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  • The social, legal, and technical perspectives of cyberstalking in India

    Miftha, Ameema (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2024-02)
    Cyberstalking is a consequence of the worldwide growth in the use of internet-enabled information and communication technology (ICT) services and devices, especially the indiscriminate and unhindered use of the products and services of social media sites, channels, and apps. This cybercrime has had a severe impact on the psychological and physiological states of millions of innocent victims and is a major social and legal concern. Society is still discovering ways to effectively address cyberstalking, especially in countries such as India, where IT-based technologies and services are comparatively better developed due to the country’s strong talent pool and expertise. This study explores the social, technical, and legal perspectives on cyberstalking in India. Although cyberstalking is a global phenomenon, in the Indian context it has received limited attention in both academic and social research fields. From the Indian perspective, the research gaps result from poor sociocultural perception, perpetual ignorance, and cultural conflict among the victims and their family members; poor perception, inadequate legislation, and late reaction from the legal authorities; and technological limitations to identifying perpetrators. The objectives of this research were to examine Indian victims’ perceptions of cyberstalking in their prevailing socio-cultural setting; examine the impacts of cyberstalking; understand the perceptions of legal enforcement authorities and identify inadequacies of the Indian legal system; understand the role of technology in preventing cyberstalking; draw a comparison between India, the United States, and the UK; and suggest improvement measures. Following a grounded theory synthesis, this study used a victim questionnaire, individual victim’s testimonials, and thematic expert interviews as the primary data collection tools together with an exploratory literature review to achieve the research objectives and answer the research questions. An extensive review of the literature on the subject was conducted to analyse and identify gaps in the research to formulate the research questions according to the objectives of the study and to frame the research strategy with tools. Accordingly, a Likert scale survey, which had 260 samples associated with cyberstalking, was conducted to understand the following: the social media environment and cases of cyberstalking, the victims’ perceptions based on their experiences in the online environment, the victims’ experiences of dealing with the police and the legal system, the responses, and attitudes of the victims’ families while they were pursuing their cases, and the outcomes. The research also delved into specific cases of cyberstalking to understand the genesis, development, and outcomes of such incidents. To further understand the causative factors and dynamics of cyberstalking and its outcomes, an expert opinion was sought from select experts from the technological, social, and police/legal justice systems. The analysis included quantitative analysis of the survey data with statistical tools such as percentage analysis, comparative analysis, and correlation coefficient analysis using statistical package for the social sciences (SPSS) software to gather insights about the internet and the social media environment. Next, the perceptions of victims gathered via the Likert scale method were analysed using content analysis and comparative analysis techniques. The third stage included an analysis of expert inputs using thematic analysis and content analysis backed by software-based output using NVivo software. From the sociocultural perspective, the accumulated findings from the literature review, victim surveys, victim case studies, thematic analyses of interviews with experts and victims, and semiotic analyses of victim case studies suggested issues and concerns, primarily secondary victimisation from family and friends. The primary study results pertaining to the case testimonials and the thematic interviews suggest that secondary victimisation by family members’ and relatives’ reactions to cyberstalking are determined by the social and cultural responses that may happen if such incidents occur in the real world. In Indian society and culture, family prestige and standing have more value than an individual’s choice or preference. The family, extended family, and social environment are integral parts of life. However, in most cases of cyberstalking, the support system does not provide the required support, as there is a gap in the parents’ and family support groups’ understanding of the context of the cyberstalking. In India, the flawed sociocultural mindset and inadequate legislation often result in secondary victimisation. Factors such as poor social and cultural perceptions of the victims and their family/relatives, general and cultural ignorance, and false family prestige permeate the crime and its implications for victims’ psychological and physiological states. Cyberstalking can even result in victims being punished and harassed further by family members. As a result, the number of formal legal complaints and cases remains low compared to the actual number of incidents. Often, the cyberstalking incidents change victims’ lives permanently. The impact on victims is particularly severe due to secondary victimisation. As per the findings from the legal and technical perspectives, factors such as poor social perception of the crime, cultural conflict and ignorance, the subjective characteristics and habits of the victims, the freedom and remoteness of internet technology, and the inadequacy of cyber-legislation to preventing and to penalise cyberstalking have all facilitated the proliferation of cyberstalking in India. Hence, from the Indian perspective, the research gaps are threefold: social, legal, and technical. From a social perspective, the factors are general lack of understanding, cultural conflict, and perceptual ignorance on the parts of the victims and their family members. From a legal perspective, compared to developed countries like the United States and the UK, the law is inadequate to prevent cyberstalking, and from a technical perspective, technology plays the dual role of facilitator and preventer of cyberstalking. This study validates the findings, and recommendations based on Stamper’s semiotic framework are given. In addition, a framework for regulating cyberstalking across the six layers of the semiotic framework is suggested.
  • A study of advanced RTO (Regenerative Thermal Oxidizer) technology by optimised combustor integration and carbon-free fuel for non-carbon emissions

    Liu, Jingyin (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2024-01)
    The control of emissions of VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) has been an important issue when environmental standards has been starting to implement. Thermal Oxidation which involves combustion processes of gases, liquids and solids has been a common technique to destroy VOCs and has a vast application prospect, especially the application of regenerative thermal oxidizer (RTO). In this thesis which is aiming to investigate advanced RTO technology by optimised integration with combustor(s) and by carbon-free fuel for non-carbon emissions, based on necessary literature review on advanced RTO technologies, main methodology to study and optimize RTO (Regenerative Thermal Oxidation) performances, current development of relevant numerical simulation, non-carbon combustion with carbon-free fuels, experimental investigation and CFD simulation have been carried out for examining effects of various design parameters and operation parameters on VOC conversion efficiency, energy application and non-carbon emissions. After the experimental equipment, instrumentations and testing conditions for initial experimental investigation are introduced, influences of operating temperatures and purging time on gas-out VOC concentration have been examined. Those results suggest that to maintain a lower gas-out VOC concentration but keep low fuel consumption and low combustion temperature still need significant work to do. The CFD numerical model including relevant sub-models have been introduced and developed. Based on those, the required meshes have been created and presented. Initial validations show the modelling results have very good agreement with the experimental results. It suggested the developed CFD model can be used for simulating the performance of three-bed RTO. Then the integration between combustor(s) and RTO has been investigated with CFD simulation. Five sections Including combustor protrusion, combustor diameter (or combustor exit velocity), combustor vertical position, combustor horizontal position, twin combustor were studied for examining their influences on temperature distributions, flow field, VOC concentration distributions, VOC concentration in gas-out flow, NO emissions etc. In summary, combustor horizontal position can provide a better solution for reducing both VOC and NO outputs, while twin combustor is not so promising for benefiting RTO performance improvement. As hydrogen can provide zero CO2 emissions and other emissions except NOx, it as fuel was studied with the main objective to explore the possibility for RTO to implement carbon-free combustion and emissions,. The same heat amount with hydrogen as fuel was supplied for comparing the difference between hydrogen as fuel and natural gas as fuel. When stoichiometric combustion is maintained for both natural gas fuel and hydrogen fuel, modelling cases for same combustor diameter and same combustor exit velocity are simulated. Results show that, although the same heat amount is supplied with hydrogen as fuel, both the same combustor diameter case and the same combustor exit velocity case produce higher VOC concentration in gas-out flows. The reason may be the reduced temperature in most RTO space due to more water condensation for hydrogen combustion. Reduced hydrogen amount/flowrate was also investigated for examining effects of reduced energy supply on RTO performance. Results show that reduced hydrogen amount will almost proportionally increase VOC concentration in gas-out flows. With the same heat amount for hydrogen as fuel, NO emissions have no big difference, compared to natural gas although VOC amount increased. With reduced hydrogen amount/flowrate, NO emissions amount has some slight reduction. It suggests that both reduced temperature in most RTO space due to water condensation and increased flame temperature of hydrogen combustion contribute to the results.
  • A study on the impact of contractor selection method and contractors’ pre-qualifications on delays in Jordanian public construction projects

    Amireh, Farah (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2022-11-01)
    The construction sector significantly contributes to Jordan's economy; delivering projects on time stands as a paramount success factor. Contractors play a pivotal role in project timelines, aiming to minimize delays and failures. Consequently, the pre-qualifications of contractors hold critical importance. Unfortunately, the pre-qualifications of contractors are often disregarded in the process of awarding construction projects in Jordan. Excessive emphasis is placed on selecting the lowest bidding price. This research contends that a systematic investigation into contractor pre-qualification is imperative to enhance the likelihood of project success and prevent potential delays. As a final point, a practicable framework is proposed to aid decision-makers in selecting appropriate contractors and refining decision-making to bolster success rates. The research employed a dual-method approach to data collection. Quantitatively, a questionnaire was distributed to 800 participants, yielding 250 responses. Qualitatively, case studies were conducted in two school building construction projects, supplemented by researcher-conducted interviews within these educational institutions. The findings were categorized into four main sections. The first section reveals that the construction industry in Jordan is predominantly perceived as male-dominated. Notably, school projects emerge as the most common type of government project in Jordan, typically characterized by medium-sized scope and executed by contractors classified as first-class. Regarding success factors, the outcomes indicate that contractors tend to perceive their projects as more successful compared to the viewpoints of owners and consultants. The utmost success factor across all parties is project quality. Among the challenges faced by all stakeholders, project delays stand out prominently. In terms of contractor selection, the impact index of the contractor selection method on success is notably high at 80.6%. The significance attributed to contractor qualifications varies among stakeholders. Owners prioritize the contractor's financial standing; consultants underscore the importance of technical staff skills; for contractors, proficient project planning takes precedence. A majority of respondents (71.6%) believe that enhancements can be made to the contractor selection method. Reasons for delays diverge based on stakeholders. For owners, the financial circumstances of the contractor are a primary cause. Consultants attribute delays primarily to inadequate project planning by contractors. Contractors cite government payment delays as their main concern, followed by government decision-making delays and their own financial situations. Delays primarily lead to cost overruns for all parties, followed by disputes. From the owner's standpoint, delays predominantly result in disputes. All parties unanimously agree that communication is the most commonly utilized and effective solution to address delays. Comparative analyses were conducted and are presented in tables on specified page numbers 184, 188, and 191 for success factors, contractor pre-qualifications, and reasons for delays in different countries. Concerning theoretical underpinnings, this study integrated two core theories, the multi-attribute theory and the analytical hierarchy process theory, to develop the final framework. Given their foundational status within the selection process, these theories informed the framework's development. Notably, the most crucial pre-qualification aspects for selecting qualified contractors were identified as follows (in percentages): technical staff skills (27%), project planning (22%), financial considerations (20%), experience and capability (15%), contract management (8%), risk management plans (5%), and technology (3%). This framework aims to facilitate decision-makers, particularly the Ministry of Public Works and Housing, in streamlining the contractor selection process and simplifying decision-making.
  • Investigating the issues and core professional for a construction planner competencies

    O'Callaghan, Anthony (University of Bedfordshire, 2023-11)
    The research examines the issues and state of planning within construction in the UK, and associated competencies and skills that should be expected. Project planning does not yet have any assessment criteria or recognised body in place either in the UK or Europe to support or help monitor planning SME’s (Subject Matter Experts), whereas other specialisms that operate alongside planners in project controls or project management offices such as cost engineers have ACostE (Acoste.co.uk, 2013) or risk managers have the Institute of Risk Management (Theirm.org/, 2014) have supporting bodies. This has resulted in planning being saturated with unqualified or poor planners. My research focuses and builds on my BSc (Hons) dissertation and includes the suggested adjustments from the MiPP proposal “How competent planning can effectively influence procurement within the construction sector.” The research incorporated questionnaires, interviews, and relevant literature pertaining to the specialism of planning combining both qualitative and quantitative data. The resultant of this has confirmed that planning indeed has serious issues with regards to qualifications, ability, behaviors, etc. and that this is viewed not just across planning, but also by other disciplines. The research demonstrates and proves there that from the sample of interviewees taken, a significant percentage believe there are issues within the specialism of planning. And if this continues to go on unaddressed it will damage the reputation and value that planning, and a good planner can actually bring to projects when done correctly.
  • ‘Prepare for unforeseen consequences’: narrative game mechanics as affective mechanics in two interactive fictions and two video games

    McGill, Kirsty Michelle (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2023-11)
    The continually developing game studies field has given rise to the question of ‘How do games tell stories?’ In response, this thesis aims to develop the ongoing understanding of narrative game mechanics (NGMs) and their capabilities as affect producing mechanics. By utilising a braided approach involving the roles of researcher, player, spectator and designer this thesis achieves a multi-faceted view of the emerging understandings of NGMs. This study builds on work from key researchers including Teun Dubbelman, Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari. In addition, work from the fields of affect and horror is drawn upon to create a strong theoretical underpinning which then contributed to four textual analyses. This involved two interactive fictions, The Uncle Who Works for Nintendo (2014a) and Stories Untold (2017); and two video games, INSIDE (2016) and Until Dawn (2015). As NGMs are still in their nascence, this necessitated the creation of a new analytical framework to aid in identifying and analysing any NGMs present in the games chosen. By drawing on the work of the theorists noted above, among others, the Action, Aesthetics, Mechanics and Narration (AAMN) framework was created. This framework establishes the basic actions afforded to the player and proceeds through progressive levels to determine whether they have contributed to the game’s narrative. As the Narration level can be indistinct, YouTube Let’s Plays of the chosen games were utilised to contribute to this gap as they offer player driven commentary and can function as a paratext of the chosen games. In addition to the textual analyses carried out, an IF was designed (using the platform Twine) which was also analysed using the previously noted framework. Player feedback was collected in place of the YouTube Let’s Plays used for the other games analysed. Taking on the role of a designer allowed insights on creating NGMs. Consideration of what could be accomplished within the possibilities and limitations of Twine further enforced the creative practice of thinking within a medium. This approach allowed for the creation of an exploratory artefact which aided in generating new knowledge through reflection on the creative practice used. The insights gained from the designer role aided in the textual analyses and vice versa. By utilising a braided role approach this enabled a more rounded reflection and analysis of NGMs and their affective capabilities. This thesis concludes by establishing that two specific NGMs have been identified during the research. These NGMs, the information mechanic and purposeful ambiguity, function as affective mechanics with horror-affect producing capabilities. Furthermore, this thesis contributes an extended definition of NGMs to the academic field, and notes that NGMs go beyond encouraging the game narrative, and further proposes definitions for the two specific NGMs identified.
  • Exploring post-war asylum experiences among Sri Lankan Tamils in the UK

    Geoffray, Ravibhahini (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2023-10)
    In a rush to leave their homeland and seek sanctuary, asylum seekers face substantial difficulties in proving or providing documentation for their asylum claim. Usually, the only ‘proof’ asylum seekers can rely on is their oral testimony, from which decision makers determine the need for asylum protection. With the end of armed conflict in 2009, Sri Lankan Tamil refugees and asylum seekers (especially those living in the West) experienced pressure and anxiety about their legal status in their host countries. This thesis aims to explore the perspectives and experiences of Sri Lankan Tamil asylum seekers under this post-war context. The research aims to explore how a sample of UK-based Sri Lankan Tamil asylum seekers have experienced their asylum journey since the end of the 2009 war in Sri Lanka. The purpose of this thesis is to focus particularly on the asylum process, that is how asylum seekers reaching host countries under post-war contexts interpret the meaning and understanding of the asylum system and their experiences of this process. This thesis does not aim to understand the asylum system, but to highlight how the marginalized groups understand this system from their ‘lived’ experiences. After gaining ethical approval from the University and consent from participants, in-depth semistructured interviews and diary writing were utilized to carry out research with 14 asylum seekers. Results: The participants of this study narrated their post war experience as ‘nothing has changed’ denoting they face continued oppression, persecution, violence despite the end of the war. The continued violence forced the participants to seek asylum in UK. This research identifies the difficulties, barriers and challenges experienced by the asylum seekers as they adapt to the asylum process in the host country. The interviews and diaries were analysed thematically, highlighting a range of dominant themes such as mistrust, credibility, social bonds, and language, which are explored further within this thesis. Overall, the participants responded that the UK asylum system (the Home Office, judges and others handling the asylum cases) treated them as less credible, bogus, criminals, unworthy, liars and system abusers. The participants also experienced a lack of knowledge, professionalism and human empathy among the officials who handle the cases. The participants further concluded that the asylum system approaches the applicants with prejudices, limited country profile knowledge and, ironically, with a decision made even before conducting the interview. The research results also indicate that, despite the end of the war, the participants experienced traumatic situations in both their country of origin and their host nation. The research demonstrates that the common understanding of the particular social group does not match with the asylum seekers’ experiences, and hence more empirical investigations are needed in this area to remove this (mis)understanding. The findings of the study recommend strong changes in the procedural, attitudinal, professional, and humanitarian approach while handling such vulnerable groups and proposed recommendations for the immigration system dealing with this population, along with recommendations for future research.
  • A study of Fante-speaking students' learning of academic writing at the Methodist University College, Ghana (MUCG)

    Davis, Regina Atracta (University of Bedfordshire, 2023-09)
    This research study examined Fante-speaking students’ learning of academic writing (L2) at Methodist University College, Ghana (MUCG). For the researcher to narrow the scope of this research study, she chose Fante-speaking students as the population of study because there are over 80 different languages spoken in Ghana. The focus of the research project was to infer ways in which Fante-speaking students’ experiences might be enhanced from their reported experiences of learning academic writing I and II courses. The Academic Writing, I and II courses are university-required courses which are offered to all Level 100 and Level 200 students in MUCG, equivalent to first- and second-year university students in the United Kingdom (UK). The researcher used a mixed-methods approach, which combined qualitative and quantitative methods. The research instruments were designed to allow the researcher to find the answers to the research questions. The university provided Course Outline and Course Content for both Academic Writing I and two courses. Therefore, the researcher designed the research questionnaire questions and the interview questions in line with the Course Outline and the Course Content of the academic writing I and II courses, which can be found in Appendix number 3. The findings are based on a study sample of n=100 participants who were divided into 2 groups, 51 were young students (aged 18-24), and 49 were mature students (aged 25 and above). Both the questionnaire questions and the interview questions investigated each mature and young student’s educational background, qualifications, age, experiences of the difficulties they had before and after taking the two academic writing courses, and how the two courses impacted their learning. The research instruments also inferred ways in which students’ experiences might be improved from their reported perspectives in the two academic writing courses. All Ghanaians have their mother tongue but learn English as a second language so, there was also a question on how the students perceived that Fante their first language (L1) influenced their academic writing in English (L2). The researcher also explored participants’ learning outcomes as well as their suggestions for improvement and their feedback after they participated in the two courses. The course outline was also used as a guideline for both questionnaires and interview questions and was aligned with the research questions. Please refer to the Course Outline in number Appendix 3. Additionally, the features of academic writing that emerged from the course outline and the course content of the two academic writing courses were categorised into four main groups, namely English, grammar, comprehension, paragraph structure and referencing. The study was conducted using mixed methods comprising questionnaires and interviews and the data was repeatedly gathered from the same participants, focusing on the same study population throughout this research project over an extended period. Generally, the research findings highlighted those young students found grammar, comprehension and referencing more difficult than paragraph structures. Furthermore, the feedback from participants also offered important insights into the content of these academic writing courses and has the potential to make positive contributions to the creation of new teaching methods and potential updates to the content of the Department of Language and Communication Studies Course at MUCG. Finally, the researcher hopes that the responses and learnings obtained from this study will be used to improve the experience and learning outcomes of future students partaking in the British Standard English (BSE) academic writing course at MUCG. In this view, it will be important for the institution to consider this feedback and suggestions from the participants as it may help the English department to improve teaching and learning.
  • Developing a framework for enhancing strategic performance by applying lean service: an empirical study of the Jordanian commercial banking sector

    Al-Abdallat, Hani (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2023-11)
    The research focused on enhancing banks' strategic performance through applying lean services in commercial bank branches, with particular reference to the housing loan process. The main issue it resolved is utilizing lean services as a holistic business strategy that extends the effect of lean out of the operational performance limits. This required developing a framework for implementing lean that links customized lean service principles, practices, and daily tools with a specific area of strategic performance through a Lean Service Strategy Map. Most of the Jordanian commercial banks were included in this case-study research, where data was collected from 24 Jordanian bank employees across three levels (Headquarter, Branch Manager, and Branch Employee), representing eight different Jordanian-origin commercial banks (62% of the population), through in-depth Semi-Structured interviews, and the support of observation to a branch from each of the eight banks. The empirical qualitative data was analyzed through text analysis, including Thematic and Content Analysis, using NVivo-12 software to facilitate the analysis process. The research specifies the 25 most important strategic performance measures for banks in Jordan, which allowed for designing a comparative strategic performance assessment tool. In addition to defining the customized banks' L.S. (Lean Service) Principles, practices, and tools used to enhance each pillar of Strategic performance. Moreover, the results specified the lean service implementation success factors, sequence of activities, change-management practices and services capes elements. The findings were utilized to develop the aimed Strategic enhancement framework through applying lean service in banks.
  • The role of Quality Driven Sustainability (QDS) in export food supply chains: the case of food Industry in Jordan

    Jreisat, Lana Eed Essa (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2023-11)
    The thesis is concerned with creating adaptive Sustainable Supply Chain Management (SSCM) in the Export Food Supply Chain (EFSC) in Jordan. Supply Chain Management (SCM) is an urgent problem in the Middle East. Supply chains are global, and their disruptions cause food shortages and insecurity of food supplies. Wars in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, plus pandemics such as COVID-19, financial crises and stagflation, threaten world export food supplies everywhere. The main purpose of this research is to analyse the state of the EFSC in the export food industry in Jordan, using the concept of Quality-Driven Sustainability (QDS) and, as a result, develop a new Decision Framework for Sustainable Supply Chain Quality Management (SSCQM). The essence of SCM can be understood through three perspectives of Supply Chain Networks (SCN), Total Quality Management (TQM) and Sustainability (SUST). They have been extensively researched individually, but integration is rarely considered. The researcher shows that the underlying factors are closely related and integrates them into the concept of QDS. Within QDS, SCN is the platform for sharing and transmitting information relating to TQM and SUST. This research is an empirical qualitative study undertaken in Jordan. First, a systematic literature review was conducted, evidencing research gaps and providing the initial conceptual framework. Second, a pilot Case was carried out to refine the initial framework. Third, the empirical work was based on Case Studies of four Triads showing network relationships between the supplier, Manufacturer, and customer. The Triad approach simplifies the complexity, and treating the Manufacturer as the focal actor reveals the essence of SCM. In total, 32 semi-structured interviews were supported by observations, tours and documents to individually explore each Case and examine the proposed framework for each Case at the exploratory stage. Fourth, the four Cases were cross-analysed to provide an empirical explanation and match findings to the proposed framework across all Cases at the explanatory stage. The evidence of data collected was triangulated, and further findings were elaborated with a literature review and validated using NVivo. Moreover, this research has developed a new conceptual framework validated through the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) to prioritise the importance of the critical factors (key Themes ) based on five expert opinions. This derived continuous development toward the new Decision Framework for the conceptual framework of SSCQM incorporated with QDS in EFSCs. This research has contributed to the theoretical, methodological, and practical knowledge pertaining to the three integrated perspectives. The theoretical contributions are related to the new framework that shows how to adapt and be sustainable in the face of disruptions by balancing social, economic and environmental issues in an Adaptive Sustainable SCM Performance (ASSCMP) in EFSCs in Jordan. The practical and managerial outcomes are achieving sustainable supply chain performance through QDS by formulating a practical framework (SSCQM). This provided managers and policymakers with the knowledge and practices for the focal actors in Triads along their EFSCs and similar industries in developing countries. A methodological contribution is substantial in that a Case is an appropriate approach combined with AHP theory, providing an analytical generalisation of EFSC.
  • Investigating the self and other in improvisational dance-making using 360° immersive technology

    Russell, Kirsty (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2023-11)
    The continually developing game studies field has given rise to the question of ‘How do games tell stories?’ In response, this thesis aims to develop the ongoing understanding of narrative game mechanics (NGMs) and their capabilities as affect producing mechanics. By utilising a braided approach involving the roles of researcher, player, spectator and designer this thesis achieves a multi-faceted view of the emerging understandings of NGMs. This study builds on work from key researchers including Teun Dubbelman, Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari. In addition, work from the fields of affect and horror is drawn upon to create a strong theoretical underpinning which then contributed to four textual analyses. This involved two interactive fictions, The Uncle Who Works for Nintendo (2014a) and Stories Untold (2017); and two video games, INSIDE (2016) and Until Dawn (2015). As NGMs are still in their nascence, this necessitated the creation of a new analytical framework to aid in identifying and analysing any NGMs present in the games chosen. By drawing on the work of the theorists noted above, among others, the Action, Aesthetics, Mechanics and Narration (AAMN) framework was created. This framework establishes the basic actions afforded to the player and proceeds through progressive levels to determine whether they have contributed to the game’s narrative. As the Narration level can be indistinct, YouTube Let’s Plays of the chosen games were utilised to contribute to this gap as they offer player driven commentary and can function as a paratext of the chosen games. In addition to the textual analyses carried out, an IF was designed (using the platform Twine) which was also analysed using the previously noted framework. Player feedback was collected in place of the YouTube Let’s Plays used for the other games analysed. Taking on the role of a designer allowed insights on creating NGMs. Consideration of what could be accomplished within the possibilities and limitations of Twine further enforced the creative practice of thinking within a medium. This approach allowed for the creation of an exploratory artefact which aided in generating new knowledge through reflection on the creative practice used. The insights gained from the designer role aided in the textual analyses and vice versa. By utilising a braided role approach this enabled a more rounded reflection and analysis of NGMs and their affective capabilities. This thesis concludes by establishing that two specific NGMs have been identified during the research. These NGMs, the information mechanic and purposeful ambiguity, function as affective mechanics with horror-affect producing capabilities. Furthermore, this thesis contributes an extended definition of NGMs to the academic field, and notes that NGMs go beyond encouraging the game narrative, and further proposes definitions for the two specific NGMs identified.
  • Effects of supply chain integration and innovation dimensions on business performance of Jordanian manufacturing firms

    Bwaliez, Omar Mohammad (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2023-10)
    The purpose of the current research is to examine the effect of supply chain integration (SCI) in terms of internal integration, supplier integration, and customer integration on business performance (BP) directly, and indirectly through the mediating effect of innovation in terms of product innovation, process innovation, marketing innovation, and management innovation in the context of Jordanian manufacturing firms. Based on the resource-based view (RBV) and relational view (RV), a research model was developed representing the proposed hypotheses about SCI dimensions, innovation dimensions, and BP. To test this model, survey data were gathered from 292 Jordanian manufacturing firms belonging to different industry types. SmartPLS 4 software was used to test the validity and reliability of the research constructs, and to conduct partial least squares structural equation modeling (PLS-SEM) to test the proposed research hypotheses. Regarding the direct relationships between SCI and BP, the results indicated that internal integration and supplier integration directly and positively affect BP, while customer integration does not. For the innovation-BP relationships, the results indicated that only product innovation and management innovation directly and positively affect BP. For the SCI-innovation relationships, the results indicated that internal integration positively affects all innovation dimensions. However, supplier integration positively affects all innovation dimensions except process innovation, and customer integration positively affects all innovation dimensions except management innovation. Regarding the indirect relationships, the results showed that internal integration indirectly affects BP through both product innovation and management innovation, and customer integration indirectly affects BP through product innovation only, while supplier integration does not have an indirect effect on BP through any one of the innovation dimensions. This research addresses an evident gap in the available literature regarding the effects of SCI dimensions on innovation dimensions and BP. This research extends the current literature by contributing the discussion of a comprehensive model underlining the different mediating roles of innovation dimensions on the relationships between SCI dimensions and BP. This research also acquires additional value as a result of conducting it in a developing country, Jordan. In general, manufacturing firms in developing countries face more difficulties related to the supply chain than those in developed ones; these challenges can limit the innovation and subsequently BP of manufacturers in developing countries. This research informs manufacturers interested in improving their BP to focus on establishing both internal and supplier integrations. This research also provides theory-driven and empirically proven explanations for manufacturers to differentiate the effects of internal and external integration efforts on different innovation dimensions and subsequently BP. In developing countries in particular, manufacturers need to pay substantial attention to internal integration, as it is the key antecedent of product and management innovations and subsequently BP. Moreover, manufacturers should be aware of the essential role of customer integration in improving product innovation and subsequently BP. Thus, they should make long-term plans to integrate their internal units and functions, incorporate their key external customers, and reconsider their current relationships with their suppliers.
  • Student dual identification and advocacy for cobranded higher education: a study of UK academic partnerships

    Rauf, Khadija (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2023-08)
    Cobranding through academic partnerships between public and private Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) has proliferated in recent decades. Transnational HE partnerships have been common since the 1990s. UK universities have emerged as leading facilitators of transnational partnerships. This trend has attracted many researchers to study and determine factors of student identification with cobranded HEIs. Country brand is found to be an influential factor in transnational HE partnerships where students strongly identify with the foreign partner. More recently partnerships have increased domestically in the UK. However, in domestic academic partnerships, there is no research that examines how students identify with public and private HEIs that deliver a cobranded degree programme. The aim of this study is to investigate the antecedents and consequences of student dual identification with cobranded HEIs in the UK. In other words, it looks at how students identify with cobranded HEIs and how loyalty and advocacy are divided amongst academic partners when people study at colleges partnered with universities. Underpinned by the theories of organisational identification (OI) and consumer-company identification (CCI), this study proposes a ‘Dual Student-HEI Identification’ model to examine the impact of corporate reputation, corporate communication, and student trust as antecedents of student-HEI identification. The consequences of student-HEI identification are determined by examining student satisfaction with the course, student loyalty, and student advocacy for both partner institutions. This study has examined the existence of dual identification in students who study cobranded programmes to validate existing theories on identification in the context of HE partnerships. Due to lack of empirical studies and appropriate measures in literature, this study has adopted a mixed method approach to achieve triangulation (individual interviews, expert interviews, and survey) in data collection. Data has been collected from three large UK colleges that are in partnership with UK universities to deliver programmes in business studies, health sciences, and computer sciences. Data collection occurred in two phases. Phase 1 was qualitative and phase 2 was quantitative research. Phase 1 included two studies. Study 1 was a round of ‘individual interviews’ with students of the private HEIs. This provided initial measures for quantitative research. Study 2 involved ‘expert interviews’ that helped to refine the instrument for the main study. Phase 2 involved quantitative research where a survey questionnaire was deployed. The gathered data was analysed through a series of the multivariate statistical techniques. The findings of this study have revealed that students identify with both cobranded HEIs. Corporate reputation was initially introduced in the study as an antecedent of student identification. However, an important theoretical finding is that corporate reputation is a consequence of identification. In addition, identification is found to be a significant predictor of student loyalty, course satisfaction and advocacy for both cobranded HEIs. Findings of this study have offered valuable insights for researchers and practitioners by showcasing factors that determine students’ affiliation with UK based cobranded HEIs. An important recommendation is for academic partnership managers to focus on corporate communication to strengthen student identification which in turn will build reputation of both HEIs.
  • International school responses to peer-on-peer abuse and harm: identifying enablers and barriers

    Rigg, Katie (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2023-09)
    Existing research suggests that peer-on-peer abuse affects a significant minority of young people globally and is a matter of serious concern. Whilst previous studies have examined school responses to peer-on-peer abuse, this existing evidence has typically been limited to examining barriers, rather than enablers, and has not been from within an international school context. At the same time, practitioners are increasingly paying attention to child abuse in international school settings, with growing recognition that some typifying features of these settings may affect students’ vulnerabilities and school responses. This thesis makes an original contribution to the field by exploring, for the first time, the impact of some of these typifying features. It examines the manifestation of peer-on-peer abuse in international school settings and the extent to which different factors can help and/or hinder professionals’ efforts to address this form of harm. This thesis applies systems, feminist and postcolonial theories to the analysis of survey and focus group data from 65 professionals and 32 students. In total, 64 international schools across 34 countries and four continents are represented in this study. This thesis examines how in-school features such as policy frameworks and education programmes can affect school responses and rates of harm. It highlights the need for schools to co-construct safeguarding strategies with students and to put in place clear parameters to guide this work. It identifies a gap in responses to peer-on-peer abuse that takes place outside of school and it explores how overly formal safeguarding procedures can sometimes undermine students’ protection. This thesis provides a unique examination of the interactions between different elements external to a school’s system. It demonstrates how the collision of different cultural norms in one school environment can lead to tension, and how cultural norms and cultural diversity can facilitate and/or constrain peer-on-peer abuse. This is knowledge that professionals can use when designing interventions that seek to leverage protective norms and eliminate harmful ones. It also provides insights into how some influential and affluent parents have drawn on their considerable resources to apply pressure on international schools in ways that can undermine students’ protection, and it offers strategies to counteract this pressure. This thesis also highlights the harmful effects of some legal norms and agency responses in some countries. It calls for professionals in these countries to create reporting procedures and develop relationships that are appropriate and realistic given the wider child protection system in which their school operates. Finally, it highlights the replication of colonial discourses in professionals’ and parents’ understandings of each other and demonstrates how the application of western child protection models in non-western contexts can undermine interventions. It concludes by urging professionals to test assumptions that they might hold about the communities they serve, and to consider what safeguarding models might look like if they were rooted in the cultural knowledge and norms represented by the school’s students, parents and professionals. Although of particular relevance to international schools, many of the findings in this study also hold relevance for schools more broadly.
  • A conceptual framework for the analysis of community stakeholder satisfaction within the Nigeria construction project industry

    Okafor, Chichi Merit (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2022-07)
    Due to the growing number of construction industry stakeholders, academic researchers and project managers are beginning to emphasise satisfaction in the industry as a research subject. Consequently, this study focuses on the satisfaction of community stakeholders in the construction industry, particularly in the health sector. The justification for this focus is that there is little information on analysing community stakeholder satisfaction in the Nigerian construction project industry. As a result, creating a well-revised and defined conceptual framework would be critical in tackling or significantly reducing this threat. The purpose of this study is to create a conceptual framework that will be used to analyse and improve community stakeholder satisfaction in the Nigerian construction project industry. The study relies on existing literature to identify the various satisfaction factors of stakeholders in the construction projects industry. Furthermore, the extensive literature review provided information on what defines community stakeholder satisfaction in the Nigerian construction project industry. Furthermore, interviews were used to collect data, with the resulting data serving as the baseline for examining and improving community stakeholder satisfaction in the construction project industry. In addition, a non-probability sampling method (purposive sampling) with a sample size of 21 was used for the survey. This sample size includes community leaders who are the community's overseers or governors, small business owners who are the community's investors, and project managers in charge of the construction project from which the community stakeholders benefit. In conclusion, the findings identify stakeholders' engagement, relationship management, and satisfaction factors as critical nodes for establishing the community stakeholder satisfaction framework. This three-way relationship reveals a critical interdependence between these metrics and emphasises their significance in developing a practical satisfaction framework for the Nigerian building and construction industry. Lastly, there have been suggestions for a gradual paradigm shift in the government's focus from a traditional quality-time-cost approach to a more sustainability-inclined strategy. This innovative approach could aid in the elimination of unnecessary disputes or crises affecting community stakeholder satisfaction in the building and construction sector.
  • Effects of bracing and a Futsal-specific fatiguing protocol on muscle reaction time and ground reaction forces

    Lilly, Oliver (University of Bedfordshire, 2020-11)
    Context: Futsal is a rapidly growing sport, with a high prevalence of ankle injuries. It has been found that ankle bracing during sporting activity reduces the incidence of injury, however, research assessing its acute effects on muscle reaction time and ground reaction forces has provided mixed results. Aim: The aim of this thesis was to analyse the effects of bracing on muscle reaction times (MRT) during a simulated lateral ankle sprain, and ground reaction forces (GRF) during a 90-degree cutting manoeuvre, both before and immediately after a futsal-specific fatiguing protocol (FIRP). Participants: Four male participants aged 19-22 who all played for the same University futsal team took part in the study. Methods: Muscle reaction times of the PL, PB and TA were analysed during a simulated lateral ankle sprain, and ground reaction forces during a 90-degree cutting manoeuvre, both before and immediately after the FIRP, when both braced and unbraced. Results: Significant main effects (P < 0.05) were reported during the ANOVAs of lower (improved) MRT of the PL and PB when braced vs. unbraced. A significant main effect was found for increased (worsened) MRT of the tilted PB post-fatigue vs. pre-fatigue (P = 0.032). No significant differences (P > 0.05) were found during post-hoc paired samples t-tests. No significant effects (P > 0.05) regarding GRF were reported between limbs during the 90-degree cutting manoeuvre, when braced and unbraced, pre-, and post-fatigue. Conclusion: Although significant effects were not found, strong trends, supported by large effect sizes (ɳp2 = 0.14>), of improved MRTs when braced, and worsened MRTs post-fatigue were apparent and warrant further research that incorporates a similar study-design and larger sample size.
  • Managers’ and employees’ perspectives of internal branding in an airline company

    Alketbi, Saleh (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2021-05)
    Internal branding is an ongoing process involving all agents within the company. As such, an exploration of internal branding will not only be limited to the formal understanding of internal stakeholders but will allow the subjective meanings of their understanding to be revealed as well. This investigated the perceived organizational factors, brand support behaviours, and views of managers and employees on the delivery of brand promise in an airline company case study and developed an internal branding framework based on the findings. Specifically, the research investigated how the managers and employees perceived the organizational climate and communication channels in their company; how they made sense of their brand knowledge, commitment, and citizenship; and how they viewed the delivery of their company brand promise. The consequent findings from the investigation served as the building blocks in the development of the internal branding framework in the study. The study used the qualitative design, adopted the constructivist/interpretivist philosophy; and utilized the inductive approach, with a focus on a single institution. The semi-structured interview was used to optimise data collection. A total of 30 individuals consisting of 10 managers and 20 employees participated in the study. The data was analysed using thematic analysis and phenomenological reduction and supported by sense-making tools. The study found that organizational factors contributed to the creation of a social space that allowed managers, employees, and other internal stakeholders to interrelate in various ways. It is within these social spaces where internal stakeholders re-framed their brand knowledge, commitment, and citizenship within the context of their lived experiences. As a corollary, the internal branding framework developed in the study demonstrated that the presence of a positive organizational climate and information-rich environment creates an enabling social environment that facilitates the interaction of internal stakeholders. This type of environment enables them to construct and reconstruct their knowledge about their company brand and allows them to make sense of their brand commitment and citizenship that sustain their perception of the delivery of the brand promise. The framework of internal branding developed in the study is the major contribution of this research. Furthermore, this study contributes insight into the dynamics of internal branding from detailed information derived from the perspectives of managers and employees which were used to edify the internal branding framework developed in the study. The framework demonstrates how companies can best leverage their physical and human resources to enhance their brand image through internal branding. The study also provides an analysis of a dataset on brand knowledge, commitment, and citizenship that contributes knowledge of internal branding in an economically dynamic and multi-cultural company context. Lastly, this study contributes to the growing efforts of investigating the internal branding process using a qualitative approach by demonstrating how qualitative studies can be used to explore branding concepts.
  • Taking up a place at university: what do care experienced people say is important?

    Geoghegan, Luke (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2021-02)
    While the educational attainment of looked after children has been the focus of a growing body of research, much less is known about those care experienced young people who secure a place at university. This research aimed to explore the importance of a university level of education for individuals; the significance of a university education for care experienced people in the context of the changing world of work; and sought to understand the background and circumstances of care experienced people who do secure a place at university with a view to understanding how their progress could be replicated. The research foregrounded listening attentively to the experiences and opinions of care experienced people who had secured a place at university. Using a small self-selecting sample of fifteen participants data was gathered through questionnaires and interviews to establish the attitudes, behaviours and activities that these individuals identified as important in successfully taking up a place at university. A theoretical framework based on Bourdieu’s concepts of habitus, capital and field was used to explain and interpret the data. Key themes that re-occur throughout this research were the importance of a strengths-based approach, the value of proximity in the genesis, application and interpretation of research and research findings, and the worth of granularity – making specific recommendations for social work practice. An important lesson explored at a range of levels was the difference between ‘knowing that’ and ‘knowing how’, or the necessity of ‘propositional knowledge’ being translated into ‘applied knowledge’, thus helping bridge the gap between research and practice. The research makes ten recommendations for social workers on how children and young people who are looked after might be better supported to consider the option of university. Rather than simply focusing on care experienced people as victims, it is better to acknowledge some are in fact active creators of their own lives. Learning from their experiences and expertise it might be possible to better support other care experienced people to successfully take up a place at university.
  • Assessing stability and post-collision stabilisation in elite level Rugby Union athletes

    Long, Christopher Stephen (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2021-08)
    Rugby union is a football code incorporating running, jumping, changes of direction and multidirectional high velocity collisions. The demands of the sport make postural stability an area of importance for players, coaches, and medical practitioners. Despite this importance, methods, and practice in the quantification of various elements of postural stability are not well developed or standardised. A rugby union team is commonly split into two position units, forwards, and backs, each with distinct anthropometric, physiological and match action characteristics which present high levels of variance in stability as currently measured in practice. The first study aimed to evaluate current measures of stability used within elite rugby union and assess the value of those measures in a research context. It found that the measure and test protocol utilised, the modified Balance Error Scoring System (mBESS), was appropriate only in assessing individual variances, as scores were influenced by height, mass, positional unit and grouping in each plane of movement, in bi and unipedal conditions. This study concluded that more ecologically valid forms of stability should be investigated. The second study aimed to identify variables which are appropriate for player comparisons and wider research purposes in assessment of both static and dynamic stability. Time to stabilisation (TTS) was demonstrated not to be significantly affected by anthropometric or positional factors and was therefore recommended for use in rugby stability research. Static sway area, assessed using a unipedal Stork test, was identified as a measure of static stability unaffected by playing position. The principal threat to maintaining stability in rugby union match play is the tackle, a match event in which opposition players attempt to bring a player in possession of the ball to the ground to halt their forward progress or remove the ball from their possession. The impact forces involved in this action are increasingly well understood, however the effect of those forces on stability of the ball carrier, and the response to those forces, are not. A novel device was constructed to replicate such impacts in a laboratory setting. The third study aimed to establish the reliability and validity of this device, referred to as the impact machine. The impact machine demonstrated within-session coefficient of variance of <5% in accurately delivering specified forces of between 881 and 4410 N, successfully replicating forces recorded in previous field and laboratory studies. Between-session reliability achieved an inter class coefficient of R = 0.886. Following the establishment of an appropriate test protocol, the fourth study aimed to identify kinetic variables which may influence static, dynamic and impact-response stability in male rugby union athletes. Counter movement jump (CMJ), drop jump (DJ) and isometric mid-thigh pull (MTP) variables were measured and placed into a stepwise multiple linear regression model for each aspect of stability. No relationships were found between CMJ height, maximal rate of force development, DJ height, DJ contact time or peak MTP force and static, dynamic or impact response stability. This suggests different systems influence different aspects of stability and that the physical capacity measures tested, although correlated, are not related to stability. Further work is required to verify these novel results. The stability measures selected removed positional differences in static and dynamic stability assessments but failed to do so in impact-response stability. This is likely due to different anthropometric and force production characteristics between forwards and backs. These findings suggest that stability and stabilisation should be measured in a task and player specific manner, and that TTS is a suitable variable for use in comparison of players and tasks in an elite male rugby population. Future work should look to identify effective stabilising strategies for each type of collision and response, and the physical capacities which may influence them.
  • Protection in practice: ‘what works’ to support non-governmental organisations in Tanzania to respond to child abuse

    Walker-Simpson, Karen (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2021-03)
    Since 2002, there has been proliferation of safeguarding standards designed to ensure that non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working within the international development and humanitarian sectors ‘do no harm’ and that allegations of abuse receive a swift and robust response. Although these standards have been adopted by leading agencies and are incorporated into the funding requirements of international donors, there have been very few evaluations of their effectiveness. The limited body of research which exists focuses almost exclusively on the experiences of adult beneficiaries in refugee settings. There are very few studies examining the effectiveness of safeguarding standards in non-refugee settings, and the experiences of NGO workers who are required to implement the measures has largely been ignored. This thesis makes a distinct contribution to existing knowledge by examining the role of safeguarding standards in improving the reporting and response to child abuse in nonemergency settings in Tanzania. Drawing on context-specific insights from NGO workers, this study explores the impact of individual capacity, inter-personal relationships and cultural norms on the decisions and actions taken by workers. It also considers how the institutional setting and constraints within the wider child protection system affect the outcomes which NGOs can achieve. The aim of this study is not to prove or disprove the effectiveness of international safeguarding standards, but rather to test the underlying assumption that safeguarding measures will improve the response to abuse irrespective of context This study takes a realist approach with findings drawn from three iterative stages of data collection and analysis. Firstly, a realist review of international standards to develop a theoretical understanding of the assumptions underlying existing safeguarding measures and how these are intended to improve the reporting of and response to abuse. Secondly, this initial understanding is tested and refined through interviews and focus groups with policy makers and representatives from international NGOS. Finally, empirical data drawn from indepth case studies with three NGOs in Tanzania provides an understanding of how safeguarding measures operate in practice. The findings demonstrate a significant gap between the assumptions underlying current standards, the understandings of international ‘experts’ and the practical realities facing NGOs in Tanzania. Whilst acknowledging the value of some of the safeguarding measures, this thesis challenges the assumption that improvements can be achieved through compliance with the pre-defined set of procedures and processes set out in international standards. Instead, this thesis highlights the importance of fostering local approaches to safeguarding which are grounded in the practical experience and context-specific knowledge that exists within NGOs. It also demonstrates the importance of fostering inter-personal relationships based on trust and mutual understanding and the need for additional financial resources to enable NGOs to enable cover the costs of responding to abuse. The thesis concludes by exploring the implications of these findings for international safeguarding standards and the way these are applied by international donors.
  • A relational understanding of the needs of siblings of children who have been sexually abused

    Dwan, Maeve (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2022-06)
    This thesis explores the needs of and impact on brothers and sisters of young people who have been sexually abused; where they have not had this experience and they themselves have not abused. I explore the impact for them, and what they need, to be able to process their emotions following a disclosure of sexual abuse in their family. The research questions at the heart of this exploration are, • What is the impact of child sexual abuse on siblings who have not abused or been abused? • What is the impact on family relationships for brothers and sisters, following their sibling’s sexual abuse? • What do brothers and sisters of young people who have been sexually abused need, following their siblings' experience of child sexual abuse? • How can we reduce any potential long-term consequences or traumatic impact on their lives? • How might we develop interventions that are congruent with their defined needs? Within this relational exploration and qualitative research inquiry, I developed several approaches to capturing participants' perspectives and the perspectives of those in close sibling relationships to them. I have also included the views of staff who specifically worked in the area of child sexual abuse. I divided the study into two stages. Stage 1, a Youth Advisory Group to inform Stage 2 sibling one-to-one online consultations. The Youth Advisory Group was a direct engagement with young people under the age of 18 years. It was an invitation to young people receiving specialist child sexual abuse intervention and therapy, to contribute their views on service development for their siblings. Due to the Covid 19 pandemic and public health restrictions, the Stage Two, sibling participation was moved to in-depth online consultation with siblings between the ages of 12 and 18 years. With both these groups, I used a collaborative inquiry approach to narrative analysis. The young people who participated in the sibling online consultations, were not the siblings of those who participated in the Youth Advisory Group. Ethics approval was sought in two stages. I included a second layer of participatory pre-research inquiry using a mini World Café with practitioners, to produce a relationally engaged co-inquiry. This systemic inquiry used across the entire project paid particular attention to research as a relational process. Within my inquiry, I positioned myself centrally as a practitioner-researcher. I used ethnographic writing to enact a process of transparency and collaboration. I used a collaborative inquiry approach to narrative analysis with both groups in my analysis. The methodology employed in reviewing this material took the form of reflexive ethnography. I argue for the need for clinicians, policy makers, and society to better understand the impact and needs of brothers and sisters of children who have experienced sexual abuse. A key element for consideration is the identification of supports and interventions required for families who have had to manage such experiences, and for siblings to be included in these interventions. The thesis concludes with a clear rationale for including the therapeutic needs of those siblings and adds to the broader body of knowledge available in the fields of family therapy, child sexual abuse, and early childhood trauma. This rationale is formed centrally on the voices and experiences of the young people who participated. I demonstrate the role of relational ethics as a guiding action, enacting an ethics of relational responsibility approach rather than paternalistic protection over participation.

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