• Measuring and monitoring the moisture content of timber and investigation of sorption processes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Mustafa, Ghulam (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2018-02)
      Recommender systems are an advanced form of software applications, more specifically decision-support systems, that efficiently assist the users in finding items of their interest. Recommender systems have been applied to many domains from music to e-commerce, movies to software services delivery and tourism to news by exploiting available information to predict and provide recommendations to end user. The suggestions generated by recommender systems tend to narrow down the list of items which a user may overlook due to the huge variety of similar items or users’ lack of experience in the particular domain of interest. While the performance of traditional recommender systems, which rely on relatively simpler information such as content and users’ filters, is widely accepted, their predictive capability perfomrs poorly when local context of the user and situated actions have significant role in the final decision. Therefore, acceptance and incorporation of context of the user as a significant feature and development of recommender systems utilising the premise becomes an active area of research requiring further investigation of the underlying algorithms and methodology. This thesis focuses on categorisation of contextual and non-contextual features within the domain of context-aware recommender system and their respective evaluation. Further, application of the Multilayer Perceptron Model (MLP) for generating predictions and ratings from the contextual and non-contextual features for contextual recommendations is presented with support from relevant literature and empirical evaluation. An evaluation of specifically employing artificial neural networks (ANNs) in the proposed methodology is also presented. The work emphasizes on both algorithms and methodology with three points of consideration: contextual features and ratings of particular items/movies are exploited in several representations to improve the accuracy of recommendation process using artificial neural networks (ANNs), context features are combined with user-features to further improve the accuracy of a context-aware recommender system and lastly, a combination of the item/movie features are investigated within the recommendation process. The proposed approach is evaluated on the LDOS-CoMoDa dataset and the results are compared with state-of-the-art approaches from relevant published literature.
    • The mid-ordovician oolitic ironstones of North Wales

      Trythall, Robert J.B. (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 1988-10)
      Oolitic ironstones occur within the Lower Palaeozoic Welsh Basin as isolated deposits found over a wide geographical area. There are two phases of ironstone deposition, a minor Upper Arenig phase and a Mid-Ordovician (Upper Llanvirn to basal Caradoc) phase. Both correlate with eustatic falls of sea level which exposed the Irish Sea Landmass lying immediately to the northwest. This exposure resulted in deep chemical weathering and generation of lateritic soils. Erosion of this material formed the source for the oolitic' ironstones in the Welsh Basin. The ironstones formed above stratigraphic hiatuses on sediment starved shallow water shoals, formed by synsedimentary faulting. These shoals were the favourable sites for the formation of berthierine peloids, which formed the nuclei for ooids. Additionally, they were also the site for the accumulation of berthierine mud, which was closely linked with the development of ferruginous algal mats. Bacterial reduction of organic material associated with ironstones, supplied the necessary reducing conditions for the formation and preservation of berthierine from a kaolinite/iron oxide precursor. Ooids formed by rolling over the muddy surface and mechanically accreting berthierine. Subsequent tidal current reworking of this sediment resulted in the formation of the characteristic lithological features of the ironstones, representing a shallowing-up sequence. Progressive current winnowing led to the formation of a sequence with an upward increasing ooid content and decreasing mud content. The upper facies of the ironstones is an ooid bar deposit worked by tidal currents. Cessation of current reworking allowed faunal colonisation of the bar with significant bioturbation of the sediment, destroying primary sedimentary structures. The presence of some grain-ironstones indicate the original sedimentary state of the upper facies. Tectonic instability during deposition, by synsedimentary faulting, resulted in the formation of disturbed ironstones, and debris flows within the ironstone sequences. Many features of the ironstones are diagenetic in origin, especially the formation of phosphate nodules within the ironstone sequence. These formed just below the sediment/sea water interface, and some nodules were reworked into overlying beds. The source was phosphorus released from adsorption on clays and iron oxides, and also released from organic material. Later siderite development in the ironstones is indicated by the presence of primary cements in grain-ironstones and secondary alterations in pack-ironstones. The generation of diagenetic siderite was dependant upon the amount of organic material within the ironstones, bacterial reduction of which resulted in the formation of bicarbonate and ferrous ions. Sane ironstones were subsequently altered during the Caradoc phase of volcanic activity. The formation of magnetite and stilpnomelane within the ironstones were caused by metasanatic activity associated with dolerite sills and microgranite intrusions. Siderite alteration and base metal sulphides resulted fram late stage hydrothermal activity by some microgranites. Contact metarrorphism by granophyric intrusions led to the extensive replacement of the ironstones by pyrite. Regional metarrorphism resulted in the progressive change of berthierine to chamosite and increased lattice ordering of chamosite.
    • Mining Twitter for crisis management: realtime floods detection in the Arabian Peninsula

      Alabbas, Waleed (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2018-04)
      In recent years, large amounts of data have been made available on microblog platforms such as Twitter, however, it is difficult to filter and extract information and knowledge from such data because of the high volume, including noisy data. On Twitter, the general public are able to report real-world events such as floods in real time, and act as social sensors. Consequently, it is beneficial to have a method that can detect flood events automatically in real time to help governmental authorities, such as crisis management authorities, to detect the event and make decisions during the early stages of the event. This thesis proposes a real time flood detection system by mining Arabic Tweets using machine learning and data mining techniques. The proposed system comprises five main components: data collection, pre-processing, flooding event extract, location inferring, location named entity link, and flooding event visualisation. An effective method of flood detection from Arabic tweets is presented and evaluated by using supervised learning techniques. Furthermore, this work presents a location named entity inferring method based on the Learning to Search method, the results show that the proposed method outperformed the existing systems with significantly higher accuracy in tasks of inferring flood locations from tweets which are written in colloquial Arabic. For the location named entity link, a method has been designed by utilising Google API services as a knowledge base to extract accurate geocode coordinates that are associated with location named entities mentioned in tweets. The results show that the proposed location link method locate 56.8% of tweets with a distance range of 0 – 10 km from the actual location. Further analysis has shown that the accuracy in locating tweets in an actual city and region are 78.9% and 84.2% respectively.
    • The modelling of career options and Continuing Professional Development

      Scannell, Michael Francis (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 1998-01)
      The aim of the research was to generate a model of the interactions between career options and the concept of continuing professional development. Professional development has, in many professions and organisations, become synonymous with managerial development, but the developmental needs of individuals who wish to remain in a professional role may differ from the developmental needs of individuals in a management role. Teachers were chosen as the professional group to be tested. Fifty-four teachers, all volunteers, from six secondary schools were separately interviewed under a structured format, and were also invited to complete a number of questionnaires. From analysis of the interviews and questionnaires a model of teachers' career options was produced which identified three main categories of teachers: senior managers (headteachers or deputy headteachers); aspirants to a senior manager's role; and classroom teachers. The analysis also identified a number of main factors, and sub-factors, that affected the obtaining of one of the three categories and each of the factors was developed through a targeted literature search and through analysis of the structured interviews. An additional number of factors that related only to classroom teachers were also analysed in a similar manner. Also investigated are how teachers plan their career, and the value of continuing professional development. The model of career options was then tested on members of two similar professions -midwives and nurses. Completion of the research resulted in a proposed model of career options and recommendations for continuing professional development for each option. Together the model and recommendations represent an original contribution to knowledge.
    • Models and optimisation methods for interference coordination in self-organising cellular networks

      Lopez-Perez, David (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2011-04-01)
      We are at that moment of network evolution when we have realised that our telecommunication systems should mimic features of human kind, e.g., the ability to understand the medium and take advantage of its changes. Looking towards the future, the mobile industry envisions the use of fully automatised cells able to self-organise all their parameters and procedures. A fully self-organised network is the one that is able to avoid human involvement and react to the fluctuations of network, traffic and channel through the automatic/autonomous nature of its functioning. Nowadays, the mobile community is far from this fully self-organised kind of network, but they are taken the first steps to achieve this target in the near future. This thesis hopes to contribute to the automatisation of cellular networks, providing models and tools to understand the behaviour of these networks, and algorithms and optimisation approaches to enhance their performance. This work focuses on the next generation of cellular networks, in more detail, in the DownLink (DL) of Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDMA) based networks. Within this type of cellular system, attention is paid to interference mitigation in self-organising macrocell scenarios and femtocell deployments. Moreover, this thesis investigates the interference issues that arise when these two cell types are jointly deployed, complementing each other in what is currently known as a two-tier network. This thesis also provides new practical approaches to the inter-cell interference problem in both macro cell and femtocell OFDMA systems as well as in two-tier networks by means of the design of a novel framework and the use of mathematical optimisation. Special attention is paid to the formulation of optimisation problems and the development of well-performing solving methods (accurate and fast).
    • Molecular genetic and genomic characterization of an emerging mycotoxigenic pathogen Fusarium proliferatum

      Almiman, Bandar F. (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2018-02)
      This aim of this research was to elucidate the genotypic diversity of the mycotoxigenic species Fusarium proliferatum associated with diverse hosts and distributed in wide geographic locations to gain new insights into the biology of this emerging pathogen. This study developed a novel molecular genetic marker FG1056. Multilocus typing of F. proliferatum isolates (52) using F. verticillioides (2) and F. oxysporum (3) as references was carried out with FG1056 and a set of known genetic markers (ITS, TEF1, CAL and FUM1). This distinguished up to 10 genetic groups, 2 clusters and 23 haplotypes among the F. proliferatum isolates. FG1056 marker showed the highest number of SNPs (169), informative sites (89) and haplotypes (23) relative to other markers used and was comparable to the multi locus typing. Varying patterns of relationships were observed between isolates represented in the genetic groups and their host and geographic origin. Considerable biological variability was recorded among the F. proliferatum isolates in morphology, growth, sporulation and most notably fumonisin production (up to 140-fold differences) with reference to variable temperature, water activity and duration. De novo genome assemblies with the size ranging from 43.96 - 50 Mb have been developed for four diverse F. proliferatum isolates. In silico analysis led to the identification of 12,980 genes common to all isolates and up to 134 genes potentially unique to an isolate. Using these resources, FUM gene cluster (~45.3 Kb) was identified for the first time in F. proliferatum. Order and orientation of the 16 FUM genes and the complete flanking genes (MSF1 and ZCB1 at 5’; ANK1 and GAT1 at 3’) have been determined. This study has provided new insights into the genetic and biological diversity of F. proliferatum and also developed new genetic and genomic resources, which will serve as a solid platform for further research particularly to understand the regulation of fumonisins production in the laboratory and in the field.
    • Mothering by the book : constructions of mature student mothers’ identities in the context of mothering and study practices and Mother/Child relationships

      Visick, Amanda (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2009-10)
      This project investigates the development of mature student mothers’ identities in the dual contexts of constructions of the women’s at-home study practices and of their ‘responsibilities’ for their children’s development. Interviews were conducted with 23 women – all ‘new university’ students – and with their schoolaged children. I used discourse analysis focussing on language as performative and constitutive in order to understand positioning of, and by the women. I also drew upon critical developmental psychological theory and the concepts of discourse, intersubjectivity and dialogicality as epistemological resources in order to understand the women’s and children’s accounts. The methodology yielded a diversity of constructions of the women, these drawing upon a variety of discourses. The first empirical chapter addresses constructions of mature student mothers, the second, constructions of child development and the third, constructions of ‘influence’. The organisation of the empirical chapters reflects not only the importance I accorded to particular themes, but also the idea that separating mothers’ concerns and those of their children can be less fruitful in examinations of identity construction than addressing these together. The key issues that are a thread connecting the empirical chapters are time (requiring ‘balancing’ of social positions); change (in mothering practices and confidence); perceived ‘influence’ on children’s development, and relationships (including the ways in which identities are constructed in the ‘space in the middle’). Participants addressed these issues in different ways with some women positioning not spending ‘quality’ time with their children as meeting children’s developmental needs (addressed in Chapter Seven). Other important themes were mothering constructed as mundane and undervalued (in Chapter Five), children’s constructions of ‘roles’ as helpers (in Chapter Six) and perceived intersubjectivity in mother/child interactions (examined in Chapter Seven). In the concluding chapter I discuss the implications of the findings in terms of the contribution of the research to theoretical debates about motherhood, mothering and child development. I also reflect on my position as a mature student mother, examining my involvement in the research process and finally, suggest applications for the findings reported in the thesis.
    • Moving experience: an investigation of embodied knowledge and technology for reading flow in improvisation

      Douse, Louise Emma (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2013-11)
      The thesis is concerned with the exploration of the notion of ‘flow’ from both a psychological and dance analysis perspective in order to extend the meaning of flow and move beyond a partiality of understanding. The main aim of the thesis recognises the need to understand, identify and interpret an analysis of the moments of flow perceivable in a dancer’s body during improvisatory practice, through technologically innovative means. The research is undertaken via both philosophical and practical enquiry. It addresses phenomenology in order to resolve the mind/body debate and is applied to research in flow in psychology by Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi, and flow in movement analysis by Rudolf Laban and Warren Lamb. The significance of this endeavour can be seen in the reconsideration of the relation between mind and body, and art and science which informs the methodology for the research (Part One). The three main outcomes of the research are related to each of the three subsequent parts. The first research outcome is the articulation of a transdisciplinary approach to understanding flow and was developed by expanding on the current definitions of flow through an innovative transdisciplinary methodology (Part Two). Research outcome two addresses the intersubjective nature of flow, which was identified within improvisation. From this two methods were constructed for the collection and interpretation of the experience of the dancer. Firstly, through reflective practice as defined by Donald Schön. And secondly, an argument was provided for the use of motion capture as an embodied tool which extends the dancers embodied cognitive capabilities in the moment of improvisation (Part Three). The final research outcome was thus theorised that such embodied empathic intersubjectivity does not require a direct identification of the other’s body but could be achieved through technologically mediated objects in the world (Part Four). Subsequently, the findings from the research could support further research within a number of fields including dance education, dance practice and dance therapy, psychology, neuroscience, gaming and interactive arts.
    • Moving stories: creating a dialogical space for reflexive storytelling about family

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

      Juhl, Andreas Granhof (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2011)
      This thesis researches how the consultant can participate in the creation of successful processes in organizations using multiple theoretical and practical traditions and a pragmatic reflexivity. The research shows how the consultant can do this using a heuristic model developed in the thesis called the consultancy room consisting of three dimensions: distinctions of position, distinctions of system, and distinctions of time. The thesis shows 6 different and distinct positions that the consultant can use in practice: the OD, systemic, solution-focused, appreciative, narrative and strategic position. To show their practical usefulness multiple examples of developing teams are described. The research shows that positions are firstly to be understood as theories that the consultant knows from experience and literature and brings to the organization and secondly the research also shows how such positions are created and coordinated with the customer before and during the consultancy process. The thesis further shows how the consultant can work with multiple distinctions of system. Three prototypical distinctions of system are introduced: the individual, the group, and the organization as part of the consultancy room to help the consultant increase his orientational abilities in practice. And a further distinction between the conversational and the linguistic system is made to help the consultant reflect in and on practice. The conversational system addresses the design of the process by reflecting with the customer about who should talk to whom in order to develop the situation. The linguistic system addresses how the system in focus is being talked about. The thesis shows how the different positions look at and give different possibilities for action in relation to the different distinctions of system. Finally the thesis shows how the consultant can work with multiple distinctions of time. Three prototypical distinctions of time are introduced: the moment, the meeting, and the process as part of the consultancy room to help the consultant navigate in practice. Again the different positions give different ideas of how to act in the moment and how to design meetings and longer processes. The research is done using the researchers own practice as data. A pragmatic research method is created and based in particular on the work of John Dewey (Dewey 1916 1938, Brinkmann 2006) and Gregory Bateson (Bateson 1972 1984)looking at similarities and differences between multiple examples from the researchers practice.
    • A multidimensional inquiry into Chinese outbound tourism to Western Europe: the visitation of Chinese millennial students to the Netherlands.

      De Vrieze-McBean, Ethel Rose (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2019-06-26)
      This research focuses on the multidimensionality of Chinese outbound tourism to Western Europe and particularly highlights the visitation of Chinese millennial students to the Netherlands. The contributions made to knowledge construction are first of all, to establish a propaedeutic research agenda for which this current research serves as a framework. Simultaneously, seven discernable dimensions have been identified as archetypal to the Chinese tourist, especially regarding their key interests and behaviour when visiting Western European destinations. These being competitive, demographic, economic, technological, cultural, natural and political. Within this construct, the researcher drew from Urry’s ‘The Tourist’s Gaze’, and Pearce et al., reconstruction of this, in their article in Tourism Recreation Research on “Puzzles in Understanding Chinese Tourist Behaviour: Towards a Triple-C Gaze”, to create the Quadruple-C Gaze in depicting the Chinese millennial tourist’s behaviour. (Quadruple-C is in reference to Confucianism, Capitalism, Communism, and Consumerism). The latter is a proposition for the establishment of a propaedeutic research agenda, which is derived from this study. In exercising an interpretative research methodology, the researcher attempted to gain a comprehensive understanding of the key interests of Chinese millennial tourists to the Netherlands and juxtapose them to Chinese millennial students as tourists to the Netherlands. At the same time, an investigation was carried out into the implications of these visits for the Dutch tourism industry as well as the Dutch higher education board. Semi-structured interviews were conducted among experts from the Dutch tourism industry as well as from the Dutch higher education board and experts from Dutch universities. Likewise, focus groups meetings were held among five different groups of Chinese millennial students from universities in the Netherlands as well as students from a university in China. Data was also generated from discourse analysis. The outcome of the thematic analysis performed resulted in seven pronounced themes, which are: the cultural values of Chinese millennial travellers; their motivations for visiting the Netherlands; the Netherlands and its higher educational institutes; Chinese millennial students in the Netherlands; the travel interests and behaviours of Chinese millennial students in/through Europe; the Chinese millennial students and their surroundings; and the implications of Chinese millennial students on their exhibited behaviour and on the Netherlands. A future propaedeutic research agenda is therefore proposed that examines “The Quadruple-C Gaze of Chinese outbound tourism and its relevance in defining the key interests and behaviour of the Chinese millennial tourists from second-and-third-tier VIII A Multidimensional Inquiry into Chinese Outbound Tourism to Western Europe: The Visitation of Chinese Millennial Students to The Netherlands cities in China”. In carrying out such a study, three relatively innovative methodologies are suggested: Complexity Theory, which is a set of concepts that attempts to explain a complex phenomenon not explainable by traditional or mechanic theories. The second is via Visual Analysis, which applies graphic prompts to assess the motivational considerations that guide visitors from different cultural backgrounds to select their travel destination(s). And thirdly, by way of Netnography - a current research method that uses online conversations as data. By applying one or more of the above-mentioned methodologies, a fresh insight will be gained into the quadruple-C gaze of Chinese millennial tourists from second and third-tier cities from Mainland China. Finally, when approaching China as a prospective source market for Chinese millennial tourists/students, both Dutch tourism providers and the Dutch higher education need to adopt a holistic approach to understanding the multi-dimensions postulated in this inquiry.
    • Multidimensional perfectionism and motivation in sport : potential mediating and moderating variables

      Hill, Andrew P. (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2009-10)
      Recent research has found that self-oriented and socially prescribed perfectionism have distinct consequences for athletes. The purpose of the thesis was to extend this research by further examining their motivational consequences for athletes and identifying the psychological mechanisms that explain their divergent consequences. The first two studies suggested that the positive relationship between socially prescribed perfectionism and athlete burnout was mediated by the tendency to engage in validation-seeking and utilise avoidant coping, whereas the inverse relationship between self-oriented perfectionism and athlete burnout was mediated by the tendency to utilise problem-focused coping and eschew avoidant coping. Because these initial studies provided little evidence to suggest that self-oriented perfectionism has negative psychological consequences for athletes, the nature of self-oriented perfectionism and its consequences were examined more closely in two subsequent studies. A comparative study examining similarities and differences in the correlates of selforiented perfectionism and conscientious achievement striving found that while both include a commitment to high standards, self-oriented perfectionism also includes a concern over mistakes, fear of failure and negative reactions to imperfection. An experimental study examining the response of student-athletes II higher in this dimension of perfectionism to successive failures further suggested that, in comparison to those with lower levels of self-oriented perfectionism, those with higher levels of self-oriented perfectionism experienced a more pronounced increase in threat following an initial failure and reported withdrawing effort from the subsequent performance. The final two studies suggest that the divergent consequences of these two dimensions of perfectionism may also be explained by differences in the controllability of sources of self-worth and evaluative standards. In addition, in some instances, perceptions of the achievement climate may influence the self-criticism experienced by perfectionists. Collectively, this series of studies suggest that socially prescribed perfectionism will invariably lead to motivational and psychological difficulties for athletes. In contrast, such difficulties may not be inevitable for those with higher levels of self-oriented perfectionism; however, it may render athletes vulnerable to psychological difficulties when personal standards are not meet.
    • Multilevel regression modelling of melanoma incidence

      Brown, Antony Clark (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2007-12)
      This thesis is concerned with developing and implementing a method for modelling and projecting cancer incidence data. The burden of cancer is an increasing problem for society and therefore, the ability to analyse and predict trends in large scale populations is vital. These predictions based on incidence and mortality data collected by cancer registries, can be used for estimation of current and future rates, which is helpful for public health planning. A large body of work already exists on the use of various modelling strategies, methods and fitting techniques. A multilevel method of preparing the data is proposed, fitted to historical data using regression modelling, to predict future rates of incidence for a given population. The proposed model starts with a model for the total incidence of the population, with each successive level stratifying the data into progressively more specific groupings, based on age. Each grouping is partitioned into subgroups, and each subgroup is expressed as a proportion of the parent group. Models are fitted to each of the proportional age-groups, and a combination of these models produces a model that predicts incidence for a specific age. A simple, efficient implementation of the modelling procedure is described, including key algorithms and measures of performance. The method is applied to data from populations that have very different melanoma incidence (the USA and Australia). The proportional structure reveals that the proportional age trends present in both populations are remarkably similar, indicating that there are links between causative factors in both populations. The method is applied fully to data from a variety of populations, and compared with results from existing models. The method is shown to be able to produce results that are reliable and stable, and are generally significantly more accurate than those of other models.