• Bayesian assessment of newborn brain maturity from sleep electroencephalograms

      Jakaite, Livija (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2012-06)
      In this thesis, we develop and test a technology for computer-assisted assessments of newborn brain maturity from sleep electroencephalogram (EEG). Brain maturation of newborns is reflected in rapid development of EEG patterns over a number of weeks after conception. Observing the maturational patterns, experts can assess newborn’s EEG maturity with an accuracy ±2 weeks of newborn’s stated age. A mismatch between the EEG patterns and newborn’s physiological age alerts clinicians about possible neurological problems. Analysis of newborn EEG requires specialised skills to recognise the maturity-related waveforms and patterns and interpret them in the context of newborns age and behavioural state. It is highly desirable to make the results of maturity assessment most accurate and reliable. However, the expert analysis is limited in capability to estimate the uncertainty in assessments. To enable experts quantitatively evaluate risks of brain dysmaturity for each case, we employ the Bayesian model averaging methodology. This methodology, in theory, provides the most accurate assessments along with the estimates of uncertainty, enabling experts to take into account the full information about the risk of decision making. Such information is particularly important when assessing the EEG signals which are highly variable and corrupted by artefacts. The use of decision tree models within the Bayesian averaging enables interpreting the results as a set of rules and finding the EEG features which make the most important contribution to assessments. The developed technology was tested on approximately 1,000 EEG recordings of newborns aged 36 to 45 weeks post conception, and the accuracy of assessments was comparable to that achieved by EEG experts. In addition, it was shown that the Bayesian assessment can be used to quantitatively evaluate the risk of brain dysmaturity for each EEG recording.
    • The beam and shadow of the spotlight: visibility and invisibility in women’s experiences of domestic violence and abuse

      Neale, Jo (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2017-11)
      Although it has received greater policy attention in recent years, domestic violence and abuse (DVA) is a global problem that, at a national level, remains under-reported, under-prosecuted and under-convicted. The apparent ineffectiveness of policy approaches in reducing the incidence of DVA, or mitigating its social and economic costs, not least upon those directly experiencing DVA, forms the backcloth of this enquiry. The aim of the study presented in this thesis was to explore, from a feminist poststructuralist perspective, the processes by which heterosexual women enter, endure and leave abusive relationships. Using semi-structured narrative style interviews, I worked with fourteen women with a wide range of characteristics in terms of age, ethnicity, physicality, socio-economic status and the length of time elapsed since their experiences of abuse. Using Nicola Gavey’s (2005) concept of cultural scaffolding (the discourses and [hetero]normative practices that make it so difficult to identify a relationship as abusive), I examined the space between normalised heterosexual relationships and abuse and, in the process, provided a better understanding of women’s routes into DVA. I have shone a spotlight on the full range of perpetrators’ behaviours that entrap and oppress their female partners and have identified four key domains in which the tactics of the abuser work to: ensnare his victim; dismantle her previous identities; prevent her from leaving the relationship; and punish her for leaving. These include behaviours used to manipulate women’s social and support networks in order to prolong or sabotage their attempts to escape the abuse. From a feminist poststructuralist perspective, participants’ experiences of entering, enduring and leaving abusive relationships can be read as part of the wider cultural scaffolding of heteropatriarchy, which left them exposed to ensnarement and exploitation. Using Dark Triad (Paulhus 2002) as a model for conceptualising perpetrators’ manipulation of their ex-partners, their children, and professionals, I offer an alternative way of understanding men’s abuse of their female partners.
    • The beam and shadow of the spotlight: visibility and invisibility in women’s experiences of domestic violence and abuse

      Neale, Jo; University of Bedfordshire (University of Bedfordshire, 2019-01-29)
      Although it has received greater policy attention in recent years, domestic violence and abuse (DVA) is a global problem that, at a national level, remains under-reported, under-prosecuted and under-convicted. The apparent ineffectiveness of policy approaches in reducing the incidence of DVA, or mitigating its social and economic costs, not least upon those directly experiencing DVA, forms the backcloth of this enquiry. The aim of the study presented in this thesis was to explore, from a feminist poststructuralist perspective, the processes by which heterosexual women enter, endure and leave abusive relationships. Using semi-structured narrative style interviews, I worked with fourteen women with a wide range of characteristics in terms of age, ethnicity, physicality, socio-economic status and the length of time elapsed since their experiences of abuse. Using Nicola Gavey’s (2005) concept of cultural scaffolding (the discourses and [hetero]normative practices that make it so difficult to identify a relationship as abusive), I examined the space between normalised heterosexual relationships and abuse and, in the process, provided a better understanding of women’s routes into DVA. I have shone a spotlight on the full range of perpetrators’ behaviours that entrap and oppress their female partners and have identified four key domains in which the tactics of the abuser work to: ensnare his victim; dismantle her previous identities; prevent her from leaving the relationship; and punish her for leaving. These include behaviours used to manipulate women’s social and support networks in order to prolong or sabotage their attempts to escape the abuse. From a feminist poststructuralist perspective, participants’ experiences of entering, enduring and leaving abusive relationships can be read as part of the wider cultural scaffolding of heteropatriarchy, which left them exposed to ensnarement and exploitation. Using Dark Triad (Paulhus 2002) as a model for conceptualising perpetrators’ manipulation of their ex-partners, their children, and professionals, I offer an alternative way of understanding men’s abuse of their female partners.
    • Being and becoming a specialist public health nurse: net weaving in homeless health care

      Fordham, Maria (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2012-10)
      In this study, systematic reflection in professional practice is seen as a dynamic process towards socio-political action, negating a navel-gazing critique. Positioned within nursing, the pioneering narrative inquiry approach will be highly valuable in medicine, education and other health fields. When I embarked on this study, research to guide me in homeless health care was limited and there is, even yet, insufficient evidence to demonstrate the effectiveness of advanced nursing practice in England particularly with homeless people. Through its reflexive narrative nature that research gap is addressed in a profound journey that illuminates my transformation over a three year period of being and becoming a Specialist Public Health Nurse (homelessness). The methodology draws dynamically on an eclectic, philosophical framework which includes reflective practice/guidance, narrative inquiry, hermeneutics, aesthetics, critical social science theory, storytelling, performance-ethnography and ancient wisdom. The Six Dialogical Movements (Johns, 2009) provides coherence to the twenty-one practice experiences that adequately marked my transformation towards my practice vision. I used the Being Available Template (Johns, 2009) as a reflexive framework which became the metaphoric net of my practice, showing where and how homeless people fall through the net of care, and my role in weaving a stronger net. I also drew on the work of Belenky et al's (1986) voice perspectives to show empowerment in my specialist role. Within the narrative, each story illuminates complexity and brings new knowledge about homeless health care. The study tangibly links childhood trauma to adult homelessness; it illuminates suffering in homelessness, showing where and how mainstream health professionals contribute to suffering when they do not grasp their role within the net, perpetuating homelessness. Appreciating precarious engagement in four quadrants: health services, homeless services, the homeless person and my SPHN role, is a concept that illuminates the precariousness of the net. The study concludes with a SPHN Homeless Health Care Model. Towards an ensuing social action through dialogue, I use the term 'audiencing' rather than transferability of findings. Hearing stories from 'street to boardroom' - making the invisible visible - has been profound in health services as evidenced in the narrative.
    • Being available, becoming student kind: a nurse educator’s reflexive narrative

      Graham, Margaret (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2014-10)
      This thesis is a story of how I came to construct and illuminate a reflexive narrative as a journey of self-inquiry and transformation towards personal realisation. It shares a view of reflection as lived in being and becoming a reflective nurse educator in higher education. My narrative draws upon, autoethnography, critical social theory and hermeneutic perspectives. Johns (2010) six dialogical movements have been used to give structure to my narrative. Nineteen reflections generate the reflexive narrative in a hermeneutic spiral, as each text informs the other along the journey. Insights become clearer through guidance, dialogue, and engagement with the literature. Early reflections show anxiety, emotional distress and entanglement as I tried to solve student problems. Maternalism influenced my approach to being with distressed and struggling students. Gradually these feelings give way to being available, becoming student kind as an enabling relationship with students. Becoming student kind is framed through my adaptation of the Being Available Template (Johns 2013). It is realised through; listening, presence, caring, empathy, compassion and emotional intelligence. Poise, a self-management practice ensures that personal concerns and tensions do not hinder my relationships with students. Mindfulness expressed as spirituality sustains this process. This path to becoming student kind creates a learning space for student growth and development. In so doing, students are enabled to enter into a nurse patient relationship through being available. I express my empowerment through a dialogical voice, transforming my practice with individual students, in the classroom and beyond. Understanding the tensions within the complexity of university culture influencing nurse education, informs collaboration with colleagues towards a shared vision of nurse education. I turn to reflect on a journey of constructing a reflexive narrative. Five stepping stones for dialogue in advancing guided reflection as a foundation for nurse education are offered. My inquiry weaves a story of reflection as testimony to a fusion of practice and theory. I reveal practice wisdom, informing my day to day work in being available becoming student kind in relationships with students. I explore the contribution to knowledge, my practice and future research, considering the strengths and challenges therein.
    • Belonging to school: the nature and extent of the bond between pupil and school

      Sills-Jones, Polly Catherine Elizabeth (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2011-10)
      The school holds particular functions for society; to credential, to contain and to shape the citizens of the future. One much discussed function is the influence of school on the morality and behaviour of young people. This thesis explores the nature of the bond between pupil and school, how it affects behaviour and how it is shaped by the school culture. The focus is derived from an integration of different disciplinary and theoretical paradigm in three previously separate fields; criminology, education and psychotherapy. This thesis is practice-based, using mixed methods research centred on a case-study school and encompasses pupil questionnaires (n=189), pupil interviews (n=5) and extensive ethnographic research. Furthermore, the study is unusual due to the 'insider' status created by my professional role within the school. In this thesis, Hirschi's bond to conformity (1969) is developed to incorporate a pupil's perceptions of the bond. This is defined as a sense of belonging. Findings indicate that a pupil's sense of belonging is significantly linked to pupil behaviour. Furthermore, elemental strands of the sense of belonging signify that the pupil's perception of the school's bond to him, are of key importance. This foregrounds the significance of a school's cultural Character (Berne, 1973) on shaping a pupil's perceptions and sense of belonging. The purpose of this study is to generate useful findings that will support academics, practitioners and policy-makers in attending to a pupil's sense of belonging and a school's culture. The findings that emerge have important implications for professional education and training, and for school development.
    • Bereavement in childhood and the role of attachment

      Aleem, Sadia (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2018-01)
      The purpose of this research was to utilise attachment theory in understanding the experience of bereavement in childhood. Research objectives were addressed by using a mixed method design. Study One explored how experience of bereavement in childhood relates to current attachment style in adulthood. This was a qualitative interview-based study utilising thematic analysis and a quantitative assessment of attachment styles. Twenty-four participants were employed. The established Experience in Close Relationships (ECR) questionnaire was used. The results through the thematic analysis indicated that people with different attachment styles provide different narratives about their childhood bereavement. This study provides evidence that this was so. Study Two was a co-relational study employing 121 participants who experienced loss of caregiver in childhood. Four established questionnaires were used: Inventory of Complicated Grief (ICG; Prigerson et al., 1995), Experience in Close Relationships Questionnaire-Revised (ECR; Fraley, Waller, & Brennan, 2000), Separation Anxiety Symptom Inventory (SASI; Silove, Manicavasagar, O’Connell, Blaszczynski, Wagner, & Henry, 1993) and Parental Bonding Instrument (PBI; Parker, Tupling, & Brown, 1979). The results showed that complicated grief was related to parental care and overprotection, separation anxiety, and adult attachment style. Anxious attachment style fully mediated the effects of parental bonding on complicated grief. Study Three was a quantitative co-relational study to compare two groups of parents (with and without a bereaved child) on child behavioural differences and links between child behavioural problems and parental characteristics. Two hundred and forty participants were employed: 139 parents of children with bereavement experience and 101 without bereavement experience. Five established questionnaires were used: Child Stress Questionnaire (CSQ), Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ), The Parenting Scale (PS), Inventory of Complicated Grief (ICG), and Experience in Close Relationships Questionnaire-Revised (ECR-R). The results showed that child problems were closely associated to parental qualities. It is proposed that this research can make a contribution towards utilising attachment theory in understanding the experience of bereavement in children.
    • Beyond integration: reformulating physical disability in dance

      McGrath, Eimir (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2013-07)
      Dance performance that is inclusive of dancers with differing corporealities has the potential to generate positive societal change with regard to perceptions of physical difference. Dance is a valuable site for exploring the placement of the physically disabled body in contemporary society, and for disrupting existing perceptions of disability as transgressive. This can come about through the embodied presence of both dancer and viewer, entering into a relationship grounded in intersubjectivity, without having to rely on symbolic signification. This thesis examines the placement of disabled bodies in dance performance from the intersecting perspectives of Critical Disability Studies, Performance Studies and Interpersonal Neurobiology in order to formulate a framework for theorizing perceptions of disability, the act of viewing dance and the impact of choreographic intent on viewers’ perceptions of physical difference. In the first section, the sociopolitical placing of disabled bodies in western society is interrogated and a historiological study of both disability identity and the emergence of integrated dance is critically analysed. The second section provides detailed analyses of three dance performances that are inclusive of dancers with physical disabilities: GIMP (2009), Heidi Latsky, Diagnosis of a Faun (2009) Tamar Rogoff, and water burns sun (2009) Petra Kuppers. Each represents a specific understanding of disability, creating an evolutionary framework for conceptualizing different perceptions of disabled bodies as either monstrous freak, heroic victim or corporeally diverse. The third section creates connections between new knowledge in interpersonal neurobiology and viewers' perceptions of disability that are activated through viewing dance performance, thus providing an understanding of the mechanisms of discrimination and marginalization of people who embody difference, as well as uncovering mechanisms that have the potential to be reparative. The application of neuroscientific knowledge to Performance Studies can be modulated and expanded by considering the interpersonal communicative dimension of dance performance that is inclusive of differing corporealities. A theoretical approach that encompasses the neuroscientific conceptualization of intersubjectivity in creating empathic attunement between viewer and dancer, can offer a means of understanding the innate potential of dance performance to bring about societal change.
    • Beyond talent management: a relational portrait of companies adapting to global financial downturns

      Pedersen, Birgitte (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2012-11)
      The thesis examines life within large Danish companies affected by the global financial downturn. It does so from phenomenological-relational perspectives, as a counterpoint to the traditional, mechanical (Cartesian) ways of viewing structures, problems and processes leading to resolutions. In particular, the thesis dwells on the differences between “aboutness” and “withness” as criteria for judging how people behave in such companies, particularly at times when a CEO suddenly announces major and rapid change. The thesis attempts to shape some of the contours of a relational landscape - with different understandings of life and living. In that respect, it looks beyond models, tools and recipes as the only ways of evolving as companies move towards future survival.
    • Beyond the surface: board of directors’ effectiveness regarding tasks and corporate social responsibility activities in Nigeria

      Zayyana, Abubakar Mohammed (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2018-07)
      Despite the growing interest on board literature, what makes a board effective is still unclear. Recent events highlighting corporate abuse cast doubt on the efficacy of the existing governance codes. The main aim of this research is to investigate board effectiveness beyond board demographic variables. Specifically, the study examines the systematic relationships between board characteristics, board processes, board tasks and corporate social responsibility (legal and ethical) activities in Nigeria. In this research, corporate social responsibility activities, rather than corporate financial performance are considered. This is essential, as in addition to the Nigerian corporate governance code requirements, unethical and illegal activities of directors are the genesis of most of the previous corporate scandals. Moreover, an effective CSR strategy has the potential to influence financial performance in the long-term. Building on previous studies, an existing framework has been adapted; however, the results of semi-structured qualitative interviews show that certain board processes (cognitive conflict and effort norms) as well as board tasks (resource provision and strategy advisory) need to be amended in order to suit the Nigerian context. Additionally, the current study employs the theoretical lenses of the agency, resource dependency and stakeholder theories to investigate board effectiveness. A survey questionnaire generated through Qualtrics software was sent to all directors (1,430) of firms listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. A response rate of 214 (189 usable), representing fifteen per cent of the total sample was received and Partial Least Squares Structural Equation Modeling (PLS-SEM) was employed to test the hypothesised relationships. The empirical findings show that board processes variables are more important than board characteristics in regard to board effectiveness in Nigeria. Among the board processes variables, knowledge utilisation has the strongest effect on board task (control and service), followed by board level of challenge. Commitment amongst board members has a significant impact on service task, but not on control task. Both board control and service tasks have greater influences on legal and ethical corporate social responsibility activities in Nigeria. Finally, board processes do not have mediating effects on the relationship between board characteristics and board tasks. However, board (service and control) tasks mediate the link between knowledge utilisation and CSR legal and ethical activities, but only service task has an indirect effect on the relationship between board commitment and CSR. Surprisingly, these board task variables serve as suppressors, rather than mediators on the relationship between board challenge and CSR. The current study contributes empirically and theoretically to board literature by examining factors responsible for board effectiveness, beyond board characteristics (the usual suspects) in Nigeria. Similarly, the study contributes to board processes literature by introducing a new input-process-output model that includes CSR activities. The findings of this research are expected to provide information to boards of directors and policymakers on what boards do to influence board task effectiveness and determine the effects of board task on corporate social responsibility activities. The study provides evidence which highlights the important need for board scholars to consider other variables, such as board processes and tasks, rather than fully relying on board structure when investigating board effectiveness.
    • The big screen centre stage: a director's analysis of intermedia theatre production

      De Souza, Jodi (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2014-07)
      The proposed research investigates the analysis of the use of the moving image within contemporary theatre performance making, with specific reference to the director's role. Moving from the realisation that to date there are no academically accepted models used to assess the impact of the moving image on various aspects of theatre making, the research investigate the history of the problem, relating methodologies and key literature associated with the topic. Two key aspects of the theory of 'liveness' are considered and three case studies of the author's own intermedia production are inititally assessed. One case study, The Master Builder, in then analysed in greater depth using the theory of liveness as a tool. Conclusions reveal that the analysis of practice alongside theory facilitated the director in identifying causes to the problems encountered during production which had impacted craft and had been highlighted in the initial assessment. the work has been written by an intermedia theatre director, and as such it aims to inform her own practice and understanding on future productions.
    • Biochemistry of resistance in Myzus persicae and Aphis gossypii

      Moores, Graham David (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 1997-11)
      The insecticide resistance mechanisms present in the aphids Myzus persicae and Aphis gossypii have been characterised and sensitive biochemical assays have been developed to monitor their presence in individual aphids. It was found that enhanced esterase activity is present in both aphid species, and that this enhanced activity results from the presence of larger amounts of the same enzyme rather than the presence of a more efficient enzyme. In Myzus persicae this mechanism alone is sufficient to confer high levels of insecticide resistance. In Aphis gossypii, it appears that the presence of insensitive acetylcholinesterase (AChE) is necessary for measurable levels of resistance to occur. During the course of this work, insensitive AChE was detected in Myzus persicae for the first time. This additional resistance mechanism, when combined with the enhanced esterase activity, was found to confer extremely high levels of tolerance against specific insecticides. This additional mechanism is rare in the UK at present but the use of sensitive assays to monitor its existence is of increasing importance. When the AChE mechanism becomes more prevalent in the UK, as it almost certainly will, new strategies for aphid control will be needed. Further examples of insensitive AChE conferring insensitivity not only to carbamates, but also to organophosphates, have also been detected in Aphis gossypii. The inter-relationships of the two mechanisms in this species have been resolved and new monitoring methods made available.
    • The biological and chemical effects of digested sludge as a nitrogenous fertiliser on grass crops using in situ lysimeters

      Thomas, William Morgan (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 1981-07)
      This thesis details field and laboratory experiments on the biological and chemical effects of liquid anaerobically digested sewage sludge (LDS) used as a nitrogenous fertiliser on grass crops. The main objectives of the investigation were to ascertain the nitrogen (N) fertiliser value of LDS on grassland and evaluate its leaching losses using monolith lysimeters. Some LDS volatilisation studies were undertaken in the laboratory and a N balance compiled for the field lysimeters. To enable a detailed assessmBnt of crop uptake of LDS N some LDS was prepared with isotopic N15 using laboratory anaerobic digesters. The product LDS contained N15 as organic and inorganic N and was similar to a typical LDS. The field lysimeters were arranged as an integral part of each field plot and some techniques devised for their installation in situ. For laboratory work a scaled-down version of the field lysimeter was used. An assessment of the comparability of lysimeter and field conditions showed a satisfactory correlation with respect to crop productivity. Similar levels of N15 uptake were recorded for the field and lysimeter swards. Crop productivity trials showed that LDS applied as a single and split application was about 70% as effective as a split dressing of ammonium nitrate (Nitram). Evidence from the field trials suggested that LDS organic N contributes less than 10% of its fertiliser value during its year of application. Leaching losses of LDS were found to be similar to those of Nitram. At application rates equivalent to 300 kgN/ha/season typical nitrate-N concentrations in the leachate water were 1 mg/1 and 0.1-6.2% applied N was lost from the field A quick crop response to LDS N was recorded with N15 accumulation by the crop 7 days after LDS application. Crop productivity trials indicated a lack of sustained response by the grass to LDS applications.
    • 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.
    • Biosensor technology: applications in microbial toxicology

      Rogerson, Jonathan G. (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 1997-06)
      This work describes the development of mediated amperometric biosensors that are able to monitor the metabolic activity of both single and mixed microbial populations, with applications in toxicity assessment and wastewater treatment plant protection. Biosensor systems have been constructed incorporating either the single-species eubacteria Escherichia coli or Pseudomonas putida, Bioseed®, or a mixture of activated sludge organisms from wastewater treatment plants, as the sensing components immobilised on disposable screen printed electrodes in stirred reaction vials. The biosensor approach is generic allowing for a wide range of microbial cell types to be employed. Appropriate bacterial species can be selected for specific sensor applications in order to confer validity and relevance to the test, hence the biosensor can be tailor-made to assess the toxicity in a particular environment and provide diagnostically valid and relevant results. The biosensors have been used to assess the toxicity of a standard toxicant and toxicant formulations and in blind testing of a range of industrial effluents, in parallel with a number of bioassays including Microtox® and activated sludge respiration inhibition. The biosensor results generally show significant correlation to the appropriate conventional toxicity tests. In this study, an activated sludge based biosensor assay was developed and used to assess the toxicity of industrial process and site effluents with the specific purpose of wastewater treatment plant protection. Data generated compared significantly with those from an activated sludge respiration inhibition test, with added advantages of rapidity, safety and ease of use.
    • The boxer’s point of view: an ethnography of cultural production and athletic development among amateur and professional boxers in England

      Stewart, Alex (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2008-08)
      Since the late nineteenth century boxing in England has been socially organised into two ideologically distinctive versions - amateur and professional boxing – that to this day are practiced in spatially segregated social universes. Nonetheless, both amateur and professional boxing-practitioners understandings and lived experiences in and through boxing are necessarily grounded in the wider social and cultural contexts through which they interpret meaning and construct worldviews and identity. Thus despite the institutional, ideological and spatial boundaries demarcating either code, on a rather more subtle yet incredibly powerful cultural level, amateur and professional boxing are both symbolically and practically deeply intertwined. Over a five year period, I conducted ‘insider’ ethnographic research among distinct cohorts of amateur and professional boxers based in Luton and London to investigate the lived experiences and socially constructed worldviews, values and identities developed by practitioners immersed in either code. The overriding aim of this research was to critically evaluate the limits and possibilities of boxing-practitioners association with and development through ‘boxing’ henceforth. The findings of this ethnography reveal that it was common for the amateur and professional boxing-practitioners studied to cultivate empowering identities through intersubjective and socially validating instances of purposefulness, expressivity, creativity, fellowship and aspiration. These lived dimensions were grounded in sensuous, symbolic and emotional attachments respective to the social organization defining the social practice of either code of boxing. Equally, the research reveals that under the veneer of collective passion for and consequent fellowship experienced through boxing, an undercurrent yet ever-present sense of dubiety, tension and intra-personal conflict was in evidence among both the amateur and professional boxing-practitioners studied. It is suggested, therefore, that as a consequence of an array of both micro and macro post-industrial societal reconfigurations defining the structural principles of amateurism and professionalism in the practice of ‘boxing’, contemporary boxers are increasingly predisposed to developing athletic identities predisposed towards patterns of meaning production “…dominated by market-mediated consumer choice and the power of individualism” (Jarvie 2006 p. 327). Thus through complex, historically dynamic and seemingly paradoxical social processes of cultural (re)production and transformation - dialectically fusing individualistic aspirations geared towards self-interested gain, acts of group and subcultural fellowship and social resistance to measures of institutionalised control - it is argued that the role of boxing as an agent for humanistic personal and social development in the contemporary late-modern era of structural reconfiguration is progressively rendered impotent.
    • British Pakistani students’ experiences in multi-ethnic secondary schools in England

      Chaudhry, Javeria (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2019-02-08)
      Multicultural educational policies in school advocate respect for all cultures. These policies are considered important in facilitating the inclusion of students from ethnically diverse backgrounds (Banks, 2008, 2019). Multicultural policies aim to increase equality and social acceptance of minority ethnic communities by decreasing negative racial attitudes and racial inequality (Bourne, 2007; Howarth and Andreouli, 2012). Therefore, multiculturalism is a key to the development of positive attitudes amongst ethnically diverse communities and it aims to challenge and prevent racism or prejudice (Bourne, 2007). The aim of this study was to analyse experiences of British Pakistani students in schools; to investigating how the concept of multiculturalism with multicultural policies is promoted in schools, to ensure their inclusion. The situation of British Pakistanis is complicated by issues relating to how the Muslim faith is perceived, and in particular the Prevent Agenda. Both of these topics are covered within this study. This study investigated the experiences of British Pakistani students in multi-ethnic secondary schools in England in order to understand how BPS as a minority ethnic group are culturally supported and included in schools. This study focused on multiculturalism by using Banks’ (2008, 2019) theory of multiculturalism with his model of multicultural education as a conceptual framework. Hence, year 9 BPS’ experiences in relation to multiculturalism, multicultural education policies including the Prevent Agenda and FBV in three different multi-ethnic secondary schools in the East of England were explored. All three schools were multi-ethnic in nature and more than enough to provide sufficient data to do a good cross-section from schools with differing level of BPS, through student and teacher interviews, in addition to document analysis of school policies. The major findings of the research revealed that the case study schools have a positive inclusive cultural environment and the more general inclusive policies schools employ seem to meet a number of elements and dimensions that Banks (1989b, 2008, 2019) has identified in relation to multiculturalism. Findings also indicated that no single model espoused by Banks (2008, 2019) could fully capture the range of themes emerging when focusing on issues related to multiculturalism when applied to this group of students in the current context. BPS identify themselves as British Pakistani and prefer dualism/integration to carry two different cultures together. There are no concerns that Prevent is impacting on teachers in terms of the way BPS behave, and teacher training in relation to this was perceived as insignificant. BPS generally experience positive attitudes from their peers and teachers. British Values caused a variety of responses indicating lack of clarity about what British Values are, and that they are not required for the integration of BPS in schools. Overall, the findings concluded that although British Pakistani students’ needs are being met by current practices in schools, some aspects of Banks’ (2008, 2019) model could be beneficial in reducing potential issues faced by this group of students.
    • Building the culture of education for 5 to 8 year olds in the UK: a comparison of policy and attitudes in England and Scotland

      Sargent, Sandra (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2006-05)
      Although England and Scotland are two of the countries composing the UK, there are differences and similarities between the structures of education in each country. Teachers often struggle to explain the multi-faceted nature of their work and the general public rarely understands the complexities that educational professionals have to deal with on a day-to-day basis. Teachers of 5 to 8 year olds in England and Scotland are expected to fulfil diverse and complex roles. Since devolution, changes have been implemented in Scotland affecting teachers' workload. Changes in the culture of education in both countries have affected the professional and personal lives of teachers. A larger dehumanisation of education in the name of efficiency and cost effectiveness is affecting the morale of teachers and many are leaving the profession. Historical method and a questionnaire are the main methods used to investigate the extent to which teachers of 5 to 8 year olds in England and Scotland have been affected by government legislation of the 1980s up to the present. The research also seeks to discover what changes teachers have made in order to work within the educational climate that resulted from that legislation. The questionnaire includes demographic data, scales for teachers to rate their ideal vs. actual teaching situations, emotive statements taken from a national survey for Likert scale response in terms of agreement or disagreement, and space for open-ended comments. The data were subjected to statistical analysis using SPSS. Two-way ANOVAs with repeated measures and one way ANOVAs were used in the analysis of the questionnaires, in addition to factor analysis. In the discussion of the findings, the historical accounts of the development of education in England and Scotland affecting the teachers of 5 to 8 year olds was used, along with respondents' open ended comments, to inform the results of the statistical analysis of the questionnaire. The findings show a perceived gap between respondents' ideal and actual teaching situations in both countries, and a somewhat negative trend in the overall response to both types of scaled items, with only a few group differences. The pattern of response is interpreted as showing dissatisfaction with managerialism in UK education, and it is argued that this emphasis is affecting the dynamics and cohesiveness of schools. The resulting, increasingly performative culture is perceived to be degrading the quality of early years' education by a process of depersonalisation and restricted implementation of professional expertise.
    • Business strategy and organisational development: organisational archetypes and sociocognitive processes in the frameworks of configurational approach

      Smirnov, Vitaliy (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2007-07)
      A large number of studies suggest that the content of strategy becomes more multifaceted and elaborate and characterised by progressive development over time. Recently, a growing number of researchers argue that strategy can become simple, stable and inert over time. This study investigates how changes of sociocognitive processes at individual, group and organisational levels influence organisational processes and strategic decisions. It adopts configurational approach to strategy development and its concepts (configurations, transformations, archetypes) as a framework. Thus, the purpose is to provide a characterisation of strategy development by analysing the integration of four key research dimensions (social, cognitive, organisational performance and contextual) into one coherent theoretical structure - the model of organisational archetypes. This four-dimensional model is developed from the analysis of fifty one Ukrainian organisations using quantitative and qualitative research methods (questionnaire, interview and group interview) according to the logical structure of configurational research (modelling the sociocognitive basis, modelling the "fit between research dimensions and modelling configurations and archetypes). Following on from this, the model of organisational archetypes is validated in four other organisations through the development of a test of organisational internal creative environment in order to identify their configurations (current conditions) and archetypes (strategic perspectives). The procedure of this test includes the following sequence of actions: identifying sociocognitive characteristics of organisational members and the organisational internal creative environment, identifying periods of transformation and configuration in the process of organisational development, researching characteristics of the business-environment, and identifying appropriate organisational archetypes. The model of organisational archetypes developed in this thesis allows the identification of current and prospective organisational conditions and making relevant strategic decisions that reflect and anticipate changes in organisational internal and external environments. Thus, changes in the organisational internal creative environment (sociocognitive characteristics of organisational members) reflect changes in the business-environment and organisational performance and transform the characteristics of strategic decisions from multifaceted and elaborate to simple and inert and vice versa.
    • Can exercise ameliorate the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease? modes and mechanisms

      Ali, Hossam Eldin Hamdy Ahmed (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2012)
      Movement disorders are the hallmark of Parkinson’s disease (PD) and can severely compromise an individual’s ability to perform well-learned motor skills such as walking, writing, turning around and transferring in and out of bed. The first symptoms of PD typically do not appear until a critical threshold of 70-80% loss of the striatal neurotransmitter called Dopamine (DA) is exceeded. The loss of DA compromises the connection between the striatum and the Substania Nigra (SN); this connection is essential for the control of body movement. The lifelong management of individuals with PD needs a multidisciplinary approach, which includes coordination of pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions. The use of prescribed exercise as a non-invasive PD symptom management tool is well recognized. What needs further research and development is an evidence-base for the type, frequency, intensity, duration etc. of exercise bouts. It is however ethically, socially and morally challenging to put unknown physical demands on PD sufferers, therefore in vivo and in vitro studies will be essential in delineating and targeting appropriate interventions. Additionally, in order to establish whether the various interventions are effective will also require a simple measure, preferably one that can be detected following exercise. Ca2+ plays an important role in the synthesis of DA via the Ca2+ calmodulin system and its increase in exercise coincidences with the reported positive effects of exercise on dopamenirgic neuron activity. The aim of this thesis was therefore to use in vivo, in vitro and human methodologies to establish a role for physical exercise in the amelioration of the symptoms of PD. The in vivo study comprised of four groups of experimental animals (rats): a control group (C), a training exercise group (E), a group in which Parkinson’s was induced via systemic injections of PD toxin MPTP (PD) and a group where PD-induced animals were trained/exercised (PDE). (E) and (PDE) groups were trained with 8 weeks of endurance exercise at 90% of the lactate threshold (LT), 5 times a week with each bout lasting for 45 min using a custom-built rodent treadmill. After 8 weeks, all animals were sacrificed and brain samples were collected for immunohistochemistry and western blot analysis. Ca2+ calmodulin kinases I (CaMK-1) and IV (CaMK-4) were investigated as indicators of the activity of the Ca2+ calmodulin pathway. Immunohistochemical analysis of SN region indicated that in the PD group, CaMK-1 and CaMK-4 expression was suppressed when compared with control (C) animals. This phenotype was apparently rescued by endurance exercise as those animals. The western blot results also showed quantitative differences in CaMK-1 and CaMK-4 proteins in the studied brain regions in the (PDE) and (E) groups compared with the PD group. It was concluded from this data that endurance exercise could up regulate the expression of both CaMK-1 and CaMK-4 in the brain of PD sufferers. It was postulated that changes in Ca2+ levels might therefore drive the neuroprotective effect of exercise. The in vitro study was designed to test the hypothesis generated from the in vivo work that Ca2+ is a main effector of the neuroprotective effect of exercise. The SH-SY5Y human neuroblastoma cell line is used as a model of DA neurons as it has DA activity and can synthesize DA. PD was simulated in these cells by exposure to the toxin 6-OHDA whilst addition of Ca2+ was used as an “exercise mimic”. Results showed differences in the survival of SH-SY5Y cells after exposure to specific concentration of Ca2+ following treatment with 6-OHDA. Finally, in order to assess the importance of this data to the clinical population and to further develop the concept that Ca2+ is a major effector of the positive effect of exercise, the effect of moderate-level exercise on the levels of blood Ca2+ in subjects with PD was investigated. Measures of cardiovascular physiology and blood biochemistry (total blood Ca2+) were obtained during cycling exercise at an intensity of 90% of the lactate threshold. Results indicated exercise to be beneficial in alleviating motor symptoms of PD.