• UK support for small firms: an examination of business advisors' heuristics

      Mole, Kevin (University of Wolverhampton, 1999)
      Ibis thesis concerns business advice to small and medium sized businesses (SNIEs). SNIEs account for the overwhelming number of businesses in OECD economies. Consequently, governments have come to see the SNIE sector as increasingly important to 'national competitiveness' and job creation, and therefore explored measuresupport the sector. In the UK, government business support was channelled through the Business Links service, with a remit to support growth businesses. As part of Business Link a personal business advisor (PBA) service was developed to tailor SME assistance to the individual needs of small business, rather than offer a fixed set of programmes. 'Ibis has required PBAs to be able to identify the needs of individual businesses rather like a general practitioner before referring 'patients' to specialists. 'Mese complex assessments require advisors to make heuristic judgements and this research was interested in how they did that. The research used a qual-quant methodology. Research interviews with business advisors, where business advisors were deffied widely to include accountants and bank managers, elicited a set of heuristics developed into a theory of what advisors look for in a well-managed business. Ibis theory informed a survey of 175 PBAs in Business Links in England and Wales. The research suggests that SNIE performance is seen as non-sector specific. Good management is indicated by control, both financial and non-financial, with congruent objectives and strategy. 1hus PBAs are more concerned to identify and reinforce good management rather than promote a growth orientation.
    • Ukraine's foreign and security policy 1991-2000: the regional dimension

      Wolczuk, Roman (University of Wolverhampton, 2001)
      In 1991, independent Ukraine entered the international system of states with many drawbacks: in addition to lacking the legitimacy provided by prolonged periods of sovereignty, Ukraine suffered from economic over-dependence on Russia and was weakened by internal political and social cleavages. This thesis argues that in order to tackle the threats to its sovereignty, the new state adopted a foreign and security policy with two key objectives. Firstly, Kyiv sought to establish bilateral ties with all regional neighbours. Secondly, along the Western azimuth Kyiv established the 'strategic objective' of integration with the European Union via membership of subregional institutions. The desire to integrate with Western institutions implied a reluctance to integrate more deeply with the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) along the North-eastern azimuth. However, the nature of Ukraine's ties with Russia meant that relations between them came to dwarf Kyiv's relations with neighbours along the Western azimuth. Thus it is argued that Ukraine's foreign policy was conceived as an attempt to balance the demands of these two azimuths. Along the Southern azimuth relations with Black Sea littoral states provided a means for Ukraine to consolidate its independence- bilateral, subregional and regional objectives along the Southern azimuth were to complement goals along the Western vector, while simultaneously preventing Ukraine's re-integration along the North-eastern azimuth. The thesis concludes that although Ukraine failed to fully integrate with key subregional and regional institutions along its Western azimuth, by the end of its first decade of independence, its security was enhanced thanks to bilateral, subregional and regional relations along that azimuth. Furthermore, although it failed to fully avoid integration with the CIS along the North-eastern azimuth, by the end of 2000 Ukraine remained anything but a fully-fledged member of the CIS. The achievement of objectives along the Southern azimuth facilitated the respective achievements along the Western and North-eastern azimuths. The thesis also explored theoretical contributions to an understanding of Ukraine's regional aspirations on three analytical levels. Amongst the systemic theories, it was concluded that the robustness of the realist approach continues to present a formidable challenge to newer pretenders. However, with its greater allowance for the economic aspects of international relations, complex interdependence also maintains its explanatory power. As for regional level theories, although neofunctionalism provides some insight into Ukraine's regional behaviour, as does neoliberal institutionalism, both struggle to provide a coherent and consistent explanation along all three azimuths. While the normative 'subregional' regionalist approach is limited by the contradictory demands of regional and subregional institutions, the emphasis placed on the politico-economic aspect of regionalism by New Wave regionalists has extended our understanding of regionalism. The domestic level of analysis indeed revealed a relationship between Ukrainian regional prospects and the ongoing democratization process.
    • Underachievement in story writing: Using psychological theories to investigate boys’ perceptions and experiences

      Lalli, Gurpinder; Palmer, Jonathan; School of Education, Faculty of Education, Health and Wellbeing (University of Wolverhampton, 2022-01)
      This case study investigates the underachievement in writing of a group of six year 4 boys in a one form entry primary school in the West Midlands. Exploring one class teacher’s perceptions about the boys and capturing the boys’ perceptions about their experience of learning to write provided a detailed insight into why this group of boys was underachieving in writing (Simons, 2009). The boys were all eligible for free school meals and most demonstrated disruptive behaviour in the classroom. Literature on social policy has focused on ways to improve the teaching of writing within the curriculum specifically for children who receive free school meals and exhibit disruptive behaviour (Bennett, 2017; DfE, 2012). Consequently, literature about boys as writers has focused on their underachievement, for which disruptive behaviour is a contributing factor. This literature has not explained the causes of disruptive behaviour that can lead to underachievement in writing. Therefore, I have researched possible causes and developed a conceptual framework for my study that was influenced by psychological theories. This conceptual framework is used throughout the study to explore a broad range of possible causes for disruptive behaviour that go beyond focusing on the consequences of that behaviour. Data collection in this study focused on a questionnaire, interviews and a group interview with six year 4 boys to capture their perceptions and experiences relating to story-writing. An interview with the boys’ class teacher was also used to ascertain her perspectives about the boys as story-writers. In the initial interviews with the boys, it became clear that they did not understand what skills are identified as requirements for successful writing in the end of key stage two assessment criteria. Following this data collection I delivered sixteen additional story-writing activities over four weeks and carried out follow up interviews. The main contributions of this research to knowledge and practice are the need to look beyond disruptive behaviour as a cause of boys’ underachievement. The research highlights the need for boys to practice the skills required for successful writing prior to their having to demonstrate them in story-writing tasks. The teacher-learner relationship may also have a role in supporting learning and reducing disruptive behaviour.
    • Understanding effective teaching: perceptions from students, staff and executive managers in a post-1992 university.

      Clarke, Karen (2015)
      This study proposes a model for effective teaching based on the development of an affiliative culture for both students and staff. Characteristics such as respect, helpfulness, and approachability are combined with specific teaching skills that are perceived by staff and students to be effective both for displaying these traits and also to enhance teaching. Although the literature shows that qualitative attributes are not new, from the data gathered, it appears that they are not always recognised by staff as significant for students’ learning. The literature also indicates that there is a disjuncture in the perceptions of effective teaching from executive management, staff and students. The context of the research is in a post-1992 university and current trends indicate there has been a shift in higher education towards a more bureaucratic approach to accountability in terms of student numbers and financial aspects that have resulted in larger teaching groups especially for post1992 universities. Additionally, the student funding system has changed so that students are now responsible for paying all their tuition fees, albeit via student loans. The literature proposes that this means that students may consider themselves as customers which indicate a different kind of relationship with a university. The research literature posits that these reforms have led to increased pressures on teaching staff so that they do not have time to develop a climate of affiliation which encompasses openness, trust and a sense of belonging for the students which, in turn, leads to creating a positive learning environment and student success. The literature review considers the perceptions of effective teaching from academic teaching staff, students and executive managers. This research uses a case study approach with the research design set within an interpretivist paradigm whereby the opinions and perceptions of the respondents are explored. Data were gathered through multiple data collection tools, such as internal student surveys, a student focus group interview, and filmed teaching observations, stimulated recall discussions with staff and conversational interviews with executive managers. In addition, secondary data were used from the narrative comments in the National Student Survey, (NSS) (2012) to complement the internal survey. The research questions focus on the perceptions and strategies that are viewed as part of effective teaching from the three groups of participants. 4 From the findings, I have developed a model to promote effective teaching which proposes an alignment of affiliation with specific teaching skills that encourages participation from both staff and students so that learning is jointly constructed. The model presents a way that combines the personal qualities and values gathered from the data, with students’ preferred teaching strategies which are perceived to enable effective teaching to take place. The inter-relationship between specific teaching skills and personal characteristics, identified in the model, is unique because it is the only approach that combines teaching methods with a values base that encourages a culture of affiliation for both staff and students.
    • Understanding first year undergraduate achievement in a post-1992 university science department

      Cohn, Eleanor; Cureton, Debra; Galbraith, Victoria; Galbraith, Niall; Luan, Yun (University of Wolverhampton, 2010-07)
      The purpose of this study was to address the under-researched theme of achievement among students in a post 1992 university in the UK. The findings are based on a case study of a cohort of first year (FY) undergraduates in a science department in a post 1992 university. Three key research approaches were deployed within this case study, namely, grounded theory, phenomenography and survey research. These three distinctive approaches have been framed within a broad interpretivist perspective in which subjectivity is managed through researcher positionality and the triangulation of data where appropriate. The research findings demonstrate that the point of registration at higher education (HE) institutions does not constitute a successful student because such a constitution is a process of becoming, involving complex meaning-making processes over time. These processes are characterised by a movement from 'outsider and potential achiever' to 'insider and reflexive achiever'. Important phases within this movement are those of: attending; being engaged and solving self-identified difficulties. In the light of the evidence gathered and the review of the existing scholarship, a detailed exploration and theorisation of these phases is offered. The preoccupation with students who fail in some way has led to a lack of research into those who succeed. This research has sought to overcome this lack by exploring the active meaning-making processes that lead undergraduates to achieve. A dynamic is identified between students' reflexive management of their FY experience and aspirations to achieve and the institutional context. This dynamic is also held to undermine the notion of students as customers awaiting satisfaction, suggesting instead that students be regarded as reflexive actors in the shaping of undergraduate achievement. This study presents a novel alternative to the prevalent deficit model in the relevant research which tends to treat students as passive bearers of diverse levels of readiness for undergraduate study. It also offers an alternative to the prevailing research on why students fail to progress or stay at university.
    • Understanding honour-based abuse: The role of sexism and scripting amongst Pakistani adults living in rural Pakistan administered Kashmir, Pakistan and England

      Taiwo, Abigail; Morgan, Angela; Banaris, Bushrah; School of Psychology, Faculty of Education, Health and Wellbeing (University of Wolverhampton, 2022-05)
      Honour-based abuse (HBA) is a pervasive form of abuse that has the capacity to cause significant harm. To date, there is a paucity of research that explores HBA beliefs, and the factors that promote and perpetuate these beliefs within the Pakistani community. This research aimed to understand HBA through a concurrent mixed-methods design, examine the role of ambivalent sexism (AS) and scripting on HBA beliefs, as well as explore the significant drivers promoting and perpetuating HBA beliefs within the Pakistani community. The studies aimed to explore nuanced variations of HBA beliefs across three South Asian populations, in Pakistan, Kashmir and the Pakistan and Kashmir diaspora in England. Two hundred and forty-seven participants from Pakistan and Kashmir and 276 participants from England completed four surveys, consisting of the honour concerns scale, ambivalent sexism inventory, gender scripting scale and traditional masculine script scale. Surveys were administered in English and Urdu. Nine participants from Pakistan and Kashmir and nine participants from England took part in semi-structured interviews in English, Urdu and Pahari. Data was analysed using descriptive statistics, t-tests, 2x2 ANOVA, regression analysis and thematic analysis. Findings showed that benevolent sexism, being female and education levels are significant predictors of HBA beliefs among all participants. Furthermore, participants who originated or resided in rural areas reported higher HBA beliefs compared to those from urban demographics. Overall, the location of participants, religion, education, as well as cultural and gender scripting emerged as key role players in perpetuating HBA beliefs among participants. The results suggest the need to consider these factors in the designing and delivery of change programmes and implicate religious informed psychoeducation programmes to address HBA within the Pakistani communities.
    • Understanding the current diagnosis and management of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): A Qualitative Approach

      Owens, Moira; Primrose, Yvette; Wheen, Lucy Jane (University of Wolverhampton, 2011-04-30)
      Aims: The aim of this research was to engage with the experiences of professionals, parents, and young people in order to develop an understanding of the current diagnosis and management of ADHD. This research will be of interest to Counselling Psychologists working with the child and adolescent population and the clinical area of ADHD. Method: Nine semi- structured interviews were conducted with two young people, three parents, and four professionals. The interviews were transcribed and analysed using the principles’ of grounded theory methods. A constructivist version of grounded theory was implemented, as outlined by Charmaz (2006) and a social constructionist epistemology was adopted. Analysis: A central story line of ‘investing in ADHD’ emerged. This involved the investment of resources in the ‘simple truth’ of ADHD as existing within the child’s brain. A number of categories emerged which contributed to this position, including the ‘battlegrounds’ which were fraught with struggles to gain control of children’s difficult to manage behaviours and ‘knowledge and understanding’ which highlighted the need to understand the nature of the perceived problems. In addition, ‘social expectations’ and ‘personal conflicts’ depicted the social and personal factors which served to construct the perceived problems. Conclusion: The investment in the ‘simple truth’ of ADHD appeared to hold the most meaning for those involved in the study. These findings offer utility for Counselling Psychologists wishing to engage clients in psychological formulation and management approaches which aim to address the underlying factors which influence ADHD.
    • Understanding the intersection of culture, religion and gender on diversity management: a qualitative study of Nigerian hotels

      Ukachukwu, Amarachukwu (2018-12-01)
      Recent attention has been drawn to human resource management within the Nigerian context, with increased interest in the improvement of organisational management practices to enable Nigeria to compete in an increasingly globalised economy (Fajana et al., 2011). Despite this, however, there is a distinct paucity of academic literature addressing the effects of culture and religion on gender equality in management within Nigerian organisations (Tiemo and Arubayi, 2012). Nigeria does not have an indigenous tradition of human resource management, and as a consequence, many of its management practices are imported alongside foreign investment and amalgamated with local practices (Fajana et al., 2011). Nigeria’s patriarchal culture and demographic context have significant implications on diversity management, and this reflects on the composition of the workforce (Tiemo and Arubayi, 2012). Qualitative data collected in Northern, Southern and Eastern regions of Nigeria through in-depth interviews were coded and analysed. The study found that hotels in Nigeria are still grappling with the problem of gender inequality with females’ career development suffering greatly under the burden of a patriarchal culture. Females are also made to take job responsibilities that reflect their positions in the society and households. Secondly, the intersecting factors of gender, religion and culture put severe pressures on women, which tend to have a negative impact on work-life balance. Thirdly, family responsibility and expectations deter females from seeking promotion to the higher level of hotel administration. Many females who attempt to ‘rebel’ against the standing cultural order find themselves in marriage crises. Finally, gender diversity management is not promoted in Nigerian hotels. The study makes contributions to theory and practice. It finds common ground for the application of hegemonic masculinity framework and intersectionality perspective in gender and management inquiries. The study recommends radical holistic change is required regarding policy, cultural, programmatic, attitudinal and social actions.
    • Understanding the lived experiences of male victims of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) in the disclosure process.

      Rooney, Rosemary (2016)
      Rationale: Service provisions for different forms of abuse experienced by men have increased in recent years. However, the voices and experiences of these victims remain significantly unrepresented both in the literature and the public domain. Disclosure of intimate partner violence (IPV) remain under-reported to the police and other personal and professional services aimed at male victims support and intervention. Whilst there is literature indicating the prevalence rates of IPV there is little describing the impact and consequences disclosing the experience of abuse has, particularly upon men. In order for healthcare professional and specialist service providers to provide adequate support and to avoid further trauma being experienced as part of the disclosure process there is a need for professionals to work in a reflexive manner and ensure any bias or personal values they may have and their knowledge of the subject does not hinder those seeking support and guidance. Method: The research follows the qualitative methodology of Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). Participants were recruited through adverts placed with male support organisations. All participants were required to have made a disclosure within the past two years, however the abuse could have occurred at any time through the lifespan. Interviews were conducted face-to-face or via telephone following a semi-structured schedule. Data was gathered by conducting semi-structured interviews with five males who have experienced intimate partner violence. Results: The results identified five super-ordinate themes including a lack of support; a lack of awareness and stereotypes by personal and professional support; impact on self-identity, self-esteem and self-confidence; and shame, betrayal and isolation. Five sub-ordinate themes were identified and included difficulty recognising an abusive situation; difficulty finding support organisations if not computer literate and a lack of knowledge by frontline professionals. The majority of themes identified appeared to reflect a negative impact from disclosing to another person. A positive sub-ordinate theme was the support of female family members once they had processed the disclosure. Conclusions: Significant strides have been made in the awareness, understanding and provisions for female victims of abuse, the same for male victims’ remains lacking. The present study adds to existing literature by providing ideographic accounts from men who have disclosed intimate partner violence. Implications from the findings highlight a need for frontline staff to have a greater awareness of the needs and presentation of male abuse victims accessing services. The current findings indicate a need to provide earlier intervention, support and guidance for male abuse victims than those disclosed in this research. Despite the limited sample in this data, findings indicated a clear need to review current service provisions and training in the area of male victims of abuse.
    • Unsupervised Relation Extraction for E-Learning Applications

      Mitkov, Ruslan; Afzal, Naveed (University of Wolverhampton, 2011)
      In this modern era many educational institutes and business organisations are adopting the e-Learning approach as it provides an effective method for educating and testing their students and staff. The continuous development in the area of information technology and increasing use of the internet has resulted in a huge global market and rapid growth for e-Learning. Multiple Choice Tests (MCTs) are a popular form of assessment and are quite frequently used by many e-Learning applications as they are well adapted to assessing factual, conceptual and procedural information. In this thesis, we present an alternative to the lengthy and time-consuming activity of developing MCTs by proposing a Natural Language Processing (NLP) based approach that relies on semantic relations extracted using Information Extraction to automatically generate MCTs. Information Extraction (IE) is an NLP field used to recognise the most important entities present in a text, and the relations between those concepts, regardless of their surface realisations. In IE, text is processed at a semantic level that allows the partial representation of the meaning of a sentence to be produced. IE has two major subtasks: Named Entity Recognition (NER) and Relation Extraction (RE). In this work, we present two unsupervised RE approaches (surface-based and dependency-based). The aim of both approaches is to identify the most important semantic relations in a document without assigning explicit labels to them in order to ensure broad coverage, unrestricted to predefined types of relations. In the surface-based approach, we examined different surface pattern types, each implementing different assumptions about the linguistic expression of semantic relations between named entities while in the dependency-based approach we explored how dependency relations based on dependency trees can be helpful in extracting relations between named entities. Our findings indicate that the presented approaches are capable of achieving high precision rates. Our experiments make use of traditional, manually compiled corpora along with similar corpora automatically collected from the Web. We found that an automatically collected web corpus is still unable to ensure the same level of topic relevance as attained in manually compiled traditional corpora. Comparison between the surface-based and the dependency-based approaches revealed that the dependency-based approach performs better. Our research enabled us to automatically generate questions regarding the important concepts present in a domain by relying on unsupervised relation extraction approaches as extracted semantic relations allow us to identify key information in a sentence. The extracted patterns (semantic relations) are then automatically transformed into questions. In the surface-based approach, questions are automatically generated from sentences matched by the extracted surface-based semantic pattern which relies on a certain set of rules. Conversely, in the dependency-based approach questions are automatically generated by traversing the dependency tree of extracted sentence matched by the dependency-based semantic patterns. The MCQ systems produced from these surface-based and dependency-based semantic patterns were extrinsically evaluated by two domain experts in terms of questions and distractors readability, usefulness of semantic relations, relevance, acceptability of questions and distractors and overall MCQ usability. The evaluation results revealed that the MCQ system based on dependency-based semantic relations performed better than the surface-based one. A major outcome of this work is an integrated system for MCQ generation that has been evaluated by potential end users.

      Gupta, Rohit (2016)
      Current Translation Memory (TM) tools lack semantic knowledge while matching. Most TM tools compute similarity at the string level, which does not take into account semantic aspects in matching. Therefore, semantically similar segments, which differ on the surface form, are often not retrieved. In this thesis, we present five novel and efficient approaches to incorporate advanced semantic knowledge in translation memory matching and retrieval. Two efficient approaches which use a paraphrase database to improve translation memory matching and retrieval are presented. Both automatic and human evaluations are conducted. The results on both evaluations show that paraphrasing improves matching and retrieval. An approach based on manually designed features extracted using NLP systems and resources is presented, where a Support Vector Machine (SVM) regression model is trained, which calculates the similarity between two segments. The approach based on manually designed features did not retrieve better matches than simple edit-distance. Two approaches for retrieving segments from a TM using deep learning are investigated. The first one is based on Long Short Term Memory (LSTM) networks, while the other one is based on Tree Structured Long Short Term Memory (Tree-LSTM) networks. Eight different models using different datasets and settings are trained. The results are comparable to a baseline which uses simple edit-distance.
    • Use of sol chemistry and fine grained precursors in the production of controlled microstructural polycrystalline continuous oxide fibres

      Freeman, Craig John (University of Wolverhampton, 2005)
      Novel mullite fibres have been produced on a laboratory scale by pyrolysis of sol-gel spun precursors, having nanosized grains or discrete atomic dispersion, stabilised by in-situ precipitation of a minor phase addition of zirconia. A complex blend of chloride free precursors in aqueous media enabled good extrusion and drying characteristics, exhibiting Newtonian flow behaviour and draw down to fired fibre diameters, typically in the range of 10 - 20~m, the finest being almost defect free. The inorganic salt/alkoxide precursor ratio was optimised to 55:45 weight % addition after firstly using commercial grade precursors and then further optimised using lab produced aluminium acetotartrate (AA T) in order to remove unwanted alkali and alkaline earth oxide impurities. Various colloidal silca sols were also evaluated, the finest particle size (7nm) preferred for extrusion and sintering properties. Flow characteristics (rheology) and ageing with time were determined by cone and plate rheometry on three different sol concentrations, the highest concentration was found to age (thicken) faster but was easily extruded to make fibre over a 5 week period due to its shear thinning Newtonian flow behaviour. Various spectroscopic and microscopic techniques including rcp, XRF, XRD, solid state NMR, SEM and TEM were employed to determine the purity, oxide phase evolution and microstructural stability with temperature and time. During conversion of the sol-gel fibres to the polycrystalline fibre SEM imaging and elemental analysis showed that careful heat treatment was necessary to remove volatile components such as sulphate in order to avoid large residual porosity and week fibres. Densification of fibres between 900 - 950°C was critical, as up to 26% linear shrinkage would result. The formation of nano porous y-alumina was apparent from low angle XRD scans and concurred from Al27 solid state NMR analysis which manifested itself as deformations in the fibre longitudinally resulting in "kinks" further exacerbated during sintering and mullite formation above 1200°C. Si29 NMR confirmed that tetrahedral peaks at 11 Oppm between 990 - 11 OO°C were due to heterogeneous colloidal silica, which subsequently reacted to form a fine stable orthorhombic mullite (3AI 20 3.2Si02) above 1200°C in and around which the zirconia existed in the tetragonal form, as defined by XRD analysis. TEM imaging demonstrated that the mullite microstructure had been stabilised and porosity removed due to in-situ precipitation of zirconia and subsequent sintering. The microstructure was compared to 3M Nextel 720 mullite/alumina fibre and found to be of similar dimensions. Optimisation of the zirconia addition was found to be 5% by weight, which also allowed the fine microstructure to be maintained without severe grain growth up to 1400°C. A relatively slow firing rate was shown to almost half the size of the mullite crystals due to controlled sintering and densification, although commercially firing rates of several hundred degrees per hour are more desirable. Such fibres exhibited an average tensile strength of 3.4GPa after heat treatment to 1250°C and superior Dicarlo ratio creep rate properties at and above this temperature compared to the 3M Nextel 720, the best commercial fibres that were currently available on the market. Discussions with QinetiQ (Famborough) are being held with the aim of exploiting the sol chemistry within a development project with the ambition of scale up from lab to production scale in order to supply fibres for fabrication of ceramic matrix composites.
    • Using palm-mat geotextiles for soil conservation on arable loamy sands in the United Kingdom

      Fullen, Michael A.; Sarsby, Robert W.; Booth, Colin A.; Bhattacharyya, Ranjan (University of Wolverhampton, 2009)
      To date, most studies on the effectiveness of geotextiles on soil erosion rates were conducted in laboratory experiments for <1 h. Hence, at Hilton, East Shropshire, UK, this study investigated the effectiveness of palm-mat geotextiles (Borassus and Buriti mats) in reducing rainsplash erosion, runoff and soil loss and changing selected soil properties under field conditions over two years (January 2007-January 2009). Mat-cover effects on rainsplash erosion were studied in two sets on a loamy sand soil (0o slope). In both sets, six randomly-selected plots (each 1 m2) were completely matcovered and six were bare. Unlike Buriti mats, Borassus mat-cover on bare soil significantly (P<0.001) decreased rainsplash erosion (by ~89%). Duplicate runoff plots (10 x 1 m on a 15o slope) had five treatments (bare, permanent grass, Borassus completely-cover, Borassus buffer strip and Buriti buffer strip). Using Borassus buffer strips (area coverage ~10%) on bare soil decreased runoff by ~71% (P>0.05) and soil erosion by ~92% (P<0.001). Borassus buffer strip, Buriti buffer strip and Borassus completely-covered plots had similar effects in decreasing runoff and soil loss. However, the longevity of Borassus mats was ~twice that of Buriti mats. Despite physical protection, runoff control and sediment entrapment, biomat buffer zones may considerably alter and protect flow direction by presenting barriers and creating several cross-drains. Except Borassus completely-covered plots, all plots had significant (P<0.05) increases in topsoil (0-5 cm) bulk density and decreased aggregate stability. However, buffer strips were more effective in trapping fine particles than Borassus completely-covered plots. No treatments had significant (P>0.05) effects on changes in pH, soil organic matter, total soil carbon or N. Plots with Borassus mats significantly (P<0.05) increased total P and decreased total Ca. Treatments had no significant effects on changes in total S, Mg, Zn, Cu, Fe, Mn, Mo or Cl concentrations. Borassus buffer strips can effectively conserve soil and water and improve and maintain selected soil properties, with results similar to Borassus completely-covered plots. The mechanisms explaining the effectiveness of buffer zones require further studies under varied pedo-climatic conditions.
    • Utilisation of insecticide treated nets among women in rural Nigeria: Themes, Stories, and Performance

      Nzute, Anastesia (2017)
      Background The effect of Malaria attack on maternal and child health in Nigeria is high compared with other countries in sub Saharan Africa. This problem has been a persistent issue in Nigeria and many researchers have tried to proffer solutions. Insecticide treated nets (ITN) have been identified as providing approximately 80% protection against malaria attack. However, all the measures put in place to control malaria failed to meet up with the set target of the Roll Back Malaria Initiative, which aimed at reducing malaria deaths in Nigeria by half by 2010 in line with the Millennium Development Goals (Anyaehie et al., 2009). As part of the global initiative to reduce malaria deaths before 2015 (Amoran, Senbanjo and Asagwara, 2011) the Nigerian government introduced intervention programmes to protect pregnant women, and children under-five years of age (Anyaehie et al., 2011). However, although there has been considerable and effective intervention in controlling this preventable disease in the African continent, marked inconsistency in the distribution of the ITN, scarcity and low usage in Nigeria (Amoran, Senbanjo and Asagwara, 2011) are apparent, despite emphasis on community-based strategies for malaria control (Obinna, 2011). For midwives in rural Nigeria the disproportionate vulnerability of pregnant women and young children is of great concern. This particular issue is the focus of a hermeneutic phenomenological inquiry into the experiences of pregnant women and mothers in their efforts to protect their families and themselves from malaria attack. The study contends that the ‘big (pan-African/national) story’ of malaria has found many voices, speaking from a predominantly positivist perspective. While some more interpretivist approaches to exploring experience have been employed elsewhere in Sub-Saharan Africa (Rachel and Frank 2005), there remains a need for more participatory research related to health care issues in Nigeria (Abdullahi et al 2013). Women and children make up the majority of the Nigeria population of over 160 million. An attack of malaria on them affects entire households and the economy of the nation. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to give voice to the ‘small (household) stories’ of Nigerian women (mothers and health workers), living and working in impoverished rural communities, and consider how their viewpoints, perspectives and imaginings might contribute to the fight for a malaria-free Nigeria. Methodological approach The research draws on the philosophy of Martin Heidegger, Hans-Georg Gadamer, and Maurice Merleau-Ponty. The participants’ accounts are interpreted in terms of Africana ‘Womanism’ as defined by Hudson-Weems (1993), the socio-narratology approach elaborated by Frank (2010), and Igbo world-view. Research procedure Individual semi-structured interviews and focus groups were conducted with Igbo women in three rural communities in Enugu State in eastern Nigeria (Nsukka, Ngwo, and Amechi). This was a three-phase process involving an initial orientation visit to engage with local gatekeepers and community health workers. A first round of interviews and discussion took place in three communities in 2014, followed by the first phase of interpretation. A second field trip took place in 2015, during which participants discussed the ongoing interpretation and elaborated further on some of the issues raised. Interpretive phases 2 and 3 followed this visit. Interpretive process Interpretive shifts in understanding were accomplished in three ways: 1. Seeking thematic connections between participants’ accounts of living with the threat of malaria. 2. Engaging in dialogical narrative analysis to explore the work done by the stories embedded in individual accounts of living under the threat of malaria. 3. Crafting found poetry from within the collective accounts to produce an evocative text that could mediate an emotional response and understanding of the malaria experience. Key outcomes The research was a response to calls for more participatory research into the detailed experiences of people in Africa facing up to the threat of malaria. It has provided a vehicle for the voices of a group of Nigerian women and health workers to bring attention to the continuing plight of pregnant women and their families with limited access to insecticide-treated bed nets in poor living conditions. They have told how they seek to empower themselves in their own small and particular ways. It has provided insights into their worldview(s) and what others might see from where they stand. As such it has added to their own call expressed during the research to “Keep malaria on the agenda.” The research has used the women’s own testimony to create an oral resource designed https://youtu.be/XelMXLUzTV0 to facilitate education and action among small local groups of women and their families, and for health workers in local rural communities.
    • Variants of compound models and their application to citation analysis

      Low, Wan Jing (2017)
      This thesis develops two variant statistical models for count data based upon compound models for contexts when the counts may be viewed as derived from two generations, which may or may not be independent. Unlike standard compound models, the variants model the sum of both generations. We consider cases where both generations are negative binomial or one is Poisson and the other is negative binomial. The first variant, denoted SVA, follows a zero restriction, where a zero in the first generation will automatically be followed by a zero in the second generation. The second variant, denoted SVB, is a convolution model that does not possess this zero restriction. The main properties of the SVA and SVB models are outlined and compared with standard compound models. The results show that the SVA distributions are similar to standard compound distributions for some fixed parameters. Comparisons of SVA, Poisson hurdle, negative binomial hurdle and their zero-inflated counterpart using simulated SVA data indicate that different models can give similar results, as the generating models are not always selected as the best fitting. This thesis focuses on the use of the variant models to model citation counts. We show that the SVA models are more suitable for modelling citation data than other previously used models such as the negative binomial model. Moreover, the application of SVA and SVB models may be used to describe the citation process. This thesis also explores model selection techniques based on log-likelihood methods, Akaike Information Criterion (AIC) and Bayesian Information Criterion (BIC). The suitability of the models is also assessed using two diagrammatic methods, randomised quantile residual plots and Christmas tree plots. The Christmas tree plots clearly illustrate whether the observed data are within fluctuation bounds under the fitted model, but the randomised quantile residual plots utilise the cumulative distribution, and hence are insensitive to individual data values. Both plots show the presence of citation counts that are larger than expected under the fitted model in the data sets.
    • VideoTag: Encouraging the Effective Tagging of Internet Videos Through Tagging Games

      Lewis, Stacey. (2014-05)
      Abstract The tags and descriptions entered by video owners in video sharing sites are typically inadequate for retrieval purposes, yet the majority of video search still uses this text. This problem is escalating due to the ease with which users can self-publish videos, generating masses that are poorly labelled and poorly described. This thesis investigates how users tag videos and whether video tagging games can solve this problem by generating useful sets of tags. A preliminary study investigated tags in two social video sharing sites, YouTube and Viddler. YouTube contained many irrelevant tags because the system does not encourage users to tag their videos and does not promote tags as useful. In contrast, using tags as the sole means of categorisation in Viddler motivated users to enter a higher proportion of relevant tags. Poor tags were found in both systems, however, highlighting the need to improve video tagging. In order to give users incentives to tag videos, the VideoTag project in this thesis developed two tagging games, Golden Tag and Top Tag, and one non-game tagging system, Simply Tag, and conducted two experiments with them. In the first experiment VideoTag was a portal to play video tagging games whereas in the second experiment it was a portal to curate collections of special interest videos. Users preferred to tag videos using games, generating tags that were relevant to the videos and that covered a range of tag types that were descriptive of the video content at a predominately specific, objective level. Users were motivated by interest in the content rather than by game elements, and content had an effect on the tag types used. In each experiment, users predominately tagged videos using objective language, with a tendency to use specific rather than basic tags. There was a significant difference between the types of tags entered in the games and in Simply Tag, with more basic, objective vocabulary entered into the games and more specific, objective language entered into the non-game system. Subjective tags were rare but were more frequent in Simply Tag. Gameplay also had an influence on the types of tags entered; Top Tag generated more basic tags and Golden Tag generated more specific and subjective tags. Users were not attracted to use VideoTag by the games alone. Game mechanics had little impact on motivations to use the system. VideoTag used YouTube videos, but could not upload the tags to YouTube and so users could see no benefit for the tags they entered, reducing participation. Specific interest content was more of a motivator for use than games or tagging and that this warrants further research. In the current game-saturated climate, gamification of a video tagging system may therefore be most successful for collections of videos that already have a committed user base.
    • Virtual voices and contrapuntal melodies: exploring the liminal experiences of part-time, adult learners as they embark on undergraduate, online study

      Traxler, John; Hayes, Sarah; Lawton, Megan; Johnson, Kara (University of Wolverhampton, 2020-09)
      Using liminal spaces as a heuristic tool, this study explores the experiences of fifteen adult learners as they complete the first academic module of their part-time, online degree. Online undergraduate programmes enable adult learners to make decisions of how their aspirations are best met. The convenience and flexibility of hybrid spaces, enables them to take control of their learning. However, these benefits are reliant upon negotiating new ideas, technologies, constructs of learning and emergent identities which may sit at the counterpoint of existing roles, responsibilities and experiences. For some, this period of transition can consequently be characterised by disorientation and liminality. The findings provide new insights into the context of the decision to study online, highlighting the extent of the emotion and entanglement between an individual’s choice to participate in learning and their personal lifeworld. It shows how online learning provides a degree of agency for some students where participation in other settings could be difficult. This research conceptualises the decision to return to study, in order to identify the interplay of the personal, institutional and circumstantial domains which shape these early encounters. It uses a narrative approach to explore participant experiences in forging their emergent identities, the opportunities and challenges presented by hybrid online spaces, the importance of networks and a sense of belonging and what tools and strategies are deployed in negotiating boundary encounters. Although the data for this study was collected and analysed before the Covid-19 pandemic, the study examines what we, as educator-researchers, can learn from their narratives and how this might inform our professional practice in the Covid-19 context. It makes a methodological contribution to the literature in the growing field of online research methods through its innovative use of online reflective journals and Skype interviews alongside examining the implications of the findings for both policy and practice.
    • A visual ethnographic study on nurse lecturers’ enactment of compassionate care within the adult pre-registration nursing curriculum

      Lucy Pursehouse; Drummond, Juliet (University of Wolverhampton, 2021-02)
      Aim of the study: To explore how compassionate care is enacted within the adult pre-registration nursing curriculum (APNC) by Nurse lecturers (NLs). Background: Compassionate care is rooted in the nursing profession and there is a general assumption that nurses are compassionate to those they serve. There has been much debate on whether compassionate care can be taught or is it innate to individuals. There are a number of studies that explore the experiences of student nurses, patients and healthcare professionals. However, there are a limited number of studies exploring NLs’ experiences, attitudes and behaviours. This thesis explores NL’s perspective of their performance of compassionate care within APNC. This has an important impact on the pre-registration nursing education of student nurses and future care delivery. Methodology: A qualitative approach was applied using purposeful sampling to recruit nine participants. A visual ethnographic methodology was employed, using auto-driven photo-elicitation interviews. The same nurse lecturers were then invited to a focus group to develop individual and collaborative concept maps, of which five attended. Data was collected between March 2017 to August 2018. Findings: This interpretative study revealed five emergent themes: (1) compassionate care; (2) compassionate people; (3) compassionate curriculum; (4) compassionate culture (5) compassionate lens. A framework has emerged which informs pre-registration nursing education and health services. The themes are also represented in the photographs, concepts maps, an atlas of compassionate care within the adult preregistration nursing curriculum , and the map of compassionate care. Conclusion: In summary, this study represents the complexity of how compassionate care is performed by NLs in their role in supporting and developing student nurses. The individual and shared experiences of NLs highlight the numerous ways compassionate care is experienced and performed. The identified themes demonstrate the many opportunities available for all levels of staff to be compassionate in their role to those in need. It is hoped that the impact of this may drive up standards and delivery of compassionate care in healthcare services and nursing education. Originality: This study contributes a comprehensive analysis of the performance of NLs in compassionate care in the APNC. Using a visual ethnographic methodology provided a thick description of the experiences of NLs, therefore adding to the body of knowledge in the understanding and delivery of compassionate care in nursing education. The infusion of photographs, concept maps and dialogue give insight into the multiple ways NLs experience and perform compassionate care. It is anticipated that the findings offer a valuable insight to how higher education institutions, healthcare organisations and researchers can shape compassionate nursing practice both locally and nationally.
    • The voices of adults with a learning disability and a carer on their orthopaedic and trauma hospital care in the UK

      Chadwick, Darren; Jester, Rebecca; Drozd, Mary (University of Wolverhampton, 2019-07)
      Introduction: People with learning disabilities have a greater prevalence of musculoskeletal conditions and injuries than the general population and these have significant impacts on wellbeing. Despite this, orthopaedic and trauma hospital care has not been investigated with this group who seldom have their voices heard or their experiences valued and interpreted. This study contributes to the existing evidence base by exploring the experiences of people with a learning disability who have received orthopaedic and trauma hospital care. Aim: To understand the orthopaedic and trauma hospital experiences from the perspective of adults with a learning disability. Methods: A qualitative approach, focusing on peoples’ lived experiences, was utilised. A purposive sample of five participants was recruited and one-to-one, semi-structured interviews were undertaken. Analysis of the interviews employed an interpretative phenomenological analytical framework. Findings: Findings from each participant in the study was discussed in relation to their orthopaedic and trauma hospital care. A cross-case comparison was then undertaken and the themes below represent common experiences across participants: • Communication challenges • Lack of person-centred care • Issues related to pain management • Lack of confidence in hospital care • The valuable support and expertise of carers • Incompetence of hospital staff • Isolation and loneliness Discussion & conclusions: This study contributes to the evidence base by being the first to specifically focus on and provide experiential findings pertaining to the orthopaedic or trauma hospital experiences of adults with learning disabilities. There were significant shortcomings in the orthopaedic and trauma hospital experiences of adults with learning disabilities who perceived they were unsupported and received poor care in orthopaedic and trauma hospital settings. Recommendations and implications for practice: Person-centred care for adults with learning disabilities in orthopaedic and trauma hospital settings is needed along with specific education and training which includes close liaison with the experts by experience - people with learning disabilities and their carers as well as the specialists in learning disabilities.
    • Volunteering in the higher education curriculum: the politics of policy, practice and participation

      Green, Pat (2018)
      This study explores the extent to which government policies for higher education impact upon the ways in which higher education institutions (HEIs) implement these and the students themselves experience their studies. The focus is accredited volunteering in higher education. A case study approach has been undertaken to scrutinise the impact of policy directives on several stakeholders within one post-1992 HEI, the University of Wrottesley (a pseudonym). The methodological approach is qualitative. Semi-structured interviews were carried out with senior university staff and Students Union personnel, and a detailed on-line survey was conducted with three cohorts of students undertaking the Volunteering in the Curriculum (ViC) programme. What emerges is the extent to which the dominant discourse of ‘employability’ is foregrounded in government policy directives, and the pressures thus placed on the university management of Wrottesley to respond effectively to first destination scores (DHLE). ‘Employability’ in this sense is understood as a graduate student obtaining employment, rather than a broader sense of good learning which embraces both learning (cognitive, theoretical and practical) and employability (Knight & Yorke, 2004). The findings expose the ways in which volunteering has been drawn into the dominant discourse of ‘employability’, yet what emerges from the student survey of their participation in the ViC programme is a broader, more nuanced learning experience which draws on both experiential and theoretical learning that encompasses academic studies, personal development, social action and graduate employment. The evidence validates the theoretical and pedagogic practice of ViC whereby students experience holistic learning. Universities such as Wrottesley are missing an opportunity in not embracing wider objectives of initiatives such as ViC which enable enhancement of graduate employability and also learning gain with the development of well rounded critical citizens and institutional permeability between community and the academy.