• Magnetic and sedimentological analyses of quaternary lake sediments from the English Lake District

      McLean, Donald C.H. (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 1991-03)
      Results of mineral magnetic, mobile clement, and granulometric analyses of Holocene sediments from Buttermere and Crummock Water (two closely-linked lakes in the north-west of the English Lake District) are presented. These are used to: (1) identify effects of internal (lacustrine) and external (catchment) controls on sedimentation; (2) establish catchment source-lake sediment linkages and assess the value of mineral magnetic techniques in palaeolimnological studies; (3) identify major catchment environmental changes. Analyses of lake sediment fabrics (using sediment thin sections, SEM clay flake analysis, standard granulometric analysis, and mineral magnetic indicators of grain size change) indicate that river plume sedimentation is the normal sediment dispersal mechanism in these lakes. Thin (<= 3.0 mm) chlorite-rich laminae, found at intervals in the otherwise homogeneous Holocene sediment sequence, are probably formed by trapping and concentration of fine, platy particles within lake waters. They are subsequently deposited during lake overturn. This represents an "internal" control on sedimentation. A model of sedimentation processes operating in these lakes is developed, incorporating river plume sedimentation, episodic density surges, and lake thermal structure. Mineral magnetic measurements allow the objective subdivision of the lacustrine lithostratigraphy, identifying broad changes in lake sediment characteristics. Samples from both lake catchments are clustered into six magnetically distinct groups - despite the lithological complexity of the catchment. Comparison of these with the lake sediments has enabled identification of major sources during the Holocene. Following deposition of relatively unaltered bedrock-derived material during the Late-glacial ("primary" sources), secondary sources (which may include glacial diamicts, soils and stream sediments) dominate the lake sediments. Direct input of topsoil-derived sediment from circa 1000 A.D. onwards (during and following the main period of Norse settlement of the Lake District) is identified by its distinctive mineral magnetic characteristics, (high Xfd% values, >-4%). Industrially-derived magnetic spherules contribute significantly to the mineral magnetic characteristics of the more recent sediments, (mainly those post-dating circa 1900 A.D.). These are used to construct a proxy chronology for recent sediments. Catchment environmental changes arc mainly related to stabilisation of vegetation following deglaciation and, from circa 2,000 B.P., anthropogenic effects of deforestation and land disturbance, thus increasing lake sediment accumulation rates. These findings are broadly consistent with the interpretation of the Lake District Post-glacial sediment sequence presented in studies by Mackereth, (1966a), and Pennington, (1981), demonstrating a uniformity of lake and catchment development within the Lake District. A prominent minerogenic layer present in the Buttermere and Crummock Water sediment sequence however broadly correlates with similar horizons deposited in other Lake District lakes from circa 7,400 - 5,000 B.P. These have been previously interpreted as composed of topsoil-derived material derived from human actions, (Pennington 1973, 1981). In the Buttermere and Crummock Water sediments, this layer is best interpreted as derived from glaciogenic sediment') reworked from within the lake basins, probably following lowered lake water levels during the period circa 7,300 - 5,300 B.P. Thus it is suggested that a reinterpretation of similar Lake District lacustrine sediments using the methods employed in this study would be appropriate.
    • Magnetic force imaging and handling of cancer cells on the nanoscale

      Liu, Jinyun (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2017-11)
      Cancer treatment has become one of the top priorities in health. Great efforts have been devoted to the diagnosis and therapy of cancers. Culturing cells with drugs is a common method used to investigate cancer therapy in experiments. However, this method has limitations in cancer treatment because of the lack of capabilities of handling cells, targeting specific cells and measuring the nanoscale changes in cell structures. Magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) and magnetic force microscopes (MFMs) have been used to study biological samples due to their advantages in tracing, manipulating and measuring, which has motivated to research the method for implanting MNPs into cancer cells, to target the cancer cells and to measure their changes during the treatment. Research reported in this thesis focuses on magnetic force imaging and handling of targeted cancer cells on the nanoscale for possible new cancer therapies. A new differential MFM imaging method and a new compensation MFM imaging method were developed in this research to improve the MFM imaging quality. The former reverses the magnetized direction of probe from upward to downward and the latter scans the samples with three scanning directions of 0°, 45° and 90°. With these methods, the obtained MFM images achieve a high resolution, SNR, image contrast and accuracy. A pair of innovative MNPs picking up method and MNPs releasing method were developed in this research to achieve flexible MNPs picking up and releasing. The picking up method handles the magnetic tip following a helical structure as the capture path when approaching to the target MNPs. The MNPs releasing method uses a biaxiably-oriented polypropylene (BOPP) film together with a magnet allowing MNPs to separate from the MFM tip surface. With these methods, the target MNPs can be picked up by the MFM tip and released from the tip surface successfully. This research discovered, for the first time in the world to the author knowledge, the differences in morphological features (height, length, width and roughness) and mechanical properties (adhesive force and Young‟s modulus) between multinuclear and mononuclear colon cancer cells after treating the cells with fullerenol. This discovery provides guidance to the selection of cells for target treatment. The results indicate that the mononuclear SW480 cells are more sensitive to fullerenol than the multinuclear SW480 cells and the multinuclear SW480 cells exhibit a stronger drug-resistance than the mononuclear SW480 cells. A new MNPs implantation method was developed in this research, which enables the FITC-MNPs functioned tip to insert into cells so that MNPs are implanted into the target cells. Fluorescence microscope images show that the FITC-MNPs are released into the cells successfully. Cells being treated with MNPs (Cell-MNPs) manipulation III methods are explored by magnet and controllable electromagnets to manipulate the target cancer cells. The results show that the cell-MNPs have magnetic force manipulated capability and they can be manipulated to have the leftward, rightward, upward and downward flexibilities.
    • Making sense of cranial osteopathy: an interpretative phenomenological analysis

      Banton, Amanda Louise (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2019-02)
      Purpose: This study arose from a praxial problem: how best to communicate with patients about the mechanism of cranial osteopathy. The problem was explored in a way that presented cranial osteopathy as a complex, multi-faceted phenomenon in the domain of healthcare practice. The resulting research question was phenomenologically inflected and was articulated as ‘What sense do osteopaths and their patients make of the phenomenon of cranial osteopathy?’ The concept of ‘sense-making’ was applied to both the manner in which osteopaths and their patients experience and understand cranial osteopathy and also the meaning that emerges in the course of giving or receiving cranial osteopathic treatment. Method: Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) was used to explore cranial osteopaths’ understanding and lived experience of their practice and to simultaneously explore patients’ understanding and lived experience of cranial osteopathy. Four cranial osteopaths who were Fellows of the Sutherland Cranial College of Osteopathy participated, as did a patient each of theirs. The cranial osteopath participants were experienced practitioners and the patient participants were people who had had positive experiences of cranial osteopathy. The participants were interviewed about their lived experience and understanding of the phenomenon of cranial osteopathy. The semi-structured interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed and analysed by the researcher. The researcher kept a reflexive diary and an account of her theoretical fore-structure, in order to understand and audit the influences on her hermeneutic analysis of the data. From the data analysis, ongoing reflexion on praxis and a reading of the theoretical literature emerged three Super-Ordinate Themes and a hermeneutic model of cranial osteopathy. Findings: The IPA revealed that both patients and practitioners establish epistemological grounds for their sense-making about their embodied experience of cranial osteopathy (Super-Ordinate Theme 1: Making sense of sense-making), that they use embodied metaphor and linguistic meta-metaphor to understand their lived experience of cranial osteopathy (Super-Ordinate Theme 2: Metaphors for mechanisms), and that the mechanism of cranial osteopathy is considered by both patients and practitioners to arise from the therapeutic relationship (Super-Ordinate Theme 3: The meaningful osteopathic relationship). Conclusions: The main outcome of the study is a hermeneutic model of cranial osteopathy, which posits that the shared, embodied therapeutic relationship facilitates a collaborative rapport which enables the osteopath and the patient to come to an understanding of the source of the patient’s malady, and that furthermore this understanding supports the mobilisation of the physiological mechanisms of healing to ‘unconceal’ health. iv ongoing reflexion on praxis and a reading of the theoretical literature emerged three Super- Ordinate Themes and a hermeneutic model of cranial osteopathy. Findings: The IPA revealed that both patients and practitioners establish epistemological grounds for their sense-making about their embodied experience of cranial osteopathy (Super-Ordinate Theme 1: Making sense of sense-making), that they use embodied metaphor and linguistic meta-metaphor to understand their lived experience of cranial osteopathy (Super-Ordinate Theme 2: Metaphors for mechanisms), and that the mechanism of cranial osteopathy is considered by both patients and practitioners to arise from the therapeutic relationship (Super-Ordinate Theme 3: The meaningful osteopathic relationship). Conclusions: The main outcome of the study is a hermeneutic model of cranial osteopathy, which posits that the shared, embodied therapeutic relationship facilitates a collaborative rapport which enables the osteopath and the patient to come to an understanding of the source of the patient’s malady, and that furthermore this understanding supports the mobilisation of the physiological mechanisms of healing to ‘unconceal’ health.
    • Managing in the middle, the practice of managing change in English Universities

      Sarchet, Christopher (University of Bedfordshire, 2009-04-30)
      Higher Education Institutions are worth £45 billion to the UK economy, according to a report published in 2006 by Universities UK (UUK), the representative organization of the United Kingdom’s universities. The higher education sector has undergone considerable change with the introduction of the marketplace, tuition fees and business management structures and methods. Managing change as a middle manager is acknowledged to be important activity (see for example, Beer, Eisenstat and Spector, 1990) and yet there is a limited amount of empirically research that has been conducted to discover how change is managed in the higher education sector in England by these staff. This study explores the perceptions of higher education managers about their role in managing change in the higher education sector. It is an exploratory study based on thirty-one interviews with managers in nine universities from across the higher education sector in England. The universities were chosen to ensure there was a representative sample from the main groups within the sector and a geographical spread across the country’s regions. The literature review found a wide range of contrasting viewpoints that provided a myriad of support and confusing messages. There was a lack of information about how higher education managers manage and, in particular, how they manage change. Managers, and those who seek to help them, face challenges in seeking and providing guidance and improving practice. The middle manager has to manage change and use a variety of means to achieve it. They are caught in the middle between senior managers and staff and other stakeholders. They have primarily learned from experience but need support and guidance when they come across change projects of which they have no knowledge. This can be provided by access to case based practice and a network of experienced experts. This research recommends the creation of such support using new media available via the internet provided through professional associations such as the Association of University Administrators (AUA).
    • Managing risks in virtual-agile IT projects: the paradigm of responsiveness

      Amar, Hassan (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2018-02)
      Managing risks in IT projects has always been a critical area of study for many researchers and practitioners. Due to the rapid advances in information and communication technologies (ICTs), there is an increasing number of challenges and issues for the IT organisations. Virtual-Agile IT projects being virtually operated and based on Agile methodology principles are facilitating IT industry having their main application in the software development industry, where entities from diverse backgrounds have varied working practices, languages and culture, and works together for achieving common aims. There have been several benefits integrated with the application of Virtual-Agile IT projects but the intersection of these two unique working concepts (Virtual-Agile) gives rise to several risks and uncertainties which have now become a point of concern for these organisations. The need for minimising the possibility of such evolving risks and uncertainties became the foundation of conducting this study from a theoretical viewpoint, where the researcher aimed to propose a conceptual framework helping organisations meet their business objectives constructively. The study is exploratory in nature which discovers all those appropriate practices, strategies and guidelines which support reducing risk and uncertainties between the distributed stakeholders during the product development phase. The research methodology used is primarily dependent on qualitative methods combined with the grounded theory methodology to gather rich and rigorous information from experienced and professional personnel from different geographical regions. Depending upon the procedures of grounded theory methodology, the data were collected and analysed simultaneously under the principles of constant comparison and theoretical sampling. The procedures helped to determine thought-provoking results and highlighted various dimensions of the phenomenon under investigation.Responsiveness which emerged as the central phenomenon to overcome risks and uncertainties in Virtual-Agile IT project environments proposes for a proactive system which could be able to deal with project uncertainties, thus reducing the likelihood of potential risks, and enhancing opportunities for the organisations. Responsiveness, which is an ability of the system to perceive, reflect and adapt changes in the project environments is dependent upon efficiently management of three major components, i.e. technology, timeliness and communication. Technology which is the most critical element when operating in virtual environments requires standardization and should be extensively used to develop strong networks and integration between various locations around the world. Timeliness is elementary and a pre-requisite for completion of on-going multiple projects in IT organisations Communication which is the utmost component, is required at various levels for evolving synchronisation in the overall system, such as when developing correlation and satisfaction among distributed stakeholders, estimating the level of required competency and ensuring an efficient knowledge transfer process. Responsiveness, which is required throughout the development cycle, also further influences formal risk management practices undertaken at various levels of the project. Risk management planning and implementation of the response strategies are dependent upon Responsiveness i.e. how well, timely and using technical resources the entities communicate for determining a solution to a problem. The paradigm developed, thus reflects industrial practices undertaken in the software development industry to meet project objectives and would support organisations and their prominent stakeholders to overcome risks and uncertainties in the future Virtual-Agile IT projects.
    • Managing Tourism Destination Reputation in the Era of Online Marketing: A Case Study of Egypt

      Darwish, Alyaa (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2021)
      Tourism destination marketing has been significantly influenced by the developments in Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). Online marketing has been a focus of most destinations since the Internet became the primary information source for travel marketing and purchasing. Tourism is a reputation-dependent sector. An accurate perception of the destination’s reputation helps minimize the risk of unsatisfactory experiences of travellers. A favourable tourist destination reputation also enhances the destination’s competitive advantage. Despite the importance of tourism destination reputation, attempts at developing a better understanding through defining and assessing it have been limited due to an over-reliance on theories of corporate reputation. To address this research gap, this study aims to understand the concept of tourism destination reputation, and explore how to manage destination reputation using online marketing channels through achieving a number of specific objectives: 1. To improve the current understanding of the tourism destination reputation by developing a comprehensive definition of tourism destination reputation, 2. To develop a framework to assess the tourism destination reputation, 3. To assess the effectiveness of tourism destination approaches towards online marketing channels, 4. To understand the mechanisms of the online marketing channels, and to assess the potential for using online marketing channels to manage the destination’s online reputation, 5. To develop a conceptual framework that enables the destination marketers to better understand the tourism destination reputation concept, effective online marketing strategies, channels and online reputation management. To achieve the research objectives, a qualitative research methodology is employed. The methodology includes three main data collection methods: the Delphi technique, focus groups, and interviews. Two rounds of Delphi were used among reputation and tourism experts to define the destination reputation and identify the main drivers which contribute to forming the tourism destination reputation. Four focus groups were used to identify the respondents’ points of view about the main drivers that contribute to forming destination reputation. The results of Delphi technique and the focus groups were integrated to develop the Tourism Destination Reputation Framework (TDRF). While two sets of interviews were applied among two different groups; the first in-depth interviews were carried out in Egypt, with the online marketers at the Egyptian Tourism Authority (ETA) who are responsible for the marketing of the Egyptian destination. The second in-depth interviews set were applied with a sample of marketers from different digital marketing agencies to provide an understanding of the mechanisms of online marketing channels; their impact on the reputation and the possibility of using these channels to manage the online reputation. The main outcomes, and the original contribution of this research include 1. A new empirically based definition for the tourism destination reputation concept. 2. A framework to assess the tourism destination reputation. The framework includes ten themes: products and services, culture, people, destination management, environment, safety and security, competitiveness, country stability, place identity, media, marketing and communication. 3. Insights into the ETA online performance and the Egyptian tourism destination reputation. 4. A strategy to manage the destination online reputation. The research proposes a strategy to manage the online tourism destination reputation. This strategy includes two different pathways: handling normal situations, and detecting reputation crises. Finally, the research suggests a comprehensive framework to have a favourable tourist destination reputation. This framework consists of three main stages: building reputation, marketing reputation, and finally, managing reputation.
    • Materiality in accounting and auditing in the UK

      Chong, Hock Gin (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 1998-06)
      The Statement of Auditing Standards 220 (Materiality and the audit, 1995) requires auditors to assess both the quantitative and qualitative aspects of materiality. However, the SAS has not specified the quantitative measurement of materiality. This research assesses the need in the UK for having a specific mathematical guideline in addition to the qualitative aspect of materiality. It evaluates the outcomes of legal cases in both the UK and the US, looks at the accounting statements issued by accounting bodies in other countries on materiality, and responses to the then exposure draft of the SAS 220. Questionnaires were sent in the UK to 1000 auditors (25.6% responded) and 1000 non auditors (26.4% responded), and telephone surveys followed with non respondents and selected individuals. The case studies contained in the questionnaires are materiality impact on losses on discontinuation of a production line, changes in accounting policies, contingent liabilities, and cash defaulcation. Results showed that there are inconsistencies in legal decisions on materiality. Countries having materiality guidelines adopted 10% net profit before tax as the norm. The 10% of net profit before tax is the favourite guideline for materiality from questionnaire respondents and telephone interviewees. Consistency in the results suggest the need for having a standard mathematical measurement of materiality in the UK.
    • The mathematical modelling of the transmission dynamics of HIV/AIDS and the impact of antiviral therapies

      Hajian, Emad (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2000-04)
      This thesis is concerned with the structure, analysis and numerical solution of the mathematical models used to estimate the transmission dynamics of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)) the causative agent of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). Investigations show that the devised deterministic mathematical models in term of system of first-order non-linear ordinary differential equations (ODEs) follow the stochastic nature of the problem at any time. In this thesis a generic form of the deterministic mathematical models is introduced which mirrors the transmission dynamics of HIV/AIDS in populations with different states of affairs, which leads to the division of large-scale and complex mathematical models. When analysing and;or solving a large-scale system of ODEs numerically, the key element in speeding up the process is selecting the maximum possible time step. This work introduces some new techniques used to estimate the maximum possible time step, avoiding the appearance of chaos and divergence in the solution when they are not features of the system. The solution to these mathematical models are presented graphically and numerically, aiming to identify the effect of the anti-HIV therapies and sex education in controlling the disease. The numerical results presented in this thesis indicate that lowering the average number of sexual partners per year is more effective in controlling the disease than the current anti-HIV treatments. For the purpose of this study the mathematical software 'Mathematica 3.0' was used to solve the system of differential equations, modelling HIV/AIDS propagation. This package also provided the graphical detail incorporated in the thesis.
    • A matter of confidence : an exploration of how magistrates' confidence in youth offending team service provision can make a difference to decision-making in the youth courts

      Ivankovic, Lucy (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2011)
      The vast majority of children and young people appearing in criminal courts in England and Wales are sentenced through a youth court by lay magistrates. The magistrates court deals with 96% of all criminal cases in England and Wales and it is lay magistrates who decide on questions of fact, and sentence those convicted in 91% of these cases. Therefore, how Youth Offending Teams (YOTs) and magistrates work together is a matter of interest. This research explores the extent to which magistrates' confidence in the YOT's service provision can make a difference to the decisions made with regards to bail/remand, sentencing, enforcement and revocation on grounds of good progress. Furthermore, the research considers how YOTs might improve the confidence of magistrates in their service provision and makes recommendations for practice in this regard.
    • Measurement and modelling moisture transport processes within porous construction materials

      Wang, Qingguo (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2005-01)
      Moisture is one of the primary factors connected with the damage observed on the envelope of buildings. The moisture states are normally dominated by moisture transport processes within and between porous building materials from rain penetration, rising damp or infiltration of water vapour that is normally accompanied with heat transfer. The research into moisture transport behaviour of building materials is extremely important for the characterisation of behaviour in connection with durability, waterproofing, degradation of appearance and thermal performance ofbuilding elements. In the first stage of this research, commercial gypsum plasters were experimentally investigated with their moisture transport specifications. The hydraulic parameters including sorptivity, saturated conductivity and permeability of water vapour were determined with new findings related with the dependence of hydraulic parameters on water/plaster ratios, wetting-drying cycles and additives. The results obtained were compared with other porous building materials and recommendations for their manufacture and selection in building construction were made. Secondly, on the basis of comprehensive investigations of the dielectric properties of gypsum plasters, an integrated automatic real-time monitoring system for moisture transport processes was designed and successfully developed utilising a pin-type resistance sensor and sensor array. The data acquisition, data analysis, result display and saving are all integrated with the computer controlled interface. The polarisation effects and temperature effects for various gypsum plaster materials were compensated and realised by control options. The monitoring system developed for moisture monitoring was directly applied in 1-dimension moisture transport processes and can easily be extended to the monitoring of 2 or 3 dimension moisture transport processes by embedding an appropriate sensor array into materials. In the third part of the research, on the basis of experimental investigation of water absorption processes of uniform materials and two-layer composites, the water diffusivity as functions of moisture content were determined from experimental moisture profiles for various gypsum plaster materials. The models governing the moisture transport processes were formed based on extended Darcy's law and experimental diffusivity functions. By applying the finite element method and developed software, the non-linear partial differential equations were numerically solved under specified boundary and initial conditions in absorption processes. The simulation results achieved satisfactory agreement with experimental moisture profiles for various materials and for two-layered composites.
    • Measurement and monitoring of moisture content in timber and investigations of moisture gradients using dielectric measurements

      Jazayeri, Sina (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 1999)
      This thesis addresses various issues in connection with the measurement of moisture content in timber. The early parts include long term experimentally based studies which culminated in producing recommendations to existing British Standards for equilibrium moisture content (EMC) of timber in internal environments. Findings consistently showed lower EMCs than existing recommended values; these are believed to be caused by socio-economic factors. Intermediate sections of the thesis continue with tests on electrical methods of moisture content measurement to establish a basis for comparability and the claimed accuracy of currently available moisture meters in the market. To this end, the performance of a wide range of resistance-type moisture meters in worldwide use was critically investigated under laboratory conditions - it was established that even under the strict controlled conditions of the study, large discrepancies are not uncommon (as great as 13% moisture content difference was observed). While some instruments consistently underestimated, others overestimated under identical conditions. Lack of agreed standards for species corrections and temperature correction factors were found to be the main cause of disagreement between the meters. Further discussions include the layout for a proposed standard in which agreed values for species and temperature correction factors would be established. In the latter part of the thesis moisture gradients in timber, the causes and the current methods of assessment are discussed. In particular, the performance of a leading brand capacitance-type moisture meter was systematically investigated both in the absence and in the presence of predetermined moisture gradients. It was established that moisture gradients severely affect the measured moisture content. A computer controlled capacitance measurement system based on resonance detection was developed to initially replicate the behaviour of conventional capacitance-type moisture meters, and to further investigate possible moisture gradient detection protocols. Two electrode designs were used in order to investigate methods by which moisture gradients could be detected. It was shown that a multi-plate electrode can be used to detect moisture gradients in timber to depths of at least 10 mm.
    • Measurement of halides in photographic emulsions

      Edwards, Stephen John (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2003-02)
      Conventional Ag/AgX electrodes, responsive to halide X, cannot be used to monitor the addition of a second halide Y since such additions result in a slow chemical conversion of the macroscopic halide coating AgX to AgY. This is a serious problem in the manufacture of photographic emulsions that frequently contain more than one silver halide. The thesis describes a new electrochemical measurement technique with the ability to make appropriate determinations in solutions of mixed halides. In the new technique (termed "clean/coat/measure"), silver electrodes were prepared "in situ" by applying square wave pulses to the electrode. First the previous halide layer was removed, then the electrode was coated in situ with a new layer of silver halide and this was used to measure the open circuit potential before the cycle was repeated. In this way the halide coating reflected the composition of the measurement solution. Existing commercial instrumentation was inappropriate for the proposed measurement sequence. Thus, a range of instrument hardware and software was designed and built by the author and used to study the influences of a multitude of parameters on the measurement performance. 1. A stable and accurate measurement system was designed and fabricated allowing the potentials of eight electrodes to be measured simultaneously in grounded solutions. Data was collected and stored on a PC using custom written software. Calibration curves for conventional silver/silver chloride, bromide and iodide electrodes were obtained over a range of concentrations and temperatures. Silver/silver halides electrodes with small surface areas (<9 mm2) and thin halide coatings ( <1 nm thick) were studied to ensure that such electrodes performed as conventional large, thickly coated electrodes. Calibration curves showed no deterioration of response due to small surface areas and, over short time scales (<2 min), no deterioration due to thin layers. 2. A laboratory instrument was designed and built to apply potential pulses, control a rotating disc electrode (RDE) and collect data. The system allowed both controlled potential pulses to be applied to the electrodes and open circuit potentiometric measurements to be made. Measurements of potential and current were collected at a rate of 10,000 measurements per second. The system used custom software running on a PC to control the instrumentation and to store data on the PC. Using this instrumentation a RDE was used to study the new "clean/coat/measure" pulsed technique. Results from the RDE study indicated that an electrode capable of sensing halide could be produced by this technique if an applied potential pulse with sufficient charge was applied. This minimum charge (11 x w-s C cm-2) produced a coating thickness approximately equivalent to a monolayer. The study also indicated that the technique was independent of the speed of rotation of the silver electrode and was successful over a wide range of conditions of pulse time, applied potential and cycle times for solution of potassium bromide in the range 0.001 to 0.05 M. The technique also successfully measured the addition of potassium iodide to a solution of potassium bromide while conventional thickly coated electrodes did not. 3. Two further instrumentation systems were designed and built to be used in a grounded stainless steel emulsion making vessel , one to apply controlled potential pulses and one to apply constant current pulses. Using these instruments and the conditions found for the RDE, static cylindrical electrodes in stirred solutions were investigated using both controlled potential and constant current square wave pulses of between 50 and 500 ms. Both potential step and current step techniques successfully measured the halide concentration of solutions of potassium chloride and bromide (0.001 to 0.5 M) and potassium iodide (0.0001 to 0.5 M). Both methods were also shown to be able to successfully monitor the addition of iodide to bromide and chloride solutions. With respect to future work, modifications to the instrumentation are proposed, including the replacement of the PC by an on-board microprocessor, the design of a multi-channel system and use of intelligent software to determine the optimum potential or current to apply. Areas of work required to be carried out before the system could be used in a production environment are given.
    • Measuring and monitoring the moisture content of timber and investigation of sorption processes

      Dai, Guangya (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 1999-07)
      There is little doubt that moisture is a very important factor in relation to material durability. The need for tools to assist in the better understanding and systematic evaluation of moisture movement with the view of incorporating the results within the overall framework of the defect investigation, quality control, and long-term monitoring of moisture, have led to the development of various moisture monitoring and predicting techniques. With the purpose of helping to harmonise the interests in this field, this thesis addresses three major issues in the area of wood moisture. Various studies carried out have been shown that there are substantial discrepancies between specific timber species and published charts for equilibrium moisture content. One of the main objectives of this research was to focus on establishing the equilibrium moisture content for a range of relative humidity and temperature on an individual basis, for twenty commercially important species used in the United Kingdom. The rationale for carrying out the project, the results from the initial trial and the mainstream experiment, the hardware and methodology developed are provided. To meet the requirements of long term accurate and reliable moisture monitoring and to provide comprehensive moisture information, a new type of moisture sensor and related measurement system were developed. The methodology of system design and test procedures are described, emphasising the anti-polarisation method, noise rejection and contact resistance reduction techniques employed. Other aspects of the electrical performance of timber were also investigated. Results from a case study showed that the sensor developed can operate in the critical range of relative humidity with sensitive and accuracy. In the final part of the project, two moisture transport models were developed. Mathematical prediction models in both one dimension and three dimensions are presented for simulating the adsorption and desorption processes in wood. Comparisons are made against long-term experimental data for the one dimensional model. The finite differential method was employed to solve the mathematical expressions developed, resulting in accurate prediction of concentration-driven moisture flows. Investigations were also carried out into the moisture diffusion coefficient and moisture behaviour in the three principal wood directions by using the sensor developed which provided isothermal real-time continuous data.
    • Measuring the size and development of the informal economy in the countries of the Balkan peninsula using structural equation modelling approach

      Asllani, Alban (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2018-01)
      This thesis presents estimates and analysis of the informal economy for ten countries in the Balkan Peninsula region. It is the first attempt to study the size and development of the informal economy in these southeastern European countries from 1996 to 2014 using a special case of the Structural Equation modelling, which is the MIMIC model. There is currently a gap in the literature focusing on measuring the size of the informal economy in the Balkan countries especially after social, economic, political and judiciary reforms that the region has undergone. Such reforms are likely to influence the trend of the informal economy, and hence it is important to study the development of the informal economy. Different from existing literature, this research uses policy-driven indicators as well as macroeconomic variables in the model to estimate the size of the informal economy in this part of the world. The estimates indicate that there is a declining trend in the size of the informal economy in most of these countries. The yearly average size of the informal economy in these ten countries started from around 31 percent in 1996 and dropped to around 26 percent in 2014. However, the overall average size of the informal economy in these Balkan countries remains high relative to GDP, and it is just over 30 percent. The results indicate that countries, where the overall average size of the informal economy is found to be the highest as a proportion to their GDP, are FYR Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania and Turkey with 38.4 percent, 33.3 percent, 33.0 percent, and 32.1 percent, respectively. Countries with the lowest informal economy, on the other hand, are Slovenia and Greece, with 25 percent and 26.9 percent, respectively. The average size of the informal economy in Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, and Croatia approximates to slightly under or slightly over 30 percent. The analysis also reveals that the key driving causes of the informal economy in these countries are the regulation burden, level of corruption, the dominance of the agriculture sector, degree of urbanisation, macroeconomic developments and the size of the government. This research concludes with some recommendations.
    • Mechanisms of androgen-induced hypertrophy: lessons from muscle cell models

      Hughes, David Conway (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2014-04)
      Androgen endocrine physiology is responsible for many processes in the body, from bone metabolism to skeletal muscle maintenance. Testosterone is one of the most potent androgens produced, with decades of research highlighting its androgenic-anabolic effect on skeletal muscle growth. The research has been further driven through the emergence of pharmaceutical derivates (steroids) of testosterone and their use in interventions for muscle wasting associated with disease and advancing age (sarcopenia). However, the molecular regulation of testosterone and the influence it has on cellular processes in promoting muscle development, hypertrophy and satellite cell activation (proliferation, differentiation) remain poorly understood. In summary, this thesis has highlighted the impact of testosterone in rescuing an aged phenotype in myoblast cells (PD cells) displaying prior reductions in regeneration and hypertrophy vs. relevant ‘un-aged’ controls (Sharples et al., 2011, Sharples et al., 2012). Importantly, the results provide evidence towards the mechanisms for testosterone induced hypertrophy, where in the presence of testosterone and a functional androgen receptor (shown via AR antagonism/ flutamide administration) testosterone is fundamental in regulating appropriate myoD, myogenin and myostatin expression in the control of myotube differentiation and hypertrophy. Increases in androgen receptor protein levels in PD myoblasts under a testosterone stimulus highlight the intrinsic responsiveness of aged myoblasts to a hypertrophic stimulus which may somewhat explain the use of testosterone as an effective clinical treatment in muscle wasting disease. Finally, myotube hypertrophy occurred in both aged and un-aged myoblasts with testosterone administration even in the presence of an IGF-I receptor inhibitor (Picropodophyllin) suggesting a limited role of the IGF-IR and associated signaling in testosterones mediated increases in differentiation and hypertrophy. Testosterone did appear however to increase Akt phosphorylation in cells that show a prior impaired regenerative capacity (PD cells), even in the presence-IGF-IR inhibitor suggesting that testosterone can directly activate Akt independently of upstream IGF-IR a novel finding that is presented in chapter 5. This interaction maybe mediated by myostatin, where increases in myostatin has been linked with directly inhibiting Akt (Dubois et al., 2014, Léger et al., 2008, Morissette et al., 2009), and in the present study we see an increase in myostatin mRNA and corresponding decrease in phospho-Akt when AR’s (via flutamide) action is inhibited and the protein level of AR is low (chapter 5). Furthermore in chapter 6 we further showed that inhibition of PI3K/AKT using LY294002 was sufficient to remove the prior rescuing of differentiation and hypertrophy in aged cells after testosterone administration. This was coupled with reductions in myostatin and increases in mTOR with testosterone administration. Overall AR seems to be the most fundamental pathway in testosterones induction of myotube differentiation and hypertrophy with important roles for myogenin, Akt, mTOR and myostatin in mediating these processes.
    • Media in Saudi Arabia: the challenge for female journalists

      Aljuaid, Kholoud (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2020-07)
      This study explores the role of women journalists in Saudi Arabia and provides more understanding of the challenges and barriers that working in the media presents for them. There are also a number of opportunities that may not have been fully recognised and where these women can make a difference. Against a background of reforms in Saudi Arabia, resulting from measures being put in place to comply with international human rights laws as well as a need for the country to utilise the economic benefits of a female workforce, the role of women in the media is increasing. The social changes that are taking place may not fit well with a more conservative society but female journalists are showing that they have been facing up to these challenges. Using a qualitative approach, this study sought to elicit the perceptions of a range of women working in the media and also interviewed male editors to gain their perspective on females working in their domain. The study revealed that the women chose journalism as a career because it was an area in which they excelled and which they very much enjoyed, despite numerous challenges they encountered. Although they had faced disapproval from family initially, they managed to win over parents and husbands once they started to have their work published. In more recent years the universities have been establishing media and communication courses for women and this is giving more support to journalism being a career choice. Nevertheless, it was clear that women were restricted by their gender in having access to influential chief editor positions, which were reserved for males. It was also found that the male editors approved of women working in journalism and spoke highly of the quality of their work. However, this may also be because the women open up the readership of newspapers by writing articles targeting other women and thus increase sales. In addition, some newspapers are found to be paying much lower rates to women than to their male counterparts. Reasons for this were given as being the costs of employing women, who often need drivers, cannot interview males, are not permitted to go unescorted, need a separate workplace environment, and who have maternity rights.
    • Media reporting of war crimes trials and civil society responses in post-conflict Sierra Leone

      Binneh-Kamara, Abou (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2015-01)
      This study, which seeks to contribute to the shared-body of knowledge on media and war crimes jurisprudence, gauges the impact of the media’s coverage of the Civil Defence Forces (CDF) and Charles Taylor trials conducted by the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) on the functionality of civil society organizations (CSOs) in promoting transitional (post-conflict) justice and democratic legitimacy in Sierra Leone. The media’s impact is gauged by contextualizing the stimulus-response paradigm in the behavioral sciences. Thus, media contents are rationalized as stimuli and the perceptions of CSOs’ representatives on the media’s coverage of the trials are deemed to be their responses. The study adopts contents (framing) and discourse analyses and semi-structured interviews to analyse the publications of the selected media (For Di People, Standard Times and Awoko) in Sierra Leone. The responses to such contents are theoretically explained with the aid of the structured interpretative and post-modernistic response approaches to media contents. And, methodologically, CSOs’ representatives’ responses to the media’s contents are elicited by ethnographic surveys (group discussions) conducted across the country. The findings from the contents and discourse analyses, semi-structured interviews and ethnographic surveys are triangulated to establish how the media’s coverage of the two trials impacted CSOs’ representatives’ perceptions on post-conflict justice and democratic legitimacy in Sierra Leone. To test the validity and reliability of the findings from the ethnographic surveys, four hundred (400) questionnaires, one hundred (100) for each of the four regions (East, South, North and Western Area) of Sierra Leone, were administered to barristers, civil/public servants, civil society activists, media practitioners, students etc. The findings, which reflected the perceptions of people from large swathe of opinions in Sierra Leone, appeared to have dovetailed with those of the CSOs’ representatives across the country. The study established that the media’s coverage of the CDF trial appeared to have been tainted with ethno-regional prejudices, and seemed to be ‘a continuation of war by other means’. However, the focus groups perceived the media reporting as having a positive effect on the pursuit of post-conflict justice, good governance and democratic accountability in Sierra Leone. The coverage of the Charles Taylor trial appeared to have been devoid of ethno-regional prejudices, but, in the view of the CSOs, seemed to have been coloured by lenses of patriotism and nationalism.
    • Message layering: a grounded theory of overcoming message limitations in social media communication

      Ahmed, Sajeel (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2018-04-12)
      Using the Grounded Theory research method, this research has explored various forms of social media communication, including emoticons, emoji, GIFs, stickers and hashtags. Further, this study has produced a theory of message layering in social media communication. This research was conducted on data consisting of social media comments, posts and conversations in the form of online observations, as well as recordings and transcripts collected, based on face-to-face interviews. Participants consisted of members of the general public who communicate on different social media platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram. The data was collected and analysed using classic Grounded Theory procedures and guidelines, comprising theoretical sensitivity, theoretical sampling and constant comparison, as well as substantive and theoretical coding. This study identifies that social media communication has various limitations and messages can be brief, ambiguous and lacking in structure. It is evident that the main concern of communicators (both senders and receivers) on social media is to overcome such message limitations. Further, this study explains the basic social psychological process of message layering. Message layering is a theory developed in this study and is characterised by its two sub-core categories of Message structuring and message regulating. Message structuring is about combining and toning to give structure to messages. Message regulating is about associating and fitting to give meaning. Through these means, communicators on social media are seen to process the main concern of overcoming message limitations. Message layering allows communicators to give structure and meaning to messages. Theoretical explanations show that clarity and confusion in understanding what the message indicates is a result of how senders and receivers structure and give meaning to messages. However, it is also identified that senders often structure and assign meaning to messages differently to the receivers of the same message. This thesis makes contributions to knowledge by offering a new perspective on looking at social media messages. It suggests new concepts of combining, selecting, classifying, toning, making connections, assuming positions, associating, recognising types, fitting, applying knowledge and lastly, presents a typology of social media communicators consisting of stranger corresponders, distant corresponders and close corresponders. Moreover, the theory of message layering has implications for practice. Current practices addressing social media communication consider social media messages based on general definitions and understanding of words and pictures only. However, the theory of message layering suggests the importance of considering social media messages from the perspectives of both senders and receivers and further considering the processes of how senders and receivers structure and ascribe meaning to messages.
    • Metaphor and relevance theory : a new hybrid model

      Stöver, Hanna (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2010-10)
      This thesis proposes a comprehensive cognitive account of metaphor understanding that combines aspects of Relevance Theory (e.g. Sperber & Wilson 1986/95; Carston 2002) and Cognitive Linguistics, in particular ideas from Conceptual Metaphor Theory (e.g. Lakoff & Johnson 1980; Lakoff 1987; Johnson 1991) and Situated Conceptualization (e.g. Barsalou 1999; 2005). While Relevance Theory accounts for propositional aspects of metaphor understanding, the model proposed here additionally accounts for nonpropositional effects which intuitively make metaphor feel ‗special‘ compared to literal expressions. This is achieved by (a) assuming a further, more basic processing level of imagistic-experiential representations involving mental simulation patterns (Barsalou 1999; 2005) alongside relevance-theoretic inferential processing and (b) assuming processing of the literal meaning of a metaphorical expression at a metarepresentational level, as proposed by Carston (2010). The approach takes Tendahl‘s ‗Hybrid Theory of Metaphor‘ (2006), which also combines cognitive-linguistic with relevance-theoretic ideas, as a starting point. Like Tendahl, it incorporates the notion of conceptual metaphors (Lakoff & Johnson 1980), albeit in a modified form, thus accounting for metaphor in thought. Wilson (2009) suggests that some metaphors originate in language (as previously assumed by Relevance Theory) and others originate in thought (as previously assumed within Cognitive Linguistics). The model proposed here can account for both. Unlike Tendahl, it assumes a modular mental architecture (Sperber 1994), which ensures that the different levels of processing are kept apart. This is because each module handles only its own domain-specific input, here consisting of either propositional or imagistic-experiential representations. The propositional level, which remains the dominant processing route in utterance 3 understanding, as in Relevance Theory, receives some input from the imagistic-experiential level. This is mediated at a metarepresentational level, which turns the imagistic-experiential representations into propositional material to be processed at the inferential level in the understanding of literal expressions. In metaphor understanding, however, the literal meaning is not processed as meaning-constitutive content. As a result, the imagistic-experiential aspects of the literal meaning in question are not processed as propositional input. Rather, they are held at the metarepresentational level and experienced as strong impressions of the kind that only metaphors can communicate.