University of Bedfordshire PhD e-theses

Recent Submissions

  • Examining the role of rater personality in L2 speaking tests

    Roger, Alun E. M.; University of Bedfordshire (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2022-07)
    Speaking test scores are increasingly being used to make high-stakes decisions (for employment, immigration, university admissions) about learners in many countries. Ensuring that these scores reflect a learner’s skill fairly and accurately is critical. This mixed-methods study seeks to strengthen the socio-cognitive framework for test validation (Chalhoub-Deville & O’Sullivan, 2020; Taylor, 2011; Weir, 2005) and deepen our understanding of the complexities involved in deriving scores from L2 speaking tests. Adopting an interactionalist perspective, the research considers interview-format speaking tests as co-constructed events between candidate, examiner and rater. The research examines how certain elements of scoring validity (rater characteristics of ‘Agreeableness’, ‘Extraversion’ and ‘Test Experience Level’) change how raters perceive or rate spoken performances and modulate their severity. Native-speaker, English teachers from universities across Japan (n = 86) rated 12 video-recorded speaking test performances and afterwards completed a personality instrument. A Hierarchical Multiple Regression showed that ‘Test Level Experience’ and ‘Agreeableness’ contributed significantly to the regression model, F (6, 79) = 3.126, p = .019 together accounting for 19% of the variation in rater severity. These predictors were negatively correlated with rater severity; higher levels predicted more lenient ratings. Trait ‘Extraversion’ explained an additional 4% of the variation and this was significant, F (7, 78) = 3.426, p = .039. ‘Extraversion’ was positively correlated with rater severity; higher levels predicted more severe ratings. Finally, all raters provided written commentary on their rating procedures and three raters took part in Stimulated Recall Interviews. Thematic analyses of the two types of qualitative data suggested that lenient (experienced, agreeable, introvert) raters perceive different aspects of examiner performance to more severe (inexperienced, disagreeable, extravert) raters and these perceptions sometimes impacted how they cognitively approached the task of rating. In some instances, the differing perceptions and cognitive approaches may have impacted raters’ final proficiency scores. The research findings offer suggestions for updating our understanding of the co-constructed nature of spoken interaction as well as the scoring validity component of the socio-cognitive framework. The study also makes practical recommendations on future rater training procedures that incorporate the findings from this study.
  • The decolonisation of ‘Africa’ in tourism: the representation and misrepresentation of African being and becoming

    Vellah, Alfred (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2017-08)
    This study starts from the general premise that over recent centuries Africa and Africans have not only been commonly represented under the hegemonic Eurocentric yoke, but the continent and its peoples have been misrepresented under that governing Western/European apparatus. It also holds that over the last century especially, Africa and Africans have been significantly misrepresented (sometimes consciously, sometimes unconsciously) under the projective authority and agency of tourism as it deals in images and narratives either borne within the industrial scripting power of tourism itself, or otherwise from symbolisations in other prescriptive/mediating industries. In order to discursively explore these matters of representation/misrepresentation, the study is scaffolded around two study problems: the first and main purpose of the investigation is to examine how Africa/Africans are signified today by lead African commentators vis-à-vis the way others signify them. The second problem seeks to explore how prominent Indigenous commentators across the world critique the representation of Indigenous populations under the so-called contemporary decolonising moment. The function of the subsidiary study problem is to shed contextual light on the representation/misrepresentation of Africa/Africans through such interleaved mediating industries. This emergent study began as an inquiry into the othering of Africa/Africans, but it gradually evolved into a study not so much of the projected/mediated 'other' but of the cultural or signified 'hybrid', because of ongoing difficulties in coherently determining who Africans were in the past, should be in the present, and could be in the future. This study gravitated into a Deleuzean critique of not so much fixed or preferred identity, but of the intensities today by which tourism, collaborative industries, and Africans themselves each tend to palpate particular lines of-flight declarations of being and becoming in often porous and protean (and not-easily-predictable) ways. This constitutes an interpretive study of Foucauldian governmentality as it seeks to examine texts and discourses that declare what Africa is and who Africans are, and is predominantly informed via social constructivist methodologies emanating from Lincoln and Guba, and from Chilisa, translated to African experiences. This emergent study of the decolonisation of Africa/Africans through tourism and collaborative inscriptive industries comprises an unfurling critique of the juxtaposition of representations of being with African notions of Ubuntu. Sadly, the strictures of time prevented the completion of a multi-term glossary of African interpretations of being and becoming so the unmet aims of the study have been translated into an ongoing research agenda with which the investigator will be engaged over the next decade.
  • An exploratory analysis of shock advertising in the tourism industry: the destination manager and tourist perspective

    Evans, Augusta Ifeanyichukwu (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2021-09)
    Starting since the 80s, shock advertising has gained interest at both academic and marketing levels. Its use lies in the real power of grabbing consumer attention and influencing consumer behaviours. Although shock advertising is transversal to many sectors and industries, studies in tourism are quite rare. However, shock advertising has begun to be used to contrast and prevent tourist misbehaviours such as binge drinking, balconing, prostituting, taking illegal drugs, and so on. A mixed-method approach was implemented, which was based on semi structured interviews with destination managers to see how they understood shock advertising and their willingness to air it on their destinations. Quantitively, questionnaires were employed, and three ads were presented to tourists in Spain and the United Kingdom. The aim of this study is two-fold, firstly, to examine the destination managers’ perceptions of the use of shock advertising in managing tourist misbehaviour and destination image. Destination managers are essential decision makers in the process of designing and planning destination communication campaigns and messages; hence, their perceptions of creative strategies are crucial in understanding the selection of some strategies over others. Then, the study aims to examine tourists’ reaction to the use of shock advertising, their attitude towards such advertisements and most importantly, their behavioural intentions after viewing the ads. Data were inputted into SPSS and ANOVAs were used for data analysis. This was employed to test the hypotheses. The findings confirmed shock advertisements are a useful tool when applied in the right context for changing attitudes and behavioural intentions. This research makes several significant managerial and theoretical contributions and provides preliminary answers to the components of a successful shock ad campaign that can be used in the travel and tourism industries and how it can be implemented. In general, the study also encourages the use of shock ads in the travel and tourism industry and destination management. Finally, implications for both scholars and experts are discussed.
  • How do mothers of autistic girls perceive and experience the potential affordances and constraints of diagnosis for their daughters?

    Evans-Wickens, Mairi (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2021-07)
    Research highlights increasing awareness that autism can present differently in girls, and that girls in the UK wait longer to be identified, referred, and diagnosed in comparison to their male counterparts. Whilst there is a growing body of research about girls, and the experience of mothering an autistic girl, less is known about the impact of the diagnosis itself. This study, conducted from a social constructionist viewpoint, explored the diagnostic journey of 12 mothers in the UK to identify the meanings attributed to their daughter’s diagnosis. A thematic analysis identified 18 sub-themes which were grouped into perceived affordances, perceived constraints/constraints of perception, experienced affordances, and experienced constraints. Themes were then examined through the lens of the CMM LUUUUTT model (Pearce 1999, 2007) exploring the stories lived and told by the mothers and how these stories influenced, and were influenced by, the autism diagnosis. The analysis highlighted affordances and constraints in relation to diagnosis. A significant theme was the impact of autism myths and stereotypes which influenced identification, referral, diagnosis, and ongoing support for the girls, and which led to the majority of the mothers feeling that their early concerns went unheard. Myths and stereotypes told about autism, also played a significant role in the mothers lived experience of the diagnosis and diagnostic process for their daughters. An affordance of diagnosis was a new understanding about their daughter’s needs, which led to them adapting their parenting styles, letting go of blame, and resisting perceived societal ‘oughtisms’ about how parenting should be. Whilst the diagnosis was seen as useful and relationally transformative, all of the mothers described challenges in accessing emotional or educational support for their daughter’s post assessment, with the suggestion that they were seen as ‘not broken enough’. This research has potential to inform policy and practice and to increase awareness and understanding about autism diagnosis and girls. In particular the impact of societal myths and stereotypes about autism, the importance of listening to mothers when they raise concerns about their daughters, and the need for pre assessment support and information that can support mothers, and fathers, in understanding the specific needs of their daughters with, or without, an autism diagnosis.
  • Application of optimization methods for resource allocation in cognitive radio-supported vehicular networks

    Eze, Joy Chinedu (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2021-07)
    The highly anticipated era of vehicular communication networks which is also an integral aspect of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) will undeniably improve transport safety and significantly reduce road accidents. To promote the communication of mobile vehicles, US FCC officially allocated a meagre 75 MHz spectrum in the 5.9 GHz band to enable vehicular communication. Cognitive Radio Networks (CRNs) are adaptive, intelligent and reconfigurable wireless communications systems with CR technologies capable of learning from their surroundings and deciding their operations based on the learning. The application of CR technology to vehicular networks in order to increase the spectrum resource opportunities is studied in this research. Applying CR technology to vehicular networks is crucial especially when the officially allocated 75 MHz spectrum in 5.9 GHz band is not enough due to high demands as a result of increasing number of connected vehicles as already foreseen in the near era of Internet of vehicles (IoVs), which is also known as vehicular ad hoc networks (VANETs). We proposed a novel CR Assisted Vehicular NETwork (CRAVNET) framework which empowers CR assisted vehicles to make opportunistic usage of licensed spectrum bands on the highways and developed a novel co-operative three-state spectrum sensing and allocation solution which makes CR vehicular SUs aware of additional spectrum resources opportunities on their current and future positions. Furthermore, a novel Adaptive CR Enabled Vehicular NETwork (ACRAVNET) framework is proposed to ensure high spectrum sensing efficiency and provide quality of service (QoS) support. To avoid heavy overhead usually incurred during spectrum sensing, we developed a novel CR adaptive spectrum sensing (CRASS) scheme that can reduce the spectrum sensing cost and improve sensing performance effectively. We also applied the concept of Nash Bargaining Solution (NBS) to guarantee fairness in spectral resources allocation and proposed a generalized non-symmetric NBS (GNNBS) to perform a non-symmetric cognitive inter-cell spectrum allocation in the proposed ACRAVNET framework. Both the simulation and theoretical analysis have demonstrated that our solution can significantly improve the performance of a cooperative spectrum sensing and sharing schemes and provide vehicles with additional spectrum opportunities with zero interference against the PUs activities. Additionally, the problem of joint optimal subcarrier and transmission power allocation with QoS support for enhanced packet transmission over a cognitive radio-enabled IoVs network system is also considered in this research study. To tackle the problem, a novel Symmetric Nash bargaining solution (SNBS) based wireless radio resource scheduling scheme in orthogonal frequency division multiple access (OFDMA) CR enabled IoVs network systems is proposed. The objective of the optimization model applied in this study is to maximize the overall system throughput of the CR enabled IoVs system without harmful interference to transmissions of the shared channels’ licensed owners (or primary users (PUs)), guarantee the proportional fairness and minimum data-rate requirement of each CR vehicular secondary user (CRV-SU) and efficient transmission power allocation amongst CRV-SUs. To avoid the iterative processes associated with searching the optimal solution numerically through iterative programming methods, this study developed a low-complexity algorithm. Theoretical analysis and simulation results demonstrate that under similar conditions, the proposed solutions outperform the reference scheduler schemes.
  • Investigating the role of physical activity following the death of a parent: the BABYSTEPS project

    Williams, Jane (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2020-06)
    In the United Kingdom, the number of dependent children and young people who experience the death of a parent is estimated at 41,000 per year. When a bereavement is experienced, grief occurs, with individuals experiencing a variety of outcomes at different severities. Experiencing bereavement at a young age can create unique grief outcomes. Current bereavement support services across the UK provide traditional support. This research aimed to investigate the potential therapeutic role of physical activity to grief outcomes in young people who have experienced parental bereavement. The BABYSTEPS project aimed to: 1)systematically review the literature within the field of physical activity and bereavement; 2) identify what current physical activity provisions are available to support young people who have been bereaved; 3) determine how grief impacts the lives of young people after parental bereavement; 4) understand the role of physical activity after parental bereavement; 5 ) identify what considerations should be made if a physical activity programme were developed to support grief outcomes in young people; 6) use findings to develop a physical activity intervention protocol to support young people who have experienced parental bereavement. Constructivist and pragmatic approaches were used, with mixed methods employed throughout. Qualitative studies used semi-structured interviews and observations and quantitative studies used online surveys to answer the research questions. A systematic review identified 25 studies showing that physical activity may be beneficial to grief outcomes, with only five focusing on young people following the death of a parent. A desk-based study found over 300 bereavement organisations within the UK, yet only 16.8% offered physical activity. Furthermore, 59 organisations were unsure of how many young people accessed their services. Interviews with young people (N=4) and adults (N=14) who had experienced parental bereavement as a young person, highlighted that grief has an emotional and physical impact with a sense that life will never be the same and experiences of re-grief. Physical activity provides an emotional outlet, social support, helps build confidence, provides a sense of freedom, and helps people to find themselves. Further evidence showed that physical activity programmes should provide activity options, be in an open space, consider reasons for being active, have no pressure to talk and provide social support. Using an online survey, 91.6% of respondents agreed that physical activity could benefit grief outcomes in young people after parental bereavement. An observation of a bereavement organisation providing an outdoor physical activity service created a safe, social, and trusting environment for young people after parental bereavement. This work extends research within the field of physical activity and parental bereavement in young people, highlighting a lack of bereavement organisations providing physical activity services and a sense from individuals who have been bereaved that physical activity could benefit grief outcomes. Key findings from the BABYSTEPS project have been used to develop a protocol for the ECLIPSE (Everyone Connected by Loss In Physical activity, Sport and Exercise) programme to provide an alternative to talking therapies for young people who do not want to access traditional bereavement support.
  • Changes in motivation and acculturation strategies: a case of Indian students at the UoB

    Wypych, Leszek (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2020-01)
    The present study examines socio-cultural, motivational and mental health changes among Indian international students at the University of Bedfordshire (N=138). The main aim of the study was to achieve a better understanding how sociocultural adjustments affect international Indian students and what outcomes the process might produce. More specifically the study considers how international students’ motivation changes during the transition from the home to host cultural settings. Also, types of acculturative strategies used by the students were assessed in order to find out how they evolved over time. Finally the mental health of the students was examined during the study. To explore the motivational relationships between participants’ adjustment patterns, their types of motivational influences, such as adjustments, perceived autonomy, relatedness and competence, a single motivational theory has been chosen. It was assumed that it would help teachers and other university staff improve existing and possibly establishing new research-informed practices at the university. Consequently, it could result in greater staff understanding and in turn students’ behaviour is likely to improve and accelerate their adjustment as well as providing justified research-informed explanations. For the above reasons Ryan and Deci’s (2000) Self-Determination Theory (SDT) has been employed as the theoretical framework. As part of the framework, Berry’s (1997) and Ward’s (1996) models have been utilised to assess student’s acculturation strategies. In addition, Randolf’s (1977) instrument has been employed in order to establish how depression evolves over time and affects students. The study employed Mixed Method and the data collection involved international Indian business students at postgraduate level. A survey was conducted at the beginning and the end of an academic year to examine and establish any changes taking place. The instrument used was validated indicating Cronbach’s alpha above 0.7. As the collected data of this research is not normally distributed, this research applies the Wilcoxon Signed-Rank test. As the research design is based on a multistrand sequential typology (QUAN → QUAL → QUAN → QUAL) qualitative data from interviews and written diaries were gathered at different points for the duration of one academic year (for each cohort) and thematically analysed to provide explanations to the statistical results. Overall students reported that they had a rather positive experience at the UoB in terms of motivational and socio-cultural adjustment to the dominant culture. They reported minor issues when attempting to acculturate to the new settings; however, findings indicate that almost half of the students experienced depression over an academic year. There is a strong indication that students had clinical depression over prolonged period of time (over an academic year). Also, the data shows that even though a number of depressed male students decreased over a period of an academic year in comparison to female students, it was approximately three times more male students experiencing depression than female ones (albeit not statistically significant). Further, there was a number of students who had some negative perceptions about the dominant culture and expressed some concerns over their academic performance. Acculturative strategies used at the beginning were assimilation and integration, which went through a meaningful and significant negative change in T2 over T1. However, towards the end of the studies students showed a preference towards separation. Separation strategy significantly increased in T2 over T1, which is statistically significant. Also, in terms of motivation changes, students moved towards identified regulations, and a slight positive increase of student’s attitudes towards the factor of ‘integrated’ regulations. What is important it the fact that the students did not develop a higher level of autonomy, which is related to self-determined choices, and a condition for development of intrinsic types of motivation. The research was desirable for two reasons; once the issues were explored, the outcomes would adjust teaching and learning practices that in turn would help to improve the students’ achievements, conditions and the UoB international reputation. It is also hoped that the research would provide new insights into how motivation (Deci and Ryan, 1985; Ryan and Deci, 2000), acculturation strategies (Berry, 1997; Ward, 1996) and depression (Randolf, 1977) evolve over time and affects students. The findings indicate that international students as well as members of the university staff need to attend additional development programs in order to deal effectively with cross cultural challenges.
  • Public attitudes towards autism in Nigeria: the role of awareness, knowledge and other explanatory factors of autism stigma

    Adejumoke, Awosanya A. (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2021-12)
    The study aimed to examine attitudes, awareness, and knowledge levels of autism among the Nigerian general public. It also assessed the theoretical explanatory drivers of autism stigma in Nigeria and create a theoretical model explaining the relationships between autism stigma and the theoretical drivers. This study employed two distinct methods but sequential in approach. The first phase involved a systematic scoping review (SSR) of autism stigma research in Africa. Twelve articles met the inclusion criteria, and the articles reported autism stigma data from six different countries: Zimbabwe, Ghana, Ethiopia, Kenya Coast, Nigeria, and South Africa. Ten studies reported on the types of autism stigma identified among the various populations under study; public stigma, self-stigma, and secondary stigma (stigma by association) were consistent across articles. Seven studies reported on the degree and levels of autism stigma and all the studies reported low levels of awareness and stigmatising attitudes within the different study populations. All the articles included in the SSR highlight one or more factors that may influence autism stigma within the context of their studies. Across all studies, factors associated with autism stigma include culture, knowledge, awareness, geographical location, religion, experience, gender, age, beliefs, and education. The second phase was a pilot study carried out to test the data collection instrument and procedure. The pilot study involved 48 Nigerians living in the UK, and generally, participants were well satisfied with the administration process and questionnaire. The final phase was the cross-sectional quantitative data collection, involving a structured, questionnaire survey tool (n=312). Over half of the study participants had higher knowledge and awareness score (54.2%), yet 66.6% of the study participants had higher stigma scores. The analysis identified a statistical relationship between age, geographical location, religion, religiosity, and knowledge and awareness. However, only knowledge and awareness were significantly correlated with autism stigma. Overall, the quantitative findings supported the SSR results but also revealed some added theoretical insight. Based on the findings from this study, a new theoretical model that explains the relationship between autism stigma, significant sociodemographic variables, autism knowledge and awareness within the context of this study was developed. The study also discusses the methodological issues and limitations associated with data collection in Nigeria.
  • Exploring the role of distributed leadership among senior leaders in two converted academies

    Jera, Lucia (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2019-07)
    Over the past nineteen years, many schools previously in Local Authority control in England have ‘converted’ to become academies. This study explored the role of distributed leadership (DL) among the senior leaders in two converted academies (CAs). Literature has shown that DL was a guiding philosophy in school leadership during the New Labour government. The study elicited the attitudes of school heads, heads of departments, heads of year, senior leaders, teachers and school governors towards the leadership approaches in a time of rapid change. It was concerned to understand whether or not there were differences in the models of leadership that were expressed and experienced by these teachers at these CAs. The research aims were in line with the research questions and the study addressed a gap in the knowledge because to date, there have been few detailed studies of academy leadership which have explored the perspectives of teachers and school leaders. The extent to which DL ideas and practices have survived the conversion of LA schools to academies has also been little explored. The study focused on two CAs. It employed a phenomenographic research approach to elicit and report the qualitatively different ways in which teachers experienced leadership at the CAs. A purposeful sample of five leaders from the first case study, and fourteen staff from different levels of leadership in the second case study were chosen to participate in this research. The findings showed that it was difficult to employ DL in academies which were run like businesses. However, DL was residing in specific people like the deputy head of the second case study who was committed to it and was trying to mediate between the HT and the staff. This means that there were some pockets of DL in these academies which otherwise were run very hierarchically because they adopted a ‘new managerial pragmatic approach’ due to pressure from the Department for Education (DfE) and Ofsted. This was a new policy-driven approach to leadership of academies and was one of the major contributions to knowledge. Although the academies were given the autonomy to run their schools, they were accountable to DfE and Ofsted which had some non-negotiable policies. Thus, their new-found autonomy was overshadowed by the new accountabilities. Furthermore, due to accountabilities to DfE and Ofsted the findings revealed that the HTs were aware of how precarious their jobs were, and as a result, they were reported to have employed top-down leadership styles which included ‘micromanagement’, ‘autocratic leadership’, ‘dictatorship’ and were risk averse in order to turn the school around. As a result of these leadership practices, the findings showed that it affected the teachers due to heavy workloads, and their work life balance was not considered. The study concludes that a lack of understanding of the type of leadership practices employed in academy conversion can lead to weaknesses in academy leadership not being recognised and the role that DL can play being ignored. The thesis argues that returning to DL models and implementing it in CAs may help resolve some of the challenges faced in academies leadership.
  • A systematic risk management approach for small medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria manufacturing sector

    Omoyajowo, Olaniyi Olawale (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2021-10)
    Small and Medium-sized Enterprises play a vital part in most developing countries' economies (Burgstaller and Wagner, 2015). For Small and Medium-sized Enterprises in Nigerian manufacturing sector to be productive and relevant in today's competitive global environment; it must be able to respond to changes (in culture and practices) that influence Risk Management practices. The management of risk techniques and approach in manufacturing production-line of developed country recommend methods through which profit and productivity can be increased via RM practices. Thus, Omoyajowo (2016, p1410) reiterated that there is a continuous need for the manufacturing sector in Nigeria to invest a significant amount of resources to manage risk, which in turn optimises the production output and hence increases the profitability of this sector (if implemented properly). Abubakar (2015) pointed out that the manufacturing industries are one of the essential sectors that modern-day economies are driven by, without any regards to whatever the governing factors might be. To help improve the effective implementation of the existing Risk Management practices in Small and Medium-sized Enterprises in the Nigeria manufacturing sector, the researcher develops a Systematic Risk Management process. This study explores the challenges that contribute to ineffective Risk Management in the Nigeria manufacturing sector, focusing on Small and Medium-sized Enterprises. This study discovered that the Nigeria Factory Act implementation and organisational culture have proved to be the significant challenges encountered in this sector. In tackling the four research questions raised, a mixed-method data collection approach involving a range of stakeholders was adopted. Sixty-four questionnaires were distributed among targeted participates, 18 one-to-one semi-structured interviews conducted among managerial staffs, and six non-managerial staff participated in the Focus Group session. Data collected provided in-depth insights into the issues affecting Risk Management practice in this sector. Data were coded using NVivo, and SPSS was used in analysing the quantitative data collected. Vensim Decision Support System was used to develop the System Dynamic model and simulate five scenarios that could help risk managers with swift policy formations. The outcome of this study is an empirical basis for policy formation and decision-making vis-a-vis SMEs in the Nigeria manufacturing sector. Besides, the researcher proposed a systematic Risk Management framework in achieving an effective Risk Management practice.
  • Social workers engagement with client information using social media in England

    Onginjo, Paul Onyango (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2020-05)
    Currently, in England there is limited literature providing information about children, young people and families’ social workers use of social media. It could be argued that social workers have always been faced with this dilemma of balancing their caring responsibilities and the control responsibilities, which have now been made more complex by the social worker’s use of social media. The use of social media has the potential as a vehicle to facilitate communication both between professionals and between the social workers and clients. In addition; the law in England provides a framework for the protection of children and ensuring that their welfare remains of paramount importance. This is stipulated under Children Act (1989 and 2004). In the same vein, the Human Rights Act (1998) also highlights that children and young people have a right to family life and a right to privacy. Therefore, it can be argued that there is an underlying potential tension in relation to the uptake of social media by social workers within social services with growing anxiety among both professionals and organisations in regards to the ethical considerations and also the risks surrounding social media use in practice. Social workers were also faced with potential complex challenges that exist, as they navigate between their legal responsibilities as stipulated by legislation and the use of social media in the execution of those responsibilities. This qualitative study used semi-structured interview as the main method to investigate the practice and perception of 47 children, young people and families’ social workers. The study highlights the experiences of social workers in relation to the use of social media in their practice and explores how social workers are using it ethically /unethically or legitimately/illegitimately in practice. Given the uniqueness of this study, evidence indicates that there was a lack of clear policies and guidelines on social media usage by social work practitioners, which further complicates their use of social media in practice. A key observation in this study illuminate that social workers were overriding ethical concerns with a need to protect children and young people in their care, who were at risk of suffering or likely to suffer significant harm.
  • ‘One of the tools in the toolbox’ police perceptions of using remote monitoring software to manage convicted online child sex offenders

    Lillley, Claire (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2021-01)
    The last 20 years have seen an explosion in the availability, ownership and use of devices used to access the internet. Simultaneously, technology has facilitated the distribution of child abuse material, but is also used to prevent and identify offending. The central argument of this thesis is that while technology is already used in the investigation of online child sexual abuse, including the prosecution of offenders, its use in their risk assessment and ongoing management is still in its nascence. This thesis explores the use of one type of technology - remote monitoring software (RMS) - to manage the computer activity of adult offenders convicted of online child sexual abuse crimes, who are now living in the community. Remote monitoring software can be installed on offenders’ devices and runs constantly in the background, monitoring their device use for inappropriate content. If it detects a violation, the software takes a screen grab and sends it to a secure server that can be monitored remotely. At the time of the research remote monitoring software was in use in 17 of the United Kingdom’s 45 police forces. The central research question of this thesis is ‘What are the views of police offender managers about using remote monitoring software with convicted online child sex abuse offenders and what are the implications of their opinions and experiences?’ The research involved in-depth qualitative interviews with 47 police officers from 40 U.K. police forces. What results is an original and so-far unique contextual study examining the benefits and drawbacks of using RMS to manage these offenders, as perceived by officers. This thesis concludes that remote monitoring software has a range of potential benefits for police forces, but that these benefits are qualified by significant drawbacks and the lack of an evidence base about how and when it is best deployed. The legal framework underpinning its use presents ambiguities for officers, who need more guidance on virtually all aspects of its deployment. The effective adoption of remote monitoring software requires greater clarity about the aims and objectives of using it, and how to measure the these. Recommendations are made about bring a greater level of understanding and consistency to this area of developing policing practice.
  • Design of implantable antennas for biomedical applications

    Malik, Nabeel Ahmed (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2022-01)
    Biomedical telemetry has gained a lot of attention with recent developments in the healthcare industry. This technology has made it feasible to monitor the physiological signs of a patient remotely without traditional hospital appointments and follow up check-ups. Implantable Medical Devices (IMDs) play an important role in monitoring patients through wireless telemetry. IMDs have a wide range of applications which includes wireless endoscopy, blood pressure monitoring, wireless drug delivery, cardiac defibrillation, pacemakers and blood sugar level monitoring etc. IMDs consist of nodes and sensors in which the antenna is a major component. The selection of the antenna is a challenging task in IMD design as it dictates performance of the whole implant. Various factors need to be considered for implantable antennas such as miniaturization, patient safety, biocompatibility, low power consumption and providing robust and continuous operation within a harsh environment. The human body is a very lossy medium and affects the working of the antenna significantly. Therefore, designing an antenna to operate from inside the body is a very challenging task. Three novel implantable antennas are designed using a simple methodology. Computer Simulation Technology (CST) Microwave Studio software is used to design and simulate the antennas. The antennas are compact in size, light weight and show good performance in implantable conditions. A circular patch antenna is designed for operating in Industrial, Scientific and Medical (ISM) band at 915 MHz using coaxial probe feed. The overall volume of the antenna is (π×42×0.38) mm3. At 915 MHz the antenna has a peak gain of -28.8 dBi and has a bandwidth of 90 MHz when simulated in simplified skin layer phantom of the human body. The radiation efficiency of the antenna is -31.6 dB at resonant frequency. The 1-gram(g) and 10-gram(g) average(avg) SAR values for this antenna are 1218 and 125.2 W/Kg when the input power of the antenna was 0.5W. The antenna satisfies the requirements for implantable applications. A microstrip rectangular patch antenna is designed operating in Medical Implantable Communication Service (MICS) band (402-405) MHz and ISM bands of (902-928) MHz and (2.4-2.45) GHz. The antenna resonates at 402 MHz, 915 MHz and 2.4 GHz when simulated in simplified fat layer phantom of the human. The size of the antenna is (6×5×0.5) mm3. At resonant frequencies the peak gain of the antenna is (-47.7, -37.2, -25.5) dBi. This antenna offers a bandwidth of (108, 170, 250) MHz with a radiation efficiency of (-52, -42, -32) dB at operating frequencies. The 1g avg. SAR values of rectangular patch antenna at operating frequencies are (122, 184, 863) W/Kg and 10g avg. SAR values of rectangular patch antenna at operating frequencies are (12.25, 18.42, 86.42) W/Kg when the antenna was excited with an input power of 0.5W. Finally, design of a compact size antenna operating at 915 MHz is presented. The antenna has a size of (4×4×0.26) mm3. When simulated in simplified skin layer phantom the antenna offers a bandwidth of 170 MHz with a peak gain of -34.7 dBi at resonant frequency. The radiation efficiency of the antenna is -36.5 dB. SAR values of this antenna are 1069 W/Kg for 1g avg. and 108 W/Kg for 10g avg. with 0.5W input power. All of the designed antennas are simulated in simplified human body phantom model and multilayer tissues. After that the antennas are subjected to different implant depths to investigate their performance with varying implant depths. Different thicknesses of insulation layer are used to analyse the effects on antenna resonance. To check the antenna integration with sensors, dummy electronic components are used, and antennas are simulated which shows the diversity of designed antennas. The designed antennas are simulated in anatomical body model and the results showed a good match between anatomical body model and phantom body model. A size reduction of 15%, 29% and 47% and overall performance improvement of 9%, 15% and 12% is achieved for the designed circular patch antenna, rectangular patch antenna and compact size antenna which proves that the designed antennas are best match for the implantable applications.
  • A longitudinal examination of the impact of ‘travel advisors’ on psycho-social predictors and physical activity

    Miah, Jolel (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2021-07)
    Introduction: 'Personal Travel Planning' (PTP) interventions are used to motivate people to change behaviour through active travel. This research aimed to investigate whether the influence of 'Travel Advisors' (TA) used in PTP interventions can motivate residents to engage in higher levels of physical activity (PA) and improve health status. Further, this research aimed to explore how behaviour change theory through the application of ‘Theory of Planned Behaviour’ (TPB) and ‘Health Belief Model’ (HBM) can be used to explain physical activity, intention and behaviour. Method: The survey targeted residents who lived in the 'PTP' target area and measured those who talked to a ‘TA’, and compared the differences to those who did not. As well as PA, health status was recorded to see if further improvements would be made for those who had spoken to a ‘TA’. Participants contained initially 831 adults, and this reduced to 242 adults by the end of twelve months. The average age was fairly consistent of 30 – 31years across each wave of the survey. Similarly, the gender split was consistent across surveys being approximately 30% male and 70% female. To measure PA, the short form International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ) was used. The short-form health questionnaire (SF36) was used to report physical and mental health to measure health status. The ‘TPB’ questionnaire was selected to measure psychosocial predictors as it had been used in previous 'PTP’ research. The ‘HBM’ was used to measure public benefit in relation to health. Both questionnaires amended items to support the nature of the study. Participants were measured at three time points; Baseline, Six and Twelve months. Only those who completed all three-time points were considered to be reported in this thesis. Results: IPAQ reported that those who had spoken to a ‘TA’ recorded more PA (1852.18 metabolic minutes) than those who didn’t (649.08 metabolic minutes) after twelve months. Furthermore, the SF36 reported that those who spoke to a ‘TA’ reported better physical health (M= 95.98, S.D = 4.50) than those who did not (M=93.08, S.D = 7.01). This was also true for Mental Health (M=62.08, S.D = 8.75) compared to those who did not (M=57.98, S.D. = 8.05) after twelve months. ANOVA’s revealed that there were big significant Interaction effects for components; ‘Attitude’, ‘Intention’, ‘Perceived Behavioural Control’, ‘Subjective Norms’, ‘Benefits’, ‘Susceptibility’ and, ‘Severity’. There were smaller interaction effects for components; ‘Barriers’ and ‘Health Motivation’. The ‘TPB’ variance predicted in intention ranged from 76% to 95% in cross-sectional analyses and was 33% in the longitudinal path analyses. The variance predicted in behaviour ranged from 9.6% to 37.6% in cross-sectional analyses and was 32.6% in the longitudinal path analyses. The ‘HBM’ variance predicted in intention ranged from 79.1% to 94.2% in cross-sectional analyses and was 10.1% in the longitudinal path analyses. The variance predicted in behaviour ranged from 15.7% to 37.5% in cross-sectional analyses and was 9.7% in the longitudinal path analyses. Consistent predictors in the cross-sectional path analyses were ‘Self-Efficacy and ‘Intention’. Discussion: Those who had spoken to a ‘TA reported’ more PA and better mental health overall. There was no significant difference on physical health. It appears that a mix of ‘TPB’ and ‘HBM’ predictors play a role in predicting both intention and behaviour. ‘Self-Efficacy’ seems to be the strongest consistent predictor. Within the ‘TPB’, predictors ‘PBC’ and ‘Subjective Norms’ had greater associations with PA, while ‘Barriers’ seems strongest within the ‘HBM’ Future interventions can use the findings from this research to help make them more effective.
  • Daring moments: improvisational movements as relational responsivity

    Michopoulou, Joanna (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2020-12)
    This research dissertation is a study on relational responsivity, looking at spontaneous activity and improvisational movements in relational contexts, with implications for therapy practice. I study improvisational movements through the generation of a collection of creative writings and reflexive essays. I create examples of relational movement from within the doing of therapy and I also show and discuss examples from other everyday relational contexts. In particular, I explore the role of spontaneity, improvisation, and imagination in relational moments – whether in a supermarket or in the boxing gym, or buying flowers. I use metaphors and theories from other contexts which open new doorways to help me understand better what it is I do with others in the micro-practices of living movements of relational practice. In the essays in this thesis, I use a range of literary styles to tell stories that are infused with philosophical reflection. The stories are threaded with discussions of new materialist theory and core systemic ideas such as reflexivity, relational ethics, collaborative action, contextual knowing, and the de-centring of power. I have chosen an approach to studying relational practice in my work and elsewhere in my life using first-person research – a combination of relational ethnographic practice and performative writing. The writing is inspired by the oral practices of storytelling as a method of inquiry, which also reflects the place of storytelling in the practice of systemic therapy. I am concerned with mirroring and extending the ethics of systemic practice into the relationship between writer and reader, attending to the dialogic agenda of holding the audience in mind. The systemic practices of reflexivity and transparency have played a guiding role in developing my research writing ethically. In both my professional practice and my research practice, I use transparency, reflexivity, and creativity to show relational choices and actions across different contexts; to discuss the processes involved in orientating my ways of knowing how to go on with people and activities; to show my position for the time being; and to obtain experiential understanding of distances between different positions. The stories in this thesis show complex and intimate dialogical and relational movements and processes as well as intimate learning in motion from within relational activities. These stories pay special attention to our improvisational activities, to our sense of what is right and needed in relationships. The rendering transparent of inner dialogue and dilemmas opens up aspects of relational practice which practitioners often feel safer to keep to ourselves. The essays are infusions of systemic, dialogical, narrative, and new materialist theory, and together act as a method of reflection on relational practice and transformations. I bring alive the new materialist perspective on systems and social structures, using new materialist theory in the context of practice. I link practice-inspired, reflexive and imaginative explorations of indeterminacy and diffraction – concepts from quantum physics-philosophy – with the wave-like behaviour of relational movements in practice. I introduce some developments on systemic practice theory by presenting new concepts such as aesthetic ambiguity and relational conviction, which draw attention to the ethics of embodied understandings and subjectivity as a relation of responsibility to the other. I politicise the discomfort we can feel when embracing emergent learning-fromwithin-the-doing and regard relational knowing as a political act showing how making something with or for others always require daring, stepping away from what is familiar to us. The thesis concludes with reflections on the research process and the methodology and identifies the usefulness of this research in the training and professional development of psychotherapists and members of allied professions.
  • The impact of knowledge management and environmental practices on the performance of Mauritius' hospitality industry

    Jamalkhan, Nasserkhan (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2020-02)
    This thesis aims at investigating the effect of knowledge management (KM) capabilities on the relationship between environmental practices and the firm performance in the hospitality industry. The objective is to provide evidence whether firms which possess superior knowledge management capabilities have the ability to better manage their environmental practices (EP) and to create superior firm performance (FP). Design/methodology/approach In order to have a thorough and concrete insight within the organisation, the environmental management practices have been divided into the three-organisation hierarchical level which are strategic, tactical and operational. KM capabilities are divided into seven sub-dimensions, grouped into 2 categories which are infrastructure and processes. A sample of 201 companies was used from the Mauritius tourism sector and data was collected using the Likert survey questionnaire. Quantitative analysis was conducted with SPSS and regressions were carried out to evaluate the moderating effect of knowledge management on environmental practices and firm performance. Findings The study establishes that there is quite strong evidences to support the moderating effect of some KM capabilities, nevertheless these effects are different for each of the 3 hierarchical level of the firm. It confirms that firms with greater KM capabilities are able to demonstrate better effectiveness on their environmental practices which in turn creates a more positive impact on the firm performance at operation level. Practical implications There are 3 folds of implications. On one side, it can be confirmed that the hospitality and tourism sectors will benefit by implementing KM processes at operation level to improve their performance. On the other side, this study highlights that the increasing too much KM acquisition process would have a negative effect at strategic level of the organisation. Finally, this research has not found any evidence of KM interaction with EP at tactical level. This can be explained by the fact that most organisations in this sector are more active at operational level being in the hospitality sector, where they must be closer to the customer expectations, but further research at tactical level in other service industry might reveal more intelligence. Originality and value This study contributes to the sustainability of environmental and the overall firm performance operating in the tertiary sector of the economy with the tourism industry as an example and in extension to the future of the quaternary sector, where greening of the economies is becoming a major challenge. It highlights the role for each KM capability on the EP-FP links at operation, tactical and strategic level whereas previous environmental studies have focused mainly on the primary and secondary sectors of the economy but not in-depth at each level of the organisation. The final chapter highlights the contribution to both the academia and the industry.
  • Improving the immersion in a virtual reality batting simulator with real-time performance capture and haptics

    Jayaraj, Lionel (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2021-03)
    This research is based on the design and implementation of a system that enables a player to engage in a virtual reality (VR) game with better immersion. The research was informed by the idea that real-time motion capture may improve the player’s immersion. Starting with the general topic on “Improving the immersion in virtual reality”, the researcher sought for ways to identify the problems with immersion that occur in VR. While playing VR games available in the market (during the year 2016), a common problem was observed: The user’s avatar (virtual agent) was not completely visible to the player as most of the games were played using controllers such as a head-mounted display and hand-held remote controllers with motion trackers. The tracking from these devices has limitations to generate real-time animation for the user’s virtual body. This research attempts to solve this problem by developing a technology to achieve full-body motion capture and establish performance capture in real-time within a VR game. This involves designing a system that utilizes effective technologies for 3D imaging and transmission with less latency and good haptic feedback. The research attempts to measure immersion by improving an existing measuring instrument (Witmer and Singer, 1998), that has been used by the US military, to measure the immersion by conducting experiments engaging humans to use the system. The research’s user-based studies involved collecting both qualitative and quantitative measures from 45 users in 2 phases of experimentation. Overall, it was found that the inclusion of performance capture has increased the immersion for the users.
  • Creating relational ripples: the interconnectedness of relational space between client and therapist and within the therapist

    Karamatsouki, Marilena (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2020-12)
    The therapeutic relationship is an area that has been studied extensively, especially in the field of systemic practice. My inquiry focuses on the relational space in the therapy room. The relational space is a concept that may appear in different forms and include words, emotions, non-verbal communication, objects within the context of space and time. The way I use this concept gives me the freedom to describe where, how and in what way interaction happens. As a systemic practitioner researcher, I find the process, and, potentially, the outcome of therapy to be largely defined by: the relational space between myself and my client; the relational space within my different selves; and the interconnectedness of these relational spaces. By being both self-reflexive and relationally reflexive, my research addresses the question of how the relational space between client and therapist interconnects with the relational space within the therapist. My interest in the area emerged as in my practice I observed that when I bring more of myself in the therapy room, more of the client is in there, too. In order to study the complex encounter in the therapy room I use dialogical processes and autoethnography through storywriting: dialogical processes capture the relational nature of my research, and autoethnography gives access to research material from an insider’s perspective. I use stories from practice in a literary style and in an ethical manner, where the focus is neither on the therapy techniques nor on the client’s difficulties. Instead, the focus is on the relational conversation between my client and me, as well as my inner dialogue and thoughts and feelings. The seven stories featured in this doctoral portfolio show the relational flow of the therapeutic process and allow me to articulate more clearly the interconnectedness of relational space between client and therapist and within the therapist. In this way, I hope the readers will feel they are in the room with my client and me. This doctoral portfolio contributes new knowledge to the field of psychotherapy: From a theoretical perspective, I aim to expand systemic thinking by bringing to the fore the relational space within myself as a therapist. The perspective I bring allows us as systemic practitioners and practitioner researchers to: think differently both about the practice of psychotherapy as well as the research; talk about the things that we do not normally talk about; and question what we know and how we know it. From a research perspective, I encourage practitioner researchers to incorporate new ways of researching psychotherapy in an ethically and relationally reflexive manner. From a practical perspective, my research opens up new possibilities in therapy, as it shows a way of improving practice and introduces a new experience of therapy for both the client and the therapist. In a way, what I am trying to do is create a professionally employable space for the personal. Writing autoethnographic stories and using them in my inquiry is a methodological tool, a resource for practitioners who want to make the not-yet-said part of psychotherapy.
  • A critical study of performance management practices in western Nigerian manufacturing SMEs

    Kazeem, Bilikis Motunrayo (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2020-06)
    Small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are vital to the maintenance of the economic growth of any country. Globally, SMEs contribute close to 90 per cent of job creation, which improves national living standards. However, sustaining the performance of SMEs in the long run has been a substantial challenge. An OECD report suggests that, globally, 20 per cent of SMEs wound up within the first year of operation. Although this is a global problem, the challenge of long-term survival is more severe for SMEs in developing countries. To understand why this is the case, this study investigates the PMSs of SMEs in Nigeria. SMEs’ performance management was chosen as the focus of this study due to the significant impact of performance management on the growth and survival of SMEs. Primarily using an HR perspective, the study investigates the contextual factors that influence the implementation of performance management in SMEs in Western Nigeria. Using an in-depth qualitative approach, data has been collected through semi-structured interviews and analysed using NVIVO. Thirty-four owner-managers of SMEs took part in the study. The study’s findings show that the owner-managers had mixed views of the importance of performance management. The findings also highlight the HR challenges that influence performance management at each stage of the performance management model. To understand the reasons for the challenges, the findings demonstrate the prevailing contextual issues that influenced the owner-managers’ implementation of the PMSs. The study contributes to existing SME research by highlighting the HR issues that influence the implementation of PMSs. The study also develops a robust theoretical framework that highlights the cultural issues that influence the implementation of a PMS. The study extends the performance management debate in SMEs from a business perspective to an HR perspective. The implications of the study for practitioners are also discussed; for example, HR challenges that affect each stage of the performance management model are identified. This will enable owner-managers to take appropriate actions to avoid the challenges. Examining the HR perspectives broadens the owner-managers’ view of performance management. The thesis’s limitations are presented, the main limitations being that the data mainly came from the male owner-managers’ views and the limitations associated with the study’s methodology and context.
  • Investigating residents and municipality processes of co-creation in branding Luton – a place with a negative reputation

    Stoica, Ioana Sabrina (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2021-04)
    In consideration to place branding as a holistic and integrated concept, this thesis presents an investigation of the processes of co-creation between residents and municipality scrutinised in three branding practices (top-down, bottom-up and mixed branding approaches) of a place with a negative reputation: Luton. The study utilises a combination of concepts from corporate brands and place brands. A qualitative methodology and multi-methods were used to achieve the following objectives: (1) investigate the factors influencing participation in different branding approaches, (2) explore the processes and roles undertaken by the actors involved and (3) examine the outcomes achieved. The study examined three campaigns, one representative for each branding approach, through an interpretivist paradigm, a social construction epistemology and an iterative-inductive ethnographic approach. The investigation was undertaken in three stages, which included interviews with the municipality and residents, auto-ethnographic, netnographic data and document analysis. The findings indicate that co-creation processes can have multiple nuances in different branding approaches and most often, the theoretical and practical views of co-creation are clashing. The study proposes a framework for residents and municipality co-creation which brings insights into different factors affecting participation, four dimensions of co-creation with direct and indirect methods and active and passive actors’ roles and their outcomes. While co-creation processes usually bring positive outcomes, the data suggests that the outcomes can be both positive and negative according with the dimensions used to co-create meaning, the active and passive residents’ involvement, and the power relations in the processes. The findings contribute to the understanding of the intricacies of co-creation, participatory branding and residents’ involvement in branding places which are struggling with their reputation. The theoretical framework argues for a distinction between co-creation and participation and can support places in the process of involving residents in brand meaning co-creation, avoid “common” issues faced in participatory branding and consequently help the brand minimise representational dissonances and improve its reputation.

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