• National and international university departmental web site interlinking: a webometric analysis

      Li, Xuemei (University of Wolverhampton, 2005)
      In recent years, the structural similarity between hyperlinks and citations has encouraged information scientists to apply bibliometric techniques to the Web, with the hypothesis that studies of links may reflect patterns of informal scholarly communication in the way that citations can be used to illustrate formal scholarly communication. University web site interlinking has consequently been extensively investigated, but much less is known about departmental interlinking, i. e. links to, from, or between sets of departmental web sites. University web sites are large compared with departmental web sites, and statistically significant results are more easily obtained. Nevertheless, universities are multidisciplinary by nature and various disciplines may employ the Web differently, thus patterns identified at the university level may hide subject differences. Departments are typically subject orientated, and departmental interlinking may therefore illustrate interesting disciplinary linking patterns, perhaps relating to informal scholarly communication. Similarly, international academic interlinking at the departmental level is another relatively neglected research area. The research aim of this thesis is: firstly to validate departmental link data; secondly to identify whether and how link patterns differ along country and disciplinary lines amongst similar disciplines and similar countries. In order to do so, physics, chemistry and biology departments in Australia, Canada and UK were chosen. The subjects are all hard sciences, and are therefore relatively similar, and potentially able to reveal subtle differences in linking patterns. The three countries are all economically advanced, and all are predominantly English speaking, except for Quebec, which is a French speaking zone of Canada. Techniques originally designed mainly for university link analysis are applied in this study, although modified to cope with the additional difficulties of an international department-based investigation. Both the commercial search engine AltaVista and the personal web crawler SocSciBot are used to collect the necessary link data. Significant correlations between inlinks and research quantitative indicators are present, and also between Web Impact Factors (with academic staff members as denominators) and research averages. The statistically significant results together with the results of a target page classification exercise serve to support the validity of the departmental link analysis as reflecting academic activities. Citation counts are the most relevant data to compare with link counts, since the similarity between the two triggered webometric studies. Citation counts for Australian departments from 1998 to 2002 are from Research Evaluation and Policy Project (REPP), in the Australian National University. With regard to citation counts for UK and Canadian departments, the thesis introduces a technique to count citations in a semi-automatic way. In addition to citation counts, the results from the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) 2001 are employed for the UK departments' correlation tests, while research grants received in 2003 from the Canadian National Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) are used for Canadian departments. In order to get a holistic picture of departments' web use profiles and link patterns, four different aspects are identified for each set of departments. The four aspects are: 9 General web use " National peer interlinking " International peer interlinking " Interactions with different top level domains Different link patterns are identified along both national and disciplinary lines. Along national lines, a likely explanation for the difference is that countries with better research performances make more general use of the Web; and, with respect to international peer interlinking, countries that share more scholarly communication tend to interlink more with each other. Along disciplinary lines, it seems that departments from disciplines which are more willing to distribute their research outputs tend to make more general use of the Web, and also interlink more with their national and international peers. In summary, the country and disciplinary link patterns identified are both influenced by offline factors that affect the relationship between the source and target page owners. There can be significant differences in the way that similar disciplines use the Web, and these can point to underlying differences in informal scholarly communication.
    • Neonatal Nightingales: Live Parental and Neonatal Nurse Infant-Directed Singing as a Beneficial Intervention for the Health and Development of Infants in Neonatal Care

      Bayley, Amanda; Barnell, Ruby (University of Wolverhampton, 2012)
      It is the aim of this study to establish live neonatal nurse and parental infant-directed singing as a potentially efficacious intervention that is beneficial to the health and development of infants in neonatal care and which could conceivably be integrated into nursing practice and the neonatal care environment in a way that is both practical and viable. An appraisal of extant literature highlights the need for further intervention in neonatal care, explains how music meets the necessary criterion as appropriate intervention and discusses its potential, specifically infant-directed singing, to be provided by neonatal nurses and parents. The willingness of neonatal nurses and parents to engage in infant-directed singing in the neonatal care unit environment is assessed through an informal questionnaire survey. From the findings of this and other studies, implications and recommendations for both areas and methods for future research are extrapolated. The intention behind this study is to generate interest and awareness of academics and medical professionals in this potentially cost effective intervention, promoting future research and practice. It is hoped that this will ultimately result in the comfort of song providing profound benefits to the physiological, psychological and emotional development and wellbeing of all infants in neonatal care.
    • Networking Performance: A study of the benefits of business networking in the West Midlands

      Machold, Silke Dr; Broad, Roy M (University of Wolverhampton, 2012-11)
      Abstract Research on business networks has traditionally focussed on understanding the nature of relationships in networks but seldom the outcomes from business networking activities. This thesis examines the benefits from business networking from the perspective of firms in the West Midlands and explains the factors which improve networking performance. Networking is hailed by academics and marketing practitioners as a way to improve business performance. Firms are encouraged to invest resources in networking activities, without necessarily being able to measure the result. Researchers following in the ‘markets as networks’ tradition have identified understanding the benefits from business networking activities as a subject for further investigation. Using survey data from 298 firms in the West Midlands, the findings show that strength of relationship, planned networking behaviour and networking intensity to be significant indicators of networking performance. Analysis also shows degree of embeddedness to have a mediating effect on networking performance. This study provides empirical support for the idea that firms which adopt a systematic approach to business networking achieve better outcomes in terms of networking performance when measured as a percentage of sales turnover, compared to firms adopting an ad-hoc approach to networking. This study contributes to the marketing and markets as networks literature as well as advancing the conceptualisation of networking performance measured in terms of sales turnover. The thesis offers insights from the focal firm’s perspective as to why business networking is important and identifies factors which contribute to positive networking outcomes and a measure of networking performance
    • New Data-Driven Approaches to Text Simplification

      Štajner, Sanja (2015-01)
      Many texts we encounter in our everyday lives are lexically and syntactically very complex. This makes them difficult to understand for people with intellectual or reading impairments, and difficult for various natural language processing systems to process. This motivated the need for text simplification (TS) which transforms texts into their simpler variants. Given that this is still a relatively new research area, many challenges are still remaining. The focus of this thesis is on better understanding the current problems in automatic text simplification (ATS) and proposing new data-driven approaches to solving them. We propose methods for learning sentence splitting and deletion decisions, built upon parallel corpora of original and manually simplified Spanish texts, which outperform the existing similar systems. Our experiments in adaptation of those methods to different text genres and target populations report promising results, thus offering one possible solution for dealing with the scarcity of parallel corpora for text simplification aimed at specific target populations, which is currently one of the main issues in ATS. The results of our extensive analysis of the phrase-based statistical machine translation (PB-SMT) approach to ATS reject the widespread assumption that the success of that approach largely depends on the size of the training and development datasets. They indicate more influential factors for the success of the PB-SMT approach to ATS, and reveal some important differences between cross-lingual MT and the monolingual v MT used in ATS. Our event-based system for simplifying news stories in English (EventSimplify) overcomes some of the main problems in ATS. It does not require a large number of handcrafted simplification rules nor parallel data, and it performs significant content reduction. The automatic and human evaluations conducted show that it produces grammatical text and increases readability, preserving and simplifying relevant content and reducing irrelevant content. Finally, this thesis addresses another important issue in TS which is how to automatically evaluate the performance of TS systems given that access to the target users might be difficult. Our experiments indicate that existing readability metrics can successfully be used for this task when enriched with human evaluation of grammaticality and preservation of meaning.
    • Nitrous oxide and methane emissions from agriculture and approaches to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions from livestock production

      Webb, J. (2017)
      This thesis links papers reporting field measurements, modelling studies and reviews of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and their abatement from agriculture, in particular from livestock production. The aims of the work were to: quantify GHG emissions from litter-based farmyard manures; evaluate means by which GHG emissions from agricultural production may be abated; assess synergies and conflicts between the abatement of other N pollutants on emissions of nitrous oxide (N2O); analyse two records of soil temperature from 1976-2010 from Wolverhampton (UK) and Vienna (Austria). Agricultural emissions of GHGs are not readily abated by ‘end of pipe’ technologies. Large decreases in agricultural GHG emissions may require changes in the production and consumption of food that could have unwelcome impacts on both consumers and producers. However, identifying and prioritizing both modes and locations of production, together with utilizing inputs, such as N fertilizer and livestock feeds, more efficiently can reduce GHG emissions while maintaining outputs. For example, GHG emissions from livestock production may be lessened by increasing the longevity of dairy cows, thereby decreasing the proportion of unproductive replacement animals in the dairy herd. Sourcing a larger proportion of calves from the dairy herd would decrease emissions of GHGs from beef production. The distance between the region of food production to that of consumption has relatively little impact on total GHG emissions per tonne of food product. Due to greater productivity or lesser energy inputs, importing some foods produced in other parts of the world may decrease GHG emissions per tonne compared with UK production, despite the additional emissions arising from long-distance transport. Manure application techniques to abate ammonia (NH3) emissions do not axiomatically increase emissions of N2O and may decrease them. Soil temperature measurements from 1976 to 2010 were consistent with the warming trends reported over the last 40 years.
    • Not a proper mathematician, like those with a mathematics degree: ‘Subject switchers’ negotiating identities as beginning teachers of mathematics

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

      Wang, Weiguang; Armesilla, Angel Luis; Darling, John L.; Guo, Xiaoxia (University of Wolverhampton, 2009)
      Cancer is one of the major causes of morbidity in the world. Although the overall survival of cancer has been significantly improved by chemotherapy in the last three decades, the success of cancer chemotherapy is still severely limited by the lack of selectivity of anti-cancer drugs to malignant cells leading to dose-limiting toxicity and the resistance of cancer cells to the conventional anti-cancer drugs. Gene-directed enzyme prodrug therapy (GDEPT) was designed to direct the anti-cancer drugs to specifically target the cancer cells by using cancer specific promoter to drive the expression of enzyme which can convert prodrug into anti-cancer drug specifically in cancer cells. However, this strategy is hindered by the lack of strong cancer specific promoters to specifically express drug-converting enzymes in cancer cells. In consequence, there is not enough anti-cancer drug activated inside the cancer cells. The first part of this study was to employ NF-κB binding sites as a novel enhancer system to improve the promoter activity of carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) and human telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT) for GDEPT. In this system, the basal CEA promoter sequences were placed downstream of the 4 or 8 NF-κB DNA binding sites linked in tandem (κB4 or κB8). The system was designed to serve two particular purposes: to exploit the high levels of intratumoural NF-kB expression and keep the relative tumour specificity of the CEA and hTERT promoters. The results demonstrated that κB enhancer systems increased the transcriptional activity of CEA and hTERT promoter without compromising its cancer specificity. The fidelity of the κB4-CEA enhancer-promoter system was therefore improved by the increased transcriptional contrast between the cancer and normal cells. Moreover, in comparison with CEA promoter alone, κB-CEA enhancer-promoter system expressed human thymidine phosphorylase (TP) protein at significantly higher levels which were comparable to those expressed by CMV promoter. The κBCEA- TP system transfected cells demonstrated significantly higher sensitivity to 5'-Deoxy-5-Fluorouridine (5'-DFUR), a prodrug of 5-fluorouracil (5-FU). The second part of this study was involved in using NF-κB inhibitor as a chemosensitizer to sentizise the anti-cancer drug-induced chemoresistance cells to anti-cancer drugs. The results derived from this study manifested that the anti-alcoholism drug, Disulfiram (DS), and anti-inflammatory drug, triptolide (PG490), markedly enhanced the cytotoxicity of several conventional anti-cancer drugs in colon, lung and breast cancer cell lines. PG490 induced caspase-dependent cell death accompanied by a significant decrease in Bcl-2 levels. PG490 induced the expression of p53 and down-regulated p21 expression. This study indicated that some clinically used non-cancerchemotherapeutic drugs may be developed as chemosensitizers for cancer chemotherapy
    • Numerical simulation of an English equestrian Saddletree

      Noibi, Abdul-Hakeem .O. (2011-10-01)
      The manufacture of horse riding saddlery in the UK is centred in Walsall in the West Midlands. The local industry faces stiff competition from cheap imports in local markets and dwindling exports to international markets. To continue to provide affordable high end products, which the local industry is reputed for, it is essential to develop an understanding of the functional and performance requirements of the saddletree based on scientific and engineering methods thereby laying a foundation for a methodical approach to product development. Through the measurement of surface data from a physical artefact, a 3 dimensional CAD geometrical replica of the English jumping saddletree was developed. Assumptions for the loading and boundary conditions identical to the user environment were obtained from available literature on the movements of the horseback, parameters for a jumping horse, saddletree test data, and, interface contact measurements acquired using a pressure mat. In addition, material properties data were obtained from available literature. Nonlinear static numerical models were subsequently developed and parametric studies were performed to determine the relationship between the deformation of the saddletree and the bending loads. Furthermore, nonlinear transient dynamic numerical models were developed and parametric studies performed to determine the response of the pommel to impact loads. The models were found to be sensitive to loading, material, and geometric parameters. From cantilever tests, the stiffness of the saddletree was found to be between 3.63 N/mm and 4.68 N/mm, and the steel reinforcement plates increased the stiffness by a factor of up to 2.3 times. Simply supported, the stiffness of the saddletree was between 526.62 N/mm and 596.16 N/mm, and the steel reinforcement plates increased the stiffness by a factor of up to 5.5 times. In addition, the simply supported models were sensitive to the wood laminate stacking sequence. Furthermore, the dynamic models showed that the steel reinforcement plates dampened the oscillations in the pommel after impact with a rigid body at 7 m/s, 8.5 m/s, and 10 m/s. The numerical cantilever models were validated with experimental data while interface pressure mat measurements validated interface contact stresses between the deformable bodies and the rigid body surfaces. Interface pressure mat results exhibited pressure hot spots and uneven load distributions underneath the saddletree. Peak and average pressures were 82.7 KPa and 15.4 KPa respectively, representing 16.2 % and 10.0 % error in comparison with the contact stresses obtained from the numerical models. Compression-flexure tests complemented the dynamic models. The steel reinforcement plates were observed to protect the pommel from delamination which was the principal failure mode of the wooden pommel; however, the reinforced pommel failed in flexure. From the simulations and tests performed, it was evident that there is a stiffness mismatch between the saddletree and the horseback which is undesirable. In addition to this significant conclusion, it has been shown that the steel reinforcement plates have a significant effect on the stiffness of the saddletree and do not protect it from failing. Hence, their continued use in the design and manufacturing of the English jumping saddletree is not recommended. Invaluable knowledge gained from the research allowed the definition of the performance attributes in a materials selection process ensuring the choice of potential material candidates to guarantee the optimal performance of the saddletree. Finally, the findings were incorporated in the development of a new concept design for next generation English saddletrees.
    • Nurse academics identities and contributions to the clinical practice environment: An appreciative inquiry

      Sque, Magi; Corness-Parr, Clare Elizabeth Mary (University of Wolverhampton, 2019-06)
      Nurse academics have a key role in supporting the Clinical Practice Environment (CPE) where student nurses undertake 50% of their course. Much of the previous literature regarding nurse academics contributions to the CPE has appeared to be quite negative and they have appeared stuck in a no-man’s-land between the HEI and the CPE. Alongside this, the literature indicates that nurse academic identities are complex, fluid and situational. Nurse academic identities appear to have been shaped by a culture of subservience learnt from practice and reinforced by wider society. Appreciative Inquiry was used to explore new perspectives framed in being ‘possibility centred’ rather than ‘problem centred’ to elicit new understandings. The aim of the study was to develop practice guidance through exploring the identities of nurse academics and their contribution to the CPE. Primary data was collected from nurse academics (N=10) and nurses in practice (N=6) using a range of data collection methods, which included individual semi-structured interviews, focus groups and theme board technique. The data was analysed using thematic analysis. Findings indicated that nurse academic identities are derived from CPE engagement, where positive relationships with practice and the ability to draw on their clinical expertise ‘anchor’ nurse academics identities. Nurse academics primarily identified themselves as nurses and were comfortable with that. Nurse academics and nurses in practice identify positively where nurse academic role and practice contributions are harmonised. Nurse academics independence from the CPE was perceived as positive in terms giving advice and guidance to students and nurses in practice. Nurses in practice see education as an intrinsic element of being a nurse and therefore feel affiliated to the HEI and built positive relationships with nurse academics. Nurse academics had positive identities within the Higher Education Institution (HEI) and CPE, viewing themselves as ‘complex hybrids’. Findings also indicated contested areas, which included logistical constraints, competing demands and ‘Queen Mother’ visits to practice (lacking purpose), impacted on nurse academics contribution to the CPE. There was a level of dissonance from nurse academics regarding how ‘practice’ was defined, which influenced perceived contributions to the CPE. This research presents a differing perspective on nurse academic identities, which shows that they are established in the HEI setting and can make meaningful contributions to the CPE using their academic repertoire. Recommendations include that senior managers in HEI's and the CPE should work more closely to retain the highly prized intersection with the CPE. Nurse academics themselves need to confidently assert opportunities to utilise their clinical, educational and research skills explicitly through career planning and should support clinical areas that draw on their expertise.
    • Nurses’ views on compassionate care: a study using Q methodology

      Gutteridge, Robin; Bond, Carol; Philp, Ann (University of Wolverhampton, 2021-06)
      Compassion and compassionate care are identified as essential elements in nursing. They enhance quality care, wellbeing, and the overall quality of patients’ lives. However, incidents of substandard care have highlighted inherent tensions between competing professional and organisational demands in a rapidly changing workplace. This research investigated nurses’ views of the promoters and inhibitors of provision and maintenance of compassionate care. Participants were third year student nurses and qualified nurses in a large inner-city Trust hospital. An integrative literature review revealed three overarching themes that impact on nurses’ ability to provide and maintain compassionate care. Sumner’s (2008a) Moral Construct of Caring in Nursing as Communicative Action Theory (MCCNCAT) was applied as the theoretical framework. Q methodology supported the investigation of subjectivity within an interpretive design. 54 statements were developed from the literature review and focus group participation, representing the breadth of debate on compassion and compassionate care. Participants (n=30) rank-ordered these statements onto a quasi-normal distribution grid (the Q sort). They provided post Q sort data via Report Sheets and semi-structured interviews; thematic analysis was used to explore interview data. Completed Q sorts were analysed using correlation and by-person factor analysis, resulting in two distinct factors. Some participants shared commonalities across factors and did not contribute to the construction of the factor estimates. Remaining participants (n=18) included student nurses (n=10) and qualified nurses (n=8). Compassionate care was found to be complex, interconnected, and multifaceted. There was consensus from student nurses and qualified nurses in the three overarching themes: • Personal/relational – Improved patient outcomes impact positively on patients and motivate nurses to provide compassionate care. Satisfaction gained from providing compassionate care creates a virtuous circle, enhancing wellbeing, personal motivation, professional commitment, and job performance. It supports collegial relationships and positive patient outcomes. • Organisational – Organisations must promote compassionate care, supporting nurses and providing necessary resources. Managers, leaders, mentors, and colleagues should demonstrate compassion towards patients and staff. Developing and supporting a culture of compassion can counter factors that inhibit compassionate care. Nurses should be encouraged to develop self-compassion, which promotes their own wellbeing. • Educational – Nurses’ clinical experiences should be connected to teaching and learning. This means replacing inappropriate didactic, classroom-based education with approaches that are experiential and creative, using strengthened links with practice, so that learning is relevant to the reality of clinical practice. These findings were incorporated in an explanatory diagram, underpinned by MCCNCAT (Sumner 2008a) which makes visible the dynamics involved and strategies that build and sustain compassionate care.
    • Obesity in chronic inflammation using rheumatoid arthritis as a model: definition, significance, and effects of physical activity & lifestyle

      Koutedakis, Yiannis; Stavropoulos-Kalinoglou, Antonios (University of Wolverhampton, 2009)
      Background: Inflammation is the natural reaction of the body to an antigen. In some conditions, this reaction continues even after the elimination of the antigen, entering a chronic stage; it targets normal cells of the body and causes extensive damage. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is such a condition. It associates with significant metabolic alterations that lead to changes in body composition and especially body fat (BF) increases. In the general population, increased body fat (i.e. obesity) associates with a number of health disorders such as systemic low grade inflammation and a significantly increased risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD). Both effects of obesity could have detrimental effects in RA. Increased inflammation could worsen disease activity while obesity could further increase the already high CVD risk in RA. However, obesity in RA has attracted minimal scientific attention. Aims: The present project aimed to: 1) assess whether the existing measures of adiposity are able to identify the changes in body composition of RA patients, 2) if necessary develop RA-specific measures of adiposity, 3) investigate the association of obesity with disease characteristics and CVD profile of the patients, 4) and identify factors that might affect body weight and composition in these patients. Methods: A total of 1167 volunteers were assessed. Of them 43 suffered from osteoarthritis and 82 were healthy controls. These, together with 516 RA patients were used in the first study. Their body mass index (BMI), BF, and disease characteristics were assessed. In the second, third, fourth and fifth studies a separate set of 400 RA patients was assessed. In addition to the above assessments, their cardiovascular profile and more detailed disease characteristics were obtained. For the final study, 126 RA patients were assessed for all the above and also data on their physical activity levels and their diet were collected. Results: Assessments of adiposity for the general population are not valid for RA patients. Thus, we proposed RA-specific measures of adiposity. These are able to better identify RA patients with increased BF. We were also able to find associations between obesity and disease activity. Both underweight and obese RA patients had more active disease compared to normal-weight patients. Obese patients had significantly worse CVD profile compared to normal-weight. The newly devised measures of adiposity were able to identify those at increased risk. However, not all obese individuals were unhealthy and not all normal-weight healthy. Among our patients we were able to identify subtypes of obesity with distinct phenotypic characteristics that warrant special attention. Finally, we were able to identify factors that influence body weight and composition. Cigarette smoking protected against obesity while its cessation associated with increased adiposity. Physical activity was also found to be protective against obesity while diet or inflammation of the disease failed to produce any significant results. Conclusions: Obesity is a significant threat to the health of RA patients. The measures of adiposity developed herein should be used to identify obese RA patients. Physical activity seems like the sole mode for effective weight management in this population. Health and exercise professionals should actively encourage their patients to exercise as much as they can. This study has created more questions than it answered; further research in the association of obesity and inflammation, as well as in ways to treat it, is essential.
    • Oil and gas contracts: a law in context analysis using Nigeria as a case study

      Haynes, Andrew; Adebayo, Jamiu Olohundare (University of Wolverhampton, 2018-12-31)
      The legal and regulatory framework of the oil and gas industry and the contracting obligations arising thereof have evolved over time in many forms across oil producing states. Given the peculiarities of each of these oil producing states, the framework is constantly changing. The changing face of politics, climate and rapidly developing technology are changing the landscape of the industry, demanding a fundamental need for petroleum resource-endowed states to take a strategic view and choose what legal framework and contracting approaches are likely to deliver their ultimate objective: optimum production with topmost financial gains. The idea behind the exploration and exploitation of natural resources is to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) into developing states with the anticipation that such investment will put them on the centre stage of global economics and lead to an improvement in research and technology transfer that would sustain economic growth and development. However, the objective of transnational corporations is to maximise their profits. Ultimately, it is the exploration licensing contracts that states use to implement oil exploration and exploitation policies. The present research therefore seeks to look at the dynamics of the legal and regulatory framework of the oil and gas industry focussing on its everchanging contract types and nature. The research attempts to look at the causes of the imbalance in international oil and gas contracts with an eye on the observation that one of the causes of the imbalance are the investment treaties because they focus on a state’s obligations with little or no focus on obligations from transnational corporations towards the states. Some critical clauses that need to be taken into account by parties to the contract are also explored because it is argued that contractual clauses are also among the causes of imbalance in international oil and gas contracts. This research therefore addresses the causes of imbalance by looking at the problems associated with investment treaties and the long-term contractual relationship between the host states and the transnational corporations, particularly the associated risks with oil and gas contracts such as; political, economic, natural and technical risks. Essentially, the study will narrow down on the processes, technicalities, case studies and the features of four main types of oil and gas contracts namely, Production Sharing Agreement, Joint Ventures, Service Contracts and the two Concessions, (Old and New). The research also attempted to answer the following questions: what is the current structure of oil contracts and to what extent can parties’ commitments be altered to ensure the sustenance of economic stability? Which type of contract is the best for development and financial purposes? What are the causes of imbalance in the oil contract and to what extent have the principles of international environmental law been utilised at a state level and whether developing countries have been able to overcome the pressures from transnational corporations on the issue of environmental law? The research will address these questions through its five chapters.
    • “Old habits persist” Change and continuity in Black Country communities: Pensnett, Sedgley and Tipton, 1945-c.1970

      Gildart, Keith; Henderson, P.; Watkiss Singleton, Rosalind (University of Wolverhampton, 2010)
      This thesis examines continuity and change in the three Black Country localities of Pensnett, Tipton and Sedgley between 1945 and c1970. The dominant historiography of the period suggests that the prosperity of post-war British society, the safety-net of state welfare provision and unprecedented levels of consumer spending mostly eradicated the inter-war behaviour patterns of individuals, families and communities. Utilising the oral testimony of sixty residents from the three localities, and supplemented by a range of primary sources, the thesis demonstrates that growing affluence impacted only marginally upon the customary social mores of the lowermiddle and working-class inhabitants. Whilst aspirations to new housing and increased consumption affected perceptions of status and social standing, the economic strategies of the pre-war period prevailed. The thesis evaluates the effect of affluence upon earning, spending and saving. It questions assumptions that the support of kinship networks, matrilocality and community cohesion disappeared as slums were replaced with new housing estates. It demonstrates that the Welfare State impacted little upon attitudes to income and employment and that the wages derived from formal employment were augmented by informal work, penny-capitalist ventures and illicit activities. It shows that despite embracing the consumer society, families within these localities adhered to traditional methods of shopping and the financing of consumption. The thesis challenges the work of a range of historians who have emphasised change over continuity in characterisations of British society in the post-war period and endorses Hoggart’s claims that despite post-war innovations “old habits persist”
    • On informing the creation of assistive tools in virtual reality for severely visually disabled individuals

      Nahar, Vinita; Loizides, Fernando; Aggoun, Amar; Pollard, Andrew; Weir, Kurtis; School of Mathematics and Computer Science, Faculty of Science and Engineering (University of Wolverhampton, 2021-05)
      Virtual Reality (VR) devices have advanced so dramatically in recent years that they are now capable of fully immersing users in experiences tailored to fit a multitude of needs. This emerging technology has far reaching potential, yet is primarily contained to the entertainment or gaming market, with limited considerations made for disabilities and accessibility. Identifying this gap, evaluating these newer VR devices for their suitability as accessibility aids is needed, and clear standards for successful disability VR design need to be defined and promoted to encourage greater inclusively going forward. To achieve this, a series of ophthalmology-informed tests were created and conducted against 24 participants with severe visual impairments. These tests were used as comparative benchmarks to determine the level of visual perception impaired users had while wearing a VR device against natural vision. Findings suggest that, under certain conditions, VR devices can greatly enhance visual acuity levels when used as replacements to natural vision or typical vision aids, without any enhancement made to account for visual impairments. Following findings and requirements elicited from participants, a prototype VR accessibility text reader and video player were developed allowing visually disabled persons to customise and configure specialised accessibility features for individualised needs. Qualitative usability testing involving 11 impaired participants alongside interviews fed into a iterative design process for better software refinement and were used to informed the creation of a VR accessibility framework for visual disabilities. User tests reported an overwhelmingly positive response to the tool as a feasible reading and viewing aid, allowing persons who could not engage (or, due to the difficulty, refusing to engage) in the reading and viewing of material to do so. Outcomes highlight that a VR device paired with the tested software would be an effective and affordable alternative to specialist head gear that is often expensive and lacking functionality & adaptability. These findings promote the use and future design of VR devices to be used as accessibility tools and visual aids, and provide a comparative benchmark, device usability guidelines, a design framework for VR accessibility, and the first VR accessibility software for reading and viewing.
    • Once a man, twice a child: a phenomenological study of women of Jamaican heritage caring for a relative living with dementia

      Murandu, Moses; Bailey, Janet (University of Wolverhampton, 2020-12)
      Little research has been done into the lived experience of caregivers of Jamaican heritage providing care for family members with dementia. Socio-cultural traditions in Jamaican families assign nurturing and caring roles to women, so that when a family member develops dementia it is females who take up the role. The aim of the present study was to explore the lived experience of caregivers of Jamaican heritage living in both England and Jamaica. This study offers a unique and original contribution to our knowledge base as currently there is no published qualitative study that focuses on dementia caregiving in Jamaican families. Using a phenomenological methodology, data were collected in England and Jamaica over a period of twelve months by semi-structured interviews with ten women of Jamaican heritage caring for a family member living with dementia. Participants were interviewed in Birmingham, England and Kingston, Jamaica. Findings revealed six themes relating to how women of Jamaican heritage experience and understand dementia caregiving. (1) strength and resilience; (2) a labour of love; (3) picking sense out of nonsense; (4) I’m not a carer - I’m family; (5) the role of the Church and (6) Jamaicans don’t do that. The insight gained from these findings provided rich information about the participants’ experiences of caregiving. This study revealed that cultural values and upbringing within Jamaican families are important factors that support caregivers in dealing positively with the demands of caregiving. The main implications for practice from this study suggests is that the willingness and commitment of women of Jamaican heritage to provide long-term care within family units in order to maintain the dignity of their elders, as opposed to admitting them to care facilities, needs affirming and supporting. Also, there is a need for commissioners of services and support in England and Jamaica to recognise the importance of voluntary community groups and Black majority churches, when collating and disseminating information.
    • ‘One thing I’d never stand for in a relationship is violence, so when she tried to kill me, that was it’: The impact of heteronormativity and assimilation on Domestic Violence and Abuse in same sex women’s relationships

      Morgan, Angela; Paniagua, Hilary; Kelly-Teare, Vik (University of Wolverhampton, 2020-08)
      Domestic Violence and Abuse (DVA) is most commonly spoken of as a heterosexual issue and as such it remains hidden within the lesbian community both from the inside and the outside. In the era following civil partnership and same sex marriage legislation, it may be logical to assume that speaking out about abuse would be easier. However, this study suggests that the politics of assimilation has entrenched the hidden nature of domestic violence and abuse in same sex relationships between women making it more and more difficult to recognise or speak out about. Whilst recent research in the area has highlighted these issues, this study foregrounds, through the women’s lived experience, the importance of structural, social and cultural contexts for women’s identities resulting in limited recognition of abuse and consequential action on it. The study contributes to the developing and existing body of literature through the exploration of the impact of heteronormativity on domestic violence and abuse in relationships between women in a specific age cohort (of one generation) who identify as gay. The results are presented in a narrative ethnographic thematic form, providing three women’s in-depth stories of experiencing and surviving abusive relationships. From within these stories, it focuses on the use of identity in abuse, set against the backdrop of increasing political, legislative and social assimilation. Using the COHSAR Power and Control Wheel to inform the coding framework the study presents a theoretical conceptualisation of physical and emotional abuse as coercive control and focuses on the difference of experience. The results enabled a theoretical conceptualisation of identity abuse and enabled the development of a new model for understanding identity abuse in relation to intersectional identities. Four key tactics areas emerged in relation to identity abuse: the known self (personal and public identity), intimacies, threats and false allegations. These key tactical areas are weaponised in personal, social and cultural, and structural domains of life. The critical inquiry presented is methodologically grounded in analytic autoethnography (with the researcher as full member participant) and utilises standpoint theory and intersectionality as conceptual framework. The study promotes the use of a new practitioner and educator model for understanding identity abuse to be used in conjunction with the COHSAR Power and Control Wheel and the stories themselves may also be used as tools for learning. In an era of assimilation, research on the lived experience of domestic violence and abuse is key in understanding the nuances of experience based on identity; without this, practitioners and educators are limited in their ability to resource, raise awareness of, and assist those experiencing domestic violence and abuse.
    • 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.  
    • Online social marketing: website factors in behavioural change

      Thelwall, Mike; Cugelman, Brian (University of Wolverhampton, 2010)
      A few scholars have argued that the Internet is a valuable channel for social marketing, and that practitioners need to rethink how they engage with target audiences online. However, there is little evidence that online social marketing interventions can significantly influence behaviours, while there are few evidence-based guidelines to aid online intervention design. This thesis assesses the efficacy of online interventions suitable for social marketing applications, presents a model to integrate behavioural change research, and examines psychological principles that may aid the design of online behavioural change interventions.The primary research project used meta-analytical techniques to assess the impact of interventions targeting voluntary behaviours, and examined psychological design and adherence correlations. The study found that many online interventions demonstrated the capacity to help people achieve voluntary lifestyle changes. Compared to waitlist control conditions, the interventions demonstrated advantages, while compared to print materials they offered similar impacts, but with the advantages of lower costs and broader reach. A secondary research project surveyed users across an international public mobilization campaign and used structural equation modelling to assess the relationships between website credibility, active trust, and behavioural impacts. This study found that website credibility and active trust were factors in behavioural influence, while active trust mediated the effects of website credibility on behaviour. The two research projects demonstrated that online interventions can influence an individual’s offline behaviours. Effective interventions were primarily goal-orientated: they informed people about the consequences of their behaviour, encouraged them to set goals, offered skills-building support, and tracked their progress. People who received more exposure to interventions generally achieved greater behavioural outcomes. Many of these interventions could be incorporated into social marketing campaigns, and offer individually tailored support capable of scaling to massive public audiences. Communication theory was used to harmonize influence taxonomies and techniques; this proved to be an effective way to organize a diversity of persuasion, therapy, and behavioural change research. Additionally, website credibility and users’ active trust could offer a way to mitigate the negative impacts of online risks and competition.
    • Optimised solder interconnections in crystalline silicon (c-Si) photovoltaic modules for improved performance in elevated temperature climate

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