimethylamine (MOPD) and palmitoleyl-amidopropyl-dimethylamine (POPD) into contact lens solutions showed complete kill at a 4.5-log reduction against trophozoites compared with myristamidopropyl dimethylamine (MAPD) as an existing compound. The combination of biguanide compounds with lipid–based carriers has improved the antimicrobial activity from 1-fold to around 7-fold against cysts of Acanthamoeba spp. compared with the use of biguanides alone. The findings of encystment investigation (the transformation of trophozoites into cysts) showed that the agonists in particular the β ultra-long against indacaterol stimulated the encystment and the antagonists β₁ metoprolol blocked the formation of cysts and protocysts. Two different herbicides including 2,6-dichlorobenzonitrile (DCB) and isoxaben were tested to target the biosynthesis of cellulose in the cyst form and also to evaluate their effects on the formation of protocyst of Acanthamoeba. The results of this study showed that the DCB at a high concentration of 500 μM, reduced encystment to 17.7% and protocyst production of Acanthamoeba at 24.6%, whereas isoxaben inhibited the transformation of trophozoites into cysts to only 45% and the percentage was decreased for protocyst formation by 37.2%. The test results for DCB and isoxaben individually at concentration of 100 uM showed 31.8% and 68.8% respectively for the conversion of trophozoites into cysts. In addition, a similar concentration of both DCB and isoxaben was evaluated for protocyst formation and the inhibition was observed at 36.9% for DCB and a much higher rate of protocysts production was recorded at 63 % for isoxaben. The combination of both isoxaben and DCB at a concentration of 100 μM caused a reduction in encystment to 49.1% and lowered the transformation of trophozoites into protocysts to 45.7%, these findings suggested that an antagonistic effect was occurred relative to the use of DCB alone. Finally, the data from LC/MS analysis for sugars suggested that the protocyst and cyst are different stages of Acanthamoeba, as the analysis of cyst walls indicated the presence of cellulose while the protocyst wall analysis showed the existing of cellulose and methylated sugar possibly corresponded to a methylated analogue of N-acetylglucosamine.
  • Having a bath in Japan: a biographical study of actress and black belt jūdōka Sarah Mayer (1896-1957)

    Williams, Jean; Callan-Spenn, Amanda (University of Wolverhampton, 2019-05)
    In 1933, British actor and playwright, Sarah Mayer, left behind her wealthy husband, and the large country estate they shared in rural Hampshire, for a trip to Japan. As a judo enthusiast travelling as a sports tourist, Sarah became the first western woman in Japan to receive the award of shōdan, or first degree black-belt, for judo, from the Butokukai, an increasingly militaristic, pedagogical institution, aimed at continuing the study of traditional and modern fighting techniques. Sarah’s training at the home of the art, the Kōdōkan in Tokyo, was encouraged by founder, Jigorō Kanō, a known internationalist in outlook. As the trip continued, the Japanese government promoted Mayer’s tour as part of the drive for modernism. Primarily, this thesis analyses the reasons for her unprecedented acceptance as a Western woman by Kanō and the wider judo establishment. Using a biographical framework, and drawing on a large volume of primary source research, this work places Sarah’s achievement into a context of not only time and place, but social mobility and agency, considering, firstly, Sarah’s life before she went to Japan. Central to the thesis, the work then continues with an in-depth study of her time in Japan and the height of her international fame as a sporting personality, concluding with her final years and reflecting on her precarious place within history. Whilst contributing to the literature on gendered sporting performance and role models of the early twentieth century, this work should be seen as a revision of the limited historiography of women in judo, and also, to a lesser extent, the international politicisation of physical culture. The politicisation of sport, particularly the fighting arts, is an important, and sometimes neglected area of sports history, particularly in the Western literature. Providing a gendered perspective on the international history of the growth and diversification of martial arts, this thesis investigates a crucial case study, encompassing overarching themes of class, individual agency and the wider political context of Anglo-Japanese relations.
  • Five go to academia: narratives of becoming

    Devlin, Linda; Harris, Stephen (University of Wolverhampton, 2020-09-23)
    This autoethnographic inquiry aims to capture the complexity within the storied life history accounts of five academics, including my own, regarding the experiences they believe shaped the becoming of their workplace self. The individual stories are narrated, and then discussed collectively to encourage dialogue and deepen understanding. This inquiry is set against the context of previous research that focusses on the impact neoliberal policy and practice places upon the academic (Shore & Wright 2000; Morley, 2004; Harris, 2005; Billot, 2010; Floyd & Dimmock, 2011; Fanghanel, 2012). However, as a postmodern study, recognising ‘self’ as a transposable, contested and fluid entity it casts a wider lens to support this inquiry’s aim, and its two subordinate research outcomes. The first outcome is to inform my own academic and management practice by drawing on Bourdieu’s (1992; 1996) notion of capital and habitus. The second outcome is to develop and then test two multi-disciplinary conceptual frameworks that can be used, amended, or indeed discarded by self and identity researchers when meaning-making qualitative findings (Rainbow & Rose, 1994). The first of these frameworks draws mainly on the three broad categories of differing selves identified by Trede (2012), while the second returns to Bourdieu to consider his notion of ‘world hypothesis’, one that rejects dualisms (Bourdieu & Wacquant, 1992, p.11). The methodological strategy I use is informed primarily by both the five key features of analytic autoethnography (Anderson, 2006, pp.379-386) and Frank’s (2010, pp.105-110) six acts of dialogical narrative analysis preparation. I use four research questions to individually examine each storied transcript from different epistemic angles. The four questions, two aligned to each research outcome, seek out the socio-cultural power constructs that influence a participant’s temporal, synchronic and agentic understanding of the becoming of their academic self (Bamberg, 2011). Findings of the influences that shape academic self include, but are not limited to, parental expectations, life-history influences, immigration, race, gender, workplace experience outside of the university, as well as the impact of neoliberalism. These then inform recommendations that centre on the development of my own academic practice, as well as wider scholarly, and institutional ones.
  • Probation officers’ attitudes towards balancing public protection and human rights in the risk management framework of Mappa

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

    Devlin, Linda; Wale, Debra (University of Wolverhampton, 2019-05-08)
    Spatialising student voice explicates how power relations influence the possibility of students’ epistemic becoming, as a starting point for (re)positioning their student voice agentically. With its roots in democratic mainstream school reform, and its position as an agent of transformation, student voice, in an inclusive culture, should equip students, through their involvement in shaping their curriculum, to find their voice as a process of epistemic development. In UK higher education, student voice is employed to “drive up the quality” of the new student experience. In my professional practice, I have worked to authenticate students’ voices through “rich exchanges”, initiating these in contradiction to the micropolitics of power. I have employed Q methodology to reveal students’ lived experience of student voice, drawing on it to operationalise their subjectivity. Forty-five students from five consecutive cohorts of undergraduate students at a post-1992 UK university Q sorted 42 propositions about student voice, and this work was enhanced by narratives from the students’ focussed discussions. Using a social constructionist interpretive framework, a sociological gaze was applied to illuminate students’ shared viewpoints. ‘Being’, ‘doing’ and ‘seeing’ student voice as distinct parameters, tells a story of students’ voices constrained within the university’s practiced space.
  • In the shadow of Elisabeth: a history of the battle for Bilston Iron and Steelworks, c. 1967-1980

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

    Renukappa, Suresh; Al Nabt, Saeed (University of Wolverhampton, 2020-09-17)
    The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) government aims to improve the current public service delivery and to achieve the Saudi’s Vision 2030, the KSA needs to extend on knowledge management (KM) strategies and programmes. However, the key to successfully embracing these changes and guide them to transform into twenty-first century public sector organisations would require visionary, innovative, creative, and dynamic form of leadership. Although featuring strongly in the popular media, trade, professional, and academic journals, the very concept of ‘leadership’ in the context of KM is elusive for the KSA public sector organisations. Therefore, the aim of this research is to investigate the roles of leadership for implementing KM strategies in the KSA public sector organisations. Given the new and unexplored nature of the research problem, a qualitative research methodology was adopted. In total, 42 semi-structured interviews were conducted to collect data, which was then analysed using content analysis along with Interpretive Structural Modelling (ISM) for inference and conclusion. As revealed in the study, the critical success factors (CSFs) for effective implementation of KM strategies are broad, but nine key CSFs stand out. The association between the identified factors is established by employing an interpretive structural modelling (ISM) methodology that is based on multi-criteria decision making approach. The research result indicated that ‘leadership’ and ‘organisational culture’ are the most significant critical success factors having highest driving power. These factors are deemed to be most-effective for adopting KM strategies in the KSA public sector organisations. It is evident from this study that there are many misconceptions of what leadership meant to them and their organisations in a KM context. Ten key roles leadership plays in implementing KM related change initiatives. The main motivations for invest in leadership skills development programmes are to facilitate the growth of the department and retain staff. The key barriers for delivering knowledge leadership skills training programmes are time, cost, and culture. It is suggests that a more robust leadership training evaluation process would be desirable. A leadership skills awareness training tool was developed and validated. The research concludes that the leadership plays a key role in implementing KM strategies in the KSA. In order to meet the Saudi Vision 2030, KSA public sector organisations must show leadership. It is suggests that public sector wide awareness raising programmes on the concept of leadership needs to be implemented. Also, there is a need to re-assess the leadership skills required by the KSA public sector organisations. The existing education and training programmes in the KSA need some reorientation.
  • Female genital mutilation (FGM): An analysis of the silences in maternity care experiences of FGM survivors and the silences of health care professionals providing maternity care to FGM survivors

    Morgan, Angela; Khutan, Ranjit; Danks, Emma (University of Wolverhampton, 2019-09)
    The consequences of female genital mutilation (FGM) during the perinatal period are significant, but the experiences of FGM survivors accessing maternity care are under-reported in the literature. This thesis reports on the analysis of experiences of FGM survivors in maternity care and the experiences of health care professionals providing such care. This qualitative study was methodologically structured around the Sound of Silence framework which was developed for research with marginalised groups and communities. Two separate cohorts of participants took part in this study; 20 FGM survivors and eight health care professionals. FGM survivors met the inclusion criteria if, (i) they had given birth within the previous few days of data collection, (ii) they and their baby were of sufficient health to be discharged home and, (iii) were able to communicate in one of the languages identified for use in this study; namely Arabic, English and/or French. Health care professionals were excluded from this study if they had provided maternity care within the service where they FGM survivor participants had accessed care. Data analysis was conducted using a combination of thematic and discourse analysis to interpret overarching themes and elicit silences in the dominant discourses that were interpreted across the data. The findings from the analysis suggest that health care professionals’ education and training lacks the cultural context of FGM which seems to have an impact on the provision of maternity services for FGM survivors. Although risk assessments appeared to be dominant in the discourse of maternity care, this discourse appears to constrain health care professionals in maternity services from providing culturally responsive care. This appeared to lead to a silence of cultural sensitivity when providing care to FGM survivors. Themes that were interpreted from the data suggest that mental health services are not seamless in maternity services for FGM survivors which appeared to relate to constraints in care provision as well as knowledge and education and communication issues with and amongst health care professionals. This finding led to the conception of a novel model of cultural silence around FGM which can be used to determine cultural dissonance in health care settings. Furthermore, recommendations include the development of working groups of FGM survivors and key stakeholders in the co-design and production of clinical guidance and education for health care professionals. Strategic planning for the implementation of mental health care collaboration in maternity services is recommended as well as the requirement of further research of mental health care in maternity services for FGM survivors.
  • The potential of using mobile social media applications for language learning : A case study in Saudi higher education

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

    Chinyio, Ezekiel; Alshihre, Fawaz (University of Wolverhampton, 2018-03)
    The adoption of practices that will ensure the satisfaction of construction clients has increasingly become a critical issue in the Saudi Arabian construction industry. A review of the literature showed that this industry is currently characterised by dissatisfaction among construction clients and lacks practices that motivate clients and optimise their construction activities. Based on this background, this PhD research explores client-contractor relationships in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) with the aim of identifying best practices that promote client satisfaction and developing a framework that could be used as a guide to enhance client satisfaction. A qualitative research methodology was employed using semi-structured interviews to elicit primary data from 30 clients and 30 project managers who were purposely sampled. The interviews investigated: the level of client satisfaction in the construction industry of the KSA; current practices of measuring the level of its client satisfaction; and factors that contribute to client satisfaction and dissatisfaction during the execution of construction projects. This data was analysed using a thematic analysis. The results from the analysis revealed a low level of client satisfaction in relation to the performance of the construction companies. This is caused by factors which include late completion; cost overruns; lack of proper communication between project team and client; dishonesty and insincerity; low levels of commitment to agreed designs; use of an inexperienced workforce, leading to poor implementation practices; negligence in planning; and lack of commitment to health and safety practices. The results also established the key factors influencing the extent of client satisfaction to be: effective financial management of the project; maintaining good communication between the client and project team; the use of good quality building materials; honesty of contractors; use of a skilled workforce; paying attention to details; commitment to services and duties; adherence to health and safety standards; striving for perfection; and proper planning. Based on these results and the literature review findings, a framework for enhancing client satisfaction was developed and validated by 16 practitioners in the KSA. The research concludes that construction activities could be optimised in the KSA with regard to client satisfaction by proper planning and adoption of appropriate construction practices. It recommends that future research could focus on the nature of the projects, professional practices and types of clients.
  • Are counselling psychology training courses developing multicultural competencies in their trainees? Comparing cultural competency in health care and counselling psychology trainees

    Galbraith, Niall; Taiwo, Abigail; Joshi, Umesh (University of Wolverhampton, 2019-06)
    The need for professionals to develop multicultural awareness, knowledge and skills has been recognised in literature and mental health practitioner programmes since the early 1970s. Despite the professional growth of the Doctorate in Counselling Psychology (DCoP), recent research still suggests that cultural competency skills must be further emphasised and developed in training courses. Following an integrative philosophical model, this study adopts a mixed methods approach including interviews and cross-sectional surveys to explore how cultural competency skills are facilitated in DCoP training or acquired by professionals compared to biomedical trainees and professionals. Interviews were conducted with the DCoP course directors, while the Lie scale (Eysenck, 1976) measuring social desirability and the Healthcare Provider Cultural Competence Instrument (HPCCI) (Schwarz, Witte, Sellers, Luzadis, Weiner, Domingo-Snyder, 2015) measuring level of cultural competency skills, were administered to the DCoP and biomedical groups. I hypothesised that the DCoP trainees will score significantly higher on cultural competency compared to trainees from other training programmes and this proved not significant. The results have implications for further developments of cultural competencies in counselling psychology and biomedical training courses.
  • Effective implementation of value engineering in the housing construction programmes of the UAE

    Chinyio, Ezekiel; Alketbi, Sultan Rashid (University of Wolverhampton, 2020-06)
    Balancing time, cost and quality is one of the major challenges impacting the housing programmes of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Therefore, this study was undertaken with the main aim of determining the impacts of the tools and principles of value engineering on public sector housing in the UAE. The study also aimed to develop a framework to define the guidelines of a value engineering methodology to improve the execution of government housing projects, along with a reduction in the level of risk. The five dependent variables in the study were: achievement of needs, conflict avoidance, affordability of housing, competitive advantage and reduced cost of production. The two independent variables were value engineering in design and value engineering in the procurement process. To accomplish the aim and objectives of the research, both primary and secondary research approaches were used. The secondary research was conducted through a literature review while the primary research was conducted using both qualitative and quantitative approaches. The quantitative research involved a survey of value engineers, contractors and employees of construction companies in the UAE. The number of fully completed questionnaires was 102, and the primary data collected was analysed using descriptive statistics and regression and correlation analyses. Subsequently, qualitative data was collected through interviews in order to gain deeper insights into the subject matter. Thirty interviews were conducted with housing officers, directors and value engineers associated with housing construction projects. The interview data was analysed using content analysis. The analyses suggested that the five dependent variables were significantly correlated with the implementation of value engineering in design and procurement. On the basis of these findings, a framework was developed and validated by 40 experts. This framework can be applied in the UAE to make housing and other construction projects affordable and sustainable and to meet the full needs of clients as well as end users.

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