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  • Towards new avenues for the IELTS Speaking Test: insights from examiners’ voices

    Inoue, Chihiro; Khabbazbashi, Nahal; Lam, Daniel M. K.; Nakatsuhara, Fumiyo (IELTS Partners, 2021-02-19)
    This study investigated the examiners’ views on all aspects of the IELTS Speaking Test, namely, the test tasks, topics, format, interlocutor frame, examiner guidelines, test administration, rating, training and standardisation, and test use. The overall trends of the examiners’ views of these aspects of the test were captured by a large-scale online questionnaire, to which a total of 1203 examiners responded. Based on the questionnaire responses, 36 examiners were carefully selected for subsequent interviews to explore the reasons behind their views in depth. The 36 examiners were representative of a number of differing geographical regions and a range of views and experiences in examining and giving examiner training. While the questionnaire responses exhibited generally positive views from examiners on the current IELTS Speaking Test, the interview responses uncovered various issues that the examiners experienced and suggested potentially beneficial modifications. Many of the issues (e.g. potentially unsuitable topics, rigidity of interlocutor frames) were attributable to the huge candidature of the IELTS Speaking Test, which has vastly expanded since the test’s last revision in 2001, perhaps beyond the initial expectations of the IELTS Partners. This study synthesized the voices from examiners and insights from relevant literature, and incorporated guidelines checks we submitted to the IELTS Partners. This report concludes with a number of suggestions for potential changes in the current IELTS Speaking Test, so as to enhance its validity and accessibility in today’s ever globalising world.
  • Psychology as a thing of the past

    Chater, Angel M. (British Psychological Society, 2020-08-31)
    Prof-bots or a psychologically informed future? You decide, says Angel Chater.
  • Can physical activity support grief outcomes in individuals who have been bereaved? a systematic review

    Williams, Jane; Shorter, Gillian; Howlett, Neil; Zakrzewski-Fruer, Julia K.; Chater, Angel M.; University of Bedfordshire; Queen’s University Belfast; University of Hertfordshire (Springer, 2021-03-06)
    Background: In 2018, there were 616,014 registered deaths in the United Kingdom (UK). Grief is a natural consequence. Many mental health concerns, which can be identified as grief outcomes (e.g. anxiety and depression) in those who have experienced a bereavement, can be improved through physical activity. The objective of this review was to identify from the existing literature if physical activity can benefit grief outcomes in individuals who have been bereaved. Methods: A systematic review of nine databases was performed. Included studies (qualitative and quantitative) explored physical activity to help individuals (of any age) who had experienced a human bereavement (excluding national loss). Results: From 1299 studies screened, 25 met the inclusion criteria, detailing eight types of bereavement (parental (n=5), spousal (n=6), patient (n=4), pre-natal (n=3), later life (n=1), caregiver (n=1), multiple (n=4) and non-defined (n=1). Activities including yoga, running, walking, and martial arts were noted as beneficial. Physical activity allowed a sense of freedom, to express emotions, provided a distraction, and an escape from grief, while enhancing social support. Conclusion: There is some evidence that physical activity may provide benefit for the physical health and psychological wellbeing of those who have been bereaved, including when the loss has happened at a young age. This review is timely, given the wide-scale national loss of life due to COVID-19 and extends knowledge in this area. More research is needed to explore the benefits of physical activity for those who have been bereaved. In particular there is a need for well-designed interventions which are tailored to specific activities, populations and grief outcomes.
  • Identifying the configurational conditions for marketing analytics use in UK SME

    Cao, Guangming; Duan, Yanqing; Tian, Na (Emerald, 2021-03-05)
    While marketing analytics can be used to improve organizational decision-making and performance significantly, little research exists to examine how the configurations of multiple conditions affect marketing analytics use. This study draws on configuration theory to investigate marketing analytics use in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). This research employs fuzzy set qualitative comparative analysis using data collected from a survey of 187 managers in UK SMEs. The key findings show that (1) configurations of multiple conditions provide alternative pathways to marketing analytics use; and (2) the configurations for small firms are different from those for medium-sized firms. The research results are based on several key configurational factors and a single key-informant method to collect subjective data from UK SME managers. The study helps SMEs to understand that marketing analytics use is influenced by the interaction of multiple conditions, that there are alternative pathways to marketing analytics use, and that SMEs should choose the configuration that fits best with their organizational contexts.

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