• Leadership development in an Arab context: the case of Syria

      Megheirkouni, Majd Saleh (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2014)
      Leadership development is adopted as a strategy to become a learning organisation. The emphasis on leadership or transfer of leadership training is perceived as central to the development of a learning organisation, which is the only sustainable competitive advantage in response to an increasingly unpredictable business environment. Leadership development may be seen as oriented towards building capacity in anticipation of unforeseen challenges. In this vein, developing leadership behaviours/capabilities might be a priority for successful organisations. This suggests that organisations should be able to develop their leaders by ensuring the harmony between the requirements of corporate strategy and the context in which they work. Given the fact that leadership is such essential part of organisational development, the methods for developing the leadership behaviours/capabilities must be present. Without defining leadership behaviours/capabilities, and their development methods, organisations may fail to optimize the outcomes of their leadership. This indicates the importance for understanding how leadership development (LD) is approached. Consequently, this study explores how LD occurs and what factors influence this phenomenon in the Arab context using evidence from Syria, and develops an integrated model to support the introduction of LD to organisations operating in the Syrian/Arab context. This study utilises a qualitative multiple-case design to understand and explain the character of and the influence on LD in the Arab world using evidence from Syria. Specifically, the study was based upon a sample of three cases of for-profit companies. Research data was gathered through 36 in-depth semi-structured interviews with the middle and top management levels. The findings reveal that LD occurs through the process that begins once a company identifies its leadership needs. This occurs by analysing internal/external environment to select the leadership behaviours/capabilities required, and their development methods. It was noted that this process seems to be similar among the three companies, but the type of behaviour/capabilities required tends to be context specific. Additionally, the findings reveal that there were two types of factors that influence LD at the three companies: Factors were seen as determinant factors through which the decisions of whether to introduce LD were made; and factors influencing the successful application of LD. The findings also reveal that there is a dynamic interaction between the mechanism used for understanding the weakness to identify leadership needs from one side and the context in which the companies operate from the other side. This relationship poses the basis for each company to select what fits its internal/external needs. This was evident through the types of behaviours/capabilities required and the purpose of each development method adopted by each company for developing the behaviours/capabilities required. The findings provide several contributions, but the major contribution is the discovery of how LD is applied in an Arab context, what behaviours/capabilities and development methods work best with for-profit companies in this context, how companies operating in an Arab context identify leadership needs for development, and what factors they perceive as determinants of LD and what factors influence the implications of LD. The study makes an additional contribution by developing an empirical model for introducing LD in an Arab context using evidence from Syria. The model was based on the data obtained from the field study. This could be appropriate for the Syrian/Arab context from one side that shares the same traditional characteristics, and companies working in these contexts (Arab) from the other side.
    • A leader’s journey to engage : an interpretive study

      Trinder, Jane (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2010-01)
      This research focuses on the perspectives and capabilities held by leaders as they seek to develop an effective engagement strategy when leading change. It has brought together aspects of change, leadership, engagement and leadership development theory in seeking to understand what helps and hinders leaders in developing engagement capabilities. The concept of engagement has taken on increasing significance in recent years, due to its link with higher performance and profitability in organisations. Much existing literature focuses on processes that encourage the involvement of others, and measuring engagement using survey questions. The surveys tend to focus on identifying if someone finds meaning in their role, and whether the environment they operate in enables engagement. This research has sought to use research methodologies based on action learning that encourages the development of capabilities enabling engagement, whilst examining the psychological and contextual factors that help and hinder development. The research draws on adult maturity theory which is used as a framework to aid analysis. This theory suggests that the capability to engage may unfold with the maturing process. This theory aligned with the findings resulting in a profile of what engagement looked like at various levels of maturity. This is useful in that by understanding the capabilities associated with engagement at various levels of maturity it supports leaders and HR consultants to identify development required, and potentially can aid the choice of leader for running change programmes. Four key themes were identified during the analysis. Firstly, the impact of context and how it impacts choices made. Secondly, the importance of capabilities associated with authenticity. Thirdly, the link with emotional intelligence. Finally, the importance of developing a learning practice. The implication of this research is that intent to engage is insufficient as is the focus on process and policy aspects of engagement. Engagement capabilities can be developed and the development of the individual needs as much consideration as the need to ensure strategy, policy and process is appropriate for the engagement strategy. It suggests that when considering major change in organisations focus should be placed on the mindset and capabilities of potential change leaders, to identify whether they have the capabilities likely to align to a particular engagement strategy and to support their understanding of their development needs.
    • Learning to teach English in Hong Kong: effects of the changeover in sovereignty

      Urmston, Alan (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2003-07)
      Teachers undergo changes in their beliefs, knowledge and practices on an individual level as they learn how to teach. If society undergoes significant change, as Hong Kong did during the transition from British to Chinese rule in 1997, then social groups within society such as teachers are likely to react to change in different and complex ways. The purpose of this investigation is to exam.ine the changes experienced by teachers of English in Hong Kong, with a focus on teachers who received their teacher preparation at one Hong Kong institution during the final years leading up to the transition. The educational, linguistic, social and political context of Hong Kong is first described through a study of the research literature and a number of theories and models of change are presented through which the findings of the investigation are analysed. The main sources of data for the investigation consist of questionnaire responses, interview transcriptions and lesson observation reports of trainee English teachers during and after graduation from a BA course in TESL at a Hong Kong university. The main conclusions of the investigation are: (i) Educational issues and particularly those affecting ELT became more high-profile and politicised in the lead up to and after the changeover. (ii) English teachers in Hong Kong experience conflict between their desired approaches and the realities and constraints of the Hong Kong teaching context. These constraints provide a common justification for lack of innovative behaviour and make it possible for teachers to put off being innovative in the classroom indefinitely. (iii) At the same time, English teachers in Hong Kong are becoming more empowered within the educational system in reaction to challenges to their competency and as they have realised that they can affect educational policy through individual and collective action. The findings suggest that colonial discourses as documented by Pennycook (1998) of English language teaching still persist in Hong Kong, as they have been shown to do in other post-colonial societies, and Hong Kong is undergoing a post-handover period of change as it struggles to synthesise the educational legacies of the colonial period with new initiatives adopted to address Hong Kong's changing educational and social needs. The results of the research are developed into an original model of the factors impacting English language education in Hong Kong. The generic model is then elaborated in two versions, one of which applies before the changeover and the other after it.
    • Left ventricular diastolic mechanics in trained athletes during submaximal exercise using speckle tracking echocardiography

      Beaumont, Alexander (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2015-12)
      This thesis investigated sport specific responses of diastolic mechanics at rest and during submaximal exercise. Two-dimensional speckle tracking echocardiography (STE) was used to assess diastolic mechanics at rest and whilst triathletes (TRI, n=9, 32 ± 7 years), long distance runners (LDR, n=7, 34 ± 3 years), resistance trained (RT, n=5, 24 ± 5 years) and untrained controls (CON, n=5, 29 ± 5 years) performed dynamic and static exercise. Cycling consisted of 5 minute stages at 30% and 60% maximum workload (Wmax), and leg extension involved 15 second contractions at 40% and 75% maximal voluntary isometric contraction (MVIC). Peak untwisting velocity (PUV), apical and basal rotation velocities did not differ between groups at rest or during exercise (p>0.05). PUV increased in TRI from rest to 30% and 60% Wmax (p<0.01), remained unchanged in LDR, RT and CON from rest to 30% (p>0.05, p<0.05, p>0.05, respectively) and 60% Wmax (p=0.018, p>0.05, p>0.05, respectively). PUV did not change from rest to 40% (p>0.05) and 75% MVIC in TRI, LDR, CON (p>0.05) and RT (p<0.05). These findings suggest diastolic mechanics do not differ at rest or during exercise based on sport specificity, yet mixed training (TRI) athletes demonstrate augmented diastolic mechanics during dynamic exercise.
    • Legimate victimisation? how young people experience professional support and courts as victims of child exploitation

      MacDonald, Mandy (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2018-11)
      This thesis critically examines young people’s perceptions of support as victims and witnesses in Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) trials. This includes their views of support when disclosing the abuse, during the investigation phase, on the journey to court, in court and post court. My thesis is framed within the respondents’ experiences of negative and positive support provided to them when engaging with welfare and criminal justice agencies. This research presents empirical data drawn from in-depth qualitative interviews with 11 young people, 3 males and 8 females, who were under 16 years of age at trial. It answers the central research question of: How do Young People Experience Professional Support and Court as Victims of Child Sexual Exploitation? The theoretical framework used to analyse the data was critical realist and grounded theory. From those perspectives the respondents’ individual accounts are reviewed, then compared with all respondents’ views. From the synthesised data, theories emerged that explained the respondents’ subjective, real-world and empirical view of their experiences. The theories that emerged from the respondent data included gender inequality, disclosure, labelling theory and children’s rights issues identified through power imbalance between professionals and victims as service users and intimidated, vulnerable victims. The thesis set out to determine whether after nearly 30 years of challenge to improve child victim support, there have been improvements in practice with child victims of abuse, who must engage with welfare services and the criminal justice system. These respondents have spoken of their rights as a victim being circumvented and their explicit needs and wishes being overlooked. As a result, some have suffered anxiety and trauma, often perceived as a direct result of professional action or inaction. The thesis incorporates findings, set around the theories that emerged from the data. Findings include information about disclosure experiences, communication and contact with professionals within the criminal justice system and experiences of the adversarial court system. The thesis then moves on to discuss unexpected findings related to levels of selfharm amongst the respondent group and the impact of media and social media commentary on victims. The thesis concludes with recommendations for change to policy and welfare and criminal justice practice to improve support to these vulnerable and intimidated victims. My hope is that these findings will contribute to balancing the rights of child victims and add to the existing body of literature to better understand and improve support to adolescent victims of sexual exploitation.
    • Leveraging contextual-cognitive relationships into mobile commerce systems

      Hooper, Mark Alan (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2018-12)
      Mobile smart devices are becoming increasingly important within the on-line purchasing cycle. Thus the requirement for mobile commerce systems to become truly context-aware remains paramount if they are to be effective within the varied situations that mobile users encounter. Where traditionally a recommender system will focus upon the user – item relationship, i.e. what to recommend, in this thesis it is proposed that due to the complexity of mobile user situational profiles the how and when must also be considered for recommendations to be effective. Though non-trivial, it should be, through the understanding of a user’s ability to complete certain cognitive processes, possible to determine the likelihood of engagement and therefore the success of the recommendation. This research undertakes an investigation into physical and modal contexts and presents findings as to their relationships with cognitive processes. Through the introduction of the novel concept, disruptive contexts, situational contexts, including noise, distractions and user activity, are identified as having significant effects upon the relationship between user affective state and cognitive capability. Experimental results demonstrate that by understanding specific cognitive capabilities, e.g. a user’s perception of advert content and user levels of purchase-decision involvement, a system can determine potential user engagement and therefore improve the effectiveness of recommender systems’ performance. A quantitative approach is followed with a reliance upon statistical measures to inform the development, and subsequent validation, of a contextual-cognitive model that was implemented as part of a context-aware system. The development of SiDISense (Situational Decision Involvement Sensing system) demonstrated, through the use of smart-phone sensors and machine learning, that is was viable to classify subjectively rated contexts to then infer levels of cognitive capability and therefore likelihood of positive user engagement. Through this success in furthering the understanding of contextual-cognitive relationships there are novel and significant advances that are now viable within the area of m-commerce.
    • Lexical vagueness handling using fuzzy logic in human robot interaction

      Guo, Xiao (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2011-10)
      Lexical vagueness is a ubiquitous phenomenon in natural language. Most of previous works in natural language processing (NLP) consider lexical ambiguity as the main problem in natural language understanding rather than lexical vagueness. Lexical vagueness is usually considered as a solution rather than a problem in natural language understanding since precise information is usually failed to be provided in conversations. However, lexical vagueness is obviously an obstacle in human robot interaction (HRI) since the robots are expected to precisely understand their users' utterances in order to provide reliable services to their users. This research aims to develop novel lexical vagueness handling techniques to enable service robots to precisely understand their users' utterance so that they can provide the reliable services to their users. A novel integrated system to handle lexical vagueness is proposed in this research based on an in-depth understanding of lexical ambiguity and lexical vagueness including why they exist, how they are presented, what differences are in between them, and the mainstream techniques to handle lexical ambiguity and lexical vagueness. The integrated system consists of two blocks: the block of lexical ambiguity handling and the block of lexical vagueness handling. The block of lexical ambiguity handling first removes syntactic ambiguity and lexical ambiguity. The block of lexical vagueness handling is then used to model and remove lexical vagueness. Experimental results show that the robots endowed with the developed integrated system are able to understand their users' utterances. The reliable services to their users, therefore, can be provided by the robots.
    • A Linear Logic approach to RESTful web service modelling and composition

      Zhao, Xia (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2013-03)
      RESTful Web Services are gaining increasing attention from both the service and the Web communities. The rising number of services being implemented and made available on the Web is creating a demand for modelling techniques that can abstract REST design from the implementation in order better to specify, analyse and implement large-scale RESTful Web systems. It can also help by providing suitable RESTful Web Service composition methods which can reduce costs by effi ciently re-using the large number of services that are already available and by exploiting existing services for complex business purposes. This research considers RESTful Web Services as state transition systems and proposes a novel Linear Logic based approach, the first of its kind, for both the modelling and the composition of RESTful Web Services. The thesis demonstrates the capabilities of resource-sensitive Linear Logic for modelling five key REST constraints and proposes a two-stage approach to service composition involving Linear Logic theorem proving and proof-as-process based on the π-calculus. Whereas previous approaches have focused on each aspect of the composition of RESTful Web Services individually (e.g. execution or high-level modelling), this work bridges the gap between abstract formal modelling and application-level execution in an efficient and effective way. The approach not only ensures the completeness and correctness of the resulting composed services but also produces their process models naturally, providing the possibility to translate them into executable business languages. Furthermore, the research encodes the proposed modelling and composition method into the Coq proof assistant, which enables both the Linear Logic theorem proving and the π-calculus extraction to be conducted semi-automatically. The feasibility and versatility studies performed in two disparate user scenarios (shopping and biomedical service composition) show that the proposed method provides a good level of scalability when the numbers of services and resources grow.
    • Lingual articulation in children with developmental speech disorders

      Gibbon, Fiona E. (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 1998-02)
      This thesis presents thirteen research papers published between 1987-97, and a summary and discussion of their contribution to the field of developmental speech disorders. The publications collectively constitute a body of work with two overarching themes. The first is methodological: all the publications report articulatory data relating to tongue movements recorded using the instrumental technique of electropalatography (EPG). The second is the clinical orientation of the research: the EPG data are interpreted throughout for the purpose of informing the theory and practice of speech pathology. The majority of the publications are original, experimental studies of lingual articulation in children with developmental speech disorders. At the same time the publications cover a broad range of theoretical and clinical issues relating to lingual articulation including: articulation in normal speakers, the clinical applications of EPG, data analysis procedures, articulation in second language learners, and the effect of oral surgery on articulation. The contribution of the publications to the field of developmental speech disorders of unknown origin, also known as phonological impairment or functional articulation disorder, is summarised and discussed. In total, EPG data from fourteen children are reported. The collective results from the publications do not support the cognitive/linguistic explanation of developmental speech disorders. Instead, the EPG findings are marshalled to build the case that specific deficits in speech motor control can account for many of the diverse speech error characteristics identified by perceptual analysis in previous studies. Some of the children studied had speech motor deficits that were relatively discrete, involving, for example, an apparently isolated difficulty with tongue tiplblade groove formation for sibilant targets. Articulatory difficulties of the 'discrete' or specific type are consistent with traditional views of functional lingual articulation in developmental speech disorders articulation disorder. EPG studies of tongue control in normal adults provided insights into a different type of speech motor control deficit observed in the speech of many of the children studied. Unlike the children with discrete articulatory difficulties, others produced abnormal EPG patterns for a wide range of lingual targets. These abnormal gestures were characterised by broad, undifferentiated tongue-palate contact, accompanied by variable approach and release phases. These 'widespread', undifferentiated gestures are interpreted as constituting a previously undescribed form of speech motor deficit, resulting from a difficulty in controlling the tongue tip/blade system independently of the tongue body. Undifferentiated gestures were found to result in variable percepts depending on the target and the timing of the particular gesture, and may manifest as perceptually acceptable productions, phonological substitutions or phonetic distortions. It is suggested that discrete and widespread speech motor deficits reflect different stages along a developmental or severity continuum, rather than distinct subgroups with different underlying deficits. The children studied all manifested speech motor control deficits of varying degrees along this continuum. It is argued that it is the unique anatomical properties of the tongue, combined with the high level of spatial and temporal accuracy required for tongue tiplblade and tongue body co-ordination, that put lingual control specifically at risk in young children. The EPG findings question the validity of assumptions made about the presence/absence of speech motor control deficits, when such assumptions are based entirely on non-instrumental assessment procedures. A novel account of the sequence of acquisition of alveolar stop articulation in children with normal speech development is proposed, based on the EPG data from the children with developmental speech disorders. It is suggested that broad, undifferentiated gestures may occur in young normal children, and that adult-like lingual control develops gradually through the processes of differentiation and integration. Finally, the EPG fmdings are discussed in relation to two recent theoretical frameworks, that of psycho linguistic models and a dynamic systems approach to speech acquisition.
    • Listening to the voice of children : systemic dialogue coaching : inviting participation and partnership in social work

      Olsson, Ann-Margreth E. (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2010)
      This is a study in and about systemic coaching in social work – systemic, and, as it unfolded, dialogical coaching, later named Dialogue Coaching (DC). Focus lies on what the conducted coaching brought forth, generated and created in the context of social work and for the members of the participating social welfare organisations. My specialities as coach became to inspire social workers to invite clients and especially children into partnership, making their voices heard, both in the written text and in the process of social investigations. The study was integral parts of commissions (and vice versa) of the County Administrative Board of Scania, Sweden, in my profession as systemic consultant and supervisor in Sweden. It was a study in how dialogical communication could improve how social workers, listening to the children’s invitation, could make children’s voices more heard in social investigations. In all, 55 social workers in seven municipalities participated in the dialogical participatory action research (DPAR) study, developing coaching and improving the dialogical interaction in social investigations. Focus moved from collecting data for decision-making, about what would be best for the child and other clients, to focusing on the changing process in relation to the participating clients, including children when they wanted to and could, co-creating new orientation on how to go on. The focus on communication and dialogue in the coaching changed and developed the participants’ approach in relation to clients and one another and others. In the emerging awareness of how we reciprocally and reflexively cocreate occurrences and outcomes, including who we become in relation to one another, the participating social workers’ awareness of the impact of their own contributions, and their own importance in relation to children and other clients, also improved. The expressions listening ears and listening questions were invented, capturing my, the coach’s, participation of placing myself completely 8 at the other participants’ disposal, completely accessible in the mutual responsiveness in the moment – being here and now in the present. The systemic methods and techniques were reflexively influenced and adapted from within the relational dynamic of joint actions in the dialogical interplay, metaphorically presented as peloton cycling in a voyage tour, becoming living tools in both the social workers’ practice and the coaching researcher’s practice, facilitating learning-by-doing with methods and approach connected to Appreciative Inquiry (AI). One of the living tools was reflecting teams emerging also into so called delta-reflecting teams with open narrating included.
    • Literature’s poor relation: history and identity in the writing and criticism of nineteen-fifties literature

      Brannigan, John Gerard (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 1995-12)
      All the major critics of postwar literature regard the fifties as a period in which literature was inept, conservative and conformist. This thesis argues that fifties literature was instead an active and successful agent in problematising conservative political orthodoxies, and in articulating alternative identities and politics. The study is concerned with two major themes: the relationship between literature and history, and the critical reputation and location of literature in nineteen-fifties Britain. It begins from positions that are already evident in postwar literary criticism towards both of these themes. Literature is understood in much of the critical writing of postwar Britain to be representative of social trends and attitudes, and its meaning is determined largely according to particular understandings of postwar British history and society. The literary text, if understood as 'representative', is capable of offering the reader direct access to the society of its production, and of reflecting the dominant trends and attitudes in a given period. Because it is the most recent period of realism in the history of English literature, the fifties seem to be particularly susceptible to this view. Reading fifties literature in the light of poststructuralist thinking on textuality and representation, this study argues that literature is not representative bu negotiates identities and social experiences of the fifties in a much more diverse way. These negotiations are demonstrated in readings of the work of John Osborne, Brendan Behan and Sam Selvon, and elaborated theoretically in the concluding chapters of the study. Literature's Poor Relation demonstrates that fifties literature is able to manoeuvre into a space wherein it can articulate oppositional and critical stances towards power, by firstly, imitating social detail and literary traditions, and secondly, reading these details and traditions in such was as to deconstruct them. The appearance of representativeness serves to seduce the reader into desiring the text (the idea that Look Back in Anger was representative attracted many of its original audiences to see it), and its readings and interpretations of history and identity deflect the reader's desire towards oppositional and critical moments in the text.
    • Living in the shadows: street culture and its role in the development and maintenance of survival strategies of socially marginal young people

      Melrose, Margaret; University of Bedfordshire (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2005-11)
      This text demonstrates that my work on young people who are exploited through prostitution and young people involved in problematic drug use in Britain at the end ofthe twentieth and beginning ofthe twenty-first century constitutes a significant contribution to advancing our knowledge ofthese inter-related issues. The text demonstrates that, in Britain, at the end of the twentieth and beginning ofthe twenty-first century, young people exploited through prostitution and young people involved in problematic drug use share in common lived experiences in poverty at the margins of society. The common theme demonstrated here is that, as a result ofthe poverty generated by social and economic policies adopted in Britain in response to gIobalisation, 'street cultures' play an important role in the development and maintenance of survival strategies adopted by socially marginalised and economically disadvantaged young people. The discussion argues that these cultures perform important functions in time and space for socially and economically marginal young people. They do so in different ways for different young people. At the same time, however, they serve to further entrench their social and economic exclusion and disadvantage.
    • Local economic indicators: practitioners needs and associated issues of provision and use

      Cole, Denise (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 1997-04)
      The local economic information base for the UK does not meet the demand for local economic indicators emerging from the private and public sectors. This thesis identifies an 'information gap' between the need for and provision of local economic indicators in the public and private sectors. The existence of this 'gap' emerges in the literature review. Empirical evidence of the gap is provided by the thesis' postal survey (which investigates the use of local economic information in forecasting). The dearth of local economic indicators is then confirmed in the analysis of guided interviews with practitioners. The literature review and practitioner interviews identify a rising need for local economic indicators over the last decade. The increased political significance of local space has led to a growth in the need for information at this scale from the public sector. Organisational restructuring and the privatisation of utilities has also led an increase in demand from the private sector for local economic information. This need has been compounded by deficiencies in those local economic indicators which are currently available, in terms of quality, organisation and accessibility. The literature suggests that standardisation of the criteria for organising local economic indicators into a database would greatly assist the organisations that seek this information. However, no such set of criteria has been forthcoming. The thesis therefore incorporates a feasibility study which focuses on the establishment of a standardised local economic database. The research findings steer suggestions for its development, and local economic indicators for the Local Authority District (LAD) ofLuton are collected and organised into a database as a case study. The methodology is documented, and can be reproduced to develop a similar database for any other LAD in the UK.
    • Localisation in wireless sensor networks for disaster recovery and rescuing in built environments

      Gu, Shuang (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2014-05)
      Progress in micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) and radio frequency (RF) technology has fostered the development of wireless sensor networks (WSNs). Different from traditional networks, WSNs are data-centric, self-configuring and self-healing. Although WSNs have been successfully applied in built environments (e.g. security and services in smart homes), their applications and benefits have not been fully explored in areas such as disaster recovery and rescuing. There are issues related to self-localisation as well as practical constraints to be taken into account. The current state-of-the art communication technologies used in disaster scenarios are challenged by various limitations (e.g. the uncertainty of RSS). Localisation in WSNs (location sensing) is a challenging problem, especially in disaster environments and there is a need for technological developments in order to cater to disaster conditions. This research seeks to design and develop novel localisation algorithms using WSNs to overcome the limitations in existing techniques. A novel probabilistic fuzzy logic based range-free localisation algorithm (PFRL) is devised to solve localisation problems for WSNs. Simulation results show that the proposed algorithm performs better than other range free localisation algorithms (namely DVhop localisation, Centroid localisation and Amorphous localisation) in terms of localisation accuracy by 15-30% with various numbers of anchors and degrees of radio propagation irregularity. In disaster scenarios, for example, if WSNs are applied to sense fire hazards in building, wireless sensor nodes will be equipped on different floors. To this end, PFRL has been extended to solve sensor localisation problems in 3D space. Computational results show that the 3D localisation algorithm provides better localisation accuracy when varying the system parameters with different communication/deployment models. PFRL is further developed by applying dynamic distance measurement updates among the moving sensors in a disaster environment. Simulation results indicate that the new method scales very well.
    • London government in transition : L.C.C. to G.L.C. 1962-1967

      Anderson, Colin Roy (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 1996-06)
      This thesis concentrates upon a largely neglected subject wi thin contemporary political history, that is the transition in London government from the London County Council (L.C.C.) to the Greater London Council (G.L.C.). It is a study of the actions and reactions of poli tical parties at central government, county council, and district council level, and incorporates the role of non-political party pressure groups. The bulk of the thesis is concerned with the L.C.C. area. Consideration is, however, given to the non-L.C.C. area incorporated into the larger C.L.C. This work demonstrates that there was no consensus regarding the need for reform. It is argued that the lack of consensus led to compromises that failed to satisfy many interested groups and thus the C.L.C. was often perceived to be flawed. This thesis derives from an exhaustive literature search and extensive reading. The records of political parties were very useful. Newspapers and journals aided research, as did a series of interviews with key surviving individuals. A further source of information were the minutes of various local authorities and connected bodies. Previously unavailable records have been used, for example, Conservative Party and Government records. With the aid of these new sources this work uniquely concentrates on exposing the political constraints and biases that caused a flawed local government system to be introduced.
    • Loneliness and depression among informal caregivers of children with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria

      Amaugo, Lucky Gospel (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2020-07)
      This research explores the experience of loneliness and depression among informal caregivers of children with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria. The study utilised semi-structured interviews involving eleven informal caregivers of children with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria. Using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) to analyse the account of participants, five superordinate themes were identified which are: ‘caregiving – a challenging experience’, ‘HIV medication – a solution and a problem’, ‘struggle with negative emotions’, ‘keeping it secret’ and ‘positive coping with caregiving’. These themes provided an overall account of the experience of caregiving among informal caregivers of children with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria. The study findings revealed there could be a relationship between informal caregiving and the experience of loneliness and depression. Participants described caregiving as emotionally distressing due to the challenges involved with their care recipient’s health condition, the management of HIV medication, the attitude of care recipients towards their medication, and perceived stigma and discrimination associated to HIV/AIDS. HIV medication was an important element that influenced informal caregivers’ approaches to coping with HIV caregiving, such as non-disclosure and secrecy, which limited their access to social support and intensified the feeling of loneliness. Furthermore, religious resources were highlighted as important part of participants’ coping strategies. Participants were also optimistic and hopeful for a lasting solution to HIV infection and its related problems. Based on the findings of the study, a new theoretical framework which explains the experience of informal caregivers in the context of paediatric HIV/AIDS, is proposed. The study makes recommendations for policy and practice and for future research.
    • Looking beyond eruptions for an explanation of volcanic disasters: vulnerability in volcanic environments

      Dibben, Christopher J.L. (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 1999-01)
      'Natural' disasters have traditionally been viewed as the result of an extreme physical environment. A radical backlash against this dominant view, in the nineteen seventies and eighties, moved the debate to the opposite extreme and in doing so replaced physical with social determinism. Vulnerability analysis is proposed as a methodology that bridges these extremes. It takes into account individual decision making, social milieu and physical hazard when describing human habitation in areas of volcanic activity. It is argued that vulnerability should be defined in terms of universal human needs in order to avoid it simply being a measure of the chance of death and injury or losing its meaning in the uncertainty of cultural relativism. Once vulnerability is identified it is important to explore why it has come to exist. A contextual theory of vulnerability change is presented. Vulnerability to volcanic activity was explored in the area around Mt. Etna in Sicily (Italy) and Furnas volcano San Miguel in the Azores (Portugal) using a case study methodology. This included: collecting data through interviews (semistructured and structured) and field surveying, utilising census and other secondary data sources, and examining historical documents and texts. The volcanic hazard on Mt. Etna is related to regular (4-7 years) effusive lava flows which threaten property and land rather than people. Living in a European state, it is likely that a victim of Mt. Etna will have their basic needs provided for in the long-term and therefore they are not vulnerable. In contrast the irregular explosive eruptions of Furnas, last eruption 1630, not only damage property and land but also endanger lives. The limited ability of individuals to protect themselves in the event of an eruption and organisations to aid them in this means that, in spite of state insurance, many around Furnas are vulnerable. The production of vulnerability around Etna and Furnas is strongly related to the socio-economic nature of the region and wider European and global contexts. Opportunities and constraints that exist across socio-physical space encourage behaviour and forms of life which, in tum, produce various levels of vulnerability. Individuals seem to cognitively diminish their perceptions of this threat within a context of social representations of low risk. They, and society as a whole, rarely seem to engage directly with the risk itself.
    • The loss of PI3K C2β is associated with a heightened immune response

      Buick, Emma K. (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2016-12)
      The phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) enzymes are well known for their regulation of pro-survival signalling cascades that result in increased cell survival and proliferation. However, most of what we understand is based on Class I PI3K enzymes and much less is understood about the Class II enzymes. Loss of PI3K C2α in mice results in embryonic lethality, or severe glomerular injury with increased morbidity. In contrast, PI3K C2β deficient mice display no apparent phenotype and are healthy and viable. Previous work in our laboratory revealed that administration of a sub-nephritogenic dose of nephrotoxic serum led to an augmented immune response resulting in glomerular damage and impaired renal function, which was associated with T-cell infiltration. Elucidating the immunological basis of this sensitivity was the basis of my project. In response to a subcutaneous injection of sheep IgG in complete Freund’s adjuvant, the spleens of PI3K C2β-/- mice showed prominent germinal centre associated cell proliferation that was absent in the controls. Analysis of splenocyte populations revealed that PI3K C2β-/- mice had an increased population of CD4+ T-cells and when cultured in vitro within a total splenocyte population, the increased CD4+ T-cell population was maintained. However, this effect was lost when T-cells were purified and maintained ex vivo. These data suggest that the increased PI3K C2β-/- CD4+ proliferation may be due to additional factors within the total splenocyte population. B-cell populations from the spleens of PI3K C2β-/- mice had higher CD19 expression compared to B-cells from control mice. Elevated levels of CD19 are associated with a reduced activation threshold. In response to stimulation with a sub-optimal dose of LPS and IL-4 PI3K C2β-/- B-cells underwent increased class switch recombination, displayed increased metabolic activity and remained viable for longer than B-cells from control mice. B-cell lysates from PI3K C2β-/- mice also revealed increased levels of phosphorylated MEK1/2. These data indicate that PI3K C2β may serve as a negative regulator of B-cell function and that loss of this PI3K enzyme isoform activity produces a heightened immune response which may lead to a predisposition to associated pathologies.
    • A lot going on: the links between going missing, forced marriage and child sexual exploitation

      Sharp-Jeffs, Nicola (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2016-10)
      An extensive review of research and policy literature revealed that links are made between: going missing and forced marriage; going missing and child sexual exploitation; and forced marriage and child sexual exploitation. However, despite these overlaps, no links are made between all three issues. Given that some South Asian young women will run away from home in order to avoid being forced into marriage and that young people who run away or go missing from home are at risk of, or abused, through child sexual exploitation a research proposition was developed on the basis that a three way link was theoretically possible. A case study methodology was developed to test the research proposition. Eight cases were identified in which South Asian young people (under 18 years of age) had experienced some combination of all three issues. However, the pattern identified within the research proposition was not the ‘final explanation’. Analysis of the research findings revealed that variation existed within the pattern proposed. Moreover, a second pattern was identified in which forced marriage emerged as a parental response to young people who were already being sexually exploited and going missing in this context. The patterns identified were confirmed through analysis of interviews undertaken with twelve subject experts (key informants) and resonated with a specifically selected group of nine young people who were presented with a composite case study during focus group discussion. I argue that awareness of patterns linking all three issues will help practitioners to identify and respond appropriately to cases where the issues of going missing, forced marriage and child sexual exploitation overlap. That said the complexity of the cases highlighted risks associated with overlooking diversities: social divisions related to age, gender, ethnicity, class, sexuality and disability were explored to see how they shaped the young people’s experiences. This process revealed that they were located within complex axes of power which then intersected with social systems, including family, community and public institutions. As a consequence, young people lacked relational support and had limited access to safe accommodation and economic resources. This resulted in some young people making attempts to try and self-manage the competing harms that they were facing. The practitioners who supported the young people highlighted the challenges involved in working with them. Analysis of practitioners’ accounts further revealed how power dynamics within multi-agency working arrangements also impacted their efforts to respond to the needs of young people. Through testing the research proposition, I addressed a recognised need for more focused research into the issue of going missing as it relates to young people from different ethnic backgrounds (Berelowitz et al. 2012; Berelowitz et al., 2013; OCC, 2012; Patel, 1994; Safe on the Streets Research Team, 1999; Stein et al. 1994) as well as furthering knowledge about how child sexual exploitation is experienced by young people from black and minority ethnic (BME) communities (Chase & Statham, 2004; CEOP, 2011b; Jago et al., 2011; Berelowitz et al., 2013; Thiara & Gill, 2010; Kelly, 2013; Ward & Patel, 2006). The development of a typology of patterns linking going missing, forced marriage and child sexual exploitation provides a unique contribution to the scholarly literature.
    • Low vision and diabetes in older people living in residential care homes

      Darwesh, Nizam Muhammad (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2015-06)
      Background: Worldwide one in twelve people are living with diabetes and one in two people do not know they have diabetes. Currently large numbers of the older people live in residential care homes in the UK, and up to one in four older people living in residential care homes present with diabetes. Low vision is one of the complications associated with diabetes in older people. In those aged 75 and over, one in five, and in those aged over 90, one in two people are affected by low vision and they are at an increased risk of developing other eye diseases. Within 20 years of diagnosis nearly all people with Type 1 and almost two thirds of people with Type 2 diabetes (60%) have some degree of diabetic retinopathy. Aims and Objectives: This study aimed to investigate the issues and problems faced by older people living in residential care homes with low vision and diabetes; to evaluate health professionals’ knowledge and understanding of the impact of low vision associated with diabetes in older people living in residential care homes; and to develop an educational toolkit which aimed to educate health care assistants about low vision and diabetes. Methods: This study is an exploratory investigation of older people living in residential care homes with low vision and diabetes. Adopting an open-ended qualitative approach using focus groups, interviews and a health professional’s survey, 116 participants were involved. These included GPs, ophthalmologists, nurses, optometrists, health care assistants and older people with low vision and diabetes. The data was analysed thematically. The educational toolkit was developed in the second part of this study, and 20 healthcare assistants were trained using this toolkit. Their knowledge was tested before the training, immediately after the training and one month after the initial training. Following Kirkpatrick’s model, the skills and practical use of the educational toolkit was assessed using an open-ended qualitative approach. Results: The results found that many older people and the health care assistants had the perception that low vision was a normal ageing process and could not be rectified. The study found that there was evidence to suggest that eye health was not considered to be a priority; instead, it was considered to be a natural part of the ageing process. The results found that 82% of the HCAs had not had any training in the area, and more than half of the nurses and GPs did not have sufficient knowledge of low vision and diabetes. After training, however, their knowledge was increased. This suggested that low vision and diabetes toolkit training could be used to educate healthcare assistants on a regular basis. The study also found that knowledge does decline over time, and therefore regular training for HCAs is required in order to maintain eye health and diabetes in older people, as well as improving their quality of life. Conclusion: In the research findings it was found that 50% to 70% of low vision was preventable or treatable if detected in its early stages and could be avoided by simply wearing appropriate spectacles, or possible surgery. However, in order to identify these 50% to 70% with low vision, everyone concerned should be able to recognise the signs and symptoms of preventable low vision, particularly health care assistants, as according to this study, health care assistants spent large amount of time in the residential care homes compared to the other health professionals.