• Through the Lens: Using Auto-Driven Photo-Elicitation to Capture the Development of Career Aspirations of Business Management and Fine Art Students

      Turley, Helene (2018)
      The uniqueness of this study is primarily in the application of a visual research methodology to generate knowledge and understanding in an area that is often associated with quantitative research. Careers and employment research typically focuses on statistical information which can provide general information but does not give an in-depth understanding of the area under study. Visual research can give an in-depth understanding; in addition to giving access to a different kind of knowledge, supported by Harper (2002) who proposes “that images can evoke deeper elements of human consciousness than words alone.” I explore the various ways in which students perceive and develop different career aspiration including what motivates and what might inhibit students’ development of their career aspirations. This understanding will enhance my professional practice and encourage the Careers and Employment department within the University to adapt their service and give students the relevant tools and information to prepare them for employment. A visual research methodology is utilised as this fits comfortably with my background in art and gives the in-depth knowledge I require for my research (see Clark-Ibáñez, 2004; Collier (1957); Collier and Collier, 1986; Cousin, 2009; Guillemin and Drew, 2010; Harper, 2002; Harris and Guillemin, 2012 and O’Brien, 2013 for further information on the benefits of using a visual research methodology). Auto-driven photo-elicitation (ADPE) is used with six fine art and six business management students. These students often have less career direction and tend to struggle to secure graduate level positions (Swani, 2016); in addition, the two subject areas were chosen because they are a contrast in terms of how their curriculum is delivered. Using visual research to inform careers and employment is unique and through sharing my research and research experience I want to initiate a shift in how careers and employment research is approached in the future. In addition to the uniqueness of using a visual research methodology in careers and employment my findings indicate there are five orientations business management and fine art students’ use when developing their career aspirations: a strong sense of direction, intrinsic and extrinsic motivations, weak planning and dreams. This research discusses the five orientations and the factors that might contribute to a rich learning environment for career building. Subject and professional identity are discussed in relation to identity formation and career building. Four main sources of identity formation are identified: identity through being (transition from study to profession), identity through self-discovery, identity through belonging (concerning the informal and cultural aspects of community life), and identity through peripheral participation (activities that are akin to peripheral participation in a professional community). This research establishes there is a relationship between the development and building of identity and self-efficacy through belonging, professional experience and working alongside mentors when developing strategies to develop career aspirations.
    • Self evaluation variables and social media

      Harrad, Rachel (2018)
      People are motivated to self evaluate and undertake this in their interactions with others. Interactions with others are increasingly taking place online, including via social networking websites, which can contain several differences to face to face interaction. This thesis examined how specific self-evaluation factors (self-esteem, social comparison tendency and self-concept clarity) affect various behaviours on and psychological outcomes of engaging with social media sites, including Facebook. Self-esteem predicted positive mood during Facebook use, whilst one’s relationship with the site (i.e. how emotionally connected to the site one is – or ‘Facebook intensity’) predicted engagement with activities interpreted as indicative of a ‘fear-of-missing-out’ (e.g. finding out what friends were up to). High scorers in performance and appearance self-esteem reported a positive mood shift after profile editing whilst low scoring counterparts reported the reverse. Those who compared to others frequently experienced a negative mood shift after viewing the Facebook newsfeed possibly reflecting the cognitive effort associated with social comparison. Self-esteem predicted use of positive emotions in status updates whilst number of Facebook friends was negatively predicted by self-concept clarity and positively by social comparison tendency. Participants textually described both their actual and ideal self enabling consideration of the implications for self-presentation attempts in certain online environments. Low self-esteem individuals decreased their use of anxious language when idealising the self whilst those with low self-concept clarity increased their use of positive emotions. The discrepant word count between actual and ideal selves suggested that the actual self appeared more easily articulated, most 4 pronounced amongst those who infrequently compared themselves to others. When others rated these self descriptions it appeared high scorers in self-esteem and self-concept clarity and those who compared frequently to others were generally most positively received. It appears that whilst those with unclear self-concepts and low self-esteem can present a more positive and less anxious idealised self than actual self, the overall thesis findings appear to support the rich-get-richer hypothesis (Valkenburg, Schouten, & Peter, 2005) with high scorers on these self-evaluation factors garnering the most benefits from social media. Whilst those who compare frequently may be adversely impacted by viewing the Facebook newsfeed, idealisation of self attributes appears to benefit these individuals in terms of positivity of impressions formed by others. Findings suggest that social media engagement may hold advantages and disadvantages for users dependent on the type of activity engaged with and the individual differences variables of the user.
    • ‘Doing the Portfolio’ – Pre-registration training for biomedical scientists and developing the capable practitioner

      Smith, Sara (2018)
      Integration of work-placements into undergraduate degrees is now established on awards linked to professional registration in healthcare. Pre-registration training forms the basis for development of capability and entry onto a professional register. This enquiry explores how key stakeholders on a programme leading to registration as a Biomedical Scientist (BMS) position themselves in their role and the subsequent impact of this upon the development of the capable BMS. It draws upon current knowledge of work-based pedagogy and utilises a constructivist grounded theory (CGT) approach to explore the perceptions and experiences of individuals and groups to develop an interpretative portrayal and deeper understanding of the implementation of pre-registration training in one region of England. Data gathering and analysis was divided into two stages. The first employed analysis of professional documents to provide an insight into current discourses around BMS training. This provided initial developing categories and directed the creation of a questionnaire. Questionnaire responses confirmed the relevance of the developing categories and a summary of responses provided an ‘ice-breaker’ to guide stage two of data gathering. This stage employed focus groups and interviews to enable a greater understanding of how individuals make sense of their experiences. Initial, focused and theoretical coding allowed synthesis and conceptualisation of the data gathered and presented direction for the enquiry. The findings expose the challenges of integrating professional registration training into an academic programme of study. Three theoretical categories were identified: Role conflict, Expectations and Ownership. Conceptualising the interactions and intersections of these categories enabled the recognition of ‘Doing the portfolio’ as a way of describing and conceptualising the stakeholders positioning within the current programme. The registration portfolio has become an objective reductionist measure of learning, reflecting the positivist typology of practice in this profession. This provides a theoretical explanation as to how the programme is delivered and why there is a need to rethink conceptualisation of the role of the programme in supporting pre-registration training and the development of the capable BMS. To ensure that BMS students are supported to develop not only technical skills but also professional capability there is a need for a paradigm shift from a positivist episteme to one that embraces both the positivist and socio-cultural paradigms, viewing them as complementary and parallel. The novel research approach used in this enquiry has generated rich insights into how stakeholders interact with the pressures of internal and external influences and the impact this has upon behaviours and strategies adopted. The theoretical understanding proposed, which recognises the tensions emerging from a positivist typology of practice, has a range of implications for practice and for the development of practitioner capability through pre-registration training and beyond.
    • Evaluation of bacterial polymers as protective agents for sensitive probiotic bacteria

      Adebayo, Olajumoke O. (2018)
      Probiotics are live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer one or more health benefits on the host. Different processing conditions, the acidic condition of the stomach and exposure to hydrolytic enzymes affect the viability and efficacy of probiotic organisms. This study investigated the protective effects of two biopolymers poly-gamma-glutamic acid (γ-PGA) and bacterial cellulose (BC) on probiotics during freeze drying and during exposure to simulated intestinal juices and bile salts. The antibacterial property of Bifidobacterium strains was also investigated against four pathogenic bacteria. γ-PGA, a naturally occurring biopolymer was produced by two bacteria (Bacillus subtilis ATCC 15245 and B. licheniformis ATCC 9945a) in GS and E media, γ-PGA yields of about 14.11g/l were achieved in shake flasks and molecular weight of up to 1620 k Da was recorded, γ-PGA production was scaled up in a fermenter with B. subtilis using GS medium. BC, an edible biopolymer was produced by Gluconacetobacter xylinus ATCC 23770 in HS medium and a modified HS (MHS) medium. A yield of about 1.37g/l was recorded and BC production with MHS medium was used for probiotic application. B. longum NCIMB 8809 B. breve NCIMB 8807 and B. animalis NCIMB 702716 showed the best antimicrobial properties against the investigated pathogens. Survival of Bifidobacterium strains was improved when protected with powdered BC (PBC) although γ-PGA offered better protection than PBC. Viability of B. longum NCIMB 8809, B. breve NCIMB 8807 and B. animalis NCIMB 702716 in simulated gastric juice (SGJ) and simulated intestinal juice with bile salts was improved when protected with 5% γ-PGA and 5% γ-PGA+PBC with a reduction of <1 Log CFU/ml while a reduction of ≤2 Log CFU/ml was recorded in PBC protected cells. Protecting Bifidobacterium strains with γ-PGA, PBC or a novel γ-PGA + PBC combination is a promising method to deliver probiotic bacteria to the target site in order to confer their health benefits on the host.
    • ‘Soldier-Diplomat: a reassessment of Sir Henry Wilson’s influence on British Strategy in the last 18 months of the Great War’

      Spencer, John (2018)
      Sir Henry Wilson remains one of the most controversial British Army generals of the Great War. A colourful character in life, he attracted admirers and detractors in equal measure; in death, his reputation was ruined by a biography based on his personal diaries. The Wilson of the historiography is, at best, a politician rather than a soldier, at worst an ambitious Francophile intriguer. This thesis looks beyond this accepted characterisation, reassessing his role in the formation of British and Allied strategy in the final months of the war. Wilson attained influence, and subsequently power, when Lloyd George consulted him after failing to persuade Britain’s leading generals to change their strategic focus. The thesis re-examines Wilson’s policy critique, which led to the creation of the Supreme War Council, and negated plans for a major Allied offensive on the Western Front in 1918. This thesis aims to shine new light on Wilson’s work on the Council, with an analysis of its policy recommendations. The research will also explore the manpower crisis, the key issue for the entente in this period, and Wilson’s contribution to the establishment of Allied unity of command. The diplomatic skills Wilson deployed to defuse serious strains between the entente powers will be examined, with particular reference to his time as Chief of the Imperial General Staff. His contribution to the debate on Britain’s post-war imperial grand strategy will also be evaluated. The thesis will refute the long-established onedimensional view of Wilson and suggest that he played a more influential role in British strategic development than has hitherto been acknowledged.
    • The purification of industrial wastewater to remove heavy metals and investigation into the use of zeolite as a remediation tool

      Salih, Ali Mohammed (2018)
      Zeolites are well-known aluminosilicate minerals that have been widely used as adsorbents in separation, purification processes and environmental pollution control. Zeolites are used in various industrial applications due to their high cation-exchange ability, molecular sieve and cataltic properties. In order to reduce the costs of acquisition and minimise the disposal of adsorbents, both modified natural zeolite and synthetic zeolite (derived from kaolinite) were used for the purification of wastewater. The characteristic properties and applications of adsorbents are also discussed including the advantages and disadvantages of each technique. The present work involves the study of the removal of Cu2+, Fe3+, Pb2+ and Zn2+ from synthetic metal solutions using natural zeolite. Laboratory experiments were used to investigate the efficiency of adsorbents in the uptake of heavy metals from industrial wastewater. These include equilibrium tests, kinetic studies and regeneration studies. The physical and chemical characterization of the zeolites was carried out using different analytical techniques such as Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy (EDS), X – Ray Diffraction (XRD), X – Ray Fluorescence (XRF), Thermogravimetric Analysis (TGA), Fourier Transform Infrared (FT-IR) Spectroscopy and Inductively Coupled Plasma-Optical Emission Spectrometer (ICP-OES). The kinetic study indicated the suitability of the natural zeolite for the removal of Cu2+, Fe3+, Pb2+ and Zn2+ ions from synthetic wastewater. Batch experiments were used to identify the effect of parameters that affect the rate of adsorption such as the effect of adsorbent mass, effect of adsorbent particle size, effect of initial solution pH, effect of initial solution concentration, effect of agitation speed and effect of pre-treatment of adsorbent and evaluated their impact on the efficiency of the zeolite in the removal of heavy metals from industrial wastewater. The kinetic studies showed that the capacity of the adsorbents for the removal of heavy metals increased with a greater mass of absorbent, increased initial solution pH, increased agitation speed, higher solution concentration as well as the application of a pre-treatment. The results from the equilibrium studies positively demonstrated that natural zeolite can be used as an excellent adsorbent for removing heavy metals from multi-component solutions. The equilibrium experiments indicated that the capacities of natural zeolite for the uptake of heavy metals increased when the initial solution pH increased. The results indicated that the maximum removal capacities Q were 22.83, 14.92, 14.49 and 17.54 mg/g natural zeolite for copper, iron, zinc, and lead respectively. Both the Langmuir and Freundlich isotherm models were used to characterize the experimental data and to assess the adsorption behaviour of natural zeolite for copper, iron, lead and zinc. The experimental data were slightly better suited to the Langmuir isotherm than the Freundlinch isotherm. The value of the correlation coefficients r2 ranged from 0.93 to 0.99 for the Langmuir isotherm and from 0.90 to 0.99 for the Freundlich isotherm. The present work also involved the study of synthetic zeolite A, which was derived from natural kaolinite. The conversion of the raw materials into zeolitic materials was carried out in two ways: first, conventional hydrothermal synthesis and second, alkaline fusion prior to hydrothermal synthesis. The results from both routes show that zeolite A was synthesised successfully. Finally, the experiments show that both natural and synthetic zeolites can be available in commercial quantities. Synthetic zeolites are more attractive for some specific applications, while the cheapness of natural zeolite may favour its use.
    • Towards a more efficacious treatment for Oropharyngeal Candidiasis (OPC): Hydrogel-forming tablets for the controlled release delivery of Chlorhexidine diacetate

      Al-Ani, Enas Atallah (2018)
      Oropharyngeal candidiasis is a localised infection in the oropharynx region caused by Candida species, predominately C. albicans. It is commonly spread among immunocompromised patients and aggravated by hyposalivation or xerostomia. Current treatment is by systemic antifungals, which might be accompanied by gastrointestinal tract disorders, headache, allergic reactions and drug interactions or Candida becoming resistant to them. In the present work, the anti-candida activity of chlorhexidine diacetate (CHD) was tested as the drug of choice, it has no systemic side effects and microorganisms do not develop resistance against it. Thymol and farnesol were also tested individually and in combination with CHD to investigate a synergistic effect against Candida planktonic cells. The effects of CHD and thymol were investigated against C. albicans biofilm after two hours exposure by testing the metabolic stress, vacuolar activity and protein content. The results of the anti-Candida activity of CHD and thymol based on the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) and the minimum biocidal concentration (MBC) were 2.5 and 5 μg/ml for the former and 125 and 250 μg/ml for the later. Farnesol did not show an MIC and MBC at the investigated concentrations, however, it increased the MIC and MBC of CHD to 5 and 40 μg/ml and of thymol to 250 and >250 μg/ml, respectively. The antibiofilm activity of CHD and thymol was concentration dependent and CHD was more potent than thymol. A concentration of 20 μg/ml and 2 hours treatment of Candida biofilm grown for 24 hours showed an 85% decrease in oxidative stress, 78% and 60% loss of vacuolar activity and protein content, respectively. The combination of both drugs showed a limited increase in the activity. The cytotoxic effects of CHD and thymol were tested on human embryo kidney epithelial cell line (HEK 293); the metabolic stress, lysosomal activity and protein content were tested. The cytotoxic effects were also concentration dependent and the combination have increased the cytotoxicity. A concentration of 20 μg/ml and 2 hours treatment showed a 40% decrease in oxidative stress and neither the lysosomal activity nor protein content of HEK 293 cells was affected by the treatment Finally, a mucoadhesive hydrogel buccal tablets for the controlled release of CHD were designed and prepared to increase the residence time of an effective concentration of CHD in the oral cavity for two hours. They were prepared using Poloxamer 407 (P407), hydroxypropyl methylcellulose (HPMC) and either sorbitol, mannitol or xylitol at different ratios. The tablets were investigated for their physical properties, ex vivo mucoadhesion, the rate of hydration, gelling efficiency using image analysis, differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), Fourier transforms infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), X-ray diffractometry (XRD) and in vitro dissolution using Apparatus I and a novel method based on controlled flow rate to mimic salivary drug delivery in the oral cavity. Based on the antibiofilm activity and the cytotoxic effect of CHD a concentration of 20 μg/mL was chosen to be released from the tablets to maintain both efficacy and safety. Accordingly, to maintain this concentration the final formulations were prepared with a 2.5 mg dose of CHD. Tablets analysis showed no chemical interaction with the excipient based on DSC, FTIR and XRD. Furthermore, a novel dissolution method was developed based on a constant flow rate of the dissolution media to mimic oral salivary flow. By comparing CHD release using App I and the flow rate method it was shown that hydrogel-forming tablets successfully controlled the release of CHD regardless of the volume of the dissolution media with approximately 90% release and an average release concentration of 19 μg/ml and 1 ml/min flow rate. This making it a potential candidate for future application for treatment of candidiasis in all types of patients.
    • Integration of Process Planning and Scheduling in the Manufacturing Sector to Enhance Productivity – a Case study of Developing Countries

      McCarthy Emeka, Bryan (2018)
      This thesis describes research carried out to investigate and address the problems associated with integration of process planning and scheduling through collaboration between diverse functions within manufacturing companies in Nigeria. Collaboration is an emerging necessity for functions of manufacturing companies in developing countries and has been influenced by the evolving need for gathering segmented groups with diverse knowledge and experience in developing new solutions to support addressing complex problems in a domain. Use of new technologies, to some extent, assists interaction and collaboration between segregated functions. This approach has been a feasible solution for real-time communication in virtual environment, however, functional boundaries influence the recognition of the problem-related factors affecting different functions in a domain and results in conflicts of perspectives and ineffective interaction between functions. The study carried out here investigated the limitations of existing approaches to manufacturing with a view to engaging segregated functions by integration of process planning and scheduling functions and thereby develop a new approach to address a key manufacturing company’s complex problem. Consequently, this thesis addresses the research question “How do we minimise the limitations to existing manufacturing approaches which integrate process planning and scheduling in developing countries?”. In doing so, this research brings together current literature on manufacturing systems and empirical evidence to investigate the factors that influence the effectiveness of integration of process planning and scheduling through collaborations with different functions. Review of the existing approaches to integration of process planning and scheduling and the limitations of each approach shows that the effectiveness of this integration has not been fully achieved. This resulted in developing, refining and validating a new approach to integration of process planning and scheduling which was applied in different manufacturing companies. The study resulted in significant contributions to knowledge and benefits for the manufacturing companies involved. A key contribution is development of a new approach to integration of process planning and scheduling called EC-FIKT which emphasises Effective Communication through Facilitated Information and Knowledge Transfer. The applications of EC-FIKT in the field suggest that it eliminates some of the main deficiencies of well-known approaches to integration of process planning and scheduling, and which brings additional benefits to manufacturing companies. The research has also identified areas where there is significant scope for further research and investigation.
    • Drought and drought mitigation in Yobe State, Nigeria

      Hassan Gana, Abdullahi (2018)
      Drought is regarded as a natural phenomenon and its impacts accumulate slowly over a long period. It is considered to be insufficient precipitation that leads to water scarcity, as triggered by meteorological parameters, such as temperature, precipitation and humidity. However, drought mitigation has mostly been reactive, but this has been challenged by extreme events globally. Many countries and regions around the world have made efforts in mitigating drought impacts, including Nigeria. This research produced frameworks for drought amelioration and management as a planning tool for Yobe State, Nigeria. Mixed methods were employed to investigate the effects of drought; 1,040 questionnaires were administered to farmers in three regions of Yobe State (South, North and East). Some 721 were returned, representing a 69.3% return rate. Drought is pronounced in the State and has been recent over the years; it has also affected many people, with losses of ~70-80% of their harvests and livestock. Drought coping strategies have also caused environmental degradation in Yobe State. Farmers over-harvest their farms, practise deforestation and over-exploit wild animals. Several efforts to mitigate the impacts of drought by the Nigerian Government have failed, thus this research adopts a bottom-top approach to mitigate drought impacts in Yobe State. Focus Group Discussions (FGD) were also conducted at government and community levels to gather farmers’ and government officials’ opinions on their drought experience and suggestions for mitigation measures. Farmers believed that rainfall is their main problem and officials pointed that there are no proper drought mitigation plans in Yobe State. Four validated drought mitigation and management frameworks were developed for Yobe State. The frameworks were evaluated pre-use through respondent validation. State officials and farmers believed that these frameworks will reduce the impacts of drought in Yobe State. The frameworks include social, economic, environmental impact mitigation and an Integrated Drought Mitigation and Management Framework. The proposed frameworks were designed and have advocates a paradigm shift, using both proactive and reactive measures. A new drought definition was proposed based on the findings of the study. The definition states that drought is the shortage of rainfall or water that affects people’s livelihood and the environment both directly and indirectly.
    • Arab adolescents’ attitudes towards mental health in Kuwait

      Al Sayed, Sara (2018)
      Aims and Rationale: Individuals suffering from mental health difficulties and disorders experience stigma and discrimination in various areas of their lives. Mental illness stigma results in diminished self-esteem, increased risk of suicide, feelings of shame and a decrease in their desire to seek support from mental health professionals. This study aimed to assess changes in attitudes following a brief informative talk on mental health. Moreover, the study aimed to explore the attitudes and beliefs of Arab high school students in Kuwait towards people suffering from mental illness. The findings aim to broaden an understanding of the subject area within the Arab population in order to inform future approaches to decrease stigmatizing beliefs and increase more accepting attitudes and help-seeking behaviors. Method: A mixed-method approach was used to examine attitudes towards individuals suffering from mental disorders in 111 Arab high school students. Firstly, the quantitative part of the study explored changes in attitudes following an informative talk using a survey questionnaire. 105 Arab high school students took part in the study and were divided into two groups, one group received a talk on ‘Myths and Facts’ around mental illness while the second group received a talk on ‘Education and Career’ paths one could take in the field of psychology. The qualitative part of the study explored 6 Arab high school students’ beliefs around mental illness as well as their personal experiences in dealing with mental health difficulties and discrimination using semi-structured interviews. Results: The findings of the quantitative study demonstrated an overall increase in benevolence and an overall decrease in social restrictiveness following the talks. Students in the ‘Myths and Facts’ group displayed a significant improvement in social restrictiveness attitudes following their talk, the ‘Education and Career’ group did not show this improvement. Findings from the qualitative study represented a juxtaposition between participants’ expressed positive and supportive views towards individuals with mental illness and their expectations of negative behaviors and attitudes from the public towards those suffering from mental health difficulties. Conclusion: The findings provide an understanding of existing beliefs around mental illness in the Arab youth which in turn provides mental health professionals with the required knowledge to tackle the issue of stigma within this specific population. Educational approaches offer adolescents insight on mental illness and positively impact their opinions and views towards people suffering from mental disorders. This is crucial in promoting more accepting attitudes and encouraging help-seeking behaviors.
    • Physiochemical and drug release properties of liquisolid formulations in comparison to their physical mixture counterparts

      Bello, Hussaini (2018)
      Various techniques have been used for modifying the release properties of drugs over the past years. Techniques such as liquisolid technology have raised a lot of interest in many researchers which can be employed to enhance or sustain dissolution. Various liquisolid (LS) tablets of diltiazem containing Polysorbate 80 as a non-volatile solvent for sustained release were prepared. PolyoxTM is an attractive pharmaceutical polymer used in controlled release dosage forms mainly because of its insensitivity to the pH of the biological medium and ease of production. The aim of this study was to investigate the influence of several formulation factors i.e., the PolyoxTM grade at different molecular weight (MW), PolyoxTM particle size and ratio, the AEROSIL® grade, the use of diluent, polymer type and the drug type as well as their interactions on drug release from LS formulation in comparison to their physical mixture (PM). The result showed that PolyoxTM MW was a key determining step in achieving sustained release, with the higher MW of PolyoxTM resulting in a more delayed release profile. The delayed DTZ release could be related to the rate and extend of hydrogel formation on the tablet surface. The P–CMRs and net–CMRs of both LS and PM formulation powders also showed increasing trends with increasing the MW of PolyoxTM. The release of DTZ from both LS and conventional tablets showed mostly decreasing trends with increasing PolyoxTM concentration and decreasing PolyoxTM particle size distribution. This could be attributed to the formation of stronger and thicker gel layers on the tablet surfaces in the case of higher concentrations of PolyoxTM. The results also showed LS tablets to produce slower release of drug than their PM counterparts, regardless of PolyoxTM particle size. The release profile of the DTZ from both LS tablets and their counterpart PM tablets showed decreasing trends with increasing the surface area of hydrophilic AEROSIL® (from 65 m2/g to 225 m2/g). This could be due to the higher tensile strength (TS) of the tablets containing AEROSIL® particles with higher surface area compared to those prepared using AEROSIL® particles having lower surface areas. Also, the result showed that comparing the different diluents showed that hydrogenated vegetable oil (HVO) provided the slowest release pattern of DTZ across diluents used in both the LS compacts and PM tablets. This could be attributed to hydrophobicity imparted by HVO to matrix system when in contact with aqueous medium it takes a longer time to penetrate into the tablet. Drug release from LS tablets was affected by the polymer type. The release was in the order: Eudragit® RL < Eudragit® RS < Hypromellose < PolyoxTM < Psyllium. Hydrophilic Psyllium provided a slowest DTZ release across the different polymers used in the preparation of both the LS and PM compacts. The incorporation of Psyllium into PolyoxTM further elicited a decrease in drug release rate from individual polymer matrices. This was ascribed to the reduced entrance of aqueous media into the matrix due to the presence of the stronger viscose gel within the two hydrophilic matrices compared to individual Psyllium and PolyoxTM. The ratio between PolyoxTM and Psyllium has critically influenced diltiazem release profile. The results showed that matrices containing (Psyllium:PolyoxTM) at 1:1 ratio can slow down the drug release more than the matrices compacts containing 1:3 and 3:1 (Psyllium:PolyoxTM) ratio. The results also suggest that the ii combination of PolyoxTM and Psyllium at 1:1 ratio showed robust dissolution against pH and rotational speed and therefore indicates an appropriate sustained-release profile. The dissolution rate of PolyoxTM:Psyllium from different pure drugs showed a decreasing trend with an increase in their solubility. The solid state analysis studied in this work confirms the presence of a fraction of the drug mass in a solubilised state within polysorbate 80 in LS powders. Regardless of all variables used in this study, LS formulations showed slower drug release than their PM counterparts. In conclusion, the mechanical properties of LS formulation are poor in comparison to their counterpart PM. Therefore, further work is required to improve the hardness of LS tablet comprehensively.
    • The impact of FNGO services on the performance of micro and small enterprises: Empirical evidence from the Volta Region, Ghana

      Atiase, Victor Yawo (2018)
      Financial Non-Governmental Organisations (FNGOs) are regulated microfinance institutions (MFIs) that operate with the social welfare logic in the delivery of Microcredit (MC) and Entrepreneurship Training (ET) to the poor in Ghana. The provision of these two capitals (MC and ET) is aimed at supporting the poor to create sustainable Micro and Small Enterprises (MSEs) which is aimed at generating both skilled and unskilled employment. The major aim of this study is to investigate the impact of MC and ET delivered by FNGOs on the performance of MSEs in Ghana. Theoretically, the study adopts both the Institutional Theory and the Resource-Based View theory as the underlying theoretical frameworks, assuming that institutional and resource factors have a great influence on FNGOs in their delivery of MC and ET to MSEs in Ghana. The research design adopted in undertaking this study is based on the pragmatic research philosophy. Specifically, the mixed strategy with an explanatory triangulation method has been used. The mixed method has been adopted purposely for model testing as well as for exploring various issues on FNGOs and their role in the performance of MSEs. Primary data were collected through a quantitative method using a survey as well as through qualitative interviews. Adopting a stratified random sampling method, a total of 720 self-administered questionnaires were sent out in March 2017 to MSEs in the Volta Region of Ghana to collect primary data. Out of the number sent, 506 questionnaires were retrieved generating a response rate of 70.2%. Also, interviews were conducted with 10 MSEs. A multiple regression model was applied in measuring the impact of MC and ET on the performance of MSEs. The findings suggest that firm characteristics such as gender, managers educational level, industry category and business age correlate positively with employment sales and profitability growth which are statistically significant at 1% level. Secondly, the study also found that both MC and ET factors have a significant impact on MSE performance in the areas of employment, sales and profitability at 1% significant level. The qualitative findings also support the model tested in this study in the sense that the combined approach of both MC and ET have a significant impact on MSE performance in Ghana. This study has made two main contributions. Firstly, the provision of MC by FNGOs can only have the desired impact on the performance of MSEs if it is combined with entrepreneurship training, thereby leading to a sustainable employment, sales and profitability growth. Therefore, by using the 506 MSEs financed by FNGOs in the Volta region of Ghana, this study has for the first time in the Ghanaian microfinance landscape tested an empirical model and came out with meaningful findings for effective integration of ET into microfinance to improve the delivery of financial services to MSEs in Ghana by FNGOs and other socially oriented MFIs. The study has therefore developed a practical framework for ensuring that ET is provided alongside the delivery of MC in order to have the desired impact on the performance of MSEs. The study provided implications for policy and practice for making MC and ET more accessible to MSEs to achieve the desired goal of creating employment. Secondly, even though FNGOs play a very important role in providing entrepreneurial finance to MSEs particularly in developing countries, it has received insufficient research attention. This study has, therefore, added to the scanty research available about FNGOs and their contribution to entrepreneurship development and poverty reduction in developing countries.
    • 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.
    • Growing pains to growing shame and beyond: a reflexive dyadic on stigmatised identity

      Pursehouse, Lucy (2018)
      Stigma surrounding mental health is a significant concern within the UK. Education, is considered an important aspect in attempts to address negative attitudes. This thesis opens a dyadic space in which I explore personal stigma stories relating to mental health. In addition, to consider how these connect to my doctoral journey and practice. Furthermore, how such phenomenological expression contributes pedagogically to a contemporary policy imperative; one aimed at tackling mental health stigma. The research design is methodologically grounded in the autoethnographical method and I have developed both an ‘analytical’ and ‘evocative’ approach. Five central themes emerged from my personal stigma stories and data analysis, ‘dissimilitude’, ‘disconnection’, ‘bifurcation’, ‘assimilation’ and ‘transformation’. Theoretically rich stories were then crafted, that re-presented these themes to provide further sense-making. A perspective transformative process is tightly woven within and throughout, capturing a critical pedagogic frame of reference for the inquiry. The study adds to the existing body of literature, by contributing personal narratives in the form of stories and poetry, which may be used within my anti-stigma education. The methodological processes revealed the importance of autoethnography and its analytic reflexive potency for moving beyond a stigmatised identity. Insights gathered, enabled the development of a Model of Learning on stigma, Right Stigma Capabilities, a learning tool to be utilised in practice, and the theoretical conceptualisation of a ‘Pseudo-Medicalised Identity’. Robust mechanisms for education, continuing professional development and mentoring are required, across a multi-disciplinary health and social care context. Further research is required on the lived experience of stigma, and the generative processes involved in liberation from this complex social phenomenon.
    • Policy and Politics matter: The shaping of contemporary social work in times of neoliberalism.

      Simpson, Graeme (2018)
      The commentary draws on a range of work to demonstrate the argument that policy and politics are of central importance in shaping social work in England. I outline the development of my practice wisdom and then examine the contested nature of social work knowledge. Drawing on my practice with people who were poor and marginalised, I came to believe that social work must have a commitment to equality and social justice and that to achieve this social work must engage with policy and politics. My outputs begin by examining the connection between my practice wisdom and the dialectical nature of social work’s enduring tensions, located in a work that underlines the importance of sociology. A further four outputs focus upon aspects of social policy, notably key elements in the rise of neo-liberalism in contemporary social work in a text that argues explicitly that social workers need to develop a politically engaged practice. My other outputs illustrate the impact of politics, neoliberalism and its attendant policies in the early 21st century, gathering evidence from three broad areas. First, the nature of globalisation is examined focusing upon the movement of social workers and ‘cross-national’ social work. Second, there is an explicit exploration of social work under neoliberalism, drawing on the case of Children’s services and learning disability. Third, I examine ‘policy practice’ and the concept of ‘choice’. I argue that social work has always had a concern with politics and policy but that in more recent years this has declined and has been overtaken by a focus upon individualism. My core theoretical themes are the dialectic and an examination of hegemonic structures which impact on social work. I explore the continuing importance of my work in relation to contemporary social work, showing that policies and politics matter more than ever. I conclude by arguing that, as social work is under political attack from the current Government, the ‘radical tradition’ needs to be kept alive.
    • Metformin as a potential therapy for malignant astrocytoma

      Eagles, Lawrence (2018)
      Background Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM) is the most commonly occurring tumour of the central nervous system (CNS). Currently GBM is considered an incurable malignancy with patients experiencing abysmal life expectancies. Lack of progress in the discovery of novel treatments has led to the repurposing of existing licenced medication as a possible alternative option. Metformin is from the biguanide family of drugs and is the most common medication used in the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Clinical studies have reported that, in type 2 diabetic patients, metformin might reduce cancer incidence and severity. Currently, metformin is being assessed in clinical trials as a treatment for a range of cancer types including GBM. The antineoplastic mechanisms utilized by metformin and other biguanides have not been fully elucidated. Methods The effects of metformin were evaluated, alone and in combination with other agents, on a panel of GBM cell cultures. Functional analysis of metformin mechanism of action was assessed through measurement of apoptosis, depolarisation of the mitochondria membrane, caspase pathway activation, cell cycle progression and the expression levels of micoRNAs. Results Analysis of fourteen GBM cell cultures showed a cytotoxic response to metformin that was significantly linked to the P53 status (p=0.0024). In combination drug testing, one of the four drugs showed a synergistic pairing with metformin. The kinase inhibitor sorafenib, showed synergism (CI ≤ 1) in eight GBM cell cultures. Flow cytometry of metformin treated GBM cells showed no significant increase (p>0.005) in apoptotic cell populations. Caspase 3/7 levels showed no significant increase post metformin treatment (p>0.005). Metformin caused depolarisation of the mitochondrial membrane in six GBM cell cultures. Four microRNAs were shown to have expression levels changes post-metformin treatment. Upregulation of expression was identified in miR-140, miR-192, let-7c. Downregulation was identified in miR-222. Conclusions Metformin was shown to have cytotoxic effect on a GBM cell cultures and has potential as GBM therapeutic agent and possible treatment synergy with sorafenib. The significance of P53 status to metformin sensitivity may suggest that its use should be directed to a sub-set of GBM patients. Mechanism for cell death by metformin was shown not to rely on apoptotic pathways but caspase 3/7 independent depolarization of mitochondrial cell membranes and cell cycle arrest. Investigations into autophagy may help to further define the pathways metformin is utilising to promote cell death. The impact of metformin on the expression profile of miR-222, miR-192 and let-7c is in line with clinical studies of other cancer types. This shows possible insight into the cancer independent actions of metformin. The interplay recorded between glucose availability and cell death indicates a possible key factor in the utilisation of metformin as a therapeutic agent. This finding may warrant the addition of dietary control regimes in clinical trials to maximise metformin efficacy. This work highlights the strong potential for biguanides in the development of new drug treatments and in expanding our knowledge of cancer metabolism.
    • Developing a model for assessing the effect of physical indoor environment quality on teachers’ performance in Saudi education buildings

      Alzahrani, Hamdan M. (2018)
      The nature and quality of the built learning environment affect occupants’ comfort, wellbeing and performance. Within the broad range of studies of the physical indoor environment reported in the literature, there are several which have focused on the effects of these environmental conditions on the comfort and physical health of students and teachers, while the main consideration in others is the organizational health of the school. The parameters, which are measured often concern the state and condition of the physical environment. Categories of building features, which appear to influence comfort, health and wellbeing, include thermal sensation, acoustics, lighting, air quality, classroom equipment, learning resources and other aspects of the teachers’ workspace. Those components of the physical of indoor environment, which are considered to most strongly affect occupants’ comfort, wellbeing and performance, are subject to sets of standards. The aim of this study is to elucidate the association between the indoor environmental quality (IEQ) of educational buildings and teachers’ performance. Following a comprehensive review of the literature on the effects of IEQ on teachers’ comfort, wellbeing and performance, a case study was conducted in which physical measurements were made of a range of indoor environmental variables in the classrooms of a technical college in Saudi Arabia, during lessons. At the same time, the teachers of those classes were asked to complete a questionnaire designed to investigate the quality of the indoor environment and explore teacher performance. An artificial neural network was then used to create an assessment model in order to test the hypothesis that the quality of the indoor physical environment in educational buildings is related to teacher performance and to predict future data. This research makes both academic and practical contributions to the study of the relationship between IEQ and teachers’ performance. The findings of this research will be used as a primary knowledge resource for future researches and to identify initial IEQ parameters and tools for further in-depth studies. In practical terms, it offers standards to help designers to consider the importance of IEQ and its impact on building users.
    • Expression of sigma receptors in human cancer cell lines and effects of novel sigma-2 ligands on their proliferation

      Abbas, Haider (2018)
      Sigma receptors originally thought to be an opioid receptor is now categorized as a distinct class of receptor. There are two main subtypes, the sigma-1 receptor and an uncharacterised binding site, named the sigma-2 binding site. The presence of the sigma-2 binding site shows high correlation with proliferation of cells and is associated with cancer. I have categorized sigma-1 and sigma-2 binding sites in 11 human tumour cell lines. I have demonstrated that tumour cell lines from a range of tissues express both sigma-1 and sigma-2 binding sites. One exception is the MCF7 breast cancer cell line, which lacks sigma-1 receptors. I show that the quantitation of sigma-2 binding sites using the “masking” protocols are flawed, significantly overestimating levels of sigma-2 binding sites. I propose novel protocols to determine levels of sigma-1 receptors and sigma-2 binding sites in cell lines and tissue. Using radioligand binding assays in MCF7 cells, I have characterised novel sigma-2 ligands. These ligands are simple ammonium salts containing a single nitrogen atom. They are simpler than the previously recognised pharmacophore for the sigma-2 site. I have shown that these simple ammonium salts show graded affinity for the sigma-2 binding site. The highest affinity ligands were dihexylammonium (pKi 7.58) and dioctylammonium (pKi 7.9). I have used these ammonium salts and previously characterised ligands to determine sigma-2 binding site biology. I have shown that the biological activity of these drugs is related neither to their hydrophobicity nor their ability to effect calcium signalling in cells. I propose that the Hill slope of binding is inversely related to the efficacy of a ligand to inhibit metabolic activity of cancer cells. Furthermore, I offer an explanation as to why concentrations of sigma-2 ligands far higher than their determined binding affinities are required to inhibit metabolic activity.
    • Institutional and Social Factors Influencing Informal Sector Activity in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Nigerian Case Study

      Joshua Adike, Abinotam (2018)
      The extant entrepreneurship literature is replete with competing narratives about the concept of informal sector (IS). Also, IS’ potential as a source of income and the behavioural tendencies of operators in the sector remain highly contested but under-researched. In particular, not much is known about the incentives and the motivations for engaging in informal economic activity from the perspective of Sub-Saharan African (SSA) context where a significant proportion of all economic activities are informal. Thus, the lack of conceptual clarity and consensus about the underlying factors driving individuals into informal economic activity constitutes a major knowledge gap. To fill this gap, this study seeks to clarify the domain of IS from a SSA viewpoint, and through this paves the way for a more holistic understanding of the behavioural tendencies and motivations of IS operators in SSA. Specifically relying on the institutional, social exclusion, and personality trait theoretical frameworks, the study demonstrates how a combination of separate yet related phenomena of personality traits, institutional factors, and more importantly, situational factors that manifest as perceptions of social exclusion serve as the incentives and the motivations to engage in informal economic activity in SSA. To achieve its goal, qualitative primary data obtained through thirty-eight semi-structured interviews were transcribed verbatim and analysed using Nvivo. Firstly, the study found that institutional ambiguity, institutional delinquency, institutional passivity, and institutional incongruence are sources of voids in Nigeria's institutional framework that influence an individual to enter the IS. Secondly, social exclusion regarding lack of access to requirements such as finance and formal education to start and sustainably operate a business influences people to enter into the IS. Lastly, the findings indicate that personality traits’ influence regarding the decision to engage in informal economic activities is dependent on individual circumstances. These are valuable contributions to the stock of knowledge about the IS. Particularly, the identification and categorisation of four specific institutional voids and partitioning of the sources of exclusion; the finding that in adverse economic circumstances personality traits could influence potential opportunity-entrepreneurs to start-up in the IS; the finding about the role of trade associations; and the new understanding about the collaborative dimension of corruption in the context of IS practice, represent a significant contribution of this study. These contributions are valuable not just in terms of creating new windows of research opportunities, but also for evidence-based policy relating to the IS that is appropriately targeted at relevant groups. This is in addition to facilitating collaborations for business support, enlightenment, improved business practice, and inclusive growth.
    • Identifying the Invisible Impact of Scholarly Publications: A Multi-Disciplinary Analysis Using Altmetrics

      Mohammadi, Ehsan (2018)
      The field of ‘altmetrics’ is concerned with alternative metrics for the impact of research publications using social web data. Empirical studies are needed, however, to assess the validity of altmetrics from different perspectives. This thesis partly fills this gap by exploring the suitability and reliability of two altmetrics resources: Mendeley, a social reference manager website, and Faculty of F1000 (F1000), a post- publishing peer review platform. This thesis explores the correlations between the new metrics and citations at the level of articles for several disciplines and investigates the contexts in which the new metrics can be useful for research evaluation across different fields. Low and medium correlations were found between Mendeley readership counts and citations for Social Sciences, Humanities, Medicine, Physics, Chemistry and Engineering articles from the Web of Science (WoS), suggesting that Mendeley data may reflect different aspects of research impact. A comparison between information flows based on Mendeley bookmarking data and cross-disciplinary citation analysis for social sciences and humanities disciplines revealed substantial similarities and some differences. This suggests that Mendeley readership data could be used to help identify knowledge transfer between scientific disciplines, especially for people that read but do not author articles, as well as providing evidence of impact at an earlier stage than is possible with citation counts. The majority of Mendeley readers for Clinical Medicine, Engineering and Technology, Social Science, Physics and Chemistry papers were PhD students and postdocs. The highest correlations between citations and Mendeley readership counts were for types of Mendeley users that often authored academic papers, suggesting that academics bookmark papers in Mendeley for reasons related to scientific publishing. In order to identify the extent to which Mendeley bookmarking counts reflect readership and to establish the motivations for bookmarking scientific papers in Mendeley, a large-scale survey found that 83% of Mendeley users read more than half of the papers in their personal libraries. The main reasons for bookmarking papers were citing in future publications, using in professional activities, citing in a thesis, and using in teaching and assignments. Thus, Mendeley bookmarking counts can potentially indicate the readership impact of research papers that have educational value for non-author users inside academia or the impact of research papers on practice for readers outside academia. This thesis also examines the relationship between article types (i.e., “New Finding”, “Confirmation”, “Clinical Trial”, “Technical Advance”, “Changes to Clinical Practice”, “Review”, “Refutation”, “Novel Drug Target”), citation counts and F1000 article factors (FFa). In seven out of nine cases, there were no significant differences between article types in terms of rankings based on citation counts and the F1000 Article Factor (FFa) scores. Nevertheless, citation counts and FFa scores were significantly different for articles tagged: “New finding” or “Changes to Clinical Practice”. This means that F1000 could be used in research evaluation exercises when the importance of practical findings needs to be recognised. Furthermore, since the majority of the studied articles were reviewed in their year of publication, F1000 could also be useful for quick evaluations.