• 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.
    • Data quality assurance for strategic decision making in Abu Dhabi's public organisations

      Alketbi, Omar (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2014-03)
      Data quality is an important aspect of an organisation’s strategies for supporting decision makers in reaching the best decisions possible and consequently attaining the organisation’s objectives. In the case of public organisations, decisions ultimately concern the public and hence further diligence is required to make sure that these decisions do, for instance, preserve economic resources, maintain public health, and provide national security. The decision making process requires a wealth of information in order to achieve efficient results. Public organisations typically acquire great amounts of data generated by public services. However, the vast amount of data stored in public organisations’ databases may be one of the main reasons for inefficient decisions made by public organisations. Processing vast amounts of data and extracting accurate information are not easy tasks. Although technology helps in this respect, for example, the use of decision support systems, it is not sufficient for improving decisions to a significant level of assurance. The research proposed using data mining to improve results obtained by decision support systems. However, more considerations are needed than the mere technological aspects. The research argues that a complete data quality framework is needed in order to improve data quality and consequently the decision making process in public organisations. A series of surveys conducted in seven public organisations in Abu Dhabi Emirate of the United Arab Emirates contributed to the design of a data quality framework. The framework comprises elements found necessary to attain the quality of data reaching decision makers. The framework comprises seven elements ranging from technical to human-based found important to attain data quality in public organisations taking Abu Dhabi public organisations as the case. The interaction and integration of these elements contributes to the quality of data reaching decision makers and hence to the efficiency of decisions made by public organisations. The framework suggests that public organisations may need to adopt a methodological basis to support the decision making process. This includes more training courses and supportive bodies of the organisational units, such as decision support centres, information security and strategic management. The framework also underscores the importance of acknowledging human and cultural factors involved in the decision making process. Such factors have implications for how training and raising awareness are implemented to lead to effective methods of system development.
    • Dating Victorians: an experimental approach to stylochronometry

      Stamou-Papastamou, Constantina (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2005-10)
      The writing style of a number of authors writing in English was empirically investigated for the purpose of detecting stylistic patterns in relation to advancing age. The aim was to identify the type of stylistic markers among lexical, syntactical, phonemic, entropic, character-based, and content ones that would be most able to discriminate between early, middle, and late works of the selected authors, and the best classification or prediction algorithm most suited for this task. Two pilot studies were initially conducted. The first one concentrated on Christina Georgina Rossetti and Edgar Allan Poe from whom personal letters and poetry were selected as the genres of study, along with a limited selection of variables. Results suggested that authors and genre vary inconsistently. The second pilot study was based on Shakespeare's plays using a wider selection of variables to assess their discriminating power in relation to a past study. It was observed that the selected variables were of satisfactory predictive power, hence judged suitable for the task. Subsequently, four experiments were conducted using the variables tested in the second pilot study and personal correspondence and poetry from two additional authors, Edna St Vincent Millay and William Butler Yeats. Stepwise multiple linear regression and regression trees were selected to deal with the first two prediction experiments, and ordinal logistic regression and artificial neural networks for two classification experiments. The first experiment revealed inconsistency in accuracy of prediction and total number of variables in the final models affected by differences in authorship and genre. The second experiment revealed inconsistencies for the same factors in terms of accuracy only. The third experiment showed total number of variables in the model and error in the final model to be affected in various degrees by authorship, genre, different variable types and order in which the variables had been calculated. The last experiment had all measurements affected by the four factors. Examination of whether differences in method within each task play an important part revealed significant influences of method, authorship, and genre for the prediction problems, whereas all factors including method and various interactions dominated in the classification problems. Given the current data and methods used, as well as the results obtained, generalizable conclusions for the wider author population have been avoided.
    • 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.
    • The design of an innovative automatic computational method for generating geometric Islamic visual art with aesthetic beauty

      Ibrahim, Marwah Mohammed (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2021)
      The demands for providing perfect and modern Islamic art patterns have increased, and Arab nations are unable to utilise Islamic art on the computer due to a lack of programs based on generating these patterns. Several studies address the topic of Islamic art from Arab regions and lack endeavoured to integrate computer software to develop or enhance Islamic art designs. With this gap in software to enhance and generate Islamic art, the Geometric Islamic Visual Art program (GIVA) package can support the development of innovative and automated algorithms for generating geometric Islamic patterns based upon pre-defined rules that guarantee the quality and involves key aesthetics metrics. Concurrently, the ‘Triangulation’ Mixed Methods Design is adapted by first developing a mathematical formula to generate Islamic art, determine a quantitative approach for a procedure of cross-sectional design, and follow a qualitative approach through semi-structured interviews. The software program development is based on a pre-existing mathematical algorithm and adjusted to create the Islamic art pattern of a star. The quantitative approach incorporated convenience sampling from 250 recruited Saudi adults categorised into groups of 50 from five locations. The response rate achieved for this study was 80%. The study adopts a pre-existing questionnaire from a previous study addressing the computerisation of Islamic art. A correlation is identified between previous use of graphical computer programs by the participants to create Islamic art and their intentions to use the new GIVA software. For the qualitative phase, nine experts from the College of Art, Design of King Abdul-Aziz University and Nawaf Company General Contracting were interviewed. They provided an evaluation of the patterns on several aesthetic themes including spaces between patterns, distances and sizes, colour grading, shape diversity, uniqueness, and complexity. The series of eight themes were obtained from qualitative data analysis using thematic analysis, by using Nvivo version 12 user requirements; spatial distance (in design), the eight themes are: distance and size; colour grading; shape diversity; uniqueness of pattern; complexity of pattern; and participant evaluation. With this quantitative and qualitative feedback, computerised generation of the perfect pattern is possible. This study can inform the Ministry of Culture, support the faculty of art and design throughout Saudi Arabia who work on the development of Islamic art using software and further enhance the Islamic art field to make it more popular. The study also suggests a variety of future studies including the use of an alternate formula to produce various Islamic art faster.
    • 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.
    • Designing an engaging learning universe for situated interactions in virtual environments

      Christopoulos, Athanasios (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2018-07)
      Studies related to the Virtual Learning approach are conducted almost exclusively in Distance Learning contexts, and focus on the development of frameworks or taxonomies that classify the different ways of teaching and learning. Researchers may be dealing with the topic of interactivity (avatars and immersion are key components), yet they do so they mainly focusing on the interactions that take place within the virtual world. It is the virtual world that consists the primary medium for communication and interplay. However, the lines are hard to be drawn when it comes to examining and taxonomising the impact of interactions on motivation and engagement as a synergy of learners’ concurrent presence. This study covers this gap and sheds light on this lack—or, at least, inadequacy—of literature and research on the interactions that take place both in the physical and the virtual environment at the same time. In addition, it explores the impact of the instructional design decisions on increasing the learners’ incentives for interplay when trying to make sense of the virtual world, thus leading them to attain higher levels of engagement. To evaluate the potential of interactions holistically and not just unilaterally, a series of experiments were conducted in the context of different Hybrid Virtual Learning units, with the participation of Computer Science & Technology students. One of the goals was to examine the learners’ thoughts and preconceptions regarding the use of virtual worlds as an educational tool. Then, during the practical sessions, the focus was placed on monitoring students’ actions and interactions in both the physical and the virtual environment. Consequently, students were asked as a feedback to report their overall opinion on these actions and interactions undertaken. The study draws a new research direction, beyond the idea of immersion and the development of subject-specific educational interventions. The conclusions provide suggestions and guidelines to educators and instructional designers who wish to offer interactive and engaging learning activities to their students, as well as a taxonomy of the different types of interactions that take place in Hybrid Virtual Learning contexts.
    • Detection of facial expressions based on time dependent morphological features

      Bozed, Kenz Amhmed (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2011-02)
      Facial expression detection by a machine is a valuable topic for Human Computer Interaction and has been a study issue in the behavioural science for some time. Recently, significant progress has been achieved in machine analysis of facial expressions but there are still some interestes to study the area in order to extend its applications. This work investigates the theoretical concepts behind facial expressions and leads to the proposal of new algorithms in face detection and facial feature localisation, design and construction of a prototype system to test these algorithms. The overall goals and motivation of this work is to introduce vision based techniques able to detect and recognise the facial expressions. In this context, a facial expression prototype system is developed that accomplishes facial segmentation (i.e. face detection, facial features localisation), facial features extraction and features classification. To detect a face, a new simplified algorithm is developed to detect and locate its presence from the fackground by exploiting skin colour properties which are then used to distinguish between face and non-face regions. This allows facial parts to be extracted from a face using elliptical and box regions whose geometrical relationships are then utilised to determine the positions of the eyes and mouth through morphological operations. The mean and standard deviations of segmented facial parts are then computed and used as features for the face. For images belonging to the same class, thses features are applied to the K-mean algorithm to compute the controid point of each class expression. This is repeated for images in the same expression class. The Euclidean distance is computed between each feature point and its cluster centre in the same expression class. This determines how close a facial expression is to a particular class and can be used as observation vectors for a Hidden Markov Model (HMM) classifier. Thus, an HMM is built to evaluate an expression of a subject as belonging to one of the six expression classes, which are Joy, Anger, Surprise, Sadness, Fear and Disgust by an HMM using distance features. To evaluate the proposed classifier, experiments are conducted on new subjects using 100 video clips that contained a mixture of expressions. The average successful detection rate of 95.6% is measured from a total of 9142 frames contained in the video clips. The proposed prototype system processes facial features parts and presents improved results of facial expressions detection rather than using whole facial features as proposed by previous authors. This work has resulted in four contributions: the Ellipse Box Face Detection Algorithm (EBFDA), Facial Features Distance Algorithm (FFDA), Facial features extraction process, and Facial features classification. These were tested and verified using the prototype system.
    • Determinants, measurement and promotion of physical activity in 10-14 year-old Bedfordshire children: a multidisciplinary approach

      Denton, Sarah J. (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2011)
      Regular moderate-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) is associated with significant physiological and psychological health benefits (Department of Health, DoH, 2004). However, many children are not undertaking recommended levels of physical activity (PA) (DoH, 2009). This research examined relationships between physiological health parameters, psychological determinants and PA levels in 10-14 year old schoolchildren (N = 249) and assessed the influence of three school-based PA interventions on these constructs in the context of the Health And Physical activity Promotion in Youth (HAPPY) study. Study 1 revealed that sedentary behaviours, moderate PA (MPA), vigorous PA (VPA) and MVPA levels were higher on weekdays than weekend days (p < .001). However, schoolchildren’s PA is often difficult to measure accurately. The self-report measure utilised in study 2 underestimated total MVPA versus accelerometry for both sexes on weekdays and girls on weekend days (p < .01). However, study 3 highlighted a lack of agreement between two RT3® triaxial accelerometer cut-offs for all activity categories. The importance of VPA for promoting health was highlighted in the updated PA guidelines (DoH, 2011). Study 4 reported that cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) was positively associated with VPA but not MPA (β = .27, p < .01) and inversely correlated with measures of body composition (% body fat; body mass index; waist circumference) (r = -.74, r = -.60, r = -.39, p < .001). Knowing the health benefits of regular MVPA and VPA, it is important to understand the determinants of PA intentions and behaviours to more effectively promote PA in less active children (studies 5 and 6). An exploratory analysis of the constructs in the Revised Theory of Planned Behaviour and the Modified Social Learning Theory for children predicted PA intentions (R2 = .38, F(5, 171) = 20.19, p < .001; R2 = .13, F(6, 147) = 3.4, p < .01, respectively) but the constructs in either model were unable to predict PA. Recognising the need to promote PA levels, study 7 investigated the effectiveness of three school-based interventions (vs. control) on outcome variables included in studies 1, and 4-6. The Health Education and Psychology Health Promotion conditions produced significant positive change scores between data collection 2 and 3 for CRF (vs. control) whereas the Youth-Led condition produced significant change scores between baseline and data collection 2 for generalised self-efficacy (vs. control). No significant change scores were reported for PA, the RTPB constructs or intentions. In conclusion, this research has emphasised the importance of employing a multidisciplinary approach to aid understanding of schoolchildren’s PA levels. Specific highlights include low weekend day PA as a possible future PA promotion target, although it is vital that accelerometry cut-points are standardised, and the relevance of VPA and body composition in predicting CRF. The psychological models identified some important determinants of PA intentions, but a prominent intention-behaviour gap and a need for more intensive interventions to promote PA levels was apparent.
    • Developing a model for investigating the impact of language assessment within educational contexts by a public examination provider

      Saville, N.D. (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2009-01)
      There is no comprehensive model of language test or examination impact and how it might be investigated within educational contexts by a provider of high-stakes examinations, such as an international examinations board. This thesis addresses the development of such a model from the perspective of Cambridge ESOL, a provider of English language tests and examinations in over 100 countries. The starting point for the thesis is a discussion of examinations within educational processes generally and the role that examinations board, such as Cambridge ESOL play within educational systems. The historical context and assessment tradition is an important part of this discussion. In the literature review, the effects and consequences of language tests and examinations are discussed with reference to the better known concept of washback and how impact can be defined as a broader notion operating at both micro and macro levels. This is contextualised within the assessment literature on validity theory and the application of innovation theories within educational systems. Methodologically, the research is based on a meta-analysis which is employed in order to describe and review three impact projects. These three projects were carried out by researchers based in Cambridge to implement an approach to test impact which had emerged during the 1990s as part of the test development and validation procedures adopted by Cambridge ESOL. Based on the analysis, the main outcome and contribution to knowledge is an expanded model of impact designed to provide examination providers with a more effective “theory of action”. When applied within Cambridge ESOL, this model will allow anticipated impacts of the English language examinations to be monitored more effectively and will inform on-going processes of innovation; this will lead to well-motivated improvements in the examinations and the related systems. Wider applications of the model in other assessment contexts are also suggested.
    • Developing a strategy to address low youth education attendance in Malawi

      Usi, Michael B.; University of Bedfordshire (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2017-10)
      This study explores the complex factors that contribute to low youth education attendance in Malawi. While current education and youth policy is framed in terms of providing access to quality education for all Malawians, this has proved challenging to implement in practice. A qualitative approach involving a range of stakeholders was adopted. 341 respondents participated in one–to-one and group interviews and provided in-depth insights into the issues affecting educational attendance. Data was thematically coded using NVivo and network analysis was used to determine the complexity of the interrelationships of the factors undermining youth attendance. Human capital theory (HCT) underpins the design of the study and the analysis of the data collected; however, HCT alone was insufficient to account for patterns in the data and therefore post-colonial, women's empowerment, motivation, decentralization, corruption and media development theories were used to complement and extend HCT in the analysis undertaken. Furthermore, while, in HCT, education and training are considered strategies for empowering people to make informed choices, enter employment and contribute to personal and national development, a central concern of the Malawian education system is the preparation of young people, and particularly young women, to undertake traditional roles. This study demonstrates that youth, especially young women in rural settings, face many challenges to their remaining in education and achieving employment outcomes beyond traditional expectations. This also limits the potential for wider-ranging social changes and economic development. Examples provided illustrate how sector-wide patterns of educational resourcing and provision, organisational issues, teacher and learner attitudes, and cultural practices interact. Policy formation and evaluation in Malawi are driven by external funder priorities and political expediency rather than being evidence-based. This study, contrastingly, offers an empirical basis for policy formation and decision-making vis-a-vis youth education, and proposes a strategic plan to improve levels of education attendance.
    • Developing an integrated osteopathy and acceptance-informed pain management course for patients with persistent pain

      Abbey, Hilary Amanda (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2017-01)
      Purpose: This study explored therapeutic processes associated with developing a course for patients with persistent pain which integrated osteopathic treatment with Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). This 'third wave’ cognitive behavioural approach is effective for a range of physical and psychological problems, including persistent pain, and congruent with osteopathic principles of holism, function and agency, which provided a theoretical basis for developing an integrated intervention to promote resilience and well-being. A qualitative case study was conducted as part of a developmental research programme to explore how ACT could be integrated with osteopathic treatment for individual patients, and with what effects on processes and outcomes. Method: Linguistic ethnography was used to explore links between pain-related discourses, clinical decisions and responses to pain. Treatments were audio-recorded, transcribed, and coded. Extracts referring to discourses about pain experienced during manual therapy were subjected to micro-level conversation analysis, sociolinguistic analysis of participants’ roles, and macro-level analysis of links to broader healthcare discourses. A reflective diary was used to explore experiential learning and integrate auto-ethnographic information. Results: Two distinctive forms of mechanistic and facilitative pain discourse were identified. In predominantly mechanistic discourses, agency and expertise were located with the osteopath, and intention was focused on fixing ‘broken’ parts and relieving pain using ‘familiar’ osteopathic techniques. In facilitative discourses, the osteopath adopted a more collaborative role, focused on developing the patient's body and self-awareness to promote more flexible, active pain responses. Practitioner challenges included learning how to shift intention between mechanistic and facilitative interventions, a process that was enabled by mindfulness and willingness to tolerate uncertainty. Conclusions: In this study, ACT-informed osteopathy involved facilitative discourses, associated with increased patient agency and flexibility in response to pain. Further research is needed to explore whether this pattern of discourse is robust in other clinical settings; relationships between mechanistic and facilitative discourses and therapeutic outcomes; and effects of ACT training on practitioner mindfulness and attitude towards clinical uncertainty. Findings suggest that this integrated approach could expand the scope of osteopathic care for patients with persistent pain, and is worth further investigation.
    • Developing an inter-organisational knowledge transfer framework for SMES

      Chen, Shizhong (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2005-02)
      This thesis aims to develop an inter-organisational knowledge transfer (KT) framework for SMEs, to help them have better understanding of the process of the KT between a SME and its customer (or supplier). The motivation is that knowledge management issues in SMEs is very neglected, which is not in line with the importance of SMEs in the UK national economy; moreover, compared to KT within an organisation, between organisations is more complicated, harder to understand, and has received much less attention. Firstly, external knowledge is generally believed to be of prime importance for SMEs. However, there is little empirical evidence to confirm this hypothesis. In order to empirically evaluate the hypothesis, and also specifically to identify SMEs' needs for external knowledge, a mail questionnaire survey is carried out. Then, based on the key findings of the survey, some 5MB managers are interviewed. The conclusions triangulated from both the key findings and the interview results strongly support the hypothesis, and demonstrate that SMEs have very strong needs for inter-organisational KT, and thus provide very strong empirical underpinning for the necessity of the development of the framework. Secondly, drawing support from a process view, a four-stage process model was proposed for inter-organisational KT. Then a co-ordinating mechanism underpinned by social networks and organisational learning is developed. The process model, co-ordinating mechanism together with cultural difference between organisations constitute an initial framework. Through interviews with SME managers, the initial framework is revised a final framework. The framework validation exercise shows that the final framework could help SMEs have better understanding of the KT. In order to remind and help SMEs to address the 'boundary paradox' embedded in interorganisational KT, and further reflect its complexities and difficulties, the important factors related to each stage of the framework are identified from a strategic perspective, with the help of the co-ordinating mechanism and relevant literature. The factors are also verified by interviews in SMEs. As a result, the initial factors are revised by removing the factors that are perceived as unimportant. The interview results demonstrate that the important factors, as a checklist, can remind and help SMEs to address the 'paradox', and are thus very useful for them.
    • Developing dynamic capabilities for corporate sustainability: the role of knowledge transfer between supply chain partners

      Wu, Qiang; University of Bedfordshire (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2017-03)
      Persistent differences in corporate commitments to sustainability have led to an increasing debate. However, reasons behind such differences still lack a generic theorization. To address this research gap, the purpose of this study is to: 1) explicate key organizational functions and process underpinning dynamic capabilities for corporate sustainability; 2) explore the relationship between supply chain knowledge transfer and the development of dynamic capabilities for corporate sustainability. For such a purpose a theoretical framework is established with proposed hypotheses deriving from existing literature. Then a two-stage, mixed method is designed to test the model. In Stage One, a case study and a large-scale archival analysis are performed to elaborate the microfoundations, i.e. key organizational functions and process underpinning dynamic capabilities for corporate sustainability. In Stage Two, a largescale survey is conducted among about 2,500 CILT members. The validity and reliability of the collected data are then verified through a series of tests. Finally the empirical data are fitted into a Structural Equation Model (SEM) to test proposed hypotheses. The findings of the research are twofold. The result of Stage One study suggests that three types of dynamic capabilities for corporate sustainability, namely scanning, sensing, and reconfiguration capabilities, underpin a firm’s competence to successfully respond to the environmental and social concerns of various stakeholders and mobilize internal resources to make strategic change towards sustainability. Moreover, key organizational functions and process underpinning dynamic capabilities for corporate sustainability show commonalities among firms across various industrial sectors and geographic regions. In Stage Two study, the empirical finding is that supply chain knowledge transfer positively impacts the development of firm's scanning capability and sensing capability. However, the impact patterns vary significantly between focal firms' upstream and downstream supply chain partnerships. The research contributes to knowledge from three perspectives. To theory, as an early attempt to extend Dynamic Capabilities View (DCV) to the area of corporate sustainability, the research not only introduces the concept of dynamic capabilities for corporate sustainability to the literature, but also examines how these capabilities can be developed through supply chain knowledge transfer. It thus contributes to the theories of both DCV and corporate sustainability. To research, the empirical findings of the research indicate that the effect of inter-firm knowledge transfer on capabilities development of supply chain customers tends to be underestimated by previous studies, thus providing a new potential research direction. To practice, professionals could possibly use the theoretical framework developed in the study to better understand what types of dynamic capabilities should be developed to more effectively overcome emerging sustainability challenges, and how to further develop these capabilities through supply chain knowledge transfer.
    • Developing framework for improving the Nigerian public sector construction projects selection processes

      Unuafe, Emmanuel (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2017-06-16)
      Despite the development of various frameworks to assist in the appraisal and selection of government projects, failures are still being recorded with government projects. In developing countries, where frameworks are rarely used, the problems are compounded. To improve the situation this study investigates the current practice of construction project selection processes within the Nigerian public sector in order to inform theories of decision making from the perspective of developing nations and project management practice. The study adopts approach that challenges the concepts of conventional scholars. More specifically, it adopts Activity Theory concepts in the development of a conceptual framework. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews with a purposeful sample of 30 senior public sector management personnel within the five parallel case organisations between March 2015 and November 2017. The data obtained from the interviews were then compiled and analysed using qualitative software for content analysis. Using activity theory as the basis of the investigation, the findings identified a number of artefacts mediating project selection activity. Findings revealed that with the increase in population, incidence of infrastructure shortage has continued to increase in Nigeria, causing a severe challenge, especially to the Nigerian government. The citizens now depend largely on dilapidated and/or in some instances on low quality infrastructure and feel strongly that the shortage in infrastructure supply capacity and the rate of marginalisation of some regions in the provision of infrastructure is pushing the country towards disaster. This feeling is compounded by the fact that the majority of government projects have not delivered the anticipated benefits within time and cost expectations. A number of factors were identified as influencing the project selection process within the public sector and these have been grouped under six categories: technical factors, stakeholders’ expectation factors, financial feasibility factors, social factors, strategic alignment factors and external factors. Findings emerging from this study reveal that a visible theoretical project selection framework to support public sector decision makers in making project decisions is still lacking. The thesis concludes by proposing a selection framework and guidelines/protocols that will aid decision makers to be consistent in assessing and selecting construction projects within the Nigerian public sector. The results from this study also indicate that the level of stakeholder participation is still low. This study supports positive stakeholder engagement by informing decision-maker the need to adopt bottom-up approach where stakeholders drive the project selection process rather than the top-down approach where the executive drives project selection process as is currently the practice in Nigeria.
    • Developing sustainable tourism: critical perspectives from Baria-Vungtau province, Vietnam

      Le, Minh Duc (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2016-06)
      This study investigates the critical perspectives of sustainable tourism from Baria-Vungtau Province, Vietnam. The research was conducted according to an interpretivist paradigm utilising of several interviewing and observational techniques. The informants included twenty-one local citizens, ten people from tourism businesses and one local leader, who were sourced from a diversity networks. The interpretations and understandings of sustainable tourism in a non- western context is an under-researched area and the results enhance knowledge of how the concept plays out in a defined cultural and political setting. Following thematic data analysis, the interpretations of sustainable tourism by local stakeholders were found to be multidimensional with six key themes: (i) tourism with environmental and natural resource protection and conservation; (ii) tourism that optimises the usage of available resources of the region; (iii) tourism with careful land-use planning; (iv) tourism with shared economic benefits for local stakeholders; (v) tourism that focusses on both natural environment and socio-cultural aspects; and (vi) tourism that can receive more tourists and increase the investment return rate. Regarding the responses of local stakeholders towards current policies that support sustainable tourism, four main themes were identified: (i) these policies are not effective enough and there should be more action plans; (ii) these policies should be applied more strictly; (iii) some more policies should be created; and (iv) these policies should be publicised more. The awareness and comprehension of the impacts of sustainable tourism development by local stakeholders are classifiable into six key themes that illustrate its dualistic character: positive and negative environmental effects, economic effects, and socio-cultural effects. The positive effects are those that sustainable tourism aims to achieve, and which differentiate it from conventional tourism. The negative aspects can be minimised when sustainable tourism is implemented consistently and thoroughly. Besides, three key themes were identified in terms of the barriers encountered by local stakeholders to their participation in sustainable tourism development in the region: operational, structural and cultural. Operational barriers included lacking information about sustainable tourism, a lack of co-operation between local stakeholders, and the centralisation of public administration of tourism. Structural barriers include a lack of trained potential employees and a lack of financial resources for the local authority and local tourism businesses. Finally, cultural barriers include a lack of time to participate in tourism activities, and low levels of awareness of environmental and social issues in local communities were identified. II action plans; (ii) these policies should be applied more strictly; (iii) some more policies should be created; and (iv) these policies should be publicised more. The awareness and comprehension of the impacts of sustainable tourism development by local stakeholders are classifiable into six key themes that illustrate its dualistic character: positive and negative environmental effects, economic effects, and socio-cultural effects. The positive effects are those that sustainable tourism aims to achieve, and which differentiate it from conventional tourism. The negative aspects can be minimised when sustainable tourism is implemented consistently and thoroughly. Besides, three key themes were identified in terms of the barriers encountered by local stakeholders to their participation in sustainable tourism development in the region: operational, structural and cultural. Operational barriers included lacking information about sustainable tourism, a lack of co-operation between local stakeholders, and the centralisation of public administration of tourism. Structural barriers include a lack of trained potential employees and a lack of financial resources for the local authority and local tourism businesses. Finally, cultural barriers include a lack of time to participate in tourism activities, and low levels of awareness of environmental and social issues in local communities were identified. The study makes a contribution to knowledge by enhancing local stakeholders' understanding of sustainable tourism development in non-Western context. Four key sub-themes of where this contribution to knowledge enhancement is made are: (i) enriching the understandings of interpretations by local stakeholders of sustainable tourism development within a non-Western community; (ii) contributing to the emerging debate on the effects of sustainable tourism development in developing countries; (iii) adding to the understanding of the barriers of local stakeholders in taking part in sustainable tourism development in a developing country and (iv) political structures in Viet Nam do facilitate sustainable tourism development.
    • The development and application of a charge- coupled device based instrument for at-site monitoring of algae and cyanobacteria in freshwaters

      Cardswell, Leo David Cecil (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2002-10)
      The research presented in this thesis describes the development and application of a portable, high-resolution instrument, specifically designed for the at-site monitoring of algae and cyanobacteria in freshwaters. The instrument incorporates a miniature charge-coupled device (CCD) based spectrometer and a low power combined deutelium and tungsten light source, enabling the absorbance to be measured between 200 - 850 nm at a resolution of 1.3 nm. A transmission dip probe with removable tips of 5, 10 and 40 mm pathlengths forms the sampling device. A specifically developed control program allows easy operation of the instrument. A linear response from 0.0 - 1.2 AU and a combined signal to noise ratio of 576: 1 for the instrument components resulting in a high baseline stability of 1.0 mAU drift over five hundred measurements being observed. The instrument provides in-vivo absorbance characteristics with high resolution across the visible spectrum. Up to twelve specific spectral features were commonly identified in the absorbance spectra of algae and cyanobacteria between 400 - 750 nm. Individual spectral features were linked to specific pigments, some of which were found to be taxonomically distinct. Fourth derivative analysis was proven to provide further enhancement of subtle spectral features. The instrument has a linear range for chlorophyll a up to 1000 !lg rl and a detection limit of 8 )lg rl using the 40 mm pathlength probe. Physiological adaptation to light and nutrient conditions were shown to have a significant effect on the in-vivo absorbance spectrum, therefore providing potential information on physiological status and health of a natural sample. Spectral analysis using principal component analysis (PCA) with classification based on the soft independent modelling of class analogy (SIMCA) method was used to classify nine species from three taxonomic classes, including four cyanobacteria (Microcystis aeruginosa, Anabaena variabilis, Aphanizornenon flos-aquae, Synechnococcus sp.), four chlorophyceae (Chlorella vulgaris, Scenedesmus acuminatus, Spirogyra mirabilis, Staurastrurn chaetoceros) and a single bacillariophyceae (Asterionella Formosa). Classification using the SIMCA method proved to be highly reliable and robust. Moreover, the addition of noise was found to have very little effect on the classification. Under laboratory conditions all nine species were correctly classified using 'unknown' spectra. At-site classification of natural samples and laboratory simulations have shown the robustness and reliability of the developed portable instrument. In combination with the data analysis techniques, the instrument is well suited to the proactive at-site assessment of algal and cyanobacterial blooms in eutrophic freshwater environments.
    • Development and charaterisation of 3 dimensional culture models for zebrafish (Danio rerio) skeletal muscle cells

      Vishnolia, Krishan Kumar (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2013-09)
      Zebrafish (Danio rerio) have been extensively used over the past two decades to study muscle development, human myopathies and dystrophies, due to its higher degree of homology with human disease causing genes and genome. Despite its unique qualities, zebrafish have only been used as an in-vivo model for muscle development research, due to the limitations surrounding lack of a consistent isolation and culture protocol for zebrafish muscle progenitor cells in-vitro. Using different mammalian myoblast isolation protocols, a novel and robust protocol has been developed to successfully isolate and culture zebrafish skeletal muscle cells repeatedly and obtain differentiated long multi nucleated zebrafish myotubes. Commitment to myogenic lineage was confirmed by immuno-staining against muscle specific protein desmin, and expression pattern of different genetic markers regulating myogenesis. In order to recapitulate the in-vivo bio-physiological environment for zebrafish skeletal muscle cells in-vitro, these cells were successfully cultured in tissue engineered three dimensional (3D) constructs based on fibrin and collagen models. Maturation of tissue engineered collagen and fibrin based constructs was confirmed using the basic parameters described in the literature i.e. collagen three times greater contraction from the original width (Mudera, Smith et al. 2010) and fibrin constructs tightly coiled up to 4mm of diameter (Khodabukus, Paxton et al. 2007). In-vitro characterisation of zebrafish skeletal muscle cells showed hypertrophic growth of muscle mass compared to hyperplasic growth in-vivo as suggested for fish species in literature (Johnston 2006), which is different from human and other mammals. Comparative analysis of zebrafish muscle cells cultured in monolayer against cultured in 3D tissue engineered constructs showed significant increase in fusion index, nuclei per myotube (two-fold) and myotubes per microscopic frame (two-fold). Cells cultured in tissue engineered construct closely resembled in-vivo muscle in terms of their unidirectional orientation of myotubes. These tissue engineered 3D zebrafish skeletal muscle models could be used for various purposes such as drug screening, effect of different temperature extremes, studying underlined pathways involved in human diseases; and with further refinements it would potentially replace the need for studies on live fish in these areas.
    • Development and evaluation of a tailored workplace intervention to reduce and break up sitting time in office workers

      Ojo, Samson Oluseye (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2019-01-10)
      There is a growing body of evidence linking high volumes of sitting with adverse health risks, including cardiovascular disease and mental health problems. The workplace is a major contributor to excessive sitting, particularly for desk-based workers who spend more than two-thirds of working time sitting. Although the workplace contributes to prolonged sitting, it has also been identified as an ideal setting to combat sedentary behaviour (SB). A wide range of studies have sought to break up and reduce sitting time in the workplace using strategies like prompts to stand, environmental restructuring such as walking meetings and the use of active workstations. Although some of these strategies have been successful in decreasing workplace sitting time, results are inconclusive, with problems of compliance in some interventions. One reason for low compliance could be that few studies take views of employees into consideration when designing interventions. In addition, management might be reluctant to implement interventions if productivity is negatively affected. Finally, there is evidence that interventions developed to change behaviour should be informed by theoretical, evidence-based frameworks. Accordingly, the aim of this thesis was to design an appropriate intervention to break up and reduce workplace sitting time in desk-based office workers, then to test the efficacy of the intervention on employees’ productivity, cardiometabolic risks, and wellbeing. A multi-phase mixed-method study was employed covering the first two stages of the Medical Research Council framework for complex interventions. The first three phases covered the development of the subsequent intervention. Firstly, a systematic review found no acute effect of active workstations on productivity, although there were concerns regarding study designs and the tools used to assess productivity. Secondly, a cross-sectional study of self-reported sitting time found no differences between age, gender, and ethnic groups, suggesting that interventions to reduce workplace sitting should be targeted at all desk-based employees irrespective of age, gender, or ethnicity, although this need to be confirmed in a fully powered study. The final stage of the intervention development was a qualitative study of desk-based employees who had high volumes of sitting time. This study identified barriers and facilitators to breaking up sitting and reducing sitting time using the COM-B (Capability and Opportunity and Motivation) model, with Psychological Capability, Reflective Motivation, Automatic Motivation, Social Opportunity, and Physical Opportunity found to be predictors of workplace sitting behaviour. The Behaviour Change Wheel guide was followed, leading to the identification of 39 behaviour change techniques as active ingredients for intervention development. The final phase of the PhD was a pilot cluster-randomised controlled trial to test the efficacy of a multicomponent intervention including education, computer-prompt software and height-adjustable workstations, as well as managerial support. The intervention decreased sitting time and increased standing time in the workplace, with most participants meeting the two-hour minimum recommendation for standing up. The intervention also improved productivity but had no effect on cardiometabolic biomarkers or mental wellbeing outcomes. This study could serve as evidence for workplace managers on the benefits of such interventions and provides evidence to strengthen the need to tailor workplace interventions to employees’ needs to improve adherence.
    • Development and validation of a conceptual framework for IT offshoring engagement success

      Banerjee, Shantanu (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2015-05)
      The study presented in this thesis investigates Offshore Information Technology Outsourcing (IT offshoring) relationships from clients’ perspective. With more client companies outsourcing their IT operations offshore, issues associated with the establishment and management of IT offshoring relationships have become very important. With the growing volume of offshore outsourcing, the numbers of failures are also increasing. Therefore, both clients (service receivers) and suppliers (service providers) face increasing pressure to meet with the objectives of IT offshoring initiatives. Improving the quality of the relationship between client and supplier has frequently been suggested in the literature as probable solution area, however not much literature and empirical evidence is available in this respect. The aim of the study is to make a theoretical and practical contribution by studying the interplay between the critical factors influencing the relationship intensity level of the exchange partners and suggest measures that can potentially increase the success rate in IT offshoring engagements. The objectives of this study are: 1. To identify the relevant critical factors and explore its causes and effects (antecedents and consequences) on the relationship intensity significance level. 2. To develop an integrated conceptual framework combining the hypothetical relationship among these identified critical factors. 3. To empirically validate the conceptual framework. To accomplish the first objective and building the theoretical platform for the second objective, three research questions are identified and answered through empirical study backed by literature evidence. The second objective is addressed through an integrative conceptual framework by analysing the related studies across other disciplines, gaps in the existing theories and models in the outsourcing literature. Coupled with literature gap analysis, the researcher adopted some of the relevant features from across various disciplines of management and social sciences that are relevant to this study. After that, the third objective, the research hypotheses are validated with empirical examination conducted in Europe. Seven research hypotheses are developed based on literature analysis on the relationship of the key constructs in the conceptual framework. This study is explanatory and deductive in nature. It is underpinned mainly by a quantitative research design with structured questionnaire surveys conducted with stratified sampling of 136 client organisations in Europe. Individual client firm is the unit of analysis for this study. Data analysis was conducted using partial least squares (PLS) structural equation modelling techniques. In this research, empirical support was found for most of the research hypotheses and conclusions of the study is derived. An investigation into trust as a concept is used to denote relationship intensity, as the central construct of the framework. The validated conceptual framework and tested hypothesis results are the main contributions of this study. The results of this study will also be useful in terms of adopting the conceptual framework linked with hypotheses as a point of reference to begin with, in order to accomplish a healthy exchange relationship. However, a further deep dive and fine tuning the sub-units/composition characteristics of each critical factor may be needed for individual outsourcing initiative(s). This study is particularly relevant to the client-supplier firms already engaged in a relationship but can also be useful to those clients who are planning to begin their journey in IT offshoring in the near future, as a preparatory platform.