• The interpretation and delivery of the Welsh Foundation Phase and its contribution to physical literacy

      Wainwright, Elizabeth N. (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2014-12)
      The introduction of the Foundation Phase gave a unique opportunity to study the interpretation and delivery of a play-based early childhood curriculum. This new curriculum saw the disappearance of Physical Education for pupils under the age of seven in Wales. Physical Education is acknowledged as more than the development of physical competence, being part of a process concerned with lifelong physical, intellectual, social and emotional learning accrued through a range of physical activities, in a variety of contexts (Doherty and Brennan, 2008). As such a goal of Physical Education is physical literacy, (Hardman, 2011; Talbot, 2007). In light of this, this research set out to explore the contribution of the Foundation Phase to the development of children’s physical literacy. In order to achieve this, a three-phase complementarity mixed-methods design (Greene et al., 1989) was used to generate data over two years in selected schools in Wales. The schools were found to be enacting the Foundation Phase with fidelity to the original aims of the policy makers by demonstrating the key features of play-based active learning, focused adult-led sessions, child-initiated learning, and use of the outdoors for learning. In so doing they were deemed to be successful in achieving the aim of the Foundation Phase of developing independent, motivated active learners. The Foundation Phase was also found to be supporting the development of children’s cognitive development with good levels of achievement in literacy and numeracy assessments. The playful pedagogy observed in the schools enabled the pupils to have autonomy in their learning. Pupils were motivated, active and engaged in embodied learning both indoors and outdoors. The findings indicated that the Foundation Phase was making a positive contribution to the development of children’s physical literacy.
    • Investigating e-procurement barriers within six Saudi Arabian SMEs

      Altayyar, Ahmed (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2017-02-19)
      This study aims to investigate factors affecting the adoption of e-procurement in Saudi Arabian SMEs. The study adopted the Gunasekaran and Ngai (2009) model as a theoretical framework and foundation for the research to investigate current status and readiness, perceived benefits, perceived barriers, perceived critical success factors and perceived future organisational performance. Through an extensive literature review and detailed data analysis, the study extended the model to incorporate perceived cultural and external factors that were found to be necessary for the adoption of e-procurement in Saudi Arabian SMEs. Through case studies and AHP analysis, the proposed model elements were validated and prioritised in the Saudi Arabian context. Three different methods were adopted for data collection. First, an exploratory study was conducted to understand the current status of e-procurement and provide an overview of the factors that affect the adoption of e-procurement using the Gunasekaran and Ngai (2009) model.Second, a detailed survey was conducted to find the relative importance of various factors related to each of the five elements of the Gunasekaran and Ngai (2009) model. Third, detailed interviews were conducted across four selected SMEs to gain an insight into the factors that affect the adoption of e-procurement. The results of the exploratory study were helpful in identifying perceived factors that affect the adoption of e-procurement. Detailed survey analysis using AHP validated the theoretical framework and the relevance of the factors of the Gunasekaran and Ngai (2009) model. However, some of the factors were found to be more important than in the Gunasekaran and Ngai (2009) model, while others were less important. Results of the qualitative study (interviews) found additional factors that were relevant to each of the five elements of the GN model. They further suggested that “Current e-procurement activities” was an additional factor in the “current status and readiness” element and “Increased transparency” was an additional factor in the “perceived benefits” element. Similarly, the analysis of the qualitative results found two additional factors in the “perceived barriers” element (i.e. absence of e-procurement specific laws and regulations and lack of trust in the electronic transfer of funds), three additional critical success factors (i.e. cost-benefit analysis of the solution, technical maturity of the marketplace and user-friendliness of the solution) and two additional factors in perceived future organisational performance (i.e. strategic alliance and networking and knowledge management and data warehousing). Further, analysis of the qualitative findings revealed two additional elements (i.e. perceived external and perceived cultural factors). The study thus suggests that organisational culture, cultural inertia and business culture of the country are three important cultural factors that are perceived to affect the adoption of e-procurement, while government support, having one’s own postal addresses and delivery services, providing secure and trustworthy online payment options, low cost and high speed internet connection, suppliers’ willingness and readiness, pressure from competitors, policy and regulations are the seven important perceived external factors that affect the adoption of e-procurement in Saudi Arabian SMEs. The results of the qualitative data analysis led to the development of an extended Gunasekaran and Ngai (2009) model to incorporate perceived culture and perceived external factors. The study has significant implications in terms of further e-procurement research for SMEs in Saudi Arabia and also its adoption in the developing world in general.
    • Investigating key factors influence supply chain collaborative relationship and risk management in Chinese SMEs

      Ma, Jun (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2017-10)
      The sustainability of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) makes a significant contribution to job position and economic growth in China. However, SMEs face various challenges and uncertainties in the Chinese business environment. This study proposes a practical approach for Supply Chain Collaborative Relationship (SCCR) building to mediate adverse impacts from supply chain risks through leveraging partners’ critical resources. The Resource-based View (RBV) and Transaction Cost Economics (TCE) are employed in line with theoretical structure building in this study. Theories of Guanxi, collaborative advantage, and risk management have also been used. A combination of qualitative and quantitative research (Mixed-Method Research) approaches are employed in the study. The investigation starts with a sample of 5 research participants from executives of Chinese SMEs using qualitative research; its results are further elaborated using a subsequent survey of 216 SMEs. Data is analyzed via thematic approach (qualitative results) and the combination of SEM and CFA modeling (quantitative results). Results show the building of SCCR contributes to highly functional and stable alliances in Chinese SMEs, which has significant influences in motivating partners’ willingness to share risks and resources to support supply chain risk management. This study furthermore manifests that building of SCCR should depend on either interpersonal and inter-organizational level interactions, while interpersonal relationships between executives has significant influence to SCCR development.
    • Investigating reading for academic purposes: sentence, text and multiple texts

      Unaldi, Aylin (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2010-12)
      This study examines the nature of reading in academic environments and suggests ways for a more appropriate assessment of it. Research studies show that reading in academic settings is a complex knowledge management process in which information is selected, combined and organised from not a single, isolated text but from multiple information sources. This study initially gathered evidence from students studying at a British university on their perceived and observed reading purposes and processes in three studies; a large scale questionnaire, longitudinal reading diary study and finally individual interviews in order both to establish whether the prominent reading skills used by them were as put forth in the studies on academic reading, and to examine in detail the actual cognitive processes (reading operations) used in reading for academic purposes. The study draws on the reading theories that explain reading comprehension and focuses specifically on different levels of careful reading such as sentence, text and multiple texts in order to explicate that increasingly more complex cognitive processes explain higher levels of reading comprehension. Building on the findings from the three initial studies, it is suggested that reading tests of English for Academic Purposes (EAP) should involve not only local level comprehension questions but also reading tasks at text and multiple texts levels. For this aim, taking the Khalifa and Weir (2009) framework as the basis, cognitive processes extracted from the theories defining each level of reading, and contextual features extracted through the analysis of university course books were combined to form the test specifications for each level of careful reading and sample tests assessing careful reading at sentence, text and intertextuallevels were designed. Statistical findings confirmed the differential nature of the three levels of careful reading; however, the expected difficulty continuum could not be observed among the tests. Possible reasons underlying this are discussed, suggestions on reading tasks that might operationalise text level reading more efficiently and intertextual level reading more extensively are made and additional components of intertextual reading are offered for the Khalifa and Weir (2009) reading framework. The implications of the findings for the teaching and assessment of English for Academic Purposes are also discussed.
    • Investigating types of reading used by native and non-native English readers on academic reading: an eye tracking study

      Sheraz, Safia (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2018-11-08)
      The purpose of this research was to investigate the types of reading used by native English readers on a sampled academic reading-into-writing task. Secondly, this study investigated the types of reading used by non-native English readers on the same academic reading-into-writing task. This study also compared the similarities and differences in the types of reading done by both native and non-native English readers. In particular, the research explored how the participants read the informative and non-informative paragraphs in the academic texts. The present study used Khalifa and Weir's model of reading (2009) as a framework to map the physical evidence from the eye tracking data to investigate the types of reading done by the students in relation to careful, selective and expeditious reading. A mixed method approach, which included eye-tracking technology, stimulated recalls, interviews and observations, was used in this study. Eye movements of the participants were tracked by Tobii X2 60 eye tracker while they read the three academic texts on a computer screen to prepare for a piece of academic writing. Immediately after they had completed reading each text, stimulated recalls and interviews were held and the purpose of these stimulated recalls was to triangulate the data obtained from eye tracking. A total of 32 participants were used in this study which included 16 native English readers and 16 non-native English readers. The eye tracking data was analysed quantitatively through the eye tracking measures that are the words read per minute, the number of fixations, the mean fixation duration and the proportion of regressive movements (same line regressions and regressions two lines or above). Qualitatively, eye tracking data was analysed through the heat maps and gaze plots. The results from the quantitative and qualitative eye tracking data suggested that the native readers read the informative paragraphs slower than the non-informative paragraphs, but different reasons were reported by them in the stimulated recalls for adopting a specific reading type. For the non-native readers, the results from the quantitative eye tracking data suggested that they read the informative paragraphs slower than the non-informative paragraphs. On the contrary, the qualitative eye tracking data suggested that they focused on both informative and non-informative paragraphs and there were similarities in the reasons reported by non-native readers for reading the informative and the non-informative paragraphs slowly. A comparison in the types reading used by L1 and L2 readers suggested that L2 readers read the informative and the non-informative paragraphs slower than L1 readers as suggested by the words read per minute and the mean fixation duration of the participants. Native readers made more same line regressions on informative and non-informative paragraphs than the non-native readers and the proportion of regressions two lines or above made by both groups was also negligible. The qualitative eye tracking data suggested that both groups read informative and non-informative paragraphs slowly, but native readers fixated more on both types of paragraphs than non-natives, as suggested by the heat maps and gaze plots. The data from the stimulated recalls and observations also suggested that both groups read the informative and the non-informative paragraphs with attention. To the best of the researcher's knowledge, this is the first study that evaluated the types of reading of L2 participants in an academic context. It contributes a methodology for investigating the types of reading used by the L2 students by employing different eye tracking measures and the stimulated recalls. According to the researcher's knowledge, this study contributes new knowledge about the reading speed (in terms of words read per minute) and other eye tracking measures of L2 readers on an academic reading-into-writing task. This study holds implications for the universities as the findings suggested that academic literacy skills training is required for both the native and non-native readers. The findings would also help to design preparatory tasks for the first-year undergraduates as a part of pre-sessional courses in the international universities or back in their home countries where they are trained for admission in international universities.
    • An investigation into assessing ESL learners pragmatic competence at B2-C2 levels

      Ficzere, Edit (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2019-04-30)
      As the number of overseas students and employees in English-speaking countries has increased exponentially over the last decade, the importance of pragmatic competence in the successful social integration of L2 speakers has been highlighted and the need for assessing it has become more pressing. Most currently available pragmatic tests are based on Speech Act Theory as a theoretical framework and use discourse completion tasks as test instruments. However, both of these have been criticized lately for overlooking the importance of the discursive side of pragmatics, which requires the use of on-line processing skills (see e.g. Roever, 2011). The aim of this research was, therefore, to contribute towards the assessment of B2-C2 level learners’ pragmatic competence in extended oral discourse by identifying some criterial features defining the level of B2-C2 ESL learners’ pragmatic competence and by examining the extent to which a monologic and a dialogic task format allows these learners to display aspects of their pragmatic competence. Data were collected from thirty international university students at B2-C2 levels with a range of L1 backgrounds, who performed four monologic and two dialogic test tasks. This was then followed by a semistructured interview to gain the participants’ perspectives on the given contexts. Performance of the tasks was video recorded, transcribed and analysed quantitatively, using selected coding categories from Blum-Kulka et al. (1989) and Barron (2003), as well as qualitatively using a Conversation Analytic framework. The results indicate that with increasing language competence ESL learners used a wider range of pragmalinguistic devices and used them more frequently. The data from the semi-structured interviews also highlighted that with increasing proficiency there was a greater depth of analysis of the different contexts. However, the comparison of participants’ evaluation of the contexts and their actual language use indicated that only C2 level participants had the capacity to adjust their language to reflect their pragmatic intentions.
    • An investigation into cardiometabolic risk in children and adolescents

      Bailey, Daniel Paul; University of Bedfordshire (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2012-02)
      The principle aim of this work was to provide an insight into the prevalence of the metabolic syndrome (MetS) in children and adolescents and to examine the associations of body composition measures, cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF), and physical activity with cardiometabolic risk. The combined association of adiposity and CRF on cardiometabolic risk in youths is also explored, as is the association of CRF with potentially modifiable variables, such as physical activity. This work has shown that, dependent on the definition employed, MetS may be present in 2.3% to 9.8% of children and adolescents in Bedfordshire, UK. When applying modified Adult Treatment Panel III definitions (Cook et al. 2003; de Ferranti et al. 2004), the condition was significantly more prevalent in overweight compared to non-overweight youths. Backward regression analyses identified that only body mass index (BMI) explained significant amounts of variance in clustered cardiometabolic risk, although being overweight according to internationally proposed cut points for BMI, waist circumference (WC), and waist-to-height ratio conferred participants to increased risk compared to their non-overweight counterparts. Clustered risk was also elevated in children and adolescents with low levels of CRF compared to those with high levels, whereas time spent in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity and vigorous physical activity (VPA) held no association. When stratified into groups according to level of fatness (BMI z-score) and CRF, those with high fatness/low CRF generally exhibited the most unfavourable cardiometabolic risk profiles. Cardiometabolic risk was higher in the high fatness/low CRF group compared to those with low fatness/low CRF and low fatness/high CRF when excluding WC from the score, and those with low fatness/low CRF when including WC in the score. Multiple regression and ANCOVA revealed that increased visceral fatness (indirectly measured using WC) was associated with reduced CRF, while increased time spent in VPA was associated with elevated CRF. These data suggest that BMI may be the best simple measure of obesity to employ when exploring adiposity-related cardiometabolic in children and adolescents. In addition, results from this iv investigation indicate that low CRF and overweight/obesity may have deleterious effects on the cardiometabolic health of children and adolescents and that interventions to reduce risk may target decreases in fatness and improvements in CRF and VPA as standard.
    • An investigation into nurses’ views and experiences of what creates a clinical learning environment within acute in-patient psychiatric wards

      Ravello, Cherrie Valerie (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2013-05)
      Although I was trained as a nurse, I became curious about the views of psychiatric nursing staff as to what they feel would create a clinical learning environment for them. This was as a result of having my dearly beloved father admitted to a medical ward, and being on the receiving side of care. This created a fear in me that surprised me. I was scared at how my father would be treated if I was not present to witness his care. As a nurse, strangely, I felt that I could not trust the nurses to provide safe clinical care for/with my father. I began to feel concerned about the competencies of nurses as I observed the care that was being offered to him. My observation and experience was that the ward environment generated an atmosphere that needed a form of nursing care that was collaborative and transparent where the hand-over between professionals communicated the needs of the patients in their care – from making sure that patients’ bedding is comfortable, to checking whether they are trying to communicate something, to being sure that their medication has been properly given. This aroused my curiosity as to whether nursing staff themselves had views as to what is needed to have, or to create, an environment that sustained their original urge to take up nursing in the first place. I thus became curious to investigate the views and experiences of both qualified and non-qualified psychiatric nurses with the aim of improving the clinical learning environment within acute adult inpatient wards, as well as secure adult and male adolescent mental health inpatient wards, as these wards raise crucial issues to do with control, power, seclusion, rights and responsibilities, issues that are not easy for nurses to learn to deal with in their classroom training. For this study I interviewed sixteen staff members of wards within the National Health Service and the private sector. The staff varied in their experiences and qualification, from qualified mental health nurses to non-qualified nurses. My findings show that: (1) Nurses often felt the ward organisation had hindered their learning through the way in which it worked to organise them. (2) Nurses would have liked to experience a different kind of learning. However they were not sure in what way or how they would like the learning experience to be. (3) The expert nurses were able to work in a competent manner despite the sense of the organisation organising their practices, as they were able to sense which of the limited number of organisational possibilities were open to them so that their choices allowed for their practices to be learning experiences as well as providing sound clinical care. (4) Learning dialogues happen in contexts where nurses feel supported and where the episode of care in which they are engaged is also supported by a team approach and resourceful pulling together of skills and abilities. (5) There was a lack of space(s) for the nurses to use for reflection. (6) Nurses also expressed the need for supervision after an episode or critical event had taken place. (7) Throughout all the areas I inquired into, what was strongly echoed was that the psychiatric nurses all felt that they needed a voice within the organisation and its hierarchy of team structures within these wards. There was a felt sense that the nurses wanted and at times needed more expert nurses working in the teams. Overall, I was struck by the abilities which were brought to the forefront as the nurses shared their views and experiences of how they felt organised by the organisation. They were able to explore the factors that they felt would improve the quality of care that nurses provide and were able to share what they believe will help them in co-creating standards for how the clinical environment could become a learning environment for the nurses.
    • An investigation into performance based pay in Nigerian financial institutions

      Maycock, Eno Amasi (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2009-10)
      PURPOSE – To critically investigate the effect/impact the implementation of both team and individual based pay has when responses are measured in terms of teamworking, job satisfaction, culture and commitment in 2 Nigerian financial institutions. DESIGN/METHODOLOGY/APPROACH – The study presents the first empirical case-study research carried out in Nigeria. The data are based on 2 Nigerian financial institutions surveys from 2002 to 2006. The analysis addresses the impact of the introduction of PRP within these institutions. Questionnaires were sent out to the 226 employees. Interviews and focus groups were also carried out with both managers and employees across both organisations. FINDINGS – The findings indicate the importance of valence for monetary incentives, the instrumentality of performance for the monetary incentives and clear individual and group objectives for improving performance. On the basis of the analysis of the data from employees covered by the scheme, the results suggests that there are clear indications that it has raised motivational levels, though employees prefer working with individual performance related pay than in teams, but would not mind working in teams if it is linked to a reward, but the responses indicate that individual performance related pay has damaged the concept of team working. The results indicated a positive link of PRP having a positive effect with employees on higher grade levels; this result support other results from a number of earlier UK studies. The results also indicate that the introduction of PRP can enhance culture change and enhanced performance but may not ultimately lead to commitment from employees. The findings also indicate a positive link between PRP, improved individual and organisational performance, change in culture and job satisfaction. Though the research indicates positive outcomes from one organisation it also indicates negative outcomes from the other organisation. Why would that occur, as both organisations operate the same form of individual PRP? It leads the researcher to conclude that PRP must be modified to take into account the cultural (national & organisational) implications of the transference western management practices into non-western organisations. The research finishes by listing out implications for management and recommendations. RESEARCH LIMITATIONS – As this study utilises data from Nigerian financial institutions only, its results cannot be generalised to other sectors and countries characterised by different cultures and contexts. However, what is critical though is that the approach used to finding these results can be applied in a wide variety of situations, thus enabling the examination of external validity. ORIGINALITY/VALUE – This study is one of the first to explore the effect/impact of the introduction of performance related pay in Nigerian financial institutions and reflecting on the historic cultural context of gift giving and culture within organisations and the impact this has on the success or failure of PRP schemes. It also provides a new empirical evidence on the use of performance related pay. The results also show a link between the introduction of performance related pay and a change in the psychological contract from a relational contract to a transactional psychological contract, where commitment (bought) and loyalty is based on the monetary aspects of the relationship. The results supports an interpretation of incentive pay as motivated by expectancy theory and provides new evidence on the relationship between the success of performance related and its use by employees as a bargaining tool for salary increases and new job roles. Its implications should be of interest to human resource managers when designing reward strategies for their organisations.
    • Investigation into the features of written discourse at levels B2 and C1 of the CEFR

      Waller, Daniel (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2015-01)
      Validation in language testing is an ongoing process in which information is collected through investigations into the design, implementation, products and impacts of an assessment (Sireci, 2007). This includes the cognitive processes elicited from candidates by a test (Weir, 2005). This study investigated the English Speaking Board’s ESOL International examinations at levels B2 and C1 of the CEFR. The study considered the role of discourse competence in successful performances through examination of cognitive phases employed by candidates and metadiscourse markers and whether the use fit with models such as the CEFR and Field (2004) and so contributed to the validation argument. The study had two strands. The process strand of the study was largely qualitative and focussed on the cognitive processes which candidates used to compose their texts. Verbal reports were carried out with a total of twelve participants, six at each level. The product strand of the study analysed the use of metadiscourse markers in the scripts of sixty candidates in order to identify developing features of discourse competence at levels B2 and C1. The process strand of the study identified that there were statistically significant differences in the cognitive phases employed by the participants in the study. The investigation also identified a number of differences in what B2 and C1 learners attended to while carrying out the different phases. The product strand of the study found no statistically significant differences in the use of metadiscourse markers used by candidates at the two levels, but observed differences in the way particular metadiscourse markers were employed. These differences indicate the direction for a possible larger-scale study. Unlike previous studies into metadiscourse (Burneikaite, 2008; Plakans, 2009; Bax, Nataksuhara & Waller, forthcoming) the study controlled for task, text type and rhetorical pattern and nationality. The study suggested that discourse competence contributed to higher-level performances in writing and that the examinations under investigation elicited a wide range of cognitive phases from C1 candidates. The study also suggested that many of the CEFR’s statements about the development of discourse competence at the higher levels are correct.
    • An investigation into the structure of numerical cognition

      Roberts, Patricia Isobel (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2004)
      This thesis reports work relating to theoretical frameworks in the area of numerical cognition that have been developed by McCloskey, Caramazza & Basili (1985), Clark & Campbell (1991), Dehaene (1992) and Noel & Seron (1992). The associations between numerical cognition and memory processes in relation to the working memory model of Baddeley (1986) were investigated. The first study used the factor analytic method to elucidate the factor structure of the processes that underlie numerical cognition, and to investigate the various components of the working memory model in relation to arithmetic. A battery of 21 tests was administered to 100 participants. The contribution of the factor analytic study to the structure of numerical cognition is discussed. An examination of the factors (labelled 'access to representations' and 'working memory') identified specific aspects of numerical cognition that were investigated further using experimental methods. The data on magnitude comparisons of numbers and animals that have been found to load onto Factor 1 were reanalysed. Similar patterns were found with the two types of stimuli in some cases. This suggested that Dehaene's notion of a 'number line' might not be specific to numbers. To build on the investigation of magnitude comparisons two experiments were carried out using the dual task paradigm. The results confirmed that magnitude judgements are represented at the level of semantic processing and may not be specific to numbers. The subitizing circles test was also found to load onto Factor 1. This raised a question about the common processes that may be involved both in this test and in other tests loading on that factor. A dual task experiment was used to investigate that possibility. It appeared from the results that the verbally presented tasks in the control and experimental groups produced interference with the s ubitizing task. This result lent support for the view that subitizing is an early pre-lexical perceptual process, possibly based on canonical representations ofthe stimuli. Complex addition and multiplication loaded onto Factor 2, 'working memory' and a further dual task experiment was conducted to investigate the speCUlative view held by Aschraft (1995), that the visuo-spatial sketchpad may playa role in arithmetic problem solving. The results lent support for the view held by Aschraft (1995) of the involvement of the visual-spatial component of working memory in the calculation of multi-digit addition problems. Thus the research reported in this thesis has used a range of investigative techniques and data analysis, with the aim of clarifying the scope and the limitations of major recent models of numerical cognition and the role of working memory in numerical processing. The results of the research programme supported those models which link numerical cognition with other forms of mental processing by identifying specific ways in which diverse numerical processes such as magnitude comparison, subitizing and the calculation of multi-digit problems draw on forms of processing associated with other types of stimuli.
    • An investigation of explicit strategy instruction on EFL reading of undergraduate English majors in Thailand

      Khaokaew, Burana (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2012-08)
      As academic and professional knowledge is available around the world through publications in English, the ability to read in English is now widely seen as an essential basic skill for university graduates in countries, like Thailand, where English is a foreign language. However, students often fail to reach a level of reading ability that allows them to read these publications with confidence. It is important that instruction in Reading skills should be improved. It has been claimed that instruction in the use of reading strategies is helpful in improving the reading skills of EFL learners. Research has suggested that explicit instruction can be particularly valuable. This thesis investigates the reading strategies used by Thai university students and investigates whether a short course based on explicit reading strategy instruction can be effective in encouraging the use of strategies and improving reading skills for Thai university students. Based on a literature review on Reading strategy instruction, a framework was developed and applied in the adaptation of a set of materials for use in providing English major Thai university students with explicit instruction in the use of reading strategies. The following research questions were investigated: What are the reading strategies that Thai undergraduate English major students employ in the EFL reading process? Does reading strategy instruction affect students’ use of reading strategies in English? How much improvement do the students show on measures of reading performance after receiving a programme of reading strategy instruction? In a quasi-experimental research design, one class of fifteen students, the Experimental group, was given a twelve-week course in Reading that included explicit instruction in reading strategies while a second group of thirteen students (matched for background characteristics), the Control group, was given a parallel course that did not include explicit strategy instruction. Both quantitative and qualitative comparisons were made. Students were given reading tests and responded to questionnaires about their use of strategies at the beginning and end of their courses. They were also interviewed and performed think-aloud verbal protocols in which they reported in their use of reading strategies as they carried out reading tasks. Participants in the Experimental group reported using a wider range of strategies than those in the Control group following instruction and generally made greater improvements in their reading test scores. The findings support the value of explicit instruction in reading strategies for Thai university students. However, concerns remain about Thai students reliance on translation and slow, careful reading even following instruction in more strategic approaches.
    • Investigation of the colorimetric measurement of pH and metal ions by using reagents doped in sol-gel glasses for potential on-line monitoring

      Javaid, Muhammad Azhar (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 1998-07)
      Sol-gel porous glasses have been doped with indicator molecules for colorimetric measurements of pH and metal ions in solution. pH measurements were made in real time (20 seconds) to a wide pH range 3-8 by using bromophenol blue doped in sol-gel thin films. New methods of sol-gel coating on the inside of test tubes and tubing have been introduced for simple, non invasive, on the spot chemical sensing. pH indicator doped films were also successfully autoclaved for biological applications without affecting their chemical and physical properties. The pore structure of thin films has been controlled for minimising the effect of ageing on response time by introducing dimethyl formamide (DMF). The effect of light, temperature and salt on thin films have been studied. The results show that they are relatively stable between 20-31' C and less affected « 0.03 absorbance unit decrease in 3 weeks) by light. However their response to pH is changed by adding salt in solution with concentration higher than O.OlM. Fourier transform infra red (FTIR) study of films has been conducted to elucidate the effect of ageing, DMF and autoclaving on their chemical structures. It was found that ageing continues after four weeks of fabrication and addition of DMF helps to reduce ageing and increase porosity. The long term stability of these pH indicator doped films in various solvents has been established. Thin films on microscope slides were deposited by using a newly designed spin coater and have been demonstrated as reusable pH slides. Sol-gel films were also doped by different metal reagents. Eriochrome cyanine doped thin films were found to be sensitive to copper ions in solution. Copper (Cu++) was measured to a low concentration of 0.6 ppm. The effect of light and temperature on Eriochrome copper complex was studied. Interferences of other metal ions were examined. A fibre-optic pH sensor has been demon.strated by coating an optical fibre with a sol-gel film (0.8 J.1m thick) doped with bromophenol blue. The sensor has shown fast response (5 seconds) to pH changes from pH 3 to 8 and no leaching or cracking during repeated use. It is simple to fabricate and easy to use as an interchangeable pH fibre probe. It has potential application in biological processes as an integral part of an online monitoring system.
    • Investigation of the effect of temperature on cytotoxicity in poikilothermic cells, exploiting biosensor technology

      Wex, Hannah (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2005-01)
      The effect of temperature on the sensitivity of poikilothennic cells to toxicant exposure was investigated, with particular attention to the relationship between temperature induced changes in cellular activity, and cell sensitivity to toxicants. Temperature was shown to have a significant influence on the metabolic activity and sensitivity to toxicants ofthree types ofpoikilothenns: E. coli, a consortium of cells isolated from activated sludge (ASBC), and a genetically modified bioluminescent fish cell line (BF-2Ilucl). The influence of temperature on the ASBC and BF-21/ucl cell sensitivity to toxicants appeared to be related to its effects on toxicant uptake and reactivity. However temperature induced changes in E. coli metabolic activity were shown to have a pronounced influence on its sensitivity to toxicants. The increased metabolic rate supported by higher temperatures was associated with decreases in E. coli sensitivity to narcotic toxicants as were the increases in E. coli metabolic activity that resulted from changes in respiratory substrate solution composition. Subsequent biosensor and growth assays demonstrated that E. coli responded to low concentrations of phenolic toxicants by increasing it respiration rate at the expense of growth. This suggests that the protective effect ofincreased metabolic activity at higher temperatures was related to the energetic costs of toxicant exposure. Additionally an impedance spectroscopy assay was developed and showed that 3,5-DCP caused only limited disruption ofE. coli membrane integrity. This study demonstrated for the first time that temperature effects on E. coli metabolic activity and on E. coli sensitivity to toxicants are directly linked. Further work is needed to develop a fuller understanding ofhow E. coli metabolic activity influences its sensitivity to toxicants.
    • Investigation of the effects of different cryopreservation parameters on the genome of 51/4 hpf zebrafish (Danio rerio) embryos

      Ahmed, Raju; University of Bedfordshire (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2013-06)
      In recent years, numerous studies have linked cryopreservation with increased occurrence of mutations, DNA fragmentation and the event of apoptosis in biological objects. However, the evidence emerged from such studies is somewhat inconclusive. The current study, therefore, aimed to analyse the DNA damage response (DDR) from the cryopreserved cells in order to characterise the nature of the putative DNA damage. The study set out to investigate the effects of different cryopreservation parameters on the genome in terms of double strand breaks (DSBs), single strand breaks (SSBs), and various forms of sequence alteration using 5¼ hour post fertilisation (hpf) zebrafish (Danio rerio) embryos. The experimental conditions under which the investigation was carried out were short term chilling at 0˚C, treatment with two cryoprotective agents (CPA), namely, MeOH and Me2SO, and cooling to -35˚C. Assays for detecting DSB-activated DDR proteins and SSB-activated DDR proteins in 5¼ hpf zebrafish (Danio rerio) were developed and then utilised to investigate the occurrence of DSBs and SSBs in the genome of the embryos treated with the experimental conditions. The study then analysed the expression profiles of a set of genes unique to the base excision repair (BER), nucleotide excision repair (NER) and mismatch repair (MMR) pathways as indicators of the occurrence of various forms of sequence alterations in the genome of the embryos treated with the experimental conditions. It was found that chilling and CPA treatment did not induce DSBs or SSBs but up-regulated the MMR and BER, respectively. CPA treatment also down-regulated the NER and the MMR mechanisms. Cooling, on the contrary, did not induce DSBs but induced SSBs in the genome, which were repaired when the embryos were provided with a recovery time. Cooling also up-regulated the NER and the BER mechanisms in the embryos. The overall finding of the study indicated that the experimental conditions increased the occurrence of various single stranded DNA lesions in the genome of the embryos. The present study provided important insights into how eukaryotic cells respond to different cryopreservation parameters, which will significantly enhance the current knowledge of the effects of cryopreservation on the genome of biological objects.
    • An investigation of the Morganroth hypothesis to establish if heart adaptation is exercise specific

      Richards, Joanna C. (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2012-11)
      The investigation of exercise specific left ventricular (LV) adaptations to training have been predominantly cross sectional in design. The purpose of the current thesis was to investigate LV adaptations to short term (6-9 weeks) training to establish if any changes are exercise specific. A correlation study was used to investigate correlations between cardiac variables and MAXOV2(study 1). Cardiac variables were found to be the strongest predictors for absolute MAXOV2, MAXOV2BM and MAXOV2FFM in cyclists compared to the total sample or sedentary group, predicting 79% (p<0.01), 70% (p<0.01) and 77% (p<0.01) of the variance, respectively. Secondly, it was found that when MAXOV2 was scaled to body mass (BM) or fat free mass (FFM) cardiac variables predicted less of the variance than for absolute MAXOV2, for all groups. Study 2 investigated the hypothesis that there would be no evidence of LV hypertrophy when there was no increase in FFM. This was achieved by taking sedentary participants through a resistance training programme of 6 weeks duration to control for increases in skeletal muscle hypertrophy. Both resting systolic blood pressure (sBP; p = 0.01, d = 1.19) and diastolic blood pressure (dBP; p = 0.029, d = 0.88) were significantly reduced following the 6 weeks resistance training. One repetition maximum (1RM) bench press significantly increased (p = 0.00, d = -1.44) as did 1 RM parallel squat strength (p = 0.00, d = -1.86), with no associated increases in relative FFM (p = 0.45) or absolute LM (p = 0.87). There was no adaptation to LV morphology (p>0.05), however early diastolic function changed with a significant decrease in peak E wave (p = 0.00, d = 1.94). Study 3 compared differences in the time course of the initial adaptations to LV structure and function during 9 weeks of aerobic, resistance and combination exercise ii training, to establish whether LV adaptations are exercise specific. The resistance and combination groups demonstrated increases in relative wall thickness (p = 0.021, ηp2 = 0.408; p = 0.004, d = -1.06, respectively). PWd also significantly increased in the combination group (p = 0.032, ηp2 = 0.301); however there were no structural adaptations evident in the aerobic group (p > 0.05). In contrast, the aerobic group demonstrated functional adaptations with a decrease in A wave (p = 0.44, d = 0.87) as did the combination group (p = 0.002, ηp2 = 0.407). The results of the training studies showed limited support for the Morganroth Hypothesis as structural adaptations demonstrated LV remodelling of the myocardial tissue, with no increase in LV mass. Further to this, combination training appears to have an additive effect of LV adaptations of both aerobic and resistance training.
    • An investigation of the variables affecting patient prosthetic satisfaction

      Gravelle, R.D. (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2003)
      Through whatever misfortune people have always had the need for artificial limbs. This study questions current thinking in the field of prosthetics, aiming to address the most prevalent issues affecting the amputee today, such as, fit, comfort and practicality, which have an inarguable baring on patient prostheses satisfaction. Through examination, more obscure problems encountered by users were explained, indicating how design issues and methodologies affect the present and future manufacturing process. As a result of this research a development model for the increased effectiveness of prostheses fitrnent and improvements in patient prosthetic satisfaction have been made. This has included suggestions for potential improvements in limb fitting center protocol, patient education and awareness strategies for the assessment of delivered patient needs and requirements Methods implemented during the research consisted of a comprehensive literature review of current infonnation, technical reports and patient satisfaction findings and assessment techniques. 1bis was accompanied with an investigation and evaluation of the prosthetics industry, including limb fitting, patient requirements, product/service shortfalls, rehabilitation technique and patient lifestyle. Additionally interviews and questionnaires with practitioners and users were undertaken aiding the evaluation of patient satisfaction and the identification of potential improvements in artificial limb fitment procedure. The results revealed several areas that deserved more detailed investigation, notably relating to the hypotheses, that the relationship between the levels of fit, comfort and practicality archived within the prostheses has an effect on the patient's satisfaction. Through the examination ofthis main hypothesis one of the most significant factors which emerged was the effect ofthe communication level held between the patient and prosthetist. The results of"this enquiry indicated that improved patient knowledge with respect oftheir situation and an increased ability to accurately relay issues of concern to the prosthetist, facilitated the delivery of satisfactory prostheses, in turn improving its fit, comfort and practicality. In conclusion, previous conjecture as to the limited effectiveness of current prosthetics in re-establishing patients activity levels were assessed, and suggestions generated by the results of patients dissatisfaction with their limbs. These findings facilitated the realisation of new educational, protocol-based methodologies, tools and theories.
    • Investigations into the cryopreservation of zebrafish (Brachydanio Rerio) embryos

      Zhang, Tiantian (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 1994-06)
      Cryopreservation of fish embryos was studied using zebrafish embryo as a model system. Cryoprotectant toxicity, chilling sensitivity and embryo membrane permeability were investigated with a view to developing optimum protocols for cryopreservation of the embryos using controlled slow cooling, non-freezing storage and vitrification. Methanol was found to be the most effective cryoprotectant for controlled slow cooling and non-freezing storage of zebrafish embryos with 11 %heart beat stage embryos surviving after controlled slow cooling to -25°C. Zebrafish embryos were found to be very chilling sensitive with early developmental stages being the most sensitive to chilling injury. Embryo developmental stages after closure of the blastopore (>12-h), especially post heart beat stages were much more resistant to cryoprotectant toxicity and chilling injury. Heart beat stage (27-h) embryos proved to be the best embryo developmental stage for controlled slow cooling and non-freezing storage. Dechorionated embryos are more sensitive to cryoprotectant toxicity and chilling injury. The sensitivity to chilling injury of zebrafish embryos limited the use of controlled slow cooling and non-freezing storage for long term cryopreservation. The attempts at cryopreservation of zebrafish embryos using vitrification produced no embryo survival, although up to 32 % embryos remained morphologically intact immediately after vitrification. Poor cryoprotectant permeation, dehydration and consequently ice formation within the egg are probably the main factors on effecting embryo survival. The results of zebrafish embryo permeability studies demonstrated that the chorion of the embryos was permeable to water and cryoprotectants, whilst the vitelline (plasma) membrane was an effective permeability barrier. The inability to achieve sufficient penetration of the vitelline membrane by cryoprotectants poses severe problems for long term cryopreservation, which need to be overcome, possibly by permeabilisation of the vitelline membrane, before successful cryopreservation can be achieve.
    • Investigations into the detection of injured Salmonella typhimurium in foodstuffs

      Malactos, Michael D. (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 1998-12)
      A chemically defined medium for Salmonella growth was developed and optimised using supplements of amino acids, nucleosides, vitamins and different carbon sources. The medium developed was compared to commercially available pre-enrichment media BPW and Salmosyst. Growth of Salmonella was significantly higher in BPW and Salmosyst than the medium developed. The amino acid and nucleoside supplement was directly compared with peptone. The results show peptone to be nutritionally superior and promoting better growth of Salmonella. Three different ELISA assays were used to detect Salmonella growing in four different media. The ELISA assay sensitivity was determined and a degree of media interference with the immunoassays was established. Salmonella culture viability was investigated using three different procedures: differential culturing on selective and non-selective media; fluorescence microscopy with BACLIGHT stained cells and flow cytometry analysis of BACLIGHT and BEP stained cells. Flow cytometry was found to be the most consistent, sensitive and rapid procedure for cell viability measurement. Clusters of viable cells unable to grow on solid media and therefore remaining undetectable by cultural methods were identified using flow cytometry. Severely heat injured Salmonella was used to determine media recoverability. The results indicate that media which contain peptone recover injured Salmonella better than chemically defined or other media. Detection of Salmonella was performed using PCR assay after sample pre-enrichment. The amplification of Salmonella DNA extracted using a crude method resulted in an assay sensitivity of 20 Salmonella cells in pure cultures. The specificity of the oligonucleotide primers employed in the PCR assay was confirmed. Non-salmonella organisms present in high numbers interfered with PCR detection of Salmonella. Food components also interfered with PCR amplification and reduced the assay sensitivity. Interference by food components and non-salmonella DNA was eliminated by the use of a 24 hour pre-enrichment followed by a 3 hour secondary enrichment, a rapid DNA extraction and template preparation. Using this system it was possible to detect 3 Salmonella cells per gram of food in the presence of 106 non-salmonella cells within 28 hours.
    • Iterative block ciphers’ effects on quality of experience for VoIP unicast transmissions under different coding schemes

      Epiphaniou, Gregory (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2010)
      Issues around Quality of Service (QoS) and security for Voice over IP (VoIP) have been extensively investigated separately, due to the great attention this technology currently attracts. The specific problem this work addresses centres upon the selection of optimal parameters for QoS and security for VoIP streams integrating both network impairments and user perception metrics into a novel empirically-driven approach. Specifically, the simulation model seeks the optimal parameters in terms of variable VoIP payloads, iterative block ciphers, codecs and authentication mechanisms to be used, so that optimum tradeoff between a set of conflicting factors is achieved. The model employs the widely used Transmission Rating Factor, R, as the methodology to predict and measure the perceived QoS based on current transmission and network impairments. The R factor is then used to map perceived QoS to the corresponding Mean Opinion Score value, which gives the average estimation of perceived voice quality (Quality of Experience). Furthermore, a genetic algorithm (GA) has been developed that uses the output from the simulation model as an input into an offline optimisation routine that simultaneously maximises the VoIP call volumes and the Level of Encryption (LoE) per call basis, without degrading the perceived quality of service under a specific threshold as dictated by the R factor. The solutions reflect the optimum combination of parameters for each codec used and due to the small size of the search space the actual speed of GA has been validated against an exhaustive search algorithm. The results extracted from this study demonstrate that under strict and pre-defined parameters the default payload size supported by the codecs is not the optimal selection in terms of call volume maximisation and perceived QoS when encryption is applied.