• Creating relationally reflexive spaces in social care education

      Leonard, Karen (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2020-07)
      This doctoral thesis is a reflexive inquiry into my education practice with social care students as I encourage them to engage in relational self-reflexivity in preparation for practice. Having taught social care students in higher education for many years, I noticed some found it difficult to be reflexive compared with their ability to understand a theory or develop their skills. I felt this was not an individual deficit but a systemic one and was related to their experience within education systems. These systems constructed over decades, resulted in them having few opportunities to be relationally reflexive of themselves and their lives to work in social care contexts. In this study, I set out to address this gap, by providing a different learning context where relational reflexivity in preparation for practice is emphasised. The approach described here is a development on the individualised, de-contextualised form of reflection common in most social care training. Instead, I developed a model of reflexivity for education which focuses on social care as a relational and systemic endeavour with the social care worker and client engaged in an ongoing relationship with each other. Providing this type of learning space for students meant my teaching practice also had to change. I could no longer be a bystander asking students to be reflexive of themselves, without also being reflexive of my practice. I adopted a collaborative, fluid, dialogical and non-expert position with students in small reflexive learning groups which not only encouraged greater reflexivity for them but a richer reflexivity of my practice as an educator. In this research, I develop a critically reflexive account of professional practice from our experiences within the group process and situate it within a discussion of related literature and practice. This research draws on postmodern qualitative theory which supports first-person inquiry into professional practice. I study our engagement in reflexivity within the group sessions, through the students’ and my reflexive diaries, feedback from students and by the video reviews of the teaching sessions. By assembling all these rich layers of research material, I offer here a model of relational reflexivity for education and training contexts which I have named SPiRRaLS (Systemic Practices in Relational Reflexivity and Learning Systems) as it focuses on relationships, the wider social, political, cultural and professional contexts and how these influence professional practice with clients and students. The research indicates that there are many benefits for students from engaging in this form of reflexivity that can, therefore, enhance their relationships with service users. From my experience of this process, I believe other disciplines would also benefit from this model of relational reflexivity in their education or training contexts. The study highlights the importance of support from organisations and education systems to help curate such relationally reflexive spaces. It requires institutional changes and resource allocation to develop practices that are more in line with contemporary society where education is not merely about knowledge acquisition but is liberatory, participative and potentially life-changing for the student, educator, and client.
    • The feasibility and acceptability of a stigma protection intervention designed to improve the mental health of parents and carers of autistic children

      Lodder, Annemarie (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2020-09)
      Background: Stigma is prominent in the lives of autistic children and their families, and a systematic literature review found that autism-related stigma contributes significantly to poorer mental health among parents. Parents are also at risk of internalising the stigma directed at their child, which further exacerbates poor well-being. Interventions that focus on the mental health of parents of autistic children are sparse, and there are currently no interventions available that help parents cope with autism-related stigma as well as prevent the internalisation of stigma. An intervention that is evidenced to improve mental health in part through increasing resistance to stigma will be of substantial benefit to families and, ultimately, their children. Purpose: The primary aim of this study was to develop a stigma protection intervention aiming to improve the mental health of parents of autistic children, and to evaluate its feasibility and acceptability. The secondary aim was to explore the preliminary impact of the intervention on the mental health of the parents. Methods: The Medical Research Council’s guidelines for developing complex interventions were used as a framework for the research. Evidence from multiple sources was synthesised to produce an eight week blended (face-to-face and online) psychosocial intervention titled ‘SOLACE’. A randomised controlled trial was carried out comparing parents allocated to the SOLACE group (n=9) with those allocated to a control group (n=8) (no intervention). Mixed methods were employed to investigate feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary outcomes. Recruitment and retention rates, missing data and adverse events were recorded to assess feasibility. A qualitative focus group was conducted to evaluate the acceptability of the intervention and outcome measures. Outcomes were measured at three time points: baseline, post-intervention and at six weeks follow-up. The primary outcome of interest was mental health (MHI-5). Other outcomes of interest included measures of courtesy stigma, self-stigma, self-esteem, positive meaning in caregiving, self-blame, self-compassion, social support, and social isolation. Results: Recruitment rates were lower than anticipated, yet the retention rates were excellent, with no dropouts and minimal missing data. Attendance rates were particularly high for this population, with 80% of parents attending more than 50% of the sessions. The findings of the qualitative evaluation showed that SOLACE was acceptable to parents and that the combination of online and face to face delivery worked well. Quantitative analysis revealed that mental health scores had significantly improved for those who took part in SOLACE compared to no significant changes for control group participants. In addition, changes in secondary outcome measures were in favour of SOLACE. Conclusions: A stigma protection intervention that improves the mental health of parents and carers of autistic children in an acceptable and feasible way has been produced and evidenced for the first time. A number of recommendations are made for future use in a larger, powered trial. The knowledge derived from this thesis may be used to help inform future service provision for parents and shape future autism policy so that the importance of stigma in relation to parent mental health and their caregiving role is emphasised.
    • Evaluating the adoption of project management tools and techniques in private construction companies in Nigeria

      Sidney, Edidiong Emmanuel (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2019-07)
      This research investigates the factors that influence the adoption of Project Management Tools and Techniques (PMTT) in the Nigerian private construction industry. To date, the private construction industry in Nigeria has experienced delays in project delivery, budget overrun, low quality, and project failures in most of its projects as a result of inadequate use of project management tools and techniques. These issues have been a major concern to the stakeholders and clients, considering the huge investments made in the construction projects and the impact they make on the growth of the economy. Several authors have focused on project management practice in public construction organisations with less focus on private construction companies. This research, therefore, seeks to address this gap by deploying the Nigerian private construction industry’s perspective to investigate the factors influencing PMTT practice. This research was conducted using qualitative research methods and data were collected through structured interviews. This research adopted the generic purposive sampling strategy because it was best suitable for the context of this research. In order to meet the objectives, set for the research, a pilot study was conducted using a semi-structured interview with eighteen participants in five geopolitical zones of Nigeria, excluding the North-East zone due to security issues, followed by the main study with forty-three participants. Case studies of two companies were further carried out for the purpose of triangulation, validating the data from both the pilot study and the main study. The data collected from the studies were analysed using thematic analysis to identify the different themes and sub-themes in the research. Based on the research findings and institutional theory, a conceptual framework for investigating the factors influencing the adoption of PMTT was developed for private construction companies in Nigeria in order to improve their practice. This conceptual framework presents the theory underpinning this study, key factors influencing the adoption of PMTT and the ‘Needs Factors’. Also, this study’s conceptual framework was validated.
    • Creating eWoM: perceived factors of celebrity chefs in the context of personal branding in the UK

      Halder, Andrina Nila (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2020-03)
      Electronic word of mouth (eWoM hereafter) represents a low-cost and powerful tool for companies to attract new customers. Despite the challenge in creating positive eWoM, celebrity chefs, as representative of personal branding, generate a significant amount of eWoM within their social media brand communities. Two recognised spectra of consumers’ brand-associated communications—eWoM and celebrity chefs in the perspective of personal branding—are the interest of this academic research. Up to now, these streams of literature have seen little intersection, as they typically take their distinct individual research directions. Regardless of frequent occurrence within the celebrity chef’s social media page (Relling et al., 2016) little is identified regarding eWoM triggered by the perceived factors of celebrity chefs. Nevertheless, as there is a non-existing connection in literature and a consequent lack of academic research linking celebrity chefs (in the perspective of personal branding) and eWoM, there is also inadequate understanding of what are the eWoM motivations triggered by celebrity chefs’ perceived factors. Moreover, as per the knowledge of the researcher, this is the first research which investigates why eWoM motivation does not lead to creating actual eWoM, or the intervening factors. This study follows a multi method qualitative approach and is in two segments. The first segment of the research conducts a Netnography study involving non-participant observation within the celebrity chefs’ social media brand communities. The second segment of the research has adopted a semi-structured interview method to explore the eWoM motivations for the generation of eWoM. Moreover, the interviews also explore the factors that intervene in the transformation of eWoM motivation to eWoM messages. The findings of this research highlight key perceived factors of celebrity chefs which trigger eWoM motivation. Moreover, the interview phase reveals eWoM motivations triggered by these factors. Some of the eWoM motivations identified will be a new contribution to the literature. Furthermore, the factors are explored in relation to why eWoM motivations do not create actual eWoM. As per the knowledge of the researcher, this is the first time intervening factors which do not lead eWoM motivation to create eWoM messages have been considered and researched in the context of celebrity chefs’ social media brand communities. At present, social media is an effective tool to attract customers by generating eWoM messages. This research has the potential to address celebrity chefs, or those who are interested in personal branding, social media regulators, social media strategists who can gain a profound understanding of which factors influence the social media participants in terms of creating positive and negative eWoM messages, and why the paticipants do so. Keywords: eWoM, celebrity chefs, social media marketing, personal branding, social media brand communities.
    • Biopsychosocial predictors of risky sexual behaviours among the gay men in the UK

      Yadegarfard, Mohammadrasool (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2020-10)
      Introduction: The prevalence of human immunodeficiency viruses and sexual transmitted infections is higher among gay men than in any other demographic group. In many cases, the spread of sexual transmitted infections is only due to risky sexual behaviours. Risky sexual behaviour is an ongoing issue that has no absolute answer, the results of studies conducted on risky sexual behaviours just ten years ago might not be in line with the results of studies carried out today. In an attempt to support this, the current researcher tried to answer one main question: why do gay individuals subsequently choose to engage in risky sexual behaviours? Methodology: The researcher conducted three studies in two stages using a multiphase mixed methods research design, consisting of a mixed method in the first stage and a quantitative study in the second stage. In the three studies, a total of 803 gay and heterosexual men participated. The study includes five comparison studies between gay and heterosexual men in two stages. Results: Study one (qualitative): A qualitative study was conducted in parallel with the quantitative study in stage one .The key themes that emerged as contributing factors to risky sexual behaviours and unsafe sex were: Beliefs and attitude towards RSBs and gay men; Identity and internalized homophobia; childhood experiences, age, substance use; attachment; well-being. From analysing the data, it appeared that all these areas of an individuals’ life influence their sexual behaviours. However, most of the factors seemed to be linked and overlapped on each other and identifying one factor without considering other factors was not completely possible. Study two (quantitative): It was found that the studied criteria predicted RSB only for the heterosexual respondents and did not predict RSB among the gay participants. Nevertheless, among the gay respondents, sexual hyperactivation was found to be predicted by substance use and loneliness. It is concluded that gay males who experience subjective loneliness, smoke and sniff substances for recreational purposes report higher levels of sexual hyperactivation. However, higher sexual hyperactivation was not found to be a predictor of sexual relationships or RSB per se. Study three (quantitative): Based on the findings from stage one, the third study was conducted. The third study was included three hypotheses that were partly supported by the results of hypothesis testing. The results showed that there are more similarities between gay and heterosexual men than differences and, the differences that do exist are in individuals’ life experiences, which are the results of society’s different responses to and treatment of gay and heterosexual men. Discussion: The researcher believes that this current study is unique in its field and the outcomes contributed to the existing knowledge and understanding of RSBs among men. The multiphase mixed method design used in this study gave the researcher a comprehensive view of the subject. It allowed the researcher to measure a number of variables. The TPB was found to be a helpful model for understanding RSBs. The implications of the findings are discussed in the last chapter.
    • The effects of static water immersion and different body postures on the cardiovascular system in healthy participants

      Wing, Natasha (University of Bedfordshire, 2020-10)
      Background: Water creates a hydrostatic pressure on the body when immersed (Bove, 2002). This redirects blood to the thoracic cavity leading to an increase in cardiac output (Q̇), stroke volume (SV) and a decrease in heart rate (HR) and blood pressure (BP) ( Šrámek et al., 2000). The aim of this study was to use echocardiography to report the full effects of water immersion. Method: Sixteen participants were immersed to the neck in waters of 30°C in three postures (standing, sitting and laying) for 20 minutes. BP, HR and a full echocardiogram of the left ventricle was performed. This was recreated on land. Results: SV (14.2%), Q̇ (12.5%), and EDV (7.7%) increased and HR (5%), SBP (11.2%), WS (12.1%) and DBP (13.9%) decreased (all P<0.05) in water when compared to land. Sitting demonstrated the greatest effect on the variables. Conclusion: Water immersion displayed favourable adaptations to the myocardium, this is due to an increase in venous return stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system and dilating arteries and reducing BP and HR. These adaptations encourage the heart to work more effectively at a lower rate, improving cardiovascular health.
    • A novel approach to providing secure data storage using multi cloud computing

      Alqahtani, Hassan Saad (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2019)
      The cloud computing is a new technology that has been presented in the market un recent years. However, it suffered several security breaches, and has some open issues, in terms of security. Due to that, the literature was investigated to highlight the cloud computing security issues, it was found that about 50% of cloud computing security issues are associated with data storage, applied cryptography, and applied authentication. On the other hand, multiple-cloud paradigms have been developed as efficient solutions in order to overcome some single cloud paradigm obstacles and limitations, and enhance the efficiency of ICT cloud-based solutions. Developing an approach that is stable and capable of delivering a very high level security and availability cannot be achieved by relying on a high layer of the delivered system (the software), the lower layer (the infrastructure) must be involved in order to achieve that level of service. This study aims to improve the security of the delivered cloud storage service via multiple-cloud computing and to develop an approach for providing a secure data storage system that could be installed, configured, and easily consumed through the appropriate multiple-cloud model. The developed approached is supposed to maintain the confidentiality, integrity, and authenticity of the protected data; besides that, it will support disaster recovery and auditing for the system. This study aims to reduce the complexity and required knowledge levels associated with consuming a multiple-cloud computing paradigm and enhance the flexibility. In order to validate and verify the developed approach, a prototype was developed and tested, the testing phase consists of three core experiments, the outcomes of these three experiments were analysed, presented, and discussed. From the collected feedback, we could conclude that the developed prototype performance is as expected and developed prototype has been validated and verified.
    • Examining the barriers and enablers for British South Asian men in NHS nursing careers in England

      Qureshi, Irtiza (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2021-02)
      Background Addressing the shortage and increasing the ‘home grown’ NHS workforce is a key aspect of the Government’s Widening Participation agenda British South Asians (BSA) and men are underrepresented within the nursing workforce. Existing evidence highlights some salient barriers (and enablers) for underrepresented groups entering and progressing in nursing careers. There is however little evidence exploring the experiences of ‘home grown’ BSA men. Therefore, this study aimed to take an intersectional approach to examining the barriers and enablers for BSA men entering and progressing in NHS nursing careers in England. Methods A convergent parallel mixed methods approach was adopted. A quantitative secondary descriptive analysis (using proportion ratios, for comparison between BSA and White men, using confidence intervals to test statistical significance) was conducted on national data on applications (n=150,445 applicants over 3 year period), acceptances and attrition rates (n=416,457 total enrolled students over 3 year period) in relation to nursing pre-registration courses in England and NHS nursing workforce (n=1,254,368 full time equivalent staff posts) from 2013-2016 inclusive. Qualitative focus groups were conducted in Luton, with BSA young men (n=22) and BSA parents (n=35). One to one interviews were conducted nationally with professionals and stakeholders (n=5 nurses, 5 other professionals) to ascertain their views. A Framework Approach was used for analysis purposes. Results and Findings The review of national data showed that BSA men are twice as likely to apply for nursing pre-registration courses than their British White male counterparts (PR=2.32: 95% CI: 2.22-2.42); half as likely to be accepted on nursing pre-registration courses (PR=0.54: 95% CI: 0.47-0.62); 18% more likely to leave their nursing course without achieving the intended award (PR=1.18: CI 95%: 1.15-1.21); and underrepresented in senior, management or specialist roles within the workforce (PR=0.35: CI 95%: 0.30- 0.40). The focus groups and interviews revealed a number of themes. Barriers included poor pay and conditions negative family views, negative media representations, ethnicity including culture; religion; masculinity and gender, a lack of knowledge and awareness of the nursing profession, and less favourable comparison of nursing with medical doctors as a profession. Enablers included personal circumstances, role models including friends and family, ethnicity including religion and masculinity and nursing as a noble profession. Conclusion and Recommendations Quantitative results suggest variation in nursing education outcomes based upon ethnicity which merit further enquiry via qualitative research to identify institutional barriers in selection practices. Difficulties in identifying ‘home grown’ BSA nurses (as opposed to internationally recruited nurses in the NHS workforce) highlight a significant challenge for benchmarking aspirations to develop a ‘home grown’ workforce. Data capture systems should be reviewed in the light of this finding. Qualitative findings suggest the need for culturally specific interventions to reduce the stigma associated with nursing in the BSA community to attract a more diverse nursing workforce, including an emphasis on the values common to BSA masculinities and aspects of the nursing profession. BSA male nurses experience institutional racism, which impedes their career progression, therefore NHS employer organisations should review relevant recruitment and retention policy and practice for this group.
    • To explore the factors that influence the millennial generation entrepreneurs identifying entrepreneurial opportunity in Malaysia

      Abdul Hami, Heliza (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2020-10)
      In recent years, development of entrepreneurship in both scholarly and entrepreneurial activity has seen growing importance in Malaysia. Entrepreneurship can be labelled as the “engine of growth”. Simultaneously, entrepreneurs have brought an enormous positive contribution to not only the economic development but also social development. The importance of entrepreneurship to the Malaysian economic growth can be evidenced from the various support mechanism and policies by the Malaysian government. In 2010, the Malaysian government unveiled the New Economic Model, a 10-year plan to double the country’s per capita income by 2020. The New Economic Model has been successful in promoting entrepreneurship by providing entrepreneurial training and funding to encourage entrepreneurship. As a result, from the Malaysia Labour Force Survey (2018), the percentage of entrepreneurs increased by 9% from 2016 to 2017, indicating that the government’s efforts have been fruitful. However, the increase in number shows the classification of age range falls between 22 and 34. Thus, it can be concluded that the young age of the entrepreneurs or familiarly known as millennial generations are those who were born between 1982 and 2000. Reviewing previous research on millennial generation entrepreneurs, particularly from the Malaysian perspective, indicates that the research within the entrepreneurship discipline is fragmented and underdeveloped. Therefore, the topic chosen for this study falls within the focus of entrepreneurial opportunity identification. Research on millennial generation entrepreneurship has hindered knowledge development and creation in the field of entrepreneurship. This study aims to explore the factors influencing millennial generation in identifying entrepreneurial opportunity in Malaysia. This study is relevant in helping to build resilient businesses, to strengthen policy-making and encourage the millennials to consider entrepreneurship as a career. The research is based on qualitative investigation informed by an interpretivist ontology and epistemology. The author adopted semi-structured interviews to gain a deeper understanding of the aim of the study. Purposive sampling was adopted. The selection of participants was based on the specific criterion. The data were analysed using thematic analysis to create a meaningful classification of the influencing factors. All themes were coded using Nvivo 11 software. This study revealed that the factors influencing the identification of entrepreneurial opportunity among the millennial generation entrepreneurs in Malaysia differs based on the business industry, personal background and position. The interview data captured two main categorisations that can be acknowledged as individual factors and environmental factors. The findings that fall under the individual factors include alertness, prior knowledge, entrepreneurial cognition, social network, self-efficacy, personality traits, online digital platform, digital skills and Bumiputera status. Whereas, under the environmental factors, community, economic environment and regulatory or policy seem to be the most prominent factors in identifying entrepreneurial opportunity. The diverse background of the interviewees has added value to the findings by providing contending perspectives to the research. The findings suggest that the factors that influence millennials in identifying entrepreneurial opportunity in Malaysia differ from the in-depth available literature linked to developed countries. This study has advanced our understanding of entrepreneurial opportunity identification in a developing nation. The findings of this study offer fresh insight and value to academics, practitioners, as well as to policymakers and open up several research areas for entrepreneurship development in business start-ups, mainly focusing on the millennial generation. Thus, the findings provide an essential baseline for future quantitative and qualitative studies focusing on the Malaysian millennial generation.
    • The development of an ongoing research agenda: contemporary soft power representations of China in tourism

      Wang, Sisi (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2018-12)
      Since the late 1980s, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has taken dedicated steps to open itself to the wider world. It has not only adopted practices which encourage many foreigners to visit China, but it has also adopted practices which encourage Chinese citizens to travel overseas, following the guarded decades of the earlier twentieth century. Over the last two decades, the concept of soft power, coined by U.S. political analyst Joseph Nye, has won currency in China as a major means by which the PRC has revealed preferred versions of itself to not only those from afar but also to its indigenous population. This study inspects the role of soft power in tourism and positions 'tourism' as a paramount mechanism by which authorities in China use the value of tourism to communication selected visions of Chinese life, events and places. It seeks to examine what becomes represented from Chinese inheritances and what becomes adopted as a soft power resource to constitute dominant regimes of representation. In an effort to probe the manner by which the nation of China denotates this or that about 'China' in comparison to the manner by which the city of Xi'an --- the former capital of China --- denotates this or that about 'Xi'an'. Attention is thereby frequently turned to Confucian/Neo-Confucian understandings, since many observers of representational paradigms see significant parallels in what political-strategists propose about soft power today and what the ancient philosopher (Kongfuzi = Confucius) advises about state ideology, imperial ritual and exemplary rule. To these ends, this study is focuses on the production of meaning through language, discourse and image. Constituting an interpretive rather than empirical study, it constitutes an exploratory investigation of acts of significnce at national and old-ancient-city levels. The study does not seek to make immediate and full conclusions on these projective practices, it isbased upon a single year's inspection, based distantly in England and examines the representational ground in order to set up an ongoing and more substantive study of these national/local acts of representational denotation from 2018 onwards, once this preliminary investigation has been completed at its European base. Thus, this study is accorded with an auxiliary study objectives which directs the researcher towards a richer and more informed in situ examination of institutional agency in harnessing the culture-historic inheritances and the contemporary-lifeways at the national level in China vis-a-vis the old (but still vibrant) capital city level. Many readers might thus quibble that in such an exploratory investigation, the said 'auxiliary study objectives' should indeed be labelled as 'the main study aim'. This inquiry does not consequently seek to generate heaps of unbaked findings, it seeks to clear the path for a 5 year research agenda conducted on the ground in China (and Xi'an) itself (themselves), viz., a 2019-2024 study that can harness the five year national plan activities due to be released in October 2018 by President Xi Jinping in some form of Chinese Dream fashion.
    • The associations between clubhead velocity and kinetic variables during vertical jumps and an isometric mid-thigh pull in golfers

      Wells, Jack E.T. (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2020-04)
      A greater number of golfers are devoting time engaging in strength and conditioning due to the associated competitive advantages through increased clubhead velocity. Strength and conditioning coaches are able to support golfers through physical profiling in order to highlight areas of improvement. Based on the results from physical profiling, strength and conditioning coaches can implement interventions targeted at increasing clubhead velocity. However, there is currently a paucity of research that has sought to assess the relationship between clubhead velocity and kinetic mechanisms in commonly used strength and conditioning tests such as vertical jumps and isometric mid-thigh pulls. This thesis had two aims which were to 1) investigate the relationships between clubhead velocity and kinetic mechanisms in vertically oriented tasks and 2) identify optimal training modalities that enhance clubhead velocity along with the kinetic mechanisms associated with these changes. The findings within Chapter three highlighted that the TrackMan and Bel SwingMate had high inter-session reliability when measuring clubhead velocity in an applied range setting. The smallest detectable change indicated that practitioners can be 95% confident an increase in clubhead velocity of 0.76 m.s-1 (TrackMan) and 1.42 m.s-1 (Bel SwingMate) represents a ‘real’ change. The TrackMan had the highest reliability and the smallest detectable change; therefore, this launch monitor was utilised to assess clubhead velocity within this thesis. It was observed in Chapter four that positive impulse during a countermovement jump, squat jump and drop jump, along with peak force during an isometric mid-thigh pull significantly related to highly skilled golfers’ (n = 27) clubhead velocity. Furthermore, results highlighted that activities less constrained by time held the strongest relationships. These findings were further supported by Chapter five when assessing elite golfers. Specifically, European Challenge Tour golfers’ (n = 31) countermovement jump positive impulse significantly predicted 37.9% of the variance in clubhead velocity. Further analysis highlighted that if a European Challenge Tour golfer were to increase their countermovement jump positive impulse by 46.85 N.s, this should elicit an increase in clubhead velocity of 1.69 m.s-1. The golf swing is considered to be an asymmetrical action due to the vertical ground reaction forces and the nature of the swing. Chapter six therefore assessed the relationships between highly skilled golfers’ clubhead velocity and inter-limb asymmetries during bilateral countermovement jumps, squat jumps, drop jumps and isometric mid-thigh pulls. Inter-limb difference for the entire cohort (n = 50) and golfers with ‘real’ asymmetries had no significant relationship with clubhead velocity. There was also limited agreement between limbs for different tests. For instance, if an asymmetry favoured the trail leg for a countermovement jump, this limb was unlikely to present the same dominance within other tests. Therefore, it is the magnitude rather than the inter-limb differences that relate to clubhead velocity in highly skilled golfers. Chapter seven assessed the effects two different 8-week interventions (back squat vs. vertical jump) had on vertical ground reaction force variables and clubhead velocity when compared to a control group. Findings indicated that both the back squat group (n = 9) and vertical jump group (n = 9) significantly increased clubhead velocity, with no observed change in the control group (n = 8). Isometric mid-thigh pull peak force significantly increased in the back squat and jump groups and was the mechanism associated with these changes in clubhead velocity. For golfers who are seeking to increase their clubhead velocity, resistance training should form an integral part of their annual programme.
    • The Impact of input task characteristics on performance on an integrated listening-Into-writing EAP assessment

      Westbrook, Carolyn (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2019-10)
      Over the last fifty years, as the number of students studying in English-speaking countries or studying through the medium of English has grown exponentially, so has the market for testing the language skills of these students to ensure that they have the language and skills necessary for tertiary study in English. While traditional tests of academic English have been skills-based, more and more integrated tests are being designed to measure English for Academic Purposes (EAP) both for university entrance purposes and for in-sessional English courses due to the increased authenticity (Bachman and Palmer, 1996, p. 23) and interactiveness (p. 25) that such tests can offer. Furthermore, as more and more teaching moves to a ‘flipped’ or blended model and computerbased testing increases, there is a need to ascertain how to best provide input for both testing and teaching. Traditionally, listening comprehension has been audio-only and tests have consequently used audio only input. However, the broader range of possibilities offered by technological developments means that offering video-based input as an alternative to audio only is now perfectly feasible. This raises the question of how to ‘test for best’ (Weir, 2005, p. 54). A number of studies have investigated audio versus video or multimedia listening comprehension tests. Similarly, much research has been done into reading-into-writing or listening and reading-into-writing, yet very little has been done on integrated listening-into-writing. This study aimed to address that gap in the research by investigating the impact of audio versus video input on performance on an integrated EAP listening-into-writing test. In the study, participants were exposed to a lecture which was divided in half and presented in both audio and video formats in a counterbalanced measures design. The quantitative findings of this study revealed that there was a significant difference in scores between the audio first group, which was exposed to the audio input in the first half of the lecture, and the video first group, which was exposed to the audio input in the second half of the lecture, while there was only a small, non-significant difference between the two groups when exposed to the video input. A follow-up textual analysis broadly supported these findings. In line with findings from Cumming et al. (2005a), the quantitative analyses suggest that higher level learners tended to paraphrase more of the input while the lower-intermediate and intermediate learners generated both paraphrased and verbatim reproductions of the input. The very low levels learners appeared unable to make very much use of the input yet students from both groups reproduced large numbers of word-level matches from the PowerPoint slides when they had access to the video input. While there was no clear preference for one or other of the input formats, around 40 per cent of students expressed a preference for video while around 20 per cent said that they preferred audio only as the video was distracting. This supports the findings of Chen, Wang and Xu. (2014, p. 57). The research has highlighted several areas for future research but also has important implications for the construct of academic listening-into-writing.
    • Gods in Spandex: a study of superhero mythology

      Woods, Ryan (University of Bedfordshire, 2020-02)
      This thesis sets out to ask the question: What do mythological themes and archetypal theory reveal about Marvel’s Avengers films? The textual analyses will discuss the work of pioneering psychologist Carl Jung. The work of mythologist Joseph Campbell and the hero’s journey will also be scrutinised for his links to Jung’s theoretical framework. Through Jung’s theory of archetypes and the collective unconscious, arguments will be made to the relevance of his theories as a valid form of film analysis. An argument will also be made for the heroine’s journey and how this differs from the male hero’s journey. Jungian film studies is an increasing growing area of academic interest. (Hockley, 2018). Current research covers many aspects of film analysis but there is a gap within the study of the superhero genre. This thesis sets out to bridge that gap through the use of Jungian psychology and the application of mythological motifs. Through structured case studies and parallels drawn from world mythology this work makes a strong case for the rich psychological and mythological material found in Marvel films.
    • Do voluntary disclosures have an impact on sustainable company performance? evidence from top Nigerian oil companies

      Dembo, Abubakar Mahmud (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2021-01)
      This study contains four interrelated stages of a more comprehensive study of whether voluntary disclosures have an impact on company performance of top Nigerian oil companies. The study uses multiple data to improve the understanding of the underlying process. The main aim of this study is to explore the relationship between corporate governance, sustainability practice, and corporate performance. The sample period covers ten years after the first Nigerian code was published in 2003; that is from 2004 to 2013. The first stage analyses were the compliance level over two periods; when the first code was published (2004-2009) and when the second code was made public (2010-2013). The second stage investigates the relationship between corporate governance mechanisms and performance. The impact of sustainability practice on corporate performance is examined at stage three, whether on average, well-governed companies are likely to follow a more socially responsible program through improved sustainable practices. The study found that a combination of sustainable and governance practices has a positive influence on performance than sustainability practices alone; this suggests that governance practice positively impacts the sustainability practices-performance association. This study provides four main contributions to the existing literature. Notably, this is the first study which explores the compliance with Nigerian code and examines the relationship of best practice with the performance of the top Nigerian companies. Secondly, this study provides evidence that governance mechanisms have enhanced the impact of sustainability practice and performance of companies, thus addressing the literature gap for Nigerian companies. Thirdly, the qualitative analysis of the managers’ view on the relationship between sustainability and corporate governance practices within top Nigerian companies represents an addition to the existing literature. Finally, the study also adds to the body of knowledge on the relationship between corporate governance, sustainability practices, and performance from a developing nation. The results have significant insinuations for corporate managers and policy-makers for them to develop a plan that mutually pursue governance and sustainability practice developments together, instead of considering the social practice as a peripheral. These results provide the foundation for Nigerian companies to incorporate good governance and social responsibility as part of their business strategy aimed at improving corporate performance.
    • Operationalising physical literacy within physical education teaching practice through professional development

      Durden-Myers, Elizabeth Jayne (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2020-09)
      Introduction - Physical literacy has been described as a longed-for concept and has gained widespread global interest. This interest has also given rise to calls for physical literacy to be operationalised, providing clarity and guidance on developing physical literacy informed teaching practice. Operationalising physical literacy is crucial in moving the concept forwards by providing substance to the claims made by physical literacy advocates. The purpose of this research was to explore how physical literacy could be operationalised within physical education teaching practice. In particular, this thesis investigates how professional development can support physical literacy informed physical education practice. Methodology - This research utilised professional development sessions alongside participatory action research to develop the practice of fourteen teachers of physical education in both primary and secondary school contexts. Semi-structured interviews were used to capture the professional development journey of each teacher. This information was supplemented by extensive supporting data including field diaries, emails, video recordings, lesson observations, lesson plans and lesson reflections. Thematic analysis and narrative representation were used to analyse and present the findings of the semi-structured interviews. Findings - This research proposes that physical literacy professional development can be effective in operationalising physical literacy within physical education teaching practice. It argues that the factors that mediate the effectiveness of professional development include the professional development process, the use of a credible expert, and participant and context engagement. This research also argues that as a result of professional development teachers are better able to describe the why, what and how of physical literacy and are able to better articulate how it informs their teaching practice. Finally, a number of barriers to operationalising physical literacy within physical education teaching practice were identified and categorised as either leadership and governance, management and institutional or individual barriers. Solutions to support the operationalisation of physical literacy in physical education teaching practice centred around two key themes. Firstly, raising the status and value of physical education and secondly, by improving professional development opportunities for teachers. Conclusion - This research contributes to knowledge firstly, by extending the theoretical and conceptual rationale and understanding around unpacking physical literacy for use within educational professional development and physical education teaching practice. And secondly, in the development of a physical literacy professional development framework and intervention. This research provides an effective process (action research and professional development sessions) alongside a range of supporting tools (lesson planning, observation and reflection tools) and resources (website, folder, handouts) that can assist the operationalisation of physical literacy. This research recommends that more opportunities for meaningful physical literacy professional development, including the development of whole school approaches are required. It also argues that more needs to be done in order to elevate and align the value, role and purpose of physical education across the education profession as a whole. Finally, this research argues that in order to scale and create sustainable impact the creation of in-situ physical literacy experts or champions are required to sustain and advocate the value of and develop physical literacy informed practice more widely and sustainably.
    • The representation of women in Egyptian newspapers during the 2011 – 2014 uprisings in Egypt

      Al-Nuaimi, Namir (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2020-09)
      The Arab Spring, which swept across North Africa and parts of the Middle East in 2011 was viewed by many observers, commentators and activists in the West and throughout the region as a beacon of hope. The world rejoiced that the autocratic regimes of leaders such as Muammar Gaddafi in Libya, Hosni Mubarak in Egypt and Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in Tunisia were toppled, and it was hoped that these regimes would be replaced by fair and democratic governments. Unfortunately, the post-revolutionary reality has not met the expectations of many ordinary people. Instead, Libya and Syria have descended into factional clashes between local militias and civil war respectively. In Egypt, the progress that women activists and campaigners were achieving with respect to improving the rights and representation of women across society has regressed. Consequently, the social position of women has become marginalised in the face of masculine institutions such as the Egyptian military. In order to assess the impact that gender discourses held within Egyptian society, this research project has analysed articles from two of the most popular newspapers in the country – Al Ahram and Al-Masry Al-Youm. Specifically, the study assesses how both these papers have reported incidents featuring prominent protests and campaigns by women in the aftermath of the Egyptian Revolution and within the context of dominant patriarchal discourses and discursive practices. I argue that these discourses served to normalise an inferior position for women in society. Using critical discourse analysis (CDA) and qualitative interviews involving women who have first-hand experiences of the workings of newspapers in Egypt, this study discovers that there are similarities and deviations in the way that language is used in articles that feature campaigns and protests by women: in particular, the court case pertaining to Samira Ibrahim and the virginity test case; the presidential bid by Bothaina Kamel; and the campaign by women’s groups to allow female recruitment by the Egyptian military. This study finds that some language in the newspapers does counter hegemonic masculinity. I argue in this study that Egyptian newspapers are responsible for disseminating an ideological discourse that serves to support the patriarchal institutions of the State. Through the lens of hegemonic masculinity, it finds that the dominance and normalising of the male voice within the selected Egyptian newspapers, serves to reinforce certain preferences within social opinion through discursive practices. The study ascertains that Egyptian newspapers offer an example of institutionalised hegemonic masculinity which strives systematically to silence women despite valiant attempts by certain women activists to interrogate both the workings and institutions of hegemonic masculinity by way of their voice. By analysing the voices of Egyptian women as captured in Western sources and through the lens of Islamic Feminism, this study also demonstrates how women contest dominant discourses in mainstream Egyptian newspapers.
    • Loneliness and depression among informal caregivers of children with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria

      Amaugo, Lucky Gospel (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2020-07)
      This research explores the experience of loneliness and depression among informal caregivers of children with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria. The study utilised semi-structured interviews involving eleven informal caregivers of children with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria. Using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) to analyse the account of participants, five superordinate themes were identified which are: ‘caregiving – a challenging experience’, ‘HIV medication – a solution and a problem’, ‘struggle with negative emotions’, ‘keeping it secret’ and ‘positive coping with caregiving’. These themes provided an overall account of the experience of caregiving among informal caregivers of children with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria. The study findings revealed there could be a relationship between informal caregiving and the experience of loneliness and depression. Participants described caregiving as emotionally distressing due to the challenges involved with their care recipient’s health condition, the management of HIV medication, the attitude of care recipients towards their medication, and perceived stigma and discrimination associated to HIV/AIDS. HIV medication was an important element that influenced informal caregivers’ approaches to coping with HIV caregiving, such as non-disclosure and secrecy, which limited their access to social support and intensified the feeling of loneliness. Furthermore, religious resources were highlighted as important part of participants’ coping strategies. Participants were also optimistic and hopeful for a lasting solution to HIV infection and its related problems. Based on the findings of the study, a new theoretical framework which explains the experience of informal caregivers in the context of paediatric HIV/AIDS, is proposed. The study makes recommendations for policy and practice and for future research.
    • L2 writers' revisions in a computer-based academic English writing test task: a keystroke logging study

      Anbreen, Tanzeela (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2020)
      This study investigated the revision patterns and purposes of forty native Urdu speaking English L2 writers in a computer-based academic English writing test task. The chosen writers were divided into a more successful and less successful group based on the score obtained in the given IELTS academic writing task 2. A keystroke logging program Inputlog recorded each writing session including all revisions, and it could be re-played after the session. From the recorded sessions, idea or meaning related revisions were further investigated. The writers were shown these revisions immediately after the session as a stimulus, and verbal protocols were obtained to investigate their revision purposes. The revisions obtained from keystroke logging program were analysed using a revision taxonomy based on Stevenson, Schoonen and Glopper (2006) and Lindgren and Sullivan (2006) studies. Findings suggested that in general, both groups focused on form revisions more than the concept revisions. But, more successful writers made conceptual revisions more than form revisions. Also, more successful writers revised larger text chunks, such as clause, sentence and paragraph. Both the groups reported seven revision purposes; however, eighth category 'writers did not remember' also emerged from the data. The seven revision purposes included clarity, explicitness or emphasis, coherence, hedging, modify an idea, eliminate an idea, creating a new global content unit and making text reader-friendly. However, more successful writers expressed more awareness of their revision purposes than less successful writers. The findings of this study have theoretical, pedagogical and methodological implications, particularly in the Urdu L1 context. These findings provide empirical evidence about the revision patterns and purposes of L2 writers which may be useful for the teachers or instructors teaching English writing to L2 writers, particularly to the Urdu speaking English L2 writers. They can use these findings to help them improve their writing skills by focusing on the revisions. However, future research in this area is suggested.
    • SME decision making in using bank loans: applying an adapted model with attitudinal variables of the theory of planned behaviour in Nigeria

      Clement, Seyefar (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2019)
      The financial constraints that exist for SME has received increased attention in recent years. Intervention programmes by governments to improve access to finance for businesses has mainly focused on supply side measures, through seeking to stimulate supply, by creating new financing channels and easing regulatory barriers in the supply of finance. This is based on general assumption that the issue of access to finance is as a result of insufficient supply of external finance for businesses; however, there is increasing recognition that demand side issues also hinder access to finance, and these demand side deficiencies impede the effectiveness of supply side interventions. This study focuses on the demand side perspective, it builds on the Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB) and proposes and validates an adapted model that examines the relationship between attitudinal factors and the intention of SMEs to use bank loans in Nigeria. The adapted TPB model used attitudinal variables (perceived trust, attitude, perceived social norm, and perceived behavioural control) to understand SME financial decision (intention use bank loans), and captures various antecedent variables that influence these attitudinal factors. The cross-sectional survey study was conducted in Nigeria. The study used Structural Equation Modelling (SEM) to analyse the data. PLS SEM was used to test the hypothesized relationships between the antecedents, attitudinal factors, and intention to use bank loans. The findings indicate that attitudinal factors which consist of attitude, perceived behavioural control, perceived social norm, and perceived trust predicts SME intention to use bank loans in Nigeria. The result also showed that key antecedent factors such as financial literacy, perceived risk, normative beliefs, self-efficacy, perceived quality of loan information are antecedents to these attitudinal factors. The study successfully implemented a psychology-based theory in SME financing decision context. It highlights the importance of incorporating psychology theories to gain further understanding on noneconomic factors that impact decision making of SMEs. Traditionally, capital structure research adopts capital structure theories to understand and explain the determinant of SME financial decision making. However, this study argues that psychology based theories provide a more robust understanding of the judgement and behaviours of these actors (SMEs) especially in developing countries, because these theories examine causal influences and explain relationships. The study also makes empirical contribution by providing empirical evidence on the noneconomic determinant to SME financial decision making, demand side perspective, and emerging country context. The implication of the result for practise and policy is that local and international intervention agencies tasked with the responsibility of easing access to finance for small businesses in Nigeria can use these findings to develop more robust and effective intervention programs. In addition, the findings can inform policy direction at government level, government policies can benefit from this study by incorporating the results to inform long term policies that can address the institutional and structural factors that creates barriers SMEs financing in Nigeria. The study can also be used to formulate policies that can assist in modifying the behaviour of discouraged finance seekers and stimulate demand for external finance with the aim of reducing the financing gap and enhancing growth of small businesses in particular and economic growth in general in Nigeria.
    • An investigation into the use and development of essential oils and natural fibres for health and wellbeing

      Da Costa Lopes, Ana (University of Bedfordshire, 2020-05)
      This research considers how essential oils might be impregnated in a variety of materials towards the development of clothing and substrates that may promote wellbeing. Towards this end, it was necessary to gain an understanding of the importance of essential oils in health and wellbeing, to ascertain how much impact it may have when embedded within fabrics used for fashion. Therefore it was necessary to understand a variety of components and properties of essential oils in historical and contemporary use, to understand how these might impact aspects of people‘s health in today's lifestyle. For instance, could essential oils within a given material enhance mood and physical health and wellbeing? It should be noted that within today's society, there is evidence of negativity on the use of natural herbal remedies used medicinally. This research does not wish to ascertain that essential oils are a cure-all, rather than essential oils may be viewed as palliative and used as supportive remedies when captured within a material or piece of clothing. However, this research does give value to the effectiveness of traditional applications, and ancient remedies in studies and testimonies of its efficacy, the psychological effects of smell and how different aromas have importance in people's life. This research seeks to find a solution and problem-solve methods and techniques to create a potential for developing, palliative clothing with embedded essential oils to improve and enhance life quality. The methods used for fabric and essential oil experiments progressed using the creative processes of design in a particular fashion, where experiments include playful prototyping, of clothes and accessories as wellness tools to promote health and wellbeing. Exploring a wide range of fabrics and materials from 'manmade' to sustainable and natural fibres, there were some innovative findings. Final experiments revealed composites of latex with natural materials; one main ingredient being eggshells; these were seen to have a pronounced potential to be the perfect carrier for essential oils, maintaining odour and longevity. Through the tests, this new material has shown various properties that include flexibility, porosity, breathability, resistant and consistent extension of odour.