• UK corporate governance effects on investor behaviour and firm performance before and during crisis

      Hawas, Amira Mohamed Refaat Mohamed (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2014)
      The recent financial crisis has raised serious questions about the effectiveness of corporate governance (CG) in monitoring management and protecting investors’ interests. There is concern that ‘poor’ CG was, to a certain extent, a major cause of the current financial crisis. This thesis, therefore, investigates the crucial policy question of whether the quality of CG has any effect on financial performance, information asymmetry and on block shareholders’ investment decisions. This is achieved and presented in the form of three essays on CG practices in UK with a particular focus on the periods before and during the 2007/2008 financial crisis. The first essay aims to investigate the impact of firm-level CG on block shareholders’ investment decisions for a large sample of UK non-financial firms over the period 2005 to 2009. Using a panel data analysis, the results revealed the importance of CG for block shareholders’ investment decisions. Furthermore, the study results indicated that only institutional block shareholders consider CG to be important criteria for their investment decisions. Moreover, when the effect of CG on block shareholdings in both periods before and during crisis was examined, a significant difference in results appeared: an insignificant positive relationship in the pre-crisis period turned out to be significant during crisis. The result thus indicates that block shareholders viewed CG as particularly important during the crisis period. The second essay aims to examine the effect of CG on firm performance before and during the financial crisis. It also investigates the mediating effect of agency costs on the association between CG and firm performance. The results revealed that CG affects firm performance only in the period before the crisis, but no significant effect was found during the crisis period. Moreover, agency cost was proved to fully mediate the relationship between CG and performance in the pre-crisis period. The results point to an important issue, which is the need to re-evaluate CG not only in stable periods but also during turbulent times, and to evaluate its ability to perform effectively in such different conditions. The third essay investigates the effect of both CG and block ownership on information asymmetry. Further, the effects of CG in lessening the positive association between block ownership and information asymmetry is considered. The results revealed that CG affects information asymmetry only in the pre-crisis. In addition, block ownership was shown to have a significant and positive effect on information asymmetry during crisis periods suggesting that block shareholders benefit from their information advantage during crisis period which in turn worsens the information asymmetry problem. This suggests that block shareholders engage more in their private benefits rather than in efficient monitoring. The results also proved that CG is insignificant during turbulent period in lessening the negative effect of block ownership.
    • The UK media-state nexus in the context of post-9/11 terrorism policy

      Thomas, Lisa (University of Bedfordshire, 2014-11)
      Following the terrorist attacks on America on 11 September 2001, the New Labour government enacted an unprecedented amount of terrorism legislation in the form of the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001, the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005, the Terrorism Act 2006, and finally the Counter-Terrorism Act 2008. Whilst the government viewed these terrorism laws as vital to national security, many of the measures contained in these acts, such as control orders and increased detentions, provoked intense debates over civil liberties. Much research on media-state relations in the context of responses to 9/11 have found evidence to support the elite-driven paradigm, whereby the media have been shown to fail in their adversarial ‘watchdog’ role by acting as ‘faithful servants’ (Wolfsfeld, 1997) to the political agenda. This research tested these assumptions by examining the media framing of the UK government’s legislative responses to terrorism post-9/11. In so doing, it analyses the relationship between the media and the New Labour government in the context of the policymaking process. To date, longitudinal studies that map the UK media-state nexus within the context of terrorism policymaking are lacking. This thesis therefore, addresses the lacunae in the scholarship. In terms of its theoretical framework, this thesis tests three competing models of media performance (elite-driven, oppositional and independent) on British press reporting of the parliamentary debates (Robinson et al., 2010). Methodologically, it takes an inductive approach to analysing the framing of the debates, and draws on material gleaned from interviews with four former home secretaries. The findings reveal that of the three meta-frames (national security, civil liberties and party politics), the politics frame dominated across all four case studies. Although government sources dominated the debates, the evidence suggests that they had limited influence over the news agenda, which runs contra to the elite-driven (redefined here as government-driven) hypothesis. Instead, at an aggregate level, the evidence lends greater support for the independent model. There is also evidence that some sections of the press did subject the legislation to more robust scrutiny, and thus, to some degree, fulfilled their role as political watchdogs, which supports the oppositional thesis.
    • Undergraduate media studies in England: a discourse analysis

      Dean, Peter John (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2015-02)
      The aim of this research study is to analyse the nature of undergraduate media studies in England, necessarily from the inside, and document the social practices that constitute the subject in the light of its historic and contemporary challenges and the influence of changing public higher education discourses over the period of the fieldwork, 2012-2013. Conceptually, media studies is regarded as socially constructed and enacted through discursive practices that reveal the nature of the power relationships that are the basis of the ways ‘things get done’. This approach is based on Foucault’s (1984, 2002a, 2002b, 2002c) conception of power and discourse and dovetails with a substantial part of the sociology of higher education. The fieldwork consisted of a series of semi-structured face-to-face interviews with a range of participants drawn from media studies lecturers, other university professionals, media studies graduates and a secondary school headteacher with experience of advising university applicants. This provided examples of discursive practices from both ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ media. The thematic analyses of the data show a complex set of interacting oppositional discourses that are skilfully managed by these professional practitioners to maintain a balance of Foucauldian power. This ensures that public policy changes are assimilated and ‘delivered’ whilst sometimes also mitigating their impact and maintaining a prevailing rationale for media studies. The study concludes by contrasting the findings with the emerging discourses of Critical University Studies (CUS). With a declared position (Williams, 2012a) in opposition to higher education public policy reforms, CUS is considered as a set of academic discursive practices that are distinct from the more nuanced balance of oppositional discourses evidenced through the participant responses here.
    • Understanding and interpreting tourism: a constructionist probe into the epistemology of tourism studies

      Pernecky, Tomas (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2009-06)
      The landscape of Tourism Studies has been marked recently by scholars calling for new approaches to tourism and greater levels of transparency, placing the emphasis on the cultural politics of research making, criticality, situated research, and broader levels of theorisation. This composite agenda of issues has been voiced and marked under the umbrella terms The Critical Turn, and “new” tourism research. In the contemporary context of emerging innovative work and an expanding range of research, this thesis asserts that tourism and travel play an important role in today’s world and contribute greatly to the formation of various social phenomena. Tourism Studies as a field is beginning to expand beyond the applied business approach, and critical enquiry is becoming more prominent with increasing numbers of researchers voicing their discontent over deprived tourism theorising. The three broad issues providing impetus for this work are the lack of philosophical research and researchers’ understanding of emic and etic involvement in the process, the poverty of tourism theory, and the lack of critical approaches in the field. In this critical framework of reference, this research study is mainly concerned with examining the process of knowledge production in Tourism Studies. I employ a constructionist approach to research and present tourism as a social phenomenon that cannot hold meaning independently of cultural interpretations. I highlight that the widespread use of etic, situated, and perspectival voices of researchers leads only to one type of knowledge that tends to disregard other ways of knowing and understanding. I point to the plurality of places and objects and propose that one’s understanding of tourism is the result of our situated being in the world, a philosophical notion proffered by Martin Heidegger. I thus present tourism as a phenomenon that can “tell us” about our being in the world – an act which summons a theoretical shift as to what tourism “is”, what it “does” and what it “can do”. With regard to the use of empirical data, I employ hermeneutic phenomenology as the research methodology and focus on the New Age phenomenon to demonstrate the construction of meaning and production of knowledge. Additionally, New Age is relevant in the context of the shifting social, political and cultural climate. I examine some of the emerging works in the field and conclude that travellers (in this thesis, New Agers) not only make, re-make, and constitute places; they also become entangled in tourist performances and use their bodies to learn, to experience and to grow spiritually. I conclude that post-disciplinarity, criticality, and reflexivity are valuable in the constructionist line of enquiry, and I present tourism as a creative endeavour into the understanding of the lived world. The key findings show that there is room for more constructionist and subjectivist epistemologies and further explorations into tacit knowledge, and also the need for researchers to pay more attention to the philosophical assumptions guiding their work.
    • Understanding change in Chinese undergraduate students’ language learning motivation : during the transition to UK higher education

      Zhang, Qian (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2008-10)
      This thesis investigates changes in Chinese undergraduate students’ language learning motivation during the transition from their home cultural setting to the host cultural setting, while studying on a China-UK 2+1 collaborative programme at the University of Bedfordshire. Since the 1990s, there has been growing attention to research on L2 motivation in classroom or other educational settings. To bridge the gap between general and L2 motivational theories, a number of theoretical frameworks have been developed. The most comprehensive of these is Dörnyei’s (1994a) three-level motivational framework. However, there is as yet little empirical evidence to verify this. The study employed mixed methods. Firstly, in order to identify whether these students’ language learning motivation changed over time, a two stage questionnaire survey was carried out with 158 students. Questionnaires were first administered in October shortly after students arrived in the UK to begin their courses and again in May when they were close to completing their degrees. Factor analysis was used to verify the structure of the questionnaire. Paired t-tests were used to evaluate whether significant changes had occurred in each of the motivational dimensions addressed. Secondly, in-depth face-to-face interviews were conducted with 14 of the questionnaire respondents. The interviews explored motivational change in more open-ended fashion and in greater depth. Students’ comments were transcribed, translated and categorised on the basis of Dörnyei’s (1994a) framework. The conclusions, triangulated by both the key findings and the interview results, indicate that Chinese students have strong instrumental orientations and that their language learning motivation changes significantly at the Learner Level and Language Learning Situation Level of the framework. Some patterns underlying these changes were also discovered. The research findings additionally served to support the applicability of the Dörnyei (1994a) framework. Based on the empirical research findings, some practical recommendations are offered respectively for Chinese students and academic staff. These include: 1) The university should provide more information, or relevant training, about the British academic system and culture. 2) Academic staff need to understand Chinese students more fully and might adjust their teaching style to accommodate them. 3) There is a need for the university to redesign the academic English module to help students efficiently cope with their studies in the UK.
    • Understanding dynamic process of emerging ICT adoption in UK service SMEs: an actor-network approach

      Chinedu Eze, Sunday (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2013-04)
      Although literature reveals that significant efforts have been made to study ICT adoption and diffusion, the diversity of research in terms of theory and methodology is very low. Most studies have relied on traditional adoption theories (e.g., TAM and DOI) and these theories are not capable of providing rich explanantion on how the adoption and post-adoption develop over time. It is argued here that ICT adoption involves multi-dimensional and complex issues. These issues range from how various roles played by actors in emerging ICT are accounted for to ensuring successful adoption. Therefore, this research aims to advance our understanding of emerging ICT adoptions in SMEs from a dynamic process perspective. The specific objectives of this research are to: establish the stages of the dynamic process, identify the key actors and their roles, explore the critical factors affecting the emerging ICT adoption process, identify the challenges and provide recommendations and implications for stakeholders in promoting future adoption and diffusion in UK SMEs. The research adopts a social-technical approach that challenges the ideas of the mainstream thinkers. More specifically, it adopts Actor Network Theory (ANT). The key ANT concepts that influenced the empirical investigation are inscription, translation, framing and stabilisation. The research adopted a qualitative method using face to face interviews. Two rounds of data collection were undertaken. The first round started with a theoretical review, the analysis of relevant literature, and unstructured interviews mainly with small business managers. Eleven interviews were carried out. The second round of interviews was semi-structured with key human actors identified in the first round of interviews. A total of fifteen interviews were conducted. They included the small business manager; SMEs service sector customers, government agencies, SMEs consultants, and IT vendors. The aim was to further explore the dynamic adoption process, the roles and challenges of actors and to validate the outcomes of the findings. The analysis was guided by a hybrid approach of thematic analysis using NVivo software. The study proposed and validated a conceptual framework that illustrates the dynamic process of emerging ICT adoption in SMEs from the Actor Network Theory perspective. This framework helps to understand the adoption process, actors involved, actors’ roles and interactions, and the critical factors. Using the key concepts of ANT as the basis of the investigation, the findings identify a number of key activities associated with the adoption process. These activities include: problem assessment and evaluation, concept generation and evaluation, concept specification, product outsourcing /role delegation, misalignment and alignment of interests, product trial, product modification, adaptation, and impact and problem redefinition. These activities reveal that adoption of emerging ICT in a small business context is not constant, straightforward and certain; instead it is unpredictable, dynamic, and an on-going and reiterative process. ANT concepts were further used to analyse and categorise 20 roles that different actors play, 15 critical factors influencing emerging ICT adoption in SMEs, and the challenges facing actors. While all of these roles, factors, and challenges are critical, in this study, the findings reveal that monitoring and legislation are the most recurring roles at each stage. Furthermore, ease of use, managerial time, shared support, customer focus and adoption costs are the factors affecting the success of multiple stages (three stages). Finally, the thesis presents the contributions and implications for both research and practice in future adoption and diffusion.
    • Understanding extra-judicial responses to young people’s offending; out of court disposals and ‘diversion’ in social context

      O'Brien, Katy Diana (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2019-02)
      This thesis explores the use out of court disposals as responses to offending by 10–17 year olds, through analysing a case study of a diversionary practice in one local authority between 2012 and 2014. The case study is made up from mixed methods data from fourteen service user interviews and a focus group of six staff who had been involved in the delivery model, which included some visual methods. There is also some data from local authority systems that provides insight into the service contact patterns of the interviewees. The data is thematically analysed using a framework based on ecological systems from Bronfenbrenner (1979) and Bourdieu’s ‘thinking tools’ (Bourdieu and Wacquant, 1992). The work of France et al (2012), which proposed the notion of ‘political ecology’ as useful for understanding young people’s relationship with crime, is extended to provide a framework for understanding practice that diverts young people from prosecution. The thesis contributes to knowledge by showing how ‘diversion’ includes a range of practices whose operation can be understood in terms of Bourdieu’s social fields. This data challenges a traditional construct of ‘the system’ and suggests that the notion of system entry is unhelpful for understanding the experiences of young people. Some young people emerge as having contact with a wide range of services including social care and early help and thus they can be considered to already be system involved when this broader picture is considered. Thus a notion of ‘keeping them out’ of the system, as suggested at the focus group as a rationale for offering minimal service responses, was mismatched with their experiences and their needs. There is also critical discussion of how the practice of community resolution by police without involvement from young peoples’ services can be considered as a separate field of practice and is usually understood as being outside ‘the system’. Insight is gained into the ecological worlds of service users and this offers a sense of how diversionary processes are contextualised by a range of influences, which are analysed by applying the notion of political ecology. Many of these young people faced considerable social adversity and very minimalist responses in the name of diversion which produced a mismatch in terms of service offers and need. Bourdieu’s thinking tools are applied to promote critical reflexivity. The mismatch is relevant to understanding ideas of labelling and how this may be understood in terms of social interaction. Insight from the reflexive analysis shows how young people attribute varying levels of significance to receiving out of court disposals and related services which is affected by social context. It is suggested that to promote desistance clarity about disposals and relatability of responses need to be promoted. Also a sense of connectedness to others stood out as important to preventive processes. There are implications for policy and practice which include a need for joined up decision-making between police and young people’s services and relationship-based practice approaches for those young people with more complexity of need.
    • Understanding healthcare self-referral in Niger state (Nigeria): the service users’ and healthcare providers’ perspective

      Koce, Francis George (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2018-02)
      Healthcare self-referral leads to patients receiving care at an inappropriate level and for an unnecessarily higher cost. The patients who most require specialist services are unable to access them in an appropriate manner and the utilisation of Primary Health Care (PHC) services are undermined. In addition, healthcare providers at the referral level regarding care are overwhelmed with minor cases that would have been easily managed at the primary care level. Despite the implications of healthcare self-referral and the large proportion (60-90%) of patients self-referring in the Nigerian healthcare system, there is a dearth of information on the factors that influence healthcare self-referral from the Nigerian context. Therefore, exploratory sequential mixed method approach was employed to address the objectives of this research which were: 1) identify the factors that influence service users’ self-referral to secondary healthcare facilities by exploring the perceptions and experiences of the service users and healthcare providers (qualitative approach); and 2) examine the relationships between the identified factors that influence the decision to self-refer among the self-referred service users (quantitative approach). Andersen’s initial behavioural model was adopted as the theoretical model for this study. This model posits that individual’s use of healthcare services is linked to their predisposing, enabling and need factors for care. Thus, the Andersen’s components helped to structure and assist with the understanding of the factors linked with healthcare self-referral. The interviews (qualitative) with the service users (n=24) and healthcare providers (n=18) were analysed using the five stages of framework analysis namely familiarisation with data, identification of thematic framework, indexing, charting, mapping and interpretation of data. This generated several themes associated with service users bypassing their primary healthcare facilities to the secondary level of care. The findings reflected perceptions regarding healthcare providers, equipment, expectations of service users, and advice from friends, relatives and others. Additional factors identified included government regulations on the utilisation of healthcare facilities, medical symptoms and the perception of severity of symptoms service users present with, in addition to an understanding of the healthcare delivery system among the service users. The inferential findings of the quantitative analysis (n=449) ascertained significant differences between levels of education and understanding of healthcare delivery. Significant differences were also established between levels of education and the perceptions of healthcare providers. Further hypotheses that demonstrated significant differences comprised the relationship between employment status and ability to access the secondary level of care. The relationship between age and reported medical symptoms among the self-referred service users was also discovered to be associated with healthcare self-referral. Additionally, the descriptive analysis also disclosed diverse levels of agreement with each of the sub-scale items on the questionnaire. Overall, the quantitative findings were observed to corroborate with large parts of the qualitative findings. The findings of this research suggest the need for a multifacet approach in addressing healthcare self-referral in the Nigerian context. This include ensuring the availability of the services of doctors within the PHC facilities, ensuring equitable distribution of equipped and operational PHC facilities. In addition, there is need to educate the populace on the appropriate utilisation of the different levels of healthcare facilities. In conclusion, an original approach to healthcare self-referral was demonstrated by adopting the exploratory sequential mixed method and Andersen’s model to understand healthcare self-referral. The findings also contribute to this field by examining the relationships between the factors identified to predict healthcare self-referrals and consequently, offer recommendations, as it applies to the healthcare system in Nigeria.
    • Understanding the educational world of the child: exploring the ways in which parents' and teachers' representations mediate the child's mathematical leaming in multicultural contexts

      O'Toole, Sarah (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2004)
      This study investigates the ways in which parents' and teachers' experiences and representations mediate their child's mathematics learning as they make the transition between home and school to either a multiethnic or mainly white school. In particular, it examines if the forms of mediation they adopt can shed light on the academic success of the child in school mathematics. The focus on mathematics learning has been chosen for the study because of its relative neglect, until recent times, to be seen as a subject influenced by cultural representations. Furthermore, there are significant implications in the relative neglect of understanding the achievement of ethnic minority pupils in mathematics. The research was framed by Vygotskian sociocultural theory and Wenger's (1998) communities of practice to explore the construction of meaning, identity and representations of practice. The amalgam of Wenger's communities of practice with sociocultural theory provided three key theoretical facets: (i) multiple levels of understanding in the form of meaning, practice and identity, (ii) the scope to explore the social and cultural worlds of the learner and (iii) understanding the ways that past experiences impact on current practice. Three different forms of qualitative data collection were used within the context of an ethnographic approach: (i) investigations in the form of classroom observations, (ii) in-depth semi-structured interviews and (iii) a child identity task. Twenty-two parents, eight teachers and fifty-eight children took part in the interviews, which form the main part ofthe data analysis. Out ofthese fifty-eight children, twenty-seven undertook the child identity task. The research took place in three schools with different ethnic make-up: a multicultural school, a mainly white school and a predominantly South Asian school. Two year groups were chosen, year 2 (ages 6/7 years) and year 6 (10/11 years), balancing high and low achievers. This study has provided data, which suggests that the way parents and teachers mediate the child's learning involves more than representations of mathematics. In making meaning of the mathematical, they draw on wider representations of the educational world, which include aspects like child development, notions of achievement, past experiences and the child's projected futures. This complex picture emerged from studying the highly interwoven aspects ofthe construction of meaning, identity and representations of practice. Representations of learning can be borrowed from both communities, providing the ethnic minority pupil with the potential to create hybrid representations of learning as they make the transition between home and school, which may be attributed a cultural status within the home. Each social actor has the potential to borrow from the home or school community to a greater or lesser degree. lfthe gap between the shared representations of the home and school are large, then this increases the likelihood of difficulties for the child in transition. However, the data suggests that even if the cultural representations of the home are very different from the school, the identification of high achievement and the engagement in mathematical activity at home can still provide success in learning. From the school community perspective, classrooms were represented by the teacher informants as 'cultureless' in both the multi ethnic and mainly white school. For example, in the multicultural school the teachers felt that there were so many ethnicities that differences were not visible. In the mainly white school, there were so few ethnic minority children that teachers also struggled to identify issues of culture. In the predominantly South Asian school, issues surrounding culture were brought to the forefront of the teacher discourse. However, in many ethnic minority homes, parents described how culture was influential in mediating representations ofleaming. This has implications in the educational arena with respect to the teachers' understanding of the transitional process that ethnic minority children undergo and the levels of visibility that culture and ethnicity is given in the school community.
    • Understanding the impact of Greek and Pakistani community schools on the development of ethnic minority young persons’ cultural and academic identities

      Prokopiou, Evangelia (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2007)
      This study investigates the processes through which attendance at a community school affects the development of cultural and academic identities of Greek/Greek-Cypriot and Pakistani ethnic minority young people who live in the United Kingdom. The development of cultural and academic identities by community school students is a relatively underesearched and undertheorized area. The theoretical framework of this study draws on developments in cultural developmental theory (Valsiner, 2000a) and the dialogical self theory (Hermans, 2001 a) to understand the cultural and dialogical nature of the processes through which ethnic minority young people develop their identities in community schools. Both theories are influenced by dynamic perspectives on development and have tried to explain psychological phenomena in relation to the sociocultural context. Episodic interviews, drawings and group work were the tools for data collection and multiple perspectives (students', parents' and teachers') were investigated. This small-scale research took place in a Greek and a Pakistani community school. The pupils, both girls and boys, were adolescents aged 13 to 18 years. The findings suggest that the young people in both groups were moving towards multiple, hybrid identities through a dialogical negotiation of aspects of differences! similarities and belonging within their majority and minority communities as well as living in a multicultural society. This negotiation resulted in a multivoiced hybrid identity which emerged through a constant positioning and re-positioning within their communities and school contexts. For the participants in the Pakistani school this negotiation was a struggle shaped by issues of racism and religious discrimination. In this context, the Pakistani school mainly aimed to increase self-confidence and strengthen the students' sense of minority cultural identity, especially the religious aspect of it, whereas the Greek school mainly aimed to preserve the community's cultural identity which was considered to be threatened by assimilation. In both community schools, a strong academic identity was endorsed which had a double function -to foster the acquisition of both knowledge and skills relevant to community education and those relevant to mainstream and higher education. This study demonstrated the value of examining community schools within contrasting communities, and its findings have implications for Psychology and Education.
    • Understanding the nature and extent of an identifiable ‘mixed race’ [self] identity in Bedford: an exploratory study

      Balach-Ali, Michelle (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2020-09)
      This empirical study focused on whether people of ‘mixed race’, White European and Black Caribbean heritage (and not the entire mixed race group), had a distinct cultural identity, and if so, how this identity was constructed. It explored two generations in Bedford, aiming to consider whether this Bedfordian sub-group possessed any form of recognisable cultural [self] identity, whether and how they identified themselves and each other, whilst considering how ‘others’ (Said, 2003) might relate to them. Theoretically, this study principally applied the philosophies of Stuart Hall (1996), and some of the work of Judith Butler’s (1990), to explore contrasting ideas regarding identity. Hall’s argument regarding cultural identities being constructed and controlled by the state has been especially important. This was allied with Butler’s (1990) adapted gender theory which suggests the subject has more autonomy over their choice of identity, specifying their gender (or in this case, their cultural identity) is not something one is born with, rather one becomes their gender. Various other theories were consulted, with considerable use of Tajfel’s Social Identity Theory (1969), which focuses on social grouping; it momentarily refers to Homi Bhabha’s (1994) ‘third space’ theory. The merging of Butler and Hall’s ideas, to create a lens to analyse mixed race and ‘mixed race’ identity, has also been deployed by Bettez (2010) although in a slightly different way. This study replaced Butler’s focus on gender, with ‘race’, considering whether a ‘mixed race’ individual can create, define or become their chosen racial identity in any way. The sample group, containing participants from two separate generations with various socio-economic life-styles, participated in qualitative semistructured interviews which aimed to consider if they shared behaviours and experiences that could be regarded as a shared cultural identity. The study focused on Bedford, as it is a cosmopolitan town with a significant population of Caribbean Windrush immigrants (ONS, 2011) and the third largest ‘mixed race’ (European/Caribbean) town population in the UK. It involved collecting qualitative data, by interviewing thirty individuals, from two sample groups, comprising of two different generations. This study specifically focussed on the ‘mixed race’ descendants of the Windrush migrants, to see if a ‘mixed race’ culture existed. The information was then analysed using inductive methods, in order to allow fluidity to answer the research questions. The study concluded that the ‘mixed race’ individuals sampled shared various life experiences, made some similar choices regarding identity and recurrently articulated their preferences regarding their personal identification and self-classification. Both samples consistently expressed themselves using positive language regarding their identity and lives in Bedford. The data demonstrated that they shared a range of behaviours, experiences and opinions regarding their cultural identities and all demonstrated interest in their personal ethnic diversity. The data also showed that the generational differences did not produce significantly different perspectives regarding identity. Based upon responses and accounts of integration and assimilation, the ‘mixed race’ participants seemed settled within, and ascribed a 'tolerant' outlook towards those ‘racially’ different to themselves and others. Overall, the samples predominantly thought that a ‘mixed race’ culture did exist, but found it difficult to articulate what it resembled or what it meant. This study brings an original contribution to knowledge based on the insight it provides regarding the third largest UK town (Bedford) population of ‘mixed race’ individuals and therefore a specific place and context for the ‘mixed race’ experience’. Firstly, it consulted ‘ordinary people’, outside of a university setting, during data collection. Secondly, it produced information that has challenged previous stereotypes and cultural assumptions related to ‘mixed race’ personal life choices, specifically related to the assumption that they automatically assimilate and experience ‘belonging’ in their Black community. The Bedford location also contests the negative stereotypes of ‘mixed race’ individuals being located in deprived areas, because unlike Hackney – which has the largest UK ‘mixed race’ population – and rated the lowest economic status in the UK, Bedford is roughly mid-way in the country in terms of economic status (ONS, 2019). Finally, the most interesting insight this research found was evidence to suggest that instead of turning towards one side of their heritage or the other, the ‘mixed race’ individuals interviewed were able to navigate amongst and assimilate into and between, the various cultures that they encountered competently, an action I have termed, ‘Cultural Negotiators’. This refers to their ability to weather various layers of racism, prejudices and colourism from the Black, White and other ethnicities – within their own homes, work places, communities and society in general - proficiently and successfully, making them avid ‘Cultural Negotiators’ – further explained later.
    • Understanding the professional identity development of undergraduate osteopathic students in the UK

      McKenna, Brian (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2020-04)
      Professional identity formation is a process that happens simultaneously at the level of the individual (which involves their internal cognitive development), at the interactive level (which involves socialisation through participation) and at the institutional level (which involves being subject to institutional processes). Having a well-developed professional identity is important, as it helps professionals to practise with confidence, provides a sense of belonging, aids normative behaviours and has been linked to better quality care. Whilst research has highlighted the factors that support professional identity development in other professions, there is limited understanding of the factors that student osteopaths use to construct their professional identity. The aim of this study was to construct a theory of how undergraduate osteopaths in the UK construct their professional identity and to determine whether undergraduate osteopathic students have conceptions of an osteopathic identity. A qualitative study was undertaken within a constructivist paradigm. A total of seven UK undergraduate osteopathic students were purposively sampled. Data was collected through all seven participants keeping a diary for one month. Following this, individual interviews were undertaken with all participants. Participant diaries acted both as data and as a reflective prompt for the individual interviews. Subsequent theoretical sampling informed the data analysis. Interviews were audio recorded and transcribed. Towards the end of the study, one participant was selected for a second interview. A constructivist grounded theory approach was used to code and analyse the data and to construct the grounded theory of how undergraduate osteopathic students in the UK construct their professional identity. The data resulted in the construction of a theory that encompasses three interrelated levels. At the individual level, students held a conception of their future self as an osteopath, which they used to motivate themselves and measure their progress. They constructed this future self as an osteopath by the interactive process which became known as ‘Magpieing’. This involved the collection of identity contents from tutors, peers and documentation. Students then experimented with these identity contents with either patients or peers before making the decision to integrate the content, continue to experiment with it in other situations or discard it. This was underpinned by institutional level processes that constituted providing students with role models and mentors, clinical encounters and safe spaces where they could collect and experiment with identity contents. Students held a conception of an osteopathic identity base on three levels: ways of interacting with patients, professionalism, and knowledge and ways of using it. They associated most strongly with ways of interacting with patients and least strongly with knowledge and ways of using it. The findings indicate that undergraduate osteopathic students in the UK construct their professional identity on an individual, an interactional and an institutional level, and that these levels are interrelated. Undergraduate osteopathic students in the UK have a conception of the professional identity of osteopaths based on three levels, with which they strongly or weakly associated. These findings provide the first theory of how student osteopaths construct their professional identity.
    • Understanding the use of the Common Assessment Framework: exploring the implications for frontline professionals

      Nethercott, Kathryn (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2013-09)
      Current legislation, within England, states that local authorities should provide services for all those families in need, while also setting thresholds for access to these services. However, research has identified that regardless of the introduction of strategies to identify need and enhance family support, on-going barriers to services remain. This study took a social constructionist approach to explore professionals’ experiences of the use of the Common Assessment Framework form and multiagency working. Data were collected in four different local authorities in the South East of England, in two phases: phase one February 2011 to February 2012, phase two July to September 2014. Phase one was intended to focus on the experiences of both professionals and families in one Local Authority (LA). However, as a result of a difficulty in accessing families the research was refocused to professionals’ experiences and use of the CAF alone. Phase two was extended to three further LAs. Forty one professionals, from a variety of agencies, took part in semistructured interviews individually or in a group. Data were analysed utilising thematic analysis (Braun & Clarke 2006). Conclusions are from a small scale study and so cannot be generalised. However, findings suggested professional use of the CAF was dictated by local authority policy. Two issues emanated from this. Firstly, as the local authorities adopted the policy of utilising the CAF as a referral mechanism, rather than for its intended purpose, to assess needs, professionals perceived the CAF form as a referral tool, rather than an assessment tool. Secondly, the range of professionals utilising the CAF was diverse. This diversity necessitates suitable training to accommodate the various professionals and their backgrounds. However, in this study, such training was largely lacking. Additionally professionals found multi-agency working, required by the CAF process, problematic, time consuming, and onerous. However, experienced and knowledgeable professionals were seen to utilise creative ways in which to successfully navigate the ‘referral process’. A further finding of the study is that there were key differences in regard to the ways in which diverse professional groups view safeguarding for adolescents. Recommendations for future research, policy and local authority use of the CAF form have been made.
    • Unearthing the English common reader: working class reading habits, England 1850-1914

      Gerrard, Teresa A.; University of Bedfodshire (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2004)
      Gerrard, T. (2004) 'Unearthing the English common reader: working class reading habits, England 1850-1914'. PhD thesis. University of Bedfordshire.
    • Unfair dismissal study in Omani labour law with emphasis on the relevance of Shari’a

      Al Kiyumi, Fawzi Mubarak (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2013-01)
      The aim of this research is to investigate the implications of unfair dismissal within the boundaries of Omani labour law with particular relevance to the role of Shari’a. Shari’a itself does not provide a legal code, contract law, or a law of tort as yet but it does provide examples of applicable rules, supported with analogies, to deal with employment. The basic principles of forming a contract in Omani Commercial Law; English Law and Shari’a are similar; however, they differ in application. Likewise, the principles of the employment contract are similar with a few differences being seen in implementation; specifically with regards to unfair dismissal issues. This research used a qualitative approach that has enabled the generation and analysis of data from multiple sources including literature review, semi-structured interviews, court cases, Shari’a implied employment contract principles as found in the Qur’an, the Sunnah and relevant Islamic texts. The research shows that the main reasons for employee dismissal can be categorised into: poor performance, disobedience regarding the contractual rules and regulations, absenteeism, aggressive behaviour and an extreme critical attitude in the work-place. From the employee’s perspective, the main reasons for filing cases at Oman Courts were to seek justice, to obtain fair compensation or to highlight the moral values that form the Islamic code of practice. In contrast the employers considered seeking financial gain and revenge as the motivating factors for employees for filing court cases. There obviously is a mismatch to the reasons by each side and the key findings from this research suggest that there is a modest impact of the legal aspects of Shari’a on the Omani Law of Contract and the Employment Law though it is normally conceived by the public that Shari’a is the fundamental law that governs all aspects of muslim life. There needs to be an overwhelming expectation and requirement to develop procedures in the Omani Employment Law that expedite the process of dealing with dismissal cases and the propositions of establishing an arbitration committee may seem to be a way forward. In addition, the establishment of a Labour Court is paramount as at present the employment cases are heard in the Commercial Courts. This will align with the approach taken in the English system where the Employment Tribunals and the Employment Appeal Tribunal oversee cases and minimize delays in achieving justice. There is also a strong argument that there needs to be a review of Article 40/35/2003 that deals with employer rights to dismiss the worker without prior notice in order to establish a solid foundation for justice in the Sultanate of Oman. Unfair dismissal is a phenomenon that impacts on the employee, the employer, the employee’s wider family network and society. This study provides an in-depth understanding and insight into these impacts and into the capacity of Shari’a impact to address modern employment issues in relation to the labour laws and secular laws being used in Oman today.
    • University life event reporting and association with career decidedness, thoughtfulness and professionalism

      Briggs, Steven G. (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2011-09)
      University students experience a range of life events whilst studying. Extensive research has established that university life events (events that are synonymous with studying) can be associated with student dropout from university. However, less is known about what university life events are experienced collectively by student ‘persisters’ (individuals who do not dropout). This study therefore sought to establish when persisters reported (and how they perceived) experiencing university life events. Between-group differences amongst students were considered. Life events have been attributed to personal change which can manifest in a number of ways, including change in career and professionalism. Understanding the associations between life events and career/professional development could serve to enhance the support that a university could provide to students in these areas. Consequently whether/when university life events were associated with students’ career thoughtfulness, decidedness and professionalism was addressed. An Interpretivist epistemological orientation was assumed and a comparative case study design was employed (involving three data collection phases). Phase one (pilot work) employed interviews and repertory grids to identify the range of events that student persisters might experience whilst studying at university; tentative between-group differences were considered. Based upon pilot work findings, three instruments were constructed, piloted and validated (phase two).These instruments addressed 1) university life event experiences; 2) career thoughtfulness and decidedness; and 3) professionalism status. Phase three (main study) involved administering the instruments quasi-longitudinally to students from two fundamentally different courses (‘professional’ (associated with a very well-defined career route and emphasis on specific professional development) and ‘generalist’ (associated with a more open-ended career route and less prescribed professional development)) at the start and end of the academic year. Result accuracy was checked through follow-up interviews with lecturers. III Trends were established between student groups in terms of what university life events were experienced and how these were perceived. Differences in reporting were found based on year group, course type and time of the academic year. Based on collective data, experiences most synonymous with specific stages of studying on a professional or generalist course were identified and are discussed. Different life events were found to be associated with enhanced or reduced career thoughtfulness, decidedness and professionalism throughout the academic year. Findings were considered holistically and an overview of how life events are associated with these areas was presented. Follow-up interviews overwhelmingly supported questionnaire findings. Explanations for findings and result applicability were considered. Suggestions for future work and recommendations are presented.
    • The use of acute responses of endocrine and immune biomarkers to highlight overreaching

      Leal, Diogo Luis Campos Vaz (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2017-09)
      The action of overtraining may lead to the different states of overreaching or the overtraining syndrome (OTS). Chronic maladaptation in endocrine and immune mechanisms, and performance decrements occur with the incidence of these states. Circulating cortisol and testosterone have been proposed as endocrine markers of overreaching/OTS. Salivary measurements of these hormones have been used as a non-invasive surrogate for circulating levels. Chapter 4 (study 1) on this Thesis examined the influence of consuming water 10 min, 5 min and 1 min before providing a saliva sample in diluting saliva and consequently providing invalid salivary cortisol and testosterone concentration levels. No trial effect was found. However, exercise-induced salivary cortisol and testosterone significantly elevated in response to the 10 min and 5 min trials only, with lower absolute-changes observed in the 1 min trial. No differences were found in the resting samples. It was suggested that consuming water up to 5 min before providing a saliva sample does not appear to influence the hormone concentrations at rest and during exercise. However, the recommended guidelines for saliva collection have been followed in the subsequent studies. Chapter 5 (study 2) examined the reproducibility of salivary cortisol and testosterone responses to a 30-min cycle named as the 55/80. This test has been proposed as a suitable indicator of hormonal alterations associated with overreaching/OTS. Reproducibility of salivary cortisol and testosterone to the 55/80 was confirmed by determining intra-individual coefficients of variation (CVi). However, the 55/80 is a cycle test and therefore, may not be appropriate for runners. Chapter 6 (study 3) focused on designing a 30-min, running bout (i.e. the RPEtreadmill) to reproduce the effects of the 55/80. The RPEtreadmill is a self-paced test and therefore, will not require aVO2maxtest to determine exercise intensities. An acute elevation of plasma and salivary testosterone, but not cortisol was observed in response to the RPEtreadmill. These responses have been shown to be reproducible. The data from Chapter 6 suggest that the RPEtreadmill may be a suitable tool to indicate hormonal alterations associated with overreaching/OTS. This led to the design of study 4 (Chapter 7). Plasma and salivary cortisol and testosterone responses were examined before and after a 12-day intensified-training period. Immunity markers (specifically salivary immunoglobulin A (SIgA), leucocyte subset proliferation and phagocytic activity) were examined before and after training. Plasma and salivary cortisol were unaffected by acute exercise and training. However, testosterone elevated to the RPEtreadmill Pre-Training, and these responses were reduced Post-Training. Total leucocytes and mucosal immunity were unaffected by exercise and training. However, increased upper respiratory tract infection symptoms were found Post-Training. Baseline phagocytic function was 47% lower Post-Training. This Thesis suggests that testosterone may be a more reliable exercise-stress marker. Moreover, the RPEtreadmill may be a suitable tool to highlight alterations in testosterone when in an overreached state in an attempt to avoid the incidence of OTS, and that this tool may be practically applied in the field of exercise science. Additionally, this Thesis shows that a 12-day intensified-training period induced a marked decrease in phagocytic responses, and therefore using the RPEtreadmill to highlight overreaching may be important to also prevent further impairments in immunity status.
    • Use of cognitive measurement tools in prediction of psychological wellbeing

      Hashempour, Faramarz (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2016-02)
      Prediction of psychological wellbeing was investigated utilising a specific set of cognitive measures. This study considered a mixed method approach, progressing in three main phases. First study (the pilot study) involved (n=147) participants where data analysis was conducted using ANOVA, multiple regression and Structural Equation Modelling (SEM). The Pilot study considered six measures of thinking Style or Dysfunctional Attitude Scale (DAS-24), Attributional Style Questionnaire (ASQ-6 negative), Meta-cognitive Awareness Questionnaire (MAQ), Mastery/control, Cybernetic Coping Scale (CCS-15) and Beck Depression Inventory BDI-II. The correlation analysis showed positive association between variables with predictive approximation of 30% for depressive symptoms. The pilot study’s confirmatory factor and path analysis results produced supporting evidence of predictive quality with a good fit with model. The second phase comprised of a two-wave panel survey which included most of the measures from study one but added a 12-item version of Eysenck’s Personality Inventory, while the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) and General Anxiety Disorder (GAD-7) measures replaced the BDI-II. Regression analysis indicated that approximately 50% of the variance in PHQ scores could be predicted with DAS-24, mastery, ASQ and Neuroticism being the strongest predictors. A second regression analysis predicted 65% of the variance in GAD7 scores with DAS success and perfectionism sub factor being the strongest predictor. A series of confirmatory factor analysis was conducted as well as regression and covariance analysis of the identified variables. Longitudinal path analyses were performed indicating that approximately 74% of the variance in PHQ9 scores and 71% of the variance in GAD7 scores at time two could be predicted, with the time one well-being measures the strongest predictors. The most striking findings related to the role of Neuroticism in prediction of psychological wellbeing. Third phase of this mixed method study considered qualitative approach, using framework analysis. Participants were twelve clinicians who currently working with clients with depressive or anxiety based difficulties. The main findings indicated that all previously identified independent variables of thinking style, perception, control and though awareness contributing towards psychological wellbeing. Other notable observation included participant’s clinical training modality that influenced the choice of responses. Overall tested hypotheses in both modalities of studies provided additional knowledge and understanding by offering a unique theoretical perspective, where the correlation between psychological wellbeing and cognitive processes could be predicted when utilising specific sets of measures.
    • The use of sacred texts as tools to enhance social research interviews

      Zakher, Maged Sobhy Mokhtar (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2018-03)
      Background – Enhanced social research interviews seek to engage interviewees in extended conversation-like dialogues where they are empowered to produce output by discussing themes of relevance to them. Photos, videos, vignettes and other enhancing tools have been used before in social sciences research interviews to contextualise the interview interaction. Initial Assumption – Sacred texts (such as excerpts from the Bible and the Quran) enjoy some features that make them potential tools to enhance research interviews. This study set out to answer the Research Question: ‘What are the benefits and challenges of using sacred texts as tools to enhance social research interviews?’ Methodology – Selected Biblical and Quranic verses were used in three sets each, to start social discussions with fifteen Christian and thirteen Muslim participants, respectively, in semi-structured interviews. Findings – The findings of this empirical study show that using sacred texts was perceived favourably by the participants, enhanced the dynamics of the interviews and provided a platform to produce data that are rich, varied and nuanced. Conclusion – This research points out the usefulness of sacred texts – as enhancing tools – when used in social research interviews to produce natural conversations that, in turn, lead to rich, nuanced data. This suggests that sacred texts can be added to the qualitative research interview-enhancing toolbox especially with exploratory studies that are open for emerging themes during interview settings. Research areas where sacred texts can be used in interviews include: ethics, social relations, gender roles, psychology, moral choices, cultural studies and spirituality, among other social sciences disciplines. Researchers as well as participants will be expected to have a degree of familiarity with the sacred book or texts to make both interviewers and interviewees interested enough in discussing it in an open and respectful setting.
    • User satisfaction in PFI and non- PFI hospitals in the UK: in particular the outpatients’ department reception/waiting areas

      Henderson, Wendy M. (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2008-11)
      Few studies have been undertaken which examine the correlation between design of the receptionl/waiting areas of the outpatients' departments and the implications for Private Finance Initiative (PFI) and non-PFI hospitals, in particular the interior environment with reference to user satisfaction. This study investigates to what degree user satisfaction has been achieved in the design of the receptionlwaiting areas in PFI and non-PFI hospitals. The aim of the investigation is to determine whether user satisfaction can be achieved in PFI or non-PFI hospital environments, particular in the outpatients' department. To ascertain whether hospital environments facilitate user friendly and therapeutic characteristics/attributes conducive to user satisfaction, two strands of investigation were undertaken; a) investigation and analysis of PFI and non-PFI hospital design; b) the study of users (PFI and non-PFI) via questionnaire surveys and analysis of their perceptions. The research methods utilised combinations of qualitative information from interviews, discussions with hospital end users, architects/designers and Consortium executives. The surveys undertaken with patients, hospital staff and NHS Trust Managers provided quantitative data to measure the degree to which user satisfaction had been achieved. The main findings of the design analysis identify the strengths and weaknesses in the design of the 'main' and 'sub' reception/waiting areas respectively. The results of the patient surveys, discussions and interviews revealed more positive perceptions of the hospital facilities for PFI hospitals and a general acceptance of the hospital facilities in the non-PFI hospitals. However, the other comments section of the questionnaires reveals some psychological needs of the user were not being met. The hospital staff surveys, discussions and interviews revealed the spatial planning was not ideal for their functional needs. The survey of NHS Trust Managers, Architects/Designers and Building Contractors revealed the difficulties associated with the collaborative process and the implications for the design development process, when reflecting upon 'cost effectiveness' and 'value for money' issues. The conclusions drawn from the study suggest that there is a case for the standardisation of therapeutic environments in the development of 'new build' hospital projects via the design development and collaborative process. The recommendation (see p. 313) provides a design protoeo/that enhance and aids the design development process via selective expertise, which addresses the functional and psychological needs of the hospital end user.