• Do voluntary disclosures have an impact on sustainable company performance? evidence from top Nigerian oil companies

      Dembo, Abubakar Mahmud (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2021-01)
      This study contains four interrelated stages of a more comprehensive study of whether voluntary disclosures have an impact on company performance of top Nigerian oil companies. The study uses multiple data to improve the understanding of the underlying process. The main aim of this study is to explore the relationship between corporate governance, sustainability practice, and corporate performance. The sample period covers ten years after the first Nigerian code was published in 2003; that is from 2004 to 2013. The first stage analyses were the compliance level over two periods; when the first code was published (2004-2009) and when the second code was made public (2010-2013). The second stage investigates the relationship between corporate governance mechanisms and performance. The impact of sustainability practice on corporate performance is examined at stage three, whether on average, well-governed companies are likely to follow a more socially responsible program through improved sustainable practices. The study found that a combination of sustainable and governance practices has a positive influence on performance than sustainability practices alone; this suggests that governance practice positively impacts the sustainability practices-performance association. This study provides four main contributions to the existing literature. Notably, this is the first study which explores the compliance with Nigerian code and examines the relationship of best practice with the performance of the top Nigerian companies. Secondly, this study provides evidence that governance mechanisms have enhanced the impact of sustainability practice and performance of companies, thus addressing the literature gap for Nigerian companies. Thirdly, the qualitative analysis of the managers’ view on the relationship between sustainability and corporate governance practices within top Nigerian companies represents an addition to the existing literature. Finally, the study also adds to the body of knowledge on the relationship between corporate governance, sustainability practices, and performance from a developing nation. The results have significant insinuations for corporate managers and policy-makers for them to develop a plan that mutually pursue governance and sustainability practice developments together, instead of considering the social practice as a peripheral. These results provide the foundation for Nigerian companies to incorporate good governance and social responsibility as part of their business strategy aimed at improving corporate performance.
    • ‘One of the tools in the toolbox’ police perceptions of using remote monitoring software to manage convicted online child sex offenders

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

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

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

      Christie, Eva Christine (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2020-12)
      The research question addressed in this thesis asked what the minimum requirements are within a supportive relationship which give it the potential to enable children who have been harmed through child sexual abuse and exploitation (CSA/E) in the UK to recover. The aim was to give local health and social care commissioners the confidence to commission CSA/E recovery services thereby reducing the scarcity of such therapeutic support in the UK; and, as part of this, to bridge a perceived gap between child and adolescent mental health (CAMHS) and voluntary and community sector (VCS) CSA/E recovery services. The fieldwork methodology was qualitative and approached from the perspective of hermeneutic phenomenology. Preparation included a scoping exercise to identify the issues and the mainstream positions relating to CSA/E recovery services in the UK. It focused on: 1) the prevalence of CSA and CSE, the context of UK national CSA/E service provision and local strategies supporting the commissioning of CSA/E recovery services for children; 2) trauma, multiple trauma, CSA/E and the impact of CSA/E, and 3) the development of mainstream therapeutic approaches to recovery from trauma. Results from the latter were used to inform a conceptual framework of minimum requirements needed for a supportive relationship to be effective in helping children to recover following CSA/E. The requirements were deconstructed into practical activities which were then consulted on with 15 children, their specialist CSA/E service keyworkers and social workers; and their management/service commissioners (36 participants). The fieldwork was carried out with three local authorities and a commissioned VCS organisation. A post-fieldwork scoping exercise was then undertaken exploring VCS CSA/E service practice more generally, to understand whether the requirements identified in the fieldwork services, were replicated in the VCS sector. From the research findings four key themes emerged. The first of these was that the minimum requirements for a supportive relationship appear to be identifiable, effective and potentially generalizable. Furthermore, CSA/E recovery services could be commissioned from the VCS because they are based on the same established psychotherapeutic knowledge base as CAMHS (and the VCS CSA/E services are already supporting children with CAMHS Tiers 2 and in some cases Tier 3 levels of need). The second of the key themes was that to be optimally effective and sustainable social pedagogic and strengths-based CSA/E recovery services need a whole service/organisation and multi-agency approach – to support children’s recovery and avoid staff burnout. The third key theme was that CSA/E recovery services can only be successful if they recognise that service users may have multiple traumas; and look to respond to early childhood CSA to minimise revictimisation. The fourth key theme was that failure to maintain a child’s educational achievement following CSA/E is a serious concern, in view of the potential life changing consequences of becoming an adult without the basic academic qualifications which support access to the workplace and further training. Finally, the publication and prioritisation of a CSA strategy by senior management in local areas is needed, to assist promotion of an effective local response to CSA/E and address some of the gaps in local service provision, including in particular, those highlighted in the four key themes. These conclusions might be summarised by a Theory of Change; in which the stakeholders are the keyworker and the child. The change is from the state of trauma at point of referral to being ‘on the road to recovery’. The activity is: creating for the child the experience of ‘being in relationship’ and the experience of ‘achievement’. The principle enablers (resources) needed to achieve the change are: an appropriately skilled practitioner and a sufficient time period to consolidate the change. The intermediate output/outcome is: the establishment of a relationship of good quality and appropriate length. The final goal is: the positive relationship and achievement experiences which the child takes into her future – as the essential cornerstone on which a lifetime of recovery can be built. Prompted by the research findings listed above, and others, the five suggestions for further research are to explore: 1) the findings with a larger sample to enhance confidence in their generalisability; 2) how to ensure that children who are victims or survivors of CSA/E in their early (or pre-pubescent) childhoods are identified and provided with the appropriate support when the abuse occurs; 3) how to ensure that children who are victims/survivors of CSA/E are supported to complete their education; 4) ways of significantly improving victims/survivors’ sense of safety in their environments and associative lives; and 5) how services and organisations can better contain or support frontline staff in order to sustain high quality, effective CSA/E recovery services.
    • Daring moments: improvisational movements as relational responsivity

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

      Barford, Cheryl (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2020-11)
      In older adults, risk of fall has been associated with poor muscle quality, dysfunction and reduced muscle thickness. Research has typically focussed on muscle quality through capacity tests and the identification of sarcopenia. However, little is understood about the quality of the torso muscle in older populations and particularly torso muscle onset when recovering from an unexpected perturbation. Recovery from unexpected perturbations like a slip, require fast and efficient motor control. However research that has focussed on torso muscle onset, have used tasks that are self-initiated which, if repeated, can lead to modulated motor control responses. Therefore, the aim of this study was to develop a test that would reveal torso muscle thickness and onset responses to an unexpected lower body perturbation event that mimicked a unilateral slip, in younger, trained and older participants. Developing a test that could identify deeper and superficial torso muscle onset simultaneously required the synchronisation of two methods of onset detection; a perturbation device and motion capture to orchestrate the synchronised timing. Reliability of Rehabilitative Ultrasound Imaging (RUSI) B-mode to capture muscle thickness revealed very good to excellent agreement for sonographer reliability (ICC, 0.796 to 0.995) and measurement method (0.995 to 0.9997). The perturbation device was monitored throughout testing to assess the factors that affect the force and velocity of the perturbation. RUSI M-mode was used simultaneously with sEMG to assess deeper and superficial torso muscles onset. Reliability of onset detection methods were assessed using erector spinae sEMG signals. The addition of a TKEO application within signal processing improved accuracy and reliability of computerised algorithm detection methods on the sEMG signals (ICC 0.8152 95% CI 0.723 to 0.875). In order to use RUSI to measure TrA and IO muscle onset, the agreement between EO tissue deformation via RUSI with EO onset via sEMG was determined using Bland Altman Limits of agreement (LOA). The LOA for RUSI and sEMG were calculated separately for older (4.45 ms, 95% CI; -7.25 to 16.15), younger (-9.65 ms 95% CI; -5.91 to - 13.38) and trained (– 7.87 ms, 95% CI; -23.26 to 7.52) participants and applied to muscle onset values for final comparison. Older participants revealed significantly later onset times than younger participants (p<0.05). Older adult muscle onset was not significantly different to trained participants. Older and younger individuals appeared to recruit torso muscles within a narrow window (44 ms and 24 ms), however trained participants revealed a wider timeframe with sequential recruitment (80 ms). Older males had significantly greater IO thickness than younger males (p<0.005) and trained participants had significantly greater LAW thickness than older and younger participants. TrA thickness in trained participants was significantly correlated with TrA and IO muscle onset (r=0.739, p<0.05) suggesting that Yoga and Pilates may yield positive results for torso muscle function, However, further study with larger sample sizes and matched controls is required to discern this. Using RUSI M-mode as a measure of muscle onset is a promising development and is worthy of further exploration particularly with in musculoskeletal assessment of older adults.
    • Moving stories: creating a dialogical space for reflexive storytelling about family

      Böhme, Helen (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2020-10)
      This inquiry is set in and against the backdrop of my personal and professional experience as a family member, as a social worker in adoption, as a relationship therapist in independent practice, and as a family therapist in a licenced fertility clinic. Over the years, I have practised from within a number of different therapeutic approaches and I have come to value a collaborative way of working that positions the people with whom I am working as the narrator of their own lives. My position as therapist then is to co-create the conditions in the therapeutic arena for people to tell and reflect on stories about their lived experience in families. The invitation to tell stories about family, the storytelling itself, the witnessing and the process of sense-making enables reflexive and collaborative conversation that is designed to extend people’s stories about the possibilities of what a family can be like and become. In this thesis I offer stories about family from my personal and professional lives. These are mostly constructed as conversational narratives and are intended to mirror what I am calling the collaborative, co-creative and reflexive etho-methodology of narrative social constructionist therapeutic conversation. I discuss how the stories we tell about our lives are generative of narratives which influence the meanings of our past, current and future relationships. I discuss how storytelling is not only a description of relational matters but also opens relational possibilities. This study focuses on the creating of dialogical and reflexive space for generative storytelling. I show how we weave our personal lives from skeins of imagination, memories and stories provided by our family history, the time in which we live and the culture that we live in. I discuss the ethical implications of storytelling practices from within the living moment of them occurring - in professional practice, in everyday life, in research writing and in terms of making this material publicly available. In both this research study and my professional practice, I combine social constructionist and narrative theory with an ethnographical methodology. The influence of social construction on narrative practice proposes that we and our ideas about relationships are co-created and re-created within relationships. The professional practice and the research processes are driven by an onto-epistemological ethos where becoming and learning are understood as intertwined, emergent and mutually shaping. As a method of inquiry autoethnography acknowledges and accommodates subjectivity, emotionality and the researchers influence on the research. I often say to people with whom I am working therapeutically that we are engaged in a kind of collaborative research process. In my professional practice, reflexive conversations and reflexive writing open up possibilities for people to change the relationship with their own history. The writing stories from my own life as part of my research practice has mirrored what I do in my everyday professional practice with similar outcomes.
    • To explore the factors that influence the millennial generation entrepreneurs identifying entrepreneurial opportunity in Malaysia

      Abdul Hami, Heliza (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2020-10)
      In recent years, development of entrepreneurship in both scholarly and entrepreneurial activity has seen growing importance in Malaysia. Entrepreneurship can be labelled as the “engine of growth”. Simultaneously, entrepreneurs have brought an enormous positive contribution to not only the economic development but also social development. The importance of entrepreneurship to the Malaysian economic growth can be evidenced from the various support mechanism and policies by the Malaysian government. In 2010, the Malaysian government unveiled the New Economic Model, a 10-year plan to double the country’s per capita income by 2020. The New Economic Model has been successful in promoting entrepreneurship by providing entrepreneurial training and funding to encourage entrepreneurship. As a result, from the Malaysia Labour Force Survey (2018), the percentage of entrepreneurs increased by 9% from 2016 to 2017, indicating that the government’s efforts have been fruitful. However, the increase in number shows the classification of age range falls between 22 and 34. Thus, it can be concluded that the young age of the entrepreneurs or familiarly known as millennial generations are those who were born between 1982 and 2000. Reviewing previous research on millennial generation entrepreneurs, particularly from the Malaysian perspective, indicates that the research within the entrepreneurship discipline is fragmented and underdeveloped. Therefore, the topic chosen for this study falls within the focus of entrepreneurial opportunity identification. Research on millennial generation entrepreneurship has hindered knowledge development and creation in the field of entrepreneurship. This study aims to explore the factors influencing millennial generation in identifying entrepreneurial opportunity in Malaysia. This study is relevant in helping to build resilient businesses, to strengthen policy-making and encourage the millennials to consider entrepreneurship as a career. The research is based on qualitative investigation informed by an interpretivist ontology and epistemology. The author adopted semi-structured interviews to gain a deeper understanding of the aim of the study. Purposive sampling was adopted. The selection of participants was based on the specific criterion. The data were analysed using thematic analysis to create a meaningful classification of the influencing factors. All themes were coded using Nvivo 11 software. This study revealed that the factors influencing the identification of entrepreneurial opportunity among the millennial generation entrepreneurs in Malaysia differs based on the business industry, personal background and position. The interview data captured two main categorisations that can be acknowledged as individual factors and environmental factors. The findings that fall under the individual factors include alertness, prior knowledge, entrepreneurial cognition, social network, self-efficacy, personality traits, online digital platform, digital skills and Bumiputera status. Whereas, under the environmental factors, community, economic environment and regulatory or policy seem to be the most prominent factors in identifying entrepreneurial opportunity. The diverse background of the interviewees has added value to the findings by providing contending perspectives to the research. The findings suggest that the factors that influence millennials in identifying entrepreneurial opportunity in Malaysia differ from the in-depth available literature linked to developed countries. This study has advanced our understanding of entrepreneurial opportunity identification in a developing nation. The findings of this study offer fresh insight and value to academics, practitioners, as well as to policymakers and open up several research areas for entrepreneurship development in business start-ups, mainly focusing on the millennial generation. Thus, the findings provide an essential baseline for future quantitative and qualitative studies focusing on the Malaysian millennial generation.
    • Biopsychosocial predictors of risky sexual behaviours among the gay men in the UK

      Yadegarfard, Mohammadrasool (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2020-10)
      Introduction: The prevalence of human immunodeficiency viruses and sexual transmitted infections is higher among gay men than in any other demographic group. In many cases, the spread of sexual transmitted infections is only due to risky sexual behaviours. Risky sexual behaviour is an ongoing issue that has no absolute answer, the results of studies conducted on risky sexual behaviours just ten years ago might not be in line with the results of studies carried out today. In an attempt to support this, the current researcher tried to answer one main question: why do gay individuals subsequently choose to engage in risky sexual behaviours? Methodology: The researcher conducted three studies in two stages using a multiphase mixed methods research design, consisting of a mixed method in the first stage and a quantitative study in the second stage. In the three studies, a total of 803 gay and heterosexual men participated. The study includes five comparison studies between gay and heterosexual men in two stages. Results: Study one (qualitative): A qualitative study was conducted in parallel with the quantitative study in stage one .The key themes that emerged as contributing factors to risky sexual behaviours and unsafe sex were: Beliefs and attitude towards RSBs and gay men; Identity and internalized homophobia; childhood experiences, age, substance use; attachment; well-being. From analysing the data, it appeared that all these areas of an individuals’ life influence their sexual behaviours. However, most of the factors seemed to be linked and overlapped on each other and identifying one factor without considering other factors was not completely possible. Study two (quantitative): It was found that the studied criteria predicted RSB only for the heterosexual respondents and did not predict RSB among the gay participants. Nevertheless, among the gay respondents, sexual hyperactivation was found to be predicted by substance use and loneliness. It is concluded that gay males who experience subjective loneliness, smoke and sniff substances for recreational purposes report higher levels of sexual hyperactivation. However, higher sexual hyperactivation was not found to be a predictor of sexual relationships or RSB per se. Study three (quantitative): Based on the findings from stage one, the third study was conducted. The third study was included three hypotheses that were partly supported by the results of hypothesis testing. The results showed that there are more similarities between gay and heterosexual men than differences and, the differences that do exist are in individuals’ life experiences, which are the results of society’s different responses to and treatment of gay and heterosexual men. Discussion: The researcher believes that this current study is unique in its field and the outcomes contributed to the existing knowledge and understanding of RSBs among men. The multiphase mixed method design used in this study gave the researcher a comprehensive view of the subject. It allowed the researcher to measure a number of variables. The TPB was found to be a helpful model for understanding RSBs. The implications of the findings are discussed in the last chapter.
    • An exploration of employee commitment and turnover intention: a case study of Nigeria's public sectors

      Akinsowon, Peter Akinwande (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2020-09-12)
      This thesis focuses on employee commitment and turnover intention in the public sector organisations in Nigeria. Turnover intention refers to the withdrawal process in which an employee begins to think about leaving their job. Notably, it is not the act of leaving a job but a key predictor of leaving. In principle, the intention to leave an organisation will result in actual turnover if managed poorly. As it is one of the key factors responsible for employee turnover, it is therefore imperative to understand the root causes of employee turnover intention in contemporary workplace. By achieving such understanding, employers can devise hiring and retention initiatives that can increase employee retention and reduce turnover intention and thus turnover in the modern workplace. The focus on turnover intention is especially significant in the public sector. While extant studies suggest that poor leadership and inadequate pay (issues prevalent in the public sector) may influence employee decision to leave an organisation this is not the case for public sectors, especially in the Nigerian context. Research evidence suggests that, irrespective of the challenges facing employees in the public sector, job turnover was high for private sector organisations in Nigeria compared to public sectors. A reason for this was that the public sector was more stable, and employees were assured of pay. However, evidence exists to suggest that while employees may not be leaving the public sectors, their turnover intention is high, and many are seeking greener pastures. Recent studies suggest that employee commitment is the backbone to reduce turnover intention among employees. The thesis set out to investigate the contextual meaning of employee commitment and turnover intention within the context of the Nigerian public sectors. Using a qualitative approach, data were collected from 21 participants using a semi structured interview technique and findings revealed the meaning of commitment within the Nigerian public sectors. This subsequently showed a lack of sense of ownership from the public sector employees in Nigeria. Overall, the thesis found that turnover intention in the Nigerian public sector was low and conditional on the continuation of the prevailing organisational, employment sector and national culture. Based on the above findings, the thesis contributes to the literature by developing a framework. Also, the study contributes to the knowledge of organisational culture and employee commitment turnover relationship in the public sector in Nigeria and a host of other contributions outlined in the main thesis. Thus, the implication of this study is that it highlights the challenges of fostering employee commitment in the Nigerian public organisations that will enable practitioners to develop interventions that will improve internal control. This paper makes the following recommendations for future studies. First, data could be collected in the western context to enable future comparative analysis. Secondly, the framework could be tested using a quantitative approach to test for the generalizability of the findings. Furthermore, Nigerians resident in Nigeria (unlike diaspora like myself) may endeavour to undertake similar studies in order to check whether the information and approaches of the participants will be different.
    • Operationalising physical literacy within physical education teaching practice through professional development

      Durden-Myers, Elizabeth Jayne (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2020-09)
      Introduction - Physical literacy has been described as a longed-for concept and has gained widespread global interest. This interest has also given rise to calls for physical literacy to be operationalised, providing clarity and guidance on developing physical literacy informed teaching practice. Operationalising physical literacy is crucial in moving the concept forwards by providing substance to the claims made by physical literacy advocates. The purpose of this research was to explore how physical literacy could be operationalised within physical education teaching practice. In particular, this thesis investigates how professional development can support physical literacy informed physical education practice. Methodology - This research utilised professional development sessions alongside participatory action research to develop the practice of fourteen teachers of physical education in both primary and secondary school contexts. Semi-structured interviews were used to capture the professional development journey of each teacher. This information was supplemented by extensive supporting data including field diaries, emails, video recordings, lesson observations, lesson plans and lesson reflections. Thematic analysis and narrative representation were used to analyse and present the findings of the semi-structured interviews. Findings - This research proposes that physical literacy professional development can be effective in operationalising physical literacy within physical education teaching practice. It argues that the factors that mediate the effectiveness of professional development include the professional development process, the use of a credible expert, and participant and context engagement. This research also argues that as a result of professional development teachers are better able to describe the why, what and how of physical literacy and are able to better articulate how it informs their teaching practice. Finally, a number of barriers to operationalising physical literacy within physical education teaching practice were identified and categorised as either leadership and governance, management and institutional or individual barriers. Solutions to support the operationalisation of physical literacy in physical education teaching practice centred around two key themes. Firstly, raising the status and value of physical education and secondly, by improving professional development opportunities for teachers. Conclusion - This research contributes to knowledge firstly, by extending the theoretical and conceptual rationale and understanding around unpacking physical literacy for use within educational professional development and physical education teaching practice. And secondly, in the development of a physical literacy professional development framework and intervention. This research provides an effective process (action research and professional development sessions) alongside a range of supporting tools (lesson planning, observation and reflection tools) and resources (website, folder, handouts) that can assist the operationalisation of physical literacy. This research recommends that more opportunities for meaningful physical literacy professional development, including the development of whole school approaches are required. It also argues that more needs to be done in order to elevate and align the value, role and purpose of physical education across the education profession as a whole. Finally, this research argues that in order to scale and create sustainable impact the creation of in-situ physical literacy experts or champions are required to sustain and advocate the value of and develop physical literacy informed practice more widely and sustainably.
    • 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.
    • The feasibility and acceptability of a stigma protection intervention designed to improve the mental health of parents and carers of autistic children

      Lodder, Annemarie (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2020-09)
      Background: Stigma is prominent in the lives of autistic children and their families, and a systematic literature review found that autism-related stigma contributes significantly to poorer mental health among parents. Parents are also at risk of internalising the stigma directed at their child, which further exacerbates poor well-being. Interventions that focus on the mental health of parents of autistic children are sparse, and there are currently no interventions available that help parents cope with autism-related stigma as well as prevent the internalisation of stigma. An intervention that is evidenced to improve mental health in part through increasing resistance to stigma will be of substantial benefit to families and, ultimately, their children. Purpose: The primary aim of this study was to develop a stigma protection intervention aiming to improve the mental health of parents of autistic children, and to evaluate its feasibility and acceptability. The secondary aim was to explore the preliminary impact of the intervention on the mental health of the parents. Methods: The Medical Research Council’s guidelines for developing complex interventions were used as a framework for the research. Evidence from multiple sources was synthesised to produce an eight week blended (face-to-face and online) psychosocial intervention titled ‘SOLACE’. A randomised controlled trial was carried out comparing parents allocated to the SOLACE group (n=9) with those allocated to a control group (n=8) (no intervention). Mixed methods were employed to investigate feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary outcomes. Recruitment and retention rates, missing data and adverse events were recorded to assess feasibility. A qualitative focus group was conducted to evaluate the acceptability of the intervention and outcome measures. Outcomes were measured at three time points: baseline, post-intervention and at six weeks follow-up. The primary outcome of interest was mental health (MHI-5). Other outcomes of interest included measures of courtesy stigma, self-stigma, self-esteem, positive meaning in caregiving, self-blame, self-compassion, social support, and social isolation. Results: Recruitment rates were lower than anticipated, yet the retention rates were excellent, with no dropouts and minimal missing data. Attendance rates were particularly high for this population, with 80% of parents attending more than 50% of the sessions. The findings of the qualitative evaluation showed that SOLACE was acceptable to parents and that the combination of online and face to face delivery worked well. Quantitative analysis revealed that mental health scores had significantly improved for those who took part in SOLACE compared to no significant changes for control group participants. In addition, changes in secondary outcome measures were in favour of SOLACE. Conclusions: A stigma protection intervention that improves the mental health of parents and carers of autistic children in an acceptable and feasible way has been produced and evidenced for the first time. A number of recommendations are made for future use in a larger, powered trial. The knowledge derived from this thesis may be used to help inform future service provision for parents and shape future autism policy so that the importance of stigma in relation to parent mental health and their caregiving role is emphasised.
    • The representation of women in Egyptian newspapers during the 2011 – 2014 uprisings in Egypt

      Al-Nuaimi, Namir (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2020-09)
      The Arab Spring, which swept across North Africa and parts of the Middle East in 2011 was viewed by many observers, commentators and activists in the West and throughout the region as a beacon of hope. The world rejoiced that the autocratic regimes of leaders such as Muammar Gaddafi in Libya, Hosni Mubarak in Egypt and Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in Tunisia were toppled, and it was hoped that these regimes would be replaced by fair and democratic governments. Unfortunately, the post-revolutionary reality has not met the expectations of many ordinary people. Instead, Libya and Syria have descended into factional clashes between local militias and civil war respectively. In Egypt, the progress that women activists and campaigners were achieving with respect to improving the rights and representation of women across society has regressed. Consequently, the social position of women has become marginalised in the face of masculine institutions such as the Egyptian military. In order to assess the impact that gender discourses held within Egyptian society, this research project has analysed articles from two of the most popular newspapers in the country – Al Ahram and Al-Masry Al-Youm. Specifically, the study assesses how both these papers have reported incidents featuring prominent protests and campaigns by women in the aftermath of the Egyptian Revolution and within the context of dominant patriarchal discourses and discursive practices. I argue that these discourses served to normalise an inferior position for women in society. Using critical discourse analysis (CDA) and qualitative interviews involving women who have first-hand experiences of the workings of newspapers in Egypt, this study discovers that there are similarities and deviations in the way that language is used in articles that feature campaigns and protests by women: in particular, the court case pertaining to Samira Ibrahim and the virginity test case; the presidential bid by Bothaina Kamel; and the campaign by women’s groups to allow female recruitment by the Egyptian military. This study finds that some language in the newspapers does counter hegemonic masculinity. I argue in this study that Egyptian newspapers are responsible for disseminating an ideological discourse that serves to support the patriarchal institutions of the State. Through the lens of hegemonic masculinity, it finds that the dominance and normalising of the male voice within the selected Egyptian newspapers, serves to reinforce certain preferences within social opinion through discursive practices. The study ascertains that Egyptian newspapers offer an example of institutionalised hegemonic masculinity which strives systematically to silence women despite valiant attempts by certain women activists to interrogate both the workings and institutions of hegemonic masculinity by way of their voice. By analysing the voices of Egyptian women as captured in Western sources and through the lens of Islamic Feminism, this study also demonstrates how women contest dominant discourses in mainstream Egyptian newspapers.
    • An ecological approach towards understanding father involvement and engagement within Luton's most disadvantaged areas

      Donald, Louise (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2020-08)
      Father involvement and engagement exists within a family, which exists within a societal context; it is therefore influenced and determined, to varying degrees, by a variety of ecological systems working in cohort, in a bio-psycho-social fashion. In light of this, while fathers can have a significantly beneficial role in the lives of their children, regarding healthy physical and psychological development, the evidence consistently indicates that father involvement and engagement is reduced comparative to socioeconomic deprivation. Despite this fact, very few studies have explored this association through the lens of marginalised fathers themselves, nor have they utilised the first hand perspectives of mothers and professionals towards better understanding how fathering is shaped and impacted within an economically deprived context. With higher levels of deprivation in Luton than the UK average, this study sought to explore this issue within Luton’s most disadvantaged areas. A mixed methods sequential design was employed. Drawing from the interviews of fifteen professionals, nine fathers and eleven mothers; the findings provide valuable insight into trajectories of father involvement and engagement relative to contextual circumstances, linked to internal and societal beliefs about fathering. The key emerging themes therefore support an ecological viewpoint of father involvement and engagement, demonstrating the fundamentally significant impact that family background, the father-mother relationship and professional inclusion can have on fathers. This is further supported by the associated patterns identified within the cross-sectional questionnaire, which show links between sociodemographic factors, beliefs about the father role, parent mental health and father involvement. For the fathers at the forefront of this study, there was a clear pattern related to disadvantage, putting them in greater need of support in a variety of areas. However, the findings also highlight that there is very little support in place, tailored to meet their needs. This study exemplifies that examining fathering from an ecological perspective enlightens our understanding of how and why we see reduced levels of involvement and engagement amongst disadvantaged fathers, providing a more complete picture of how factors associated with disadvantage can have a wider impact. In order to more forward and make positive, sustainable, changes to the lives of fathers, and families living in socially disadvantaged communities, researchers, family professionals and policy makers should recognise and work from an ecological perspective, integrated into practice and policy formation.
    • The Hockliffe Collection: representations of punishment in nineteenth-century stories for children

      Stenson, Sarah Elizabeth (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2020-07)
      This thesis records the findings of a large-scale enquiry into over four hundred individual stories for children that were published during the nineteenth century and held in the Hockliffe Collection at the University of Bedfordshire. It critically examines how punishments are deployed in early children’s literature, adopting a methodological approach that includes texts as they appear within the archive, regardless of authorship or perceptions of literary merit. Donated by the Hockliffe family, the texts generally complement the tradition that favoured didacticism and moral guidance. The primary corpus is dominated by instructional works from the pre-1850s, an area currently neglected in the existing critical field. The preference for fantasy, more imaginative and canonised works, and those produced in the Golden Age of Children’s literature at the Victorian fin de siècle, has resulted in tales with an explicit pedagogical agenda being side-lined, a shortcoming this thesis addresses. Where there are lessons, there are punishments, and their inclusion emphasises a range of tensions and fears. Interrogating these moments provides a valuable insight into the sort of issues that were prioritised in books for children during this period. The methodology combines close reading and literary analysis with qualitative data gathering, which produces a rich set of findings. The inclusion of a substantial body of texts allows a network of conflicting ideological views to emerge, that are nuanced and complex. The results of the primary stage have been examined within a theoretical framework that comprises intersectional theories of gender and class. Adopting a Foucauldian lens enriches the analysis of punishment and its relation to the distribution of power. The thesis begins with a critical examination of the Hockliffe archive itself and, through extensive research of the British Newspaper Archive, presents the rationale for its editing processes and positions the Collection as a unique resource for scholars. The second chapter explores changing attitudes towards punishment through a comprehensive study of the punishment of giants which transitioned from violent to non-violent across the century. From here, there is a detailed examination of tales that incorporate a critique of mothers who are held accountable for the failure of their sons. There follows a chapter that explores a female-specific punishment by which women and girls are stripped and ejected from the home, and the following chapter builds on the former by looking at the implications of social class on punishments that involve the demotion of middle-class characters. The final chapter explores how children, animals and punishment collide in these stories before ending with the analysis of stories that feature punitive metamorphosis. This thesis critically engages with authors, stories, issues and themes that have received minimal attention to date and enriches our understanding of children’s literature during this period. The punishments are located within their historical context, revealing some of the many ways in which children’s literature addressed socio-political concerns during this period. The literary landscape is a broad expanse and the study of these rare neglected texts fills some of the spaces in between.
    • Creating relationally reflexive spaces in social care education

      Leonard, Karen (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2020-07)
      This doctoral thesis is a reflexive inquiry into my education practice with social care students as I encourage them to engage in relational self-reflexivity in preparation for practice. Having taught social care students in higher education for many years, I noticed some found it difficult to be reflexive compared with their ability to understand a theory or develop their skills. I felt this was not an individual deficit but a systemic one and was related to their experience within education systems. These systems constructed over decades, resulted in them having few opportunities to be relationally reflexive of themselves and their lives to work in social care contexts. In this study, I set out to address this gap, by providing a different learning context where relational reflexivity in preparation for practice is emphasised. The approach described here is a development on the individualised, de-contextualised form of reflection common in most social care training. Instead, I developed a model of reflexivity for education which focuses on social care as a relational and systemic endeavour with the social care worker and client engaged in an ongoing relationship with each other. Providing this type of learning space for students meant my teaching practice also had to change. I could no longer be a bystander asking students to be reflexive of themselves, without also being reflexive of my practice. I adopted a collaborative, fluid, dialogical and non-expert position with students in small reflexive learning groups which not only encouraged greater reflexivity for them but a richer reflexivity of my practice as an educator. In this research, I develop a critically reflexive account of professional practice from our experiences within the group process and situate it within a discussion of related literature and practice. This research draws on postmodern qualitative theory which supports first-person inquiry into professional practice. I study our engagement in reflexivity within the group sessions, through the students’ and my reflexive diaries, feedback from students and by the video reviews of the teaching sessions. By assembling all these rich layers of research material, I offer here a model of relational reflexivity for education and training contexts which I have named SPiRRaLS (Systemic Practices in Relational Reflexivity and Learning Systems) as it focuses on relationships, the wider social, political, cultural and professional contexts and how these influence professional practice with clients and students. The research indicates that there are many benefits for students from engaging in this form of reflexivity that can, therefore, enhance their relationships with service users. From my experience of this process, I believe other disciplines would also benefit from this model of relational reflexivity in their education or training contexts. The study highlights the importance of support from organisations and education systems to help curate such relationally reflexive spaces. It requires institutional changes and resource allocation to develop practices that are more in line with contemporary society where education is not merely about knowledge acquisition but is liberatory, participative and potentially life-changing for the student, educator, and client.
    • Hybrid energy-storage system for mobile RF energy harvesting wireless sensors

      Munir, Bilal (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2020-07)
      This thesis discusses the impact of the supercapacitor size on the performance of the mobile battery-less RF energy harvesting system. The choice of supercapacitor is crucial in mobile systems. The small supercapacitor can charge quickly and activate the sensor in a few seconds in the low-energy area but cannot provide a significant amount of energy to the sensor to do heavy energy tasks such as programming or communication with the base station. On the other hand, large supercapacitors have a sensor node for heavy energy tasks in a high-energy zone but may not be able to activate in a low energy zone. The proposed hybrid energy-storage system contains two supercapacitors of different sizes and a switching circuit. An adaptive-learning switching algorithm controls the switching circuit. This algorithm predicts the available source energy and the period that the sensor node will remain in the high-energy area. The algorithm dynamically switches between the supercapacitors according to available ambient RF energy. Extensive simulation and experiments evaluated the proposed method. The proposed system showed 40% and 80% efficiency over single supercapacitor system in terms of the amount of harvested energy and sensor coverage.