• Chronic probiotic supplementation and its effects on eHsp72 and LPS concentration following a desert-based ultramarathon

      Marshall, Hannah (University of Bedfordshire, 2015-12)
      This study investigated the effect of 12wk probiotic supplementation on the Lipopolysaccharides (LPS) and extracellular-heat-shock-protein 72 (eHsp72) response to a 7d ultra-endurance event (249.4km) in extreme heat [(average temperature ~38°C) Marathon des Sables (MDS) 2015]. Thirty-two (6 female) competitors were randomly allocated to receive probiotic, probiotic + glutamine, or no supplementation for 12wk prior to the MDS. Blood samples were collected on two occasions prior to the race [12wk (baseline) and 7d pre-race], and two further occasions post-race (6-8h and 7d post-race). Plasma eHsp72 and LPS concentrations were determined using ELISAs; V O was recorded at baseline and pre-race. A significant increase in overall mean V O was observed from baseline to pre-race (p<0.05), however no difference was found between groups (p>0.05). Overall mean post-race eHsp72 concentration was significantly increased (p<0.05) by 124% from baseline, there was no significant effect of group on eHsp72 concentration at any time point (p>0.05). There was no significant change in LPS concentration from baseline to post-race in all groups (p>0.05), no difference in LPS concentration was observed between groups at any time (p>0.05). This study indicates an ineffective role of PRO and PGLn supplementation on LPS translocation and eHsp72 response to ultramarathon performance in extreme heat.
    • Cognitive enhancements of elderly Tai Chi Chuan practitioners

      Willmott, James P.; University of Bedfordshire (University of Bedfordshire, 2017-05)
      Background: More research is providing support into the capability of tai chi chuan (TCC) to enhance cognitive abilities, neurological functioning, as well as psychosocial wellbeing and quality of life. These areas of the human mind-body complex become at risk during the process of aging, and TCC has the potential to enhance these areas and mitigate cognitive decline for elderly people. The aim of the present study is to investigate whether elderly people who practice TCC possess greater cognitive abilities and quality of life compared to bowls players and a control group. Method: 30 tai chi chuan practitioners, 30 bowls players and 10 control group participants were used in the sample. Only 10 control group participants were used due to complications with recruitment. The Sustained Attention to Response Task (SART) was used to measure sustained attention, the Stroop Test was used to measure executive function, and the Brown-Peterson Task (BPT) was used to measure working memory. The Older People's Quality of Life Questionnaire - Brief was used to measure quality of life. Age, gender, years of experience and self-reported additional activities were recorded. Test order effects were also measured. Results: Significant differences were found between the tai chi chuan group and bowls group on the Stroop correct responses and the Brown-Peterson Task correct responses in favour of the tai chi chuan group. No other significant differences were found between all groups in cognitive test performance. No significant differences were found between all three groups on quality of life. Significant associations were found between self-reported additional activities practiced and the groups. The total number of activities engaged in and cognitive based activities were found to significantly predict performance on the Brown-Peterson Task. Conclusion: The data in the present study suggests that elderly people who practice TCC may have enhanced executive function and working memory but not sustained attention compared to bowls players. These findings must be interpreted with caution however due to the methodological complications and mediating factors that confound the reliability and validity of the results. Overall, the study still provides some empirical evidence in support of TCC's potential to enhance cognitive ability in the elderly. More research is required to ascertain the specific components of cognitive ability that are enhanced by TCC.
    • Collaborative teaching and learning of primary school physical education in England: a critical examination of the role and impact of external providers

      Smith, Max Granville (University of Bedfordshire, 2020-04-16)
      Background: Reporting on the use of the Primary PE and Sport Premium in schools is often limited to ‘official’ reports produced for and by the government. The use of public funds to improve the opportunities for pupils in PE and School Sport is not a new concept, previously receiving funding under ‘PESSCL’ and ‘PESSYP’ two major PESS strategies introduced between 2003-2010. The Primary PE and Sport Premium was introduced into primary schools in 2013 and saw a doubling of this money in 2017 as a beneficiary of the UK Government imposed ‘Sugar Tax’. What is limited in this field however is research on ‘how’ schools use the money and the decision-making process of headteachers and schools when it comes to spending/investing this ring-fenced allocation of funding. Purpose: The aim of this study is to contribute to the knowledge of ‘how’ schools spend, or invest, the funding they receive via the Primary PE and Sport Premium and to what extend they are able to satisfy the conditions of this grant. Research Setting: This study was undertaken across three primary schools in the South of England. Involving school staff that included the headteacher, the lead for PE and any external providers that the school used in the delivery of PESS. Methods: Data was collected through semi-structured interviews supplemented with observations, documentary analysis and field diaries. Data was coded and analysed by Grounded Theory. Findings: Coaches had good skill knowledge but lack critical pedagogical understanding while teachers lack confidence to teach PE. Head teachers should be accountable for PE but did not have the time or knowledge to effectively manage the Primary PE and Sport Premium. There were issues with the use of the funding, and outside of the permitted use as per the Primary PE and Sport Premium Guidelines. Conclusion: Schools were superficially using the funding to increase physical activity as opposed to Physical Education. Schools were spending the money on a service rather than investing their money for the purpose of sustainability.
    • Community awareness in managing pre-eclampsia in Bauchi State, north-eastern Nigeria : a cross-sectional study

      Kanu, Denis Otis (University of Bedfordshire, 2008-10)
      Pre-eclampsia has been pin-pointed as one of the leading causes of maternal mortality in Nigeria especially in rural areas, yet very little has been done to provide effective measures in mitigating its impact on the pUblic. This study assessed the level of awareness of pregnant women and health workers in managing pre-eclampsia in a community in Bauchi state, Nigeria. A descriptive cross-sectional study was undertaken using self administered questionnaires, semi-structured questionnaire based interviews and field observation. 129 participants consisting of 103 women and 26 health workers were utilised. Information was obtained on the knowledge of symptoms of pre-eclampsia, use of antenatal care services, preferred information z, assessment of healthcare services and need for more health information. Two sets of Close-ended qu;estionnaires were utilised. Data obtained was analysed using MS Excel and SPSS version 12 and descriptive indices obtained. In this study, it was observed that a large fraction of women did not know about preeclampsia or its symptoms, denoting poor levels of awareness of this health condition. The use and content of antenatal care services was demeaning. Clinical knowledge was also lacking among health workers, especially the healthcare assistants who make up a large fraction of the health force in Nigeria. Such pitfalls need to be addressed effectively. The need for improved routine training of healthcare workers especially healthcare assistants is pertinent if they are to effectively manage this health condition, and educate the general public of its dangers. Community mobilisation and awareness must be included in intervention strategies to properly inform the-public, and curtail existent communal beliefs about pregnancy. Recommendations and strategies promoting maternal health must take note of the harmful effects of pre-eclampsia amongst Nigerian women.
    • Computer vision guidance for precise movement in commercial drones

      Pollard, Alexander Ryan (University of Bedfordshire, 2017-10)
      This project aims to pave the way for completely autonomous drone flight, starting with using computer vision to guide a drone. The project will involve using computer vision to direct a drone around a room to find its goal location. The current aims and objectives are:  To implement computer control for drones and use this to run the program through the drone;  To get the drone to recognize directions given by arrows using computer vision and to translate arrows seen into lateral directions;  To accurately land the drone safely on or as close to a final goal position as possible.
    • Contraception and sexual health : what existing knowledge do 16 - 19 year old young women have and how does this compare with their practice? a survey

      Hand, Adrienne (University of Bedfordshire, 2007-01)
      CONTEXT: Rates of Sexually Transmitted Infections are rising and action is still required to reduce unintended teenage pregnancies. This research establishes what knowledge and opinions young women have about preventing pregnancy and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI's), and determines if they put this knowledge into practice. METHODS: Utilising survey methodology a sample of 16-19 year old young women attending a local Further Education College were invited to complete a confidential questionnaire. RESULTS: Of the young women, 79% were already sexually active with 50% of them becoming sexually active under the age of 16. The majority, 55%, reported knowing 'only a little' about Sexually Transmitted Infections, and although 100% had heard of Chlamydia, only 75% knew that it caused infertility in women and 52% assumed that it was only women that could become infected. Knowledge was slightly better regarding pregnancy, however 28% did not know that sperm can come out of a mans penis prior to ejaculation. All knew about emergency contraception, however only 65% knew that they have as long as 72 hours to access it. 62% of the young women reported having had sex without a condom in the past and only 50% knew that the condom was effective at preventing Sexually Transmitted Infections. CONCLUSION: Although young women are of the opinion that they wish to prevent pregnancy and protect themselves from Sexually Transmitted Infections, the group surveyed do not have the knowledge that allows them to practice 'safe sex' and thus protect their reproductive and sexual health.
    • Cost effective UMTS transport topology optimization

      Thomas, Emanuel (University of Bedfordshire, 2010-08)
      This thesis studies the logical topology design for UMTS Radio Access Networks. The topology planning is investigated with specific focus on the transport network links of the Iub interface, which connects the Node B with the RNC. These links are considered as one of the most important economic factors for the UMTS network dimensioning. In order to satisfy subscriber demand and to cope with high bit-rate multimedia services, a large number of base stations are required in future cellular radio access networks. The radio access network thus becomes more complex and the transport resources for the Iub interface become considerably costly. The ultimate goal of this thesis is to investigate important aspects related to the topology planning of these interconnection links and to give insight into suitable choices for the network design. The formulated task proves a combinatorial optimization problem, which seems to be NP-hard. Therefore, in order to provide a comprehensive investigation on the topology design of the access network various heuristic techniques are applied and studied. In the framework of this thesis, the 3G UMTS network based on WCDMA is considered as the basic UMTS network under investigation.
    • Critical success factors for implementing traceability systems in Chinese food enterprises

      Miao, Meiyin (University of Bedfordshire, 2010-09)
      Food safety has always been the focus of worldwide attention. Chinese government has promulgated a series of initiatives, laws and regulations to implement the traceability systems since 2004. However, the implementation of traceability system (TS) in China faces many challenges which are creating major barriers to the traceability system implementation success. This research aims to identify critical success factors (CSF) for implementing TS in Chinese food enterprises. More specifically, the study attempts to develop a set of criteria of TS implementation success from theoretical and practical point of views and identify and propose a framework of critical success factors for TS implementation success.To achieve the research objectives, this research adopted both qualitative and quantitative approaches. Extensive literature review was conducted to establish initial understanding of TS implementation success and associated critical success factors. Semi-structured interviews were carried out with six managers to establish a set of TS implementation success measures in the context of Chinese food enterprises. Survey questionnaires were designed to identify the critical success factors influencing TS implementation success. Primary data were collected from 124 valid responses in China. Descriptive and factor analysis were conducted using SPSS. According to the survey, the top five critical success factors are: the authenticity of traceability information; perfect food traceability laws; perfect food traceability standards; clear objectives for traceability system implementation; policy guidance for enterprises traceability system implementation from government. The framework has six dimensions of critical success factors including: laws, regulations & standards; government support & guidance; consumer knowledge & support; top management, company-wide & vendor support; efficient management & communication; information quality & system quality. Based on the exploratory factor analysis a CSF framework for implementing TS in Chinese food enterprises was proposed. The outcomes of this research will have great significance for research and management in implementing TS and offering implications for policy makers and other stakeholders in the future.
    • Critical thinking: the impact of social influence

      Ward, Nicholas (University of Bedfordshire, 2016-10)
      An under researched area of conformity and social influence is how it interferes with critical thinking. This study will investigate how critical thinking is interfered with by social influence in both Face to Face (FTF) and Computer Mediated Communication (CMC) within an academic discussion group. A systematic review was conducted to identify any existing literature on social influence and critical thinking in a blended learning environment, the results of the review found no relevant literature. Using a critical thinking task with different written language conditions, two experiments were conducted to investigate the effects of social influence on critical thinking and language on conformity. In study one participants were engaged in a critical thinking task in two consecutive discussion forums, either FTF-CMC or CMC-FTF, with a journal article that had been altered to be either formal or informal language. The results of this study found that there was no significant main effect between conditions but several significant interactions were found. Study two replicated study one, but with a slightly altered stimulus, to control for possible effects of obedience. The results of study two showed no significant main effects but significant interactions between conditions. The findings of the study show that the order of discussion forum can influence conforming behaviours and have an impact on critical thinking. The implications of the study are discussed.
    • Cross-validation based man-in-the-middle attack protection

      Cui, Xiaofei (University of Bedfordshire, 2017-03)
      In recent years, computer network has widely used in almost all areas of our social life. It has been profoundly changing the way of our living. However, various network attacks have become an increasingly problem at the same time. In local area networks, Man-in-the-Middle attack, as one kind of ARP attack, is the most common attack. This research implemented a cross-validation based Man-in-the-Middle attack protection method (CVP). This approach enables a host to check whether another host that responds the initialising host with an ARP reply packet is genuine. It then allows the ARP cache table of the initialising hosts to be updated with the MAC address and IP address pairs of the genuine host and to place the MAC address of inauthentic hosts into a blacklist. This research introduced ARP and ICMP firstly, including the structure of ARP and ICMP packets, and their workflows. Secondly, this research discussed the types of ARP attacks and the existing ARP attacks protection methods, including their principles, applicable environment, advantages and disadvantages. Then, this research proposed and implemented a cross-validation based Man-in-the-Middle attack protection method. Simulations and experiments were performed to examine the effect of CVP method. The results show the effectiveness of the proposed cross-validation based method in protecting network from Man-in-the-Middle attack. Compared with the existing Man-in-the-Middle attack protection methods, CVP requires no extra devices and administration, leading to more secure local area networks and low cost. It also has made a “tabu” to attackers. That is, it places the MAC address of attackers into a blacklist. So they will be identified immediately if they try to attack the network again.
    • 'Crossing the threshold - leaving looked-after children services' : semi-structured interviews with young men aged 15-21 in Bedfordshire.

      Adger, Debbie (University of Bedfordshire, 2007-09)
      For this research a content analysis was conducted on semi-structured interviews with looked after young men to explore their understanding of health and emotional well-being, their perception of support available for them during the transition from leaving Looked After Care Services, and their knowledge of local services accessible to young men aged 15-21 in Bedfordshire when working towards independence. The focus of the research was centred on masculinity and the transitional period of adolescence referred to as the 'threshold stage', a time when a young person may feel lonely and emotionally unsupported due to the conflicting expectations about their needs for both independence and attachment. An overview of relevant public health and local authority policies that inform the study is provided in the introduction with a literature review highlighting previous research, emphasising the need to develop and tailor interventions according to the views and experiences of young men. The overall message from both the young men and professionals were about the difficulties of providing consistent support against the barriers of masculinity and not wanting to be seen reaching out for help. A number of suggestions have been drawn out from the data and presented in the conclusions.
    • Cryo-stress in pine seeds

      Ayodeji, Akinnewu Olutayo (University of Bedfordshire, 2007-06)
      The rapid decrease in seed viability requires new storage methods. Conventional cryopreservation /storage methods have been widely used by researchers for seed survival studies. In this study, optimum protocols were determined and investigations made on the successful cryo-storage of the three pines (P. pinea, P. pseudostrobus and P. caribaea). The results show that (i) moisture content of orthodox seeds, in pines, especially P. pinea seeds is not a major determinant of survival; (ii) pre-storage treatments (stepwise freezing treatments) proved to be the best optimum protocols as compared to the conventional plunge in liquid nitrogen; (iii) leakage in P. caribaea seeds did not indicate any stressing of those seeds whilst in P. pinea seeds leakage appeared to be a stress marker; and (iv) orthodox seeds or embryos can be cryopreserved at 5 -13 % moisture contents, whilst storage between moisture contents of 15 -26 % or more will be lethal, as shown by differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) studies on P. pinea embryos in this study.
    • Cryopreservation of zebrafish (Danio rerio) blastomeres using controlled slow cooling

      Creamer, Delta Patricia Menendez (University of Bedfordshire, 2008-07)
      Cryopreservation of aquatic species has been widely studied especially zebrafish gametes, embryos and larvae. Cryopreservation of blastomeres has the advantage of preserving both paternal and maternal genetic information. The research work presented in this thesis investigated the toxicity of cryoprotectants to 75% epiboly stage blastomeres of zebrafish (Danio rerio) before cryopreservation. DMSO was found to be the least toxic cryoprotectant for blastomeres, after 30 min incubated in PBS at room temperature, with 97.8% survivaL Cryopreservation of zebrafish blastomeres was carried out using controlled slow cooling. In addition to cryoprotectant, the cryoprotective properties of other compounds were also investigated including NaHC03, coffee and honey, and their solutions were used as cryopreservation media. Comparison of blastomere survival in different media after freezing showed honey to be the most effective, with 98.1 % survival immediately after freeze thawing. Comparison of blastomers cryopreserved in honey and DMSO, after 60 min incubation in PBS at room temperature following freeze-thawing and cryoprotectant removal, showed honey to be the more effective cryoprotectant for controlled slow cooling of zebrafish blastomeres with 97.2% survival. Results from the 'present study showed honey to have properties that protect the blastomere from freezing injury.
    • The cumulative effects of seven days of imposed exercise on energy balance and appetite regulation

      Esh, Christopher John (University of Bedfordshire, 2016-04)
      Increasing energy expenditure (EE) through regular exercise is a promising strategy to prevent body fat gain. However, imposed exercise interventions often produce weight loss that is less than theoretically expected, possibility due to compensatory mechanisms in energy intake (EI) and EE. Study one was designed to determine whether a combined written and photographic food diary was a reliable measure of EI within a free-living environment across seven days. The results suggested this method was reliable at the group level. However, 95% limits of agreement (LoA) showed large variability (-1258 to 1545 kcal/day) at the individual level. Study two investigated acylated ghrelin, PYY and energy balance in response to 7-days of imposed exercise and a control condition. EI increased by 511 kcal/day in the exercise condition (P=0.005). Late-postprandial acylated ghrelin concentrations were higher in the exercise condition (P=0.072), but did not change from pre- to post intervention. There was a larger, but non-significant, increase in EI at the postprandial ad libitum pasta meal in the exercise condition (P=0.285). In conclusion, 7-days exercise resulted in increased EI under free-living conditions; similar results were found when assessed in a controlled laboratory environment. A larger sample size would allow confirmation of the findings.
    • Cyberharassment and cyberbullying: individual and institutional perspectives

      Dobocan, Georgiana Alexandra (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2013-10)
      Research on finding a relationship between institutional policy and the proliferation of cyberstalking, cyberharassment and cyberbullying in young adults, is limited. A National Institute of Justice (1998) study on a 4,446 USA student sample reveals that stalking on university campuses has a different profile than stalking nationally because of the nature of their mate-seeking age, proximity of the perpetrator to its victim and the facile way of accessing personal information. For this study, data from an undergraduate sample was gathered. Data suggests that online communication is ambiguous and there is a need for online norms, to which young people can adhere. Participants were generally not aware that the university had a policy on acceptable use of network. Moreover, participants were sensitive to being harassed and while being aware of how they were affected by the online behaviour of others, there was less certainty of the effects of their own behaviour.
    • Cyberstalking: the role of sex in perpetrator behaviour and victim impact

      Wrixon, Kristiana (University of Bedfordshire, 2014)
      Research has previously found a higher than expected percentage of male victims in cases of cyberstalking. Furthermore, it has been shown that female cyberstalking victims primarily fear physical harm and male victims primarily fear loss of reputation. This study considers why these differences exist with particular focus on the online behaviour of men and women. Using two questionnaires this study examines the behaviour of Internet users and the experiences of cyberstalking victims in order to consider whether there is a relationship between the way men and women use technology and the fears they experience if cyberstalked. It was found that men and women spend equal amounts of time online and that men do not place any more emphasis on their online professional presence than women. However, differences were found between the sexes in regards to some online anti-social behaviours and these findings did relate to the differing behaviours of male and female cyberstalking perpetrators. This study concludes that the differences between primary fears in cyberstalking victims are influenced by the online behaviour of the perpetrator and how individuals use the Internet. However these factors cannot be attributed as the sole reason for differences in cyberstalking fears in men and women.
    • Data pre-processing techniques and tools for predictive modelling using unstructured inputs

      Maslowski, Przemyslaw (University of Bedfordshire, 2020-07)
      Data is a crucial factor within machine learning, as most of the neural networks and machine learning models are data-driven. A trained neural network can be used to predict new data that has not been seen by the model but under the trained patterns. The performance of the predictive model can vary based on the data that is being used while training. Multiple metrics have been produced after a model is trained to evaluate model performance. However, it is difficult to get an intuitive measurement that indicates if the data pre-processing of a model has been improved or not. Therefore, a constructive performance indicator tool that can be used to intuitively measure the performance of pre-processing mechanisms for a given model, has been developed through multiple experiments with 32 datasets. The experiments are set up by collecting multiple unstructured datasets which are subsequently converted into structured datasets and then evaluated by their modelling performance. The experiment results are used to evaluate the importance of each metric and priorities via weights for contextualising the preprocessing experience within the constructivist paradigm. Furthermore, a set of tools have been developed throughout the project to improve the efficiency of machine learning experiments. The developed set of tools are a part of the main software, which is named as the pre-processing assistant. The pre-processing assistant has been published to the public, and it can be used for preparing, processing, and analysing data. The software tools allow users to manipulate datasets and generate Python scripts to train a predictive model. Also, the TensorFlow framework and its machine-learning algorithms have been utilised to develop Python scripts for training and predicting datasets. The software has been used to effectively carry out the experiments which have helped to configure the performance indicator tool. In the end, the most important metrics have been discovered through various experiments. The experiments consist of training the model with and without data pre-processing techniques. The increase in each metric has been adopted to discover significant metrics. The metrics which improve frequently are estimated to be more critical and have been assigned with a higher weight. The performance indicator has been configured based on the final experiment results, and it can be used by others to measure the performance of a predictive model.
    • Decision making ability and thermoregulation in extreme environments during goal line official-like movement patterns

      Watkins, Samuel L. (University of Bedfordshire, 2013-03)
      Goal line officials (GLO) are exposed to extreme environmental conditions when employed to officiate in European cup competitions. Extreme environments have been shown previously to affect various facets of cognitive function. The present study aimed to investigate the effect of such environments on GLO. 13 male participants were exposed to 3 conditions, cold (-5 oC, 50% RH); temperate (18 oC, 50% RH); and hot (30 oC, 50% RH) for 90 minutes per condition, with a 15 minutes half time break after 45 minutes. Decision making ability was measured; using the Psyche Software Package, prior to each exposure (0 minutes), at the end of the first half (45 minutes), immediately after half time (45 minutes), and at the end of the second half (90 minutes). Exposure to cold conditions reduced positive stimuli responses (HIT scores) significantly when compared to hot conditions (P<0.05). Participants ability to track stimuli was also significantly reduced in cold conditions when compared to temperate and hot conditions (P<0.05). Reductions in decision making ability were coupled with reductions in physiological measures; cold exposure significantly reduced core temperature, skin temperature and thermal comfort when compared to temperate and hot conditions (P<0.05). The diminishment in GLO decision making ability during exposure to cold conditions, most notably the ability to respond positively to an infringement and the ability to track important stimuli, e.g. the football and goal line/player, are concerns which could negatively affect the outcome of a football match. Such findings should be considered by football’s governing bodies when assessing the implementation of goal line technology and/or the continued use of GLO.
    • A decision support system for international students

      Wu, Qing (University of Bedfordshire, 2012-10)
      Effective decision making is a complex process and can be influenced by many factors. When making decisions, people always have to deal with many challenges such as: information overload, too many criteria to consider, etc. Decision Support Systems (DSS) emerged to help people make effective and informed decisions in the 1980s. They have been widely used and enhanced in recent years with new emerging internet technologies and decision models, one of them being Multi-criteria decision support systems (MCDSS). MCDSS aims to aid the decision makers to handle semi-structured decisions with multiple criteria. This research aims to help individuals understand the decision making process, especially the multi-criteria decision making process, and develop and test a personal decision support system (DSS) to help individuals make better decisions in the context of university selection by overseas students. The research investigates and analyses the key factors affecting students’ decisions when selecting a suitable university using personal interview and questionnaire survey methods; these find out students’ needs, and help design and develop a personal decision system prototype for international students using the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) method to aid them to select the best suitable university for their postgraduate study in the UK. Then the system is tested with students and their feedback analysed. This process has implications for developing and using DSS as a personal decision support tool, thus to provide a base for future research and development. This research made a number of contributions to DSS research and applications. Firstly, it addressed a gap in the current DSS research by designing and applying DSS for personal decision making using AHP because personal DSS reported in the literature is designed to serve business users. Secondly, it identifies key criteria in students’ decision making on university selection through student interviews and surveys. The key criteria are University ranking, Subject ranking, Completion rate, Location, Accommodation costs, Tuition fees, and Entry Requirements. Thirdly, the system evaluation results show that DSS-US is perceived to be effective, efficient and usable. For effectiveness, users believe that DSS-US has the potential to help them make better decision through personalization in terms of decision making criteria and weight allocation. For efficiency, students find that the system can save them significant amount of time when making their decision by helping them tom access the necessary information and data. Regarding the system usability, all the participants indicate that they were satisfied about the function of DSS-US. In addition, user can ‘play’ with DSUS system to explore different scenarios. They can try different weights to explore different results.
    • Demonstration of a cost efficient “Decision Support System (DSS)” using Visual Studio Applications

      Schmunk, Andreas (University of Bedfordshire, 2012-05)
      Decision support systems (DSS) are a suitable, need-based and cost effective solution for companies to implement analysis tools and streamline various processes. This report demonstrates the applicability of such a tool in a specific context where previously no DSS has been applied. The analysis of contract cancellations within financial companies that entirely depend on these agents is a crucial analytical process for these companies. However, these companies have not yet used a sophisticated DSS that allows a user-friendly and simple analysis in order to derive evidence-based countermeasures. Consequently, this report describes the process of developing and evaluating a DSS that fulfils general and specific requirements. These criteria have been tested while developing the tool in order to guarantee several steps of reiteration. The results clearly show that the developed tool is user-friendly, provides enough analytical depth and can be easily implemented. This prototype is therefore a robust and convincing solution for an important business problem and its benefit can be seen in the fact that participating companies are considering to implement a DSS solution that is based on this prototype.