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  • Changing sedentary behaviour in the workplace

    Brierley, Marsha Lynn (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2020-06)
    Sedentary behaviour is independently related to the development of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and their risk markers. The office workplace is a major contributor to daily sedentary behaviour (sitting); however, it also offers the opportunity to intervene with a large population. Desk-based police staff make up at least a third of UK police employees and experience poorer cardiometabolic health profiles than higher ranked police employees. The purpose of this thesis was to develop and assess the feasibility of delivering a tailored intervention to reduce prolonged sitting in police staff. The first aim of the thesis was to determine the effects of sedentary workplace interventions on cardiometabolic risk markers and ascertain the ‘active ingredients’ in promising studies (Study 1). The second aim was to gather qualitative insights into the acceptability of a theory-based workplace intervention using the APEASE framework (Study 2). The third aim was to interview police staff to understand their barriers and facilitators for reducing sedentary time (Study 3). The fourth aim was to assess the feasibility of conducting a multi-component intervention in police staff (Study 4). The systematic review (Study 1, Chapter 4) found that interventions show promise for improving cardiometabolic health. However, individual studies were at risk of allocation and performance bias. The behaviour change techniques of social comparison, problem solving, demonstration of the behaviour, goal setting, behaviour substitution, and habit reversal were frequently observed in promising interventions. In Study 2 (Chapter 5), a theory-derived sedentary behaviour office worker intervention comprising individual, organisational/social, and environmental modifications was acceptable and practicable. Productivity concerns and cost (of sit-stand desks) were barriers to organisational buy-in. Preference and work tasks influenced engagement with intervention resources. Police staff would benefit from a low cost intervention targeting social influences, education/skills training, and habit reinforcement (Study 3, Chapter 6). In Study 4 (Chapter 8), a tailored intervention was found to be feasible and acceptable for reducing prolonged sitting in police staff. This thesis provides a ‘roadmap’ for the development of interventions using the Behaviour Change Wheel. Findings from the feasibility trial identified key indicators of successful implementation regarding participant recruitment and retention, which should be considered should the intervention go to a full trial. Future research should investigate the long term behavioural and health effects of this intervention in police staff and other office-based occupations with the aim of improving public health.
  • The design of an innovative automatic computational method for generating geometric Islamic visual art with aesthetic beauty

    Ibrahim, Marwah Mohammed (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2021)
    The demands for providing perfect and modern Islamic art patterns have increased, and Arab nations are unable to utilise Islamic art on the computer due to a lack of programs based on generating these patterns. Several studies address the topic of Islamic art from Arab regions and lack endeavoured to integrate computer software to develop or enhance Islamic art designs. With this gap in software to enhance and generate Islamic art, the Geometric Islamic Visual Art program (GIVA) package can support the development of innovative and automated algorithms for generating geometric Islamic patterns based upon pre-defined rules that guarantee the quality and involves key aesthetics metrics. Concurrently, the ‘Triangulation’ Mixed Methods Design is adapted by first developing a mathematical formula to generate Islamic art, determine a quantitative approach for a procedure of cross-sectional design, and follow a qualitative approach through semi-structured interviews. The software program development is based on a pre-existing mathematical algorithm and adjusted to create the Islamic art pattern of a star. The quantitative approach incorporated convenience sampling from 250 recruited Saudi adults categorised into groups of 50 from five locations. The response rate achieved for this study was 80%. The study adopts a pre-existing questionnaire from a previous study addressing the computerisation of Islamic art. A correlation is identified between previous use of graphical computer programs by the participants to create Islamic art and their intentions to use the new GIVA software. For the qualitative phase, nine experts from the College of Art, Design of King Abdul-Aziz University and Nawaf Company General Contracting were interviewed. They provided an evaluation of the patterns on several aesthetic themes including spaces between patterns, distances and sizes, colour grading, shape diversity, uniqueness, and complexity. The series of eight themes were obtained from qualitative data analysis using thematic analysis, by using Nvivo version 12 user requirements; spatial distance (in design), the eight themes are: distance and size; colour grading; shape diversity; uniqueness of pattern; complexity of pattern; and participant evaluation. With this quantitative and qualitative feedback, computerised generation of the perfect pattern is possible. This study can inform the Ministry of Culture, support the faculty of art and design throughout Saudi Arabia who work on the development of Islamic art using software and further enhance the Islamic art field to make it more popular. The study also suggests a variety of future studies including the use of an alternate formula to produce various Islamic art faster.
  • Use of machine learning to reduce false alarms

    Ali, Muhammed Usman (University of Bedfordshire, 2020)
    Machine learning is adopted widely in many sectors including healthcare, automotive and finance where machine learning use cases include disease detection, predictive maintenance, and fraud detection. During 2017/2018, around 40%(226,000) of the incidents attended by fire and rescue service were false alarms. Therefore, this thesis is focused towards the application of machine learning on fire alarm systems data to address the rising problem of false alarms. The fire alarm system on site gathers the data about different events which can be utilised to conduct the experiments with machine learning. Therefore , to address this problem five different classification machine learning models including Logistic Regression, Support Vector Machines, Naïve Bayes Classifier, Decision Trees and Random Forests have been used to experiment with data gathered from fire alarm system. The performance of the different machine learning models is evaluated using different methods such as precision, recall, f1- score, confusion matrix, k-fold cross validation and mean accuracy to find the best suited models for reducing false alarm rates. Experiments were conducted on data gathered from the fire alarm system, 10-fold cross validation results indicated Naïve Bayes Classifier detecting 51 out of 53 Fires correctly but with a high misclassification rate and low mean accuracy of 61%. The remaining four models failed in classifying any fires correctly with 0.00 recall, still achieving overall accuracy in the range of 97-98% due to high imbalance in the dataset. The Cohen Kappa value of 0.0 was achieved by models indicating poor agreement in the decisions made. Machine learning models exhibited better performance on the new test data with incorporated temperature data, models achieved higher recall in the range of 0.70 to 1.00 during 10-fold cross validation as well as higher Cohen Kappa scores in the range 0.73 to 0.88 indicating substantial agreement in the decisions made by the machine learning models. The results on fire system data indicated machine may not be that effective due to poor correlation between the features in the data and high imbalance in the data. However, much better results are achieved by incorporating some additional sensors such as temperature into the fire alarm system data.
  • The relationship between attention and consciousness: evidence for phenomenal overflow

    Baldwin, Michael (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2020-03)
    There is an ongoing debate in the study of consciousness regarding the relationship between consciousness and attention. While it is widely accepted that attention and consciousness are two distinct processes, the debate is over the nature of the relationship, does consciousness overflow attention? Four experiments were carried out to investigate the relationship between consciousness and attention, using a modification of the visual search paradigm, searching for a target in a display of non-targets and pressing a key to indicate whether the target was present or not present. The same Methodology was used in all for experiments with eye tracking, to monitor the direction of the gaze. A gaze contingent display was used to disrupt the allocation of attention under two of the experimental conditions. Participants were instructed to search for a given target under three conditions, Constant, Variable and Moveable. In the Constant condition, the target remained when a fixation was made. In the Variable condition, the target changed to a non-target just prior to fixation, changing back to the target when the gaze moved away. In the third, Moveable condition, the target moved to another part of the display when an attempt was made at fixation, with further relocations on subsequent attempts at fixation. It was hypothesised that under the Variable and Moveable conditions increased levels of cognitive engagement as measured by fixation and fixation durations would indicate awareness of the target while still resulting in a failure to report. Study One, involved a feature search, searching for a target that differed from the background by colour, looking for a light red block in a display of dark red blocks. Participants failed to report the presence of the target on around 50% of the trials. The results suggested that participants were making more effort to determine that the target was not present than correctly reporting the presence of the target. Study Two involved s second feature search for orientation. The target was an angled bar in a display of vertical bars. Findings were consistent with Study One, failure to report occurring on around 50% of the trials. Again, failure to report was accompanied by more fixations on the target than correct report, indicating that participants were aware of the target, but were unable to focus attention. Study Three involved a search for higher order properties in terms of shape or form. In this case, looking for an oval in a display of circles. The findings supported those of the first two studies. Failure to report on around 50% of the trials, with a failure to report being accompanied by more fixations of the target than correct report Study four employed a conjunction search, looking for a green circle in a display of yellow circles and green squares. While there were less failures to report than the previous studies, overall findings were the same. Participants were fixating on the target more times before deciding it was not there than correct report. Overall, the findings from all four experiments were broadly similar. Increased levels of engagement in the Variable and Moveable conditions than the Constant condition, for both correct and incorrect report. Further, incorrect report was associated with higher levels of engagement than correct report. This was interpreted as evidence that awareness can occur outside of focal attention, supporting the consciousness first position. Further, that a failure to report does not necessarily been a lack of awareness. This interpretation is open to possible alternative explanations, which are discussed.
  • Nanoparticles based drug delivery platform to improve oral uptake for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease

    Kaur, Gurpreet (University of Bedfordshire, 2020)
    Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a rapidly progressive chronic neurodegenerative disease, which eventually leads to brain damage. Despite combined efforts of the research community, no fully effective treatment has been identified yet. Drug delivery is a major issue in neurodegenerative diseases due to the complexity of the diseases but the difficulty in accessing targets. A medicine is only effective if it reaches its target. As such, while some active molecules can be demonstrated very efficiently in vitro, side effects and unreachable targets bring delivery at the forefront of drug efficiency. Rivastigmine is one of the reversible Acetylcholinesterase (AChE) Inhibitors, which is used for the treatment of mild to moderate dementia of either AD or Parkinson’s disease (PD). As a cholinesterase inhibitor, its role is to inhibit AChE activity to maintain ACh level by decreasing its breakdown rate, therefore boosting cholinergic neurotransmission in forebrain regions and compensate for the loss of functioning brain cells Rivastigmine has shown some success in improving ACh level in AD patients and also inhibiting amyloid plaques deposition in the brain. It is commercially available in different forms including oral solutions, tablets, and patches but therapeutic regimens require frequent dosing causing fluctuations is the plasma level. Whereas the oral form has been associated with a high incidence of gastrointestinal side effects, the transdermal patch formulation has been shown to have a better tolerability profile but adverse dermatologic reactions remain a concern. In addition, an important safety concern persists with dermal application with the risk of treatment overdose by administering multiple patches at the same time, potentially leading to fatal outcomes. Therefore, the oral form could be safer if its side effects could be controlled. Following initial uptake, crossing the blood-­‐brain barrier (BBB) is another major obstacle to be considered. Due to its hydrophilic nature, rivastigmine efficacy is also restricted by its poor ability to cross BBB. Its bioavailability is reported to be only up to 35%. To overcome these issues, this work has focused on the delivery of rivastigmine, particularly its uptake with nanoparticle-­‐based formulations that can facilitate uptake, protect the active molecule from early degradation, and provide targeted delivery while preventing side effects due to unwanted interactions. Rivastigmine loaded nanoparticles have previously been designed and proven to have numerous fundamental properties that assist their effectiveness such as biocompatibility, lack of toxicity, reduced side effects, and increased tolerated dose of the drug but not effective enough for the treatment. Their enhanced retention time within the systemic circulation and their ability to cross BBB still remains challenging. The novel formulations designed in this study were designed for slow release to prevent cytotoxicity while providing stability and high uptake in GI tract to reach the systemic circulation. Biodegradable composition of these formulations will prevent the risks that may contribute to accumulation of inorganic material inside the brain. As the aim of the research is the successful targeted delivery of Rivastigmine, the first objective of this study was to design an efficient method to monitor and analyse delivery, using UPLC in an analytical set up standardised using in house developed standard solutions. In the second part of this study, several formulations were designed and investigated to improve rivastigmine intestinal uptake, where both negatively and positively charges drug loaded nanoparticles were formulated. In the third part of this work ,a Caco-­‐2 cell duodenal model was used to assess membrane permeability, uptake, and intake of Rivastigmine. Cytotoxicity of nanoformulations was determined by MTT assay showing low toxicity in the case of rivastigmine-­‐loaded nanoparticles. The final results of this study demonstrate that nanoparticle formulations provide a slower stable release of rivastigmine from nanoparticles than previously designed nanoformulations. I addition, some of these formulations provide high bioavailability over both apical and basal membrane, therefore, providing higher intake to target the BBB, with limited unwanted interaction in the intestine therefore limiting the major concern about side effects
  • Exploring mental health nurses’ experiences of a patient suicide in the community

    Makaza, Melsina (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2021-05)
    The aim of this study was to explore the experiences of mental health nurses after a patient dies by suicide in a community setting within the context of UK mental health services. It utilised the principles of Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) to explore the experiences of ten community mental health nurses who had experienced a patient suicide between 2002 and 2018. The study was divided into two main types of fieldwork, a pilot study and a main study. Using IPA, the ten interviews were analysed descriptively, conceptually and linguistically, which produced rich narratives reflecting their lived experience of patient suicide. Findings from this study produced three superordinate themes which capture mental health nurses’ experiences after a patient suicide: The experiential significance of a therapeutic relationship ending unexpectedly for the mental health nurse; searching for meaning of the patient suicide in the face of public scrutiny; and, after the suicide, the experience of intense grieving, learning, growing and moving on. Their stories revealed that the experience of suicide-loss survivorship as a community mental health nurse creates conflict as well as ongoing tensions between existentialism and personal ontologies. The implications of the findings suggest that although the memory of the patient who has died by suicide never leaves their psychological caseload, the community mental health nurse can be secure in knowing that they fully lived up to their part in the therapeutic nurse-patient relationship.
  • Survivors coping with a history of child sexual abuse in South Africa

    Karagianni, Andriana (University of Bedfordshire, 2021-03)
    Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) is global problem that is found in all societies and cultures. Although there is research exploring CSA in western countries, the literature shows that there is limited CSA research on developing countries, like South Africa which is the focus of this thesis. Incidence and prevalence rates are substantially higher in South Africa when compared to other countries and for that reason, further research is needed for the context of that region. The literature shows that ‘coping’ from CSA plays a significant role in survivors’ lives but it is an area that has not been explored sufficiently in South Africa. To this end, the subject of this thesis is to explore ‘coping’ from CSA in South Africa and to explore ways in which CSA survivors cope with their experiences of abuse. This has been achieved through outlining the existing research on CSA coping in the region with the aim to identify studies that are related with topic; to understand the main learnings for that specific population; and to compare these findings to the strategies of other western countries. The study identifies a number of coping strategies that have been adopted by CSA survivors in South Africa to cope with the abuse. It is also shown that similar strategies have been used by CSA survivors in western countries. The link between coping strategies in the area and the specific cultural characteristics is discussed as well. This thesis makes knowledge around coping strategies in South Africa available, and identifies areas for further research.
  • A study of the prevention of child sexual exploitation and the exploration of social workers’ perception of child sexual exploitation: a case study of Harare (Zimbabwe) and London (UK).

    Jera, Nathan Togara (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2019-07-30)
    The purpose of this research was to explore how Harare (Zimbabwe) and London (United Kingdom, UK) social workers understand and interpret ‘child sexual exploitation’ (CSE), and how they apply CSE policies and legislation to practice, including addressing the barriers they encounter when trying to protect children. Recognising that individual social workers interpret CSE legislation and policies differently, this thesis contributes new knowledge and shows gaps in practice within a ‘developing’ (Zimbabwe) and a ‘developed’ (UK) country. I decided to adopt a qualitative phenomenological approach with elements of a comparative study between Harare and London which provided an opportunity to make an in-depth study of the phenomena. I have chosen these two cities as both are experiencing increased identification of cases of sexually exploited children. More so, the two countries, Zimbabwe, and the UK, share a common history in that the former was once a British colony. A review of existing literature on CSE and professionals’ experiences was utilised in order to shed light on the results. To deepen my knowledge of this context, and prepare for interviews with social workers, I first piloted my semi-structured interview questions with three work colleagues who had knowledge of CSE. The study is primarily based on in-depth, semi-structured interviews with fifteen social workers from Harare and fifteen social workers from London who had experience of working with children at risk of CSE. Interviews were transcribed and analysed using a thematic approach, allowing me to inductively extract complex issues from my data, which was important to my topic using interpretative phenomenological analysis. The main findings of this research concluded that despite CSE being a subject that has attracted attention in both Harare and London, social workers still require more conscientisation, training and knowledge if their practice is to be more effective in reducing rates of CSE. The study noted that individual social workers give different interpretations of CSE and legislations and policies that guide practice, regardless of different geographical spatial locations. Although in London the study noted that some social workers still looked at CSE from a gender perspective towards girls, in Harare findings showed that customary law was legitimising gendered notions of CSE, posing challenges to social work intervention. In conclusion, the recommendations within this study, if adopted, have the potential to articulate and resolve some of the problems that social workers face during practice.
  • Homecoming – an Irish ghost story: reflections on the Irish gothic tradition

    Rushby, Elleesa (University of Bedfordshire, 2019-10)
    This thesis and my creative work, Homecoming, aim to explore some of the reasons why the Anglo-Irish were so prolific at writing supernatural and in particularly Gothic fiction during the 19th century, particularly as an expression of their fragile identity within the broader British Empire and in Ireland. Homecoming, while set at the end of WW2, examines a fictional legacy of ‘The Hunger’ on the colonised Catholic Irish, dealing with the taboo subject of cannibalism. Homecoming’s Gothic mode, includes elements such as the uncanny and the family curse, blending The Big House with folklore and storytelling, as an allegory on the dysfunctional relationship between Protestants and Catholics in the uncertainty and isolationism of post-emergency Ireland. The thesis explores how the Anglo-Irish abjected the Catholic Irish out of fear of losing control, manipulating their literary depiction for commercial and political reasons, while robbing them of the agency to tell their own story. It traces the migration of Anglo-Irish Gothic into English Literature, appropriation of the Catholic Irish experience and questions colonial depiction of the colonised. The thesis offers a basis for discussion about the attitudes and behaviours of the characters in Homecoming.
  • The acute impact of breakfast consumption and omission on postprandial metabolic responses in adolescent girls

    Morari, Victoria (University of Bedfordshire, 2019-12)
    Breakfast consumption (BC) frequency declines from childhood to adolescence and is associated with poor metabolic health. This research aimed to analyse whether BC versus breakfast omission (BO) affects substrate oxidation during rest in adolescent girls. Secondly, it examined whether BC vs BO influences postprandial and 5 h glycaemia and insulineamia. Lastly, it evaluated the effects of BC vs BO on Fatmax, MFO, rate of perceived exertion and physical activity (PA) enjoyment during an exercise bout performed 2 h after lunch. Seventeen breakfast consuming girls (13.2 ± 0.7 years old) were recruited. Two experimental trials were completed in a randomised counterbalanced order: BC and BO. A standardised lunch was provided three hours after breakfast (BC) or after breakfast omission (BO). Finger prick blood samples for the analysis of plasma glucose and plasma insulin and expired gas samples for the analysis of substrate oxidation were taken throughout the trials. An incremental 7-stage cycling test was performed 2 h after lunch for the determination of maximum fat oxidation (MFO) and intensity at which MFO occurred (Fatmax). OMNI Scale was used to evaluate the perceived exertion at the end of each cycling stage. PA enjoyment was evaluated after the cool-down using Physical Activity Enjoyment Scale (PACES). There was a significant main effect of condition (BC vs BO) for fat (p= 0.008) and carbohydrate (p< 0.001) oxidation after lunch. Fat oxidation was significantly higher during BO compared to BC, while carbohydrate oxidation was significantly higher during BC compared to BO. The main effect of condition for glucose and insulin incremental area under the curve (iAUC) (p= 0.509; p= 0.603, respectively) and total area under the curve (tAUC) for glucose and insulin (p= 0.738; p= 0.665, respectively) throughout the whole day was not significant. However, post lunch glucose and insulin iAUC (p= 0.05; p= 0.001) and tAUC (p= 0.05; p= 0.001) were significantly higher during BO compared to BC. There was no significant difference in MFO (p= 0.104) or Fatmax (p= 0.945) between conditions. Physical activity enjoyment was higher during BC vs BO with an almost significant difference (p= 0.055). The main effect of condition for perceived exertion (p= 0.307) was not significantly different. In conclusion, BC resulted in lower fat oxidation and lower second meal glycaemic and insulineamic responses. Ultimately, the findings of this study will assist in understanding further the effects of BC vs BO on adolescents’ metabolism. This may have important implications in prevention of obesity and type 2 diabetes.
  • Hybrid energy-storage system for mobile RF energy harvesting wireless sensors

    Munir, Bilal (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2020-07)
    This thesis discusses the impact of the supercapacitor size on the performance of the mobile battery-less RF energy harvesting system. The choice of supercapacitor is crucial in mobile systems. The small supercapacitor can charge quickly and activate the sensor in a few seconds in the low-energy area but cannot provide a significant amount of energy to the sensor to do heavy energy tasks such as programming or communication with the base station. On the other hand, large supercapacitors have a sensor node for heavy energy tasks in a high-energy zone but may not be able to activate in a low energy zone. The proposed hybrid energy-storage system contains two supercapacitors of different sizes and a switching circuit. An adaptive-learning switching algorithm controls the switching circuit. This algorithm predicts the available source energy and the period that the sensor node will remain in the high-energy area. The algorithm dynamically switches between the supercapacitors according to available ambient RF energy. Extensive simulation and experiments evaluated the proposed method. The proposed system showed 40% and 80% efficiency over single supercapacitor system in terms of the amount of harvested energy and sensor coverage.
  • Feature learning for EEG-based person identification

    Nyah, Ndifreke Okon (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2020-04)
    Evoked potentials recorded on a multielectrode EEG device are known to be a ected by volume conductance and functional connectivity while a task is performed by a person. Modelling functional connectivity represents neural interactions between electrodes which are distinguishable and genetically identical. However, the representations that are caused by volume conductance are not distinguishable because of unwanted correlations of the signal. Orthogonalisation using autoregressive modelling minimises the conductance component, and the connectivity features can be then extracted from the residuals. The proposed method shows it is possible to reduce the multidimensionality of the predicted AR model coe cients by modelling the residual from the EEG electrode channel baseline, which makes an important contribution to the functional connectivity. The results show that the required models can be learnt by Machine Learning techniques which are capable of providing the maximal performance in the case of multidimensional EEG data. The proposed method was able to learn accurate identification with few EEG recording channels, especially when the channel that is used has a functional connectivity with the interactive task. The study, which has been conducted on a EEG benchmark including 109 participants, shows a signi cant improvement of the identi cation accuracy.
  • Social work and poverty: an exploration of social workers’ attitudes and understanding

    Nyamtowo, Milton (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2020-05)
    The context of this study is the dilemma that most service users of social interventions and practice are poor and yet poverty is marginalised within social work practice. The study therefore set out to explore social work practitioners’ understanding of poverty, attitudes towards poverty and social work and poverty relationship. A qualitative methodology was adopted, involving five focus group discussions and twenty-eight semi-structured interviews within three Local Authorities referred to as research sites. This was more than the originally anticipated sample. A narrative literature review undertaken concluded that social work definitions are contested and this, coupled with regulation of social work, limits social work effectiveness in addressing poverty as it is not one of its major remits. The review identified that poverty is a significant issue affecting most service users and associated with most social problems involved in social work interventions and practice. The review discovered that social work practice pathologizes poverty and generally attributes causation of poverty to service users’ lack of capacity to take advantage of opportunities within the market and provided by the state and a lack of motivation to overcome their problems at the expense of structural factors that either cause or exacerbate poverty. This resonates with individualistic social work frameworks which are risk-averse, reactive, punitive, authoritative, and ineffective given the scale and impact of poverty which seems to be increasing. This is aggravated by the neo-liberal socio-political environment and managerialist social work environment characterised by low morale, high caseloads, paucity of much needed resource for social work interventions. The literature review established that social workers’ attitudes towards poor service users are largely ambivalent and negative. The research data reveals that poverty is a significant and prevalent issue amongst most service users and associated with most social problems handled by social workers. Research participants expressed that there is no shared understanding of poverty, that definition of poverty is important in how it is understood and influencing how poverty is addressed. It emerged that poverty is marginalised in social work education and practice. Research data revealed that poverty is taken as background music and normal. It emerged that poverty is not viewed as a risk factor on its own. Participants revealed that social work lacks capacity, knowledge, and skills to address poverty. Social work education and training does not equip social workers with functional knowledge and skills to address poverty in practice. The research revealed social work professionals’ attitudes are generally negative, stereotypical, and judgemental towards service users. Government policies aggravate service users’ experiences and circumstances. The participants expressed an understanding that thresholds of social work interventions are high and therefore act as barriers. Participants expressed that poverty is an uncomfortable subject to discuss with service users given stigmatisation associated with being poor. This therefore results in service users hiding their financial struggles. It emerged that service users who are poor are discriminated against and punished to experiencing poverty and that this goes against main social work values. The findings echo findings undertaken by many academics and researchers in social work poverty and therefore add to the body of knowledge in social work and poverty The study recommends that that consideration should be made that poverty is taught as a main course in social work education and as a post-graduate course for social work in practice. It is also recommended that social work should promote poverty discourse at the policy level with a view to influencing structural change. It is also recommended that adequate funding be provided for poverty practice, family support and early intervention and prevention. It is also recommended that that government policies that impact negatively on service users be evaluated. Service users should play an integral role in all these recommendations.
  • The impact of small-scale digital audio broadcasting (DAB): emerging opportunities for the UK community radio sector

    Marsh, Jonathan (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2020-07)
    This research explores small-scale digital audio broadcasting (DAB) in the United Kingdom by providing an historical contextualised framework with contemporary findings. The research begins with an overview of digital audio broadcasting, which is underpinned with evidence from a range of literature, which includes public facing reports, white papers and policy documentation relating to this area of research. This includes the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) with relevant published articles, which feature within parts of this work. Reports and relevant documentation from non-government stakeholders also feature in this work. This includes the Office of Communications (Ofcom), research organisations such as the Radio Joint Audience Research (RAJAR), along with broadcasters and academic articles. These combined sources provide historical examples and contemporary evidence of digital audio broadcasting in the United Kingdom. A significant part of this work draws upon primary sourced qualitative research. This consists of semi-structured interviews with stakeholders and includes comprehensive discussions with a range of research analysts, broadcasters, radio organisations and multiplex operators. The interviews provide a detailed level of expert analysis and discussions, which offers a direct insight into digital audio broadcasting. The key research questions discuss; the setup and launch process of small-scale DAB; geographical coverage of small-scale DAB; cost of broadcasting on and operating a small-scale DAB multiplex; available multiplex capacity, including the significance of DAB+; long term licensing and roll out of small-scale DAB; and broadcast audio quality. The research also includes a primary sourced quantitative survey. The survey was formulated in direct response to the stakeholder interviews to address a gap in industry knowledge relating to broadcast audio quality, which was identified during the interview process. The survey data, results, analysis and discussions provide original contribution to knowledge as the research identifies and addresses a gap in knowledge regarding listeners’ opinions, perceptions and threshold limitations of analogue and digital broadcast audio qualities. These qualitative and quantitative research methods are combined and triangulated with the underpinning of relevant public facing literature. This research provides stakeholders with a detailed account of small-scale DAB, which draws upon relevant and original research data, results and analysis. It is anticipated that local and community broadcasters can make informed decisions based on areas of this research, to reduce their digital broadcasting costs, while simultaneously providing their audiences with reliable DAB services. This research is relevant to broadcasters intending to broadcast their output on a DAB multiplex, and for broadcasters who are already broadcasting their services on a multiplex but are looking to reduce their transmission costs.
  • 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.
  • The effect of breaking up sitting time on health markers and its implication for the workplace

    Maylor, Benjamin D. (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2019-12)
    The primary aim of the work included in this thesis was to investigate the effects of breaking up sitting time on cardiometabolic risk markers and appetite. The three acute experimental chapters in this thesis sought to do this by examining postprandial concentrations of glucose, insulin, triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein, acylated ghrelin and total peptide YY. Additionally, subjective appetite, physical activity energy expenditure and energy intake were investigated. In study one, postprandial glycaemia was attenuated in young, healthy adult men when breaking up sitting every 20 min with 2 min moderate-intensity physical activity (PA) following a high glycaemic index breakfast, compared with an uninterrupted sitting condition. There was no attenuation in glucose observed if a low glycaemic index breakfast had been consumed, suggesting that in a metabolically healthy sample, breaking up sitting may only be beneficial when high glycaemic index meals are consumed. In study two, postprandial lipaemia was improved across an 8 h period when breaking up sitting every hour with a short, high-intensity PA bout compared with uninterrupted sitting. This strengthens the efficacy of short bouts of PA of a high-intensity as strategy to improve postprandial lipaemia. However, data from study one and three suggests that attenuating postprandial glucose or insulin may require more frequent breaks in sitting than hourly PA bouts. Studies two and three observed no changes in appetite regulating hormones. Despite this, there was a suppression in subjective appetite when participants engaged in hourly high-intensity PA bouts, suggesting that a minimum threshold of PA intensity is required to elicit these effects. However, despite moderate-intensity PA breaks in sitting not suppressing appetite, no compensatory responses were observed in appetite or energy intake, resulting in an acute relative energy deficit. These findings suggest that this type of activity regime could assist in weight management programmes. Study four sought to investigate the efficacy of a workplace cluster randomised controlled trial at reducing workplace sitting. The multicomponent intervention did not reduce workplace sitting time. However, time spent in prolonged sitting bouts (> 30 min) was reduced and stepping time increased. This was concomitant with reductions in waist circumference and an increase in fat-free mass, demonstrating that a low-cost, short-duration, multicomponent intervention can be effective in changing sedentary behaviour patterns in the workplace. Overall, this thesis adds to the current evidence examining the effects of breaking up sitting on postprandial cardiometabolic risk markers and appetite, in addition to demonstrating the efficacy of a short-term low-cost multicomponent intervention at reducing prolonged sitting in the workplace by using strategies similar to those examined in studies one and three. Chapter eight summarises the significance of the findings from all four experimental studies whilst synonymously highlighting future directions for research in this area of the field.
  • Understanding the professional identity development of undergraduate osteopathic students in the UK

    McKenna, Brian (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2020-04)
    Professional identity formation is a process that happens simultaneously at the level of the individual (which involves their internal cognitive development), at the interactive level (which involves socialisation through participation) and at the institutional level (which involves being subject to institutional processes). Having a well-developed professional identity is important, as it helps professionals to practise with confidence, provides a sense of belonging, aids normative behaviours and has been linked to better quality care. Whilst research has highlighted the factors that support professional identity development in other professions, there is limited understanding of the factors that student osteopaths use to construct their professional identity. The aim of this study was to construct a theory of how undergraduate osteopaths in the UK construct their professional identity and to determine whether undergraduate osteopathic students have conceptions of an osteopathic identity. A qualitative study was undertaken within a constructivist paradigm. A total of seven UK undergraduate osteopathic students were purposively sampled. Data was collected through all seven participants keeping a diary for one month. Following this, individual interviews were undertaken with all participants. Participant diaries acted both as data and as a reflective prompt for the individual interviews. Subsequent theoretical sampling informed the data analysis. Interviews were audio recorded and transcribed. Towards the end of the study, one participant was selected for a second interview. A constructivist grounded theory approach was used to code and analyse the data and to construct the grounded theory of how undergraduate osteopathic students in the UK construct their professional identity. The data resulted in the construction of a theory that encompasses three interrelated levels. At the individual level, students held a conception of their future self as an osteopath, which they used to motivate themselves and measure their progress. They constructed this future self as an osteopath by the interactive process which became known as ‘Magpieing’. This involved the collection of identity contents from tutors, peers and documentation. Students then experimented with these identity contents with either patients or peers before making the decision to integrate the content, continue to experiment with it in other situations or discard it. This was underpinned by institutional level processes that constituted providing students with role models and mentors, clinical encounters and safe spaces where they could collect and experiment with identity contents. Students held a conception of an osteopathic identity base on three levels: ways of interacting with patients, professionalism, and knowledge and ways of using it. They associated most strongly with ways of interacting with patients and least strongly with knowledge and ways of using it. The findings indicate that undergraduate osteopathic students in the UK construct their professional identity on an individual, an interactional and an institutional level, and that these levels are interrelated. Undergraduate osteopathic students in the UK have a conception of the professional identity of osteopaths based on three levels, with which they strongly or weakly associated. These findings provide the first theory of how student osteopaths construct their professional identity.
  • A model to offer reliable data transmissions in vehicular ad hoc network

    Jameel, Meharaj Theen (University of Bedfordshire, 2020)
    Vehicular Ad-hoc Network (VANET) is one of the widely used networks across various intelligent transport applications in order to support the autonomous driving, reduce network congestion and overcome any kind of the accidents occurring on the road. This report involves in focusing on the safety applications where the vehicles involve in broadcasting the safety messages that are highly time critical and reliability sensitive. The importance of delivering the broadcasted safety messages of VANET in highly timely and reliable manner has resulted in undertaking this research work. In order to support the reliable delivery of the broadcasted safety messages, this research has developed a model called Reliable Vector Clustering (RVC) which involves in neighbour node identification, vehicle cluster formation and broadcasting the coded data using the network coding method. In order to evaluate this developed model, analytical model developed and simulation studies have been carried out in this report. The analytical model has developed a criterion that helps in choosing the best vehicle as the cluster head node and the simulation studies have compared the effectiveness of the developed method. These simulation studies have revealed the effectiveness of proposed RVC method in improving the packet error recovery probability and packet delivery ratio when compared to the existing methods.
  • Understanding and improving police health and wellbeing: the PHeW project

    Kukucska, Dora (University of Bedfordshire, 2020-06)
    Aim: In the UK it has been reported that over 50% of the police workforce has taken sick leave for mental or physical health issues within the past five years. Bedfordshire Police Force has the fourth highest long term sick leave in the UK due to both physical and psychological health. Method: The study employed mixed methods across four phases of work (1. needs assessment, 2. Baseline assessment, 3. Intervention implementation, 4. Evaluation) to assess the physical health (body mass index, blood pressure), psychological wellbeing (stress anxiety, depression, mood, wellbeing), health behaviours (physical activity, nutrition, substance use, sleep), support needs and factors that influence the health and wellbeing of Bedfordshire Police employees. The study moreover tested the feasibility of brief positive psychology interventions (3 Good Things [expressive writing] Technique and Positive Password Mantras) for a length of 1 month. Results: Stress levels (personal, organisational and operational) and BMI were high in Bedfordshire Police Force employees and significantly correlated with poorer health behaviours. Recruitment to the interventions was low, and attrition over the four weeks was high, suggesting the current approach was not feasible. Interview findings indicated that future initiatives need to 1) Build belief in the support available; 2) Address perceived stigma; 3) Provide timely support; 4) Reduce work-related stress; 5) Make health and wellbeing a priority; 6) Encourage camaraderie and social support, and 7) Support positive coping strategies. Conclusion: There is a clear need and desire for occupational health support within Bedfordshire Police Force to support employees’ physical health and psychological wellbeing. Future interventions should consider employee’s capability, opportunity and motivation to engage and make initiatives easy, attractive, social and timely.
  • Creating relationally reflexive spaces in social care education

    Leonard, Karen (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2020-07)
    This doctoral thesis is a reflexive inquiry into my education practice with social care students as I encourage them to engage in relational self-reflexivity in preparation for practice. Having taught social care students in higher education for many years, I noticed some found it difficult to be reflexive compared with their ability to understand a theory or develop their skills. I felt this was not an individual deficit but a systemic one and was related to their experience within education systems. These systems constructed over decades, resulted in them having few opportunities to be relationally reflexive of themselves and their lives to work in social care contexts. In this study, I set out to address this gap, by providing a different learning context where relational reflexivity in preparation for practice is emphasised. The approach described here is a development on the individualised, de-contextualised form of reflection common in most social care training. Instead, I developed a model of reflexivity for education which focuses on social care as a relational and systemic endeavour with the social care worker and client engaged in an ongoing relationship with each other. Providing this type of learning space for students meant my teaching practice also had to change. I could no longer be a bystander asking students to be reflexive of themselves, without also being reflexive of my practice. I adopted a collaborative, fluid, dialogical and non-expert position with students in small reflexive learning groups which not only encouraged greater reflexivity for them but a richer reflexivity of my practice as an educator. In this research, I develop a critically reflexive account of professional practice from our experiences within the group process and situate it within a discussion of related literature and practice. This research draws on postmodern qualitative theory which supports first-person inquiry into professional practice. I study our engagement in reflexivity within the group sessions, through the students’ and my reflexive diaries, feedback from students and by the video reviews of the teaching sessions. By assembling all these rich layers of research material, I offer here a model of relational reflexivity for education and training contexts which I have named SPiRRaLS (Systemic Practices in Relational Reflexivity and Learning Systems) as it focuses on relationships, the wider social, political, cultural and professional contexts and how these influence professional practice with clients and students. The research indicates that there are many benefits for students from engaging in this form of reflexivity that can, therefore, enhance their relationships with service users. From my experience of this process, I believe other disciplines would also benefit from this model of relational reflexivity in their education or training contexts. The study highlights the importance of support from organisations and education systems to help curate such relationally reflexive spaces. It requires institutional changes and resource allocation to develop practices that are more in line with contemporary society where education is not merely about knowledge acquisition but is liberatory, participative and potentially life-changing for the student, educator, and client.

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