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  • Outcome measures in therapeutic settings within social care: perspectives from management, therapists, supervisors, and clients

    Sammut, Claire (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2024-01-09)
    The importance of collecting client feedback in social service provision has been increasingly acknowledged over the years. Outcome measures were recently introduced in a therapeutic service in Malta. This thesis explores whether the introduction of outcome measures within a social care organisation helps towards increasing the client’s voice in therapy and during clinical case management supervision. It adopts a systemic framework to look at the interconnectedness between the various sub-systems. Data was collected by means of thirty interviews and two focus groups. Initially baseline data was collected via fifteen interviews with therapists, to gain insight into the use of outcome measures in practice. Over the following six-month period, outcome measures were administered more frequently with clients. The results were subsequently discussed during clinical case management supervision. Qualitative data at follow up stage was subsequently gathered from two focus groups which were held with thirteen therapists, as well as interviews with three leaders, with the manager, and with the Chief Executive Officer. Interviews were also held with ten clients in an effort to seek further understanding of their experience using outcome measures as part of service provision. The findings of the study demonstrate that using outcome measures as a therapeutic instrument helps to strengthen the client’s voice in therapy as the results of outcome measures helps generate new insight by therapists, by supervisors, and by clients. This study proposes a new tripartite supervision model, wherein the use of outcome measures supports the client’s construal to remain at the centre of the supervision process, acting as a triangulated common factor between the therapist, client, and the supervisor. It is recommended that decisions concerning the use of outcome measures should remain at operational level, to overcome resistance to the instruments when perceived as a control mechanism.
  • A study on factors affecting eco-friendly tourism products purchase intention in the context of Jordan

    Al.Mahmoud, Ayat (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2024-04-01)
    Tourism sector has developed over the years as one of the main contributors to the nation’s socio-economy. However, the irresponsible behavior of tourists is the leading cause of the natural environment’s depletion. Consumer behaviour to embrace eco-friendly consumption is an essential component of environmental protection, which finally benefits society. Consumers today are more likely to support environmental protection by embracing eco-friendly, sustainable consumption practices. Therefore, fostering and encouraging ecologically conscious behaviour among travellers is essential. In other words, to move towards a more sustainable future for tourism, changes in consumer behaviour are a crucial step. This research aims to identify and empirically validate the key factors influencing the purchase intention of eco-friendly tourism products in the context of Jordan. To achieve the research aim, a deductive approach was adopted to understand the relevance and influence of the variables and their significant relationships. Based on the extensive literature review and underpinned by the social impact theory and responsible environmental behaviour (REB), a research model was proposed to theorise the relationships between the identified factors that include social impact factors, Electronic Word of Mouth (EWOM) Credibility, Environmental Attitude, Altruism, Environmental Knowledge and the Eco-friendly Tourism Products Purchase Intention. To further enrich our understanding on the complex relationships and influences of the identified key factors, the study examined how Electronic Word of Mouth (EWOM) credibility and environmental attitude mediate the relationship between social impact factors (Source Strength, Source Immediacy, Number of Source) and the eco-friendly purchase intention; and how the environmental knowledge and altruism moderate the relationship between EWOM credibility and consumers’ environmental attitudes and between consumers’ environmental attitudes and customers’ intention to purchase eco-friendly tourism products. The quantitative method was employed to collect data using online surveys and to empirically validate the research model and associated hypotheses. Using purposive sampling strategy Eight hundred questionnaires were sent to this target population, Jordanian and international tourists who use social media for tourism-related purposes. Six hundred-eight responses were received. Structural Equation Modelling (SEM) using Partial Least Squares (PLS) was used. The findings revealed that the source strength and IV the number of sources are significant factors that determine the behavioural intention to purchase eco-friendly tourism products, while source immediacy was found insignificant. Also, the resultant outcomes of this study revealed mediating effects of EWOM and environmental attitudes in the sequential positive relationship between Source Strength, Number of Source, and the Eco-friendly purchase intention. However, revealed non-significant mediating effects of EWOM and environmental attitudes in the sequential positive relationship between source immediacy and Eco-friendly purchase intention. Another key finding is that altruism and environmental knowledge significantly moderated the relationships between EWOM credibility and eco-friendly tourist attitude. However, altruism and environmental knowledge had non-significant moderating effects on the relationships between eco-friendly tourist attitudes and tourist eco-friendly purchase intention. Consequently, the present study might demonstrate that tourists with high altruism and environmental knowledge are more effective in evaluating a EWOM Credibility and affecting their attitude toward eco-friendly products.
  • Pressure overload – using echocardiography to investigate left ventricular responses to resistance exercise

    Saunders, Abigail (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2024-05)
    Previous research has highlighted significant cardiac alterations in individuals engaged in chronic physical training (Barbier et al., 2006b; Pluim et al., 2000) – a phenomenon known as the ‘Athlete’s Heart’. Whilst it has been hypothesised that these alterations may be training dependent specifically when examining the pattern of left ventricular (LV) hypertrophy displayed (Morganroth et al., 1975), there is currently no clear consensus regarding cardiac alterations in individuals engaged in chronic resistance training. Therefore, the purpose of this thesis was to investigate differences in cardiac structure and function in resistance-trained (RT) athletes and untrained (UT) individuals. Furthermore, as resistance exercise has been found to cause significant elevations in blood pressure (MacDougall et al., 1985; Lentini et al. 1993), it has been suggested that observed differences in cardiac structure between these individuals are a result of exposure to a significant ‘pressure overload’ like that experienced in pathological cardiac conditions (Grossman, Jones, and McLaurin, 1975; Haykowsky et al., 2001). With the use of echocardiography, continuous blood pressure monitoring and mouth pressure (MP) measurements, acute LV responses to resistance exercise – specifically left ventricular systolic wall stress (LV σ) were examined at various submaximal intensities to explore this possible explanation for the observed cardiac alterations previously seen in RT athletes. This thesis found significant differences in cardiac structure between RT athletes and UT individuals (Study 1-3). Specifically, RT athletes displayed significantly greater left ventricular mass (LVM) and interventricular septum (IVS), and posterior wall (PW) thickness compared to both the UT individuals and published upper normal limits (Lang et al., 2015). Additionally, despite evident structural adaptations, no significant impairments in cardiac function were found in the RT athletes (Studies 1-3). During submaximal lower-body resistance exercise systolic blood pressure (SBP) was found to significantly increase - indicative of a pressure overload (Study 3). Consequently, LV σ was significantly higher during resistance exercise compared to rest (Study 3) – in contrast to previous research (Haykowsky et al., 2001), with differing acute responses between the RT and UT individuals with regards to MP noted. Significant differences in MP at 80% one-repetition max (1RM) suggested that whilst UT individuals involuntarily performed a breath holding technique known as a Valsalva Manoeuvre (VM) at high intensities, RT athletes did not. To examine these differences further, Study 4 investigated LV response to resistance exercise under different breathing conditions (No instruction, Instructed Steady Breathing, and a Modified VM). Performing a VM caused significant elevations in SBP and MP, although in contrast to previous research this manoeuvre was found to be avoidable during high intensities (Blazek et al., 2019). These elevations in SBP and MP did, however, cause a reduction in transmural pressure (TMP) and consequent LV σ. Overall this thesis indicates that whilst lower-body resistance exercise causes a significant pressure overload, only when a VM is avoided and LV σ is subsequently high, may this explain the significant wall thickening that is observed in RT athletes.
  • Device-free activity recognition for assisted living

    Rahaman, Md. Habibur (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2024-05)
    Nowadays, many elderly people need to stay at home or care home due to their physical condition. To enhance their life pattern and provide more support for this assistive living, a newly emerging field, Device-Free Activity Recognition, has been introduced. This research has contributed to this field for developing Applications in two scenarios. A framework needs to be easily deployable and affordable to cope with real-world scenarios. We have used Received Signal Strength Indicator (RSSI). RSSI is used in most wireless devices, and it is easily collectible without any additional hardware. This research has contributed to the field of device-free activity recognition (DFAR) by developing applications for two scenarios: device-free estimated energy expenditure (DFEEE) and RSSI-based device-free walking direction detection for passers-by. The majority of wireless devices employ the received signal strength indicator (RSSI), which is simple to collect without any additional hardware. The DFEEE system was compared with a smart watch and was able to calculate expenditure with up to 95% accuracy. The device-free walking direction detection system was able to detect different passing directions with 72% accuracy. The suggested framework is ideal for use in real-world applications because it is inexpensive and simple to deploy. This study has the potential to improve elderly people’s quality of life and support assisted living.
  • The relationship between lower limb FMS tests and frontal plane projection angles at the knee utilising 2D motion analysis in cyclists

    Howard, Lauren (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2024-05)
    Cycling is a sport that has not been widely researched for lower limb frontal plane movement analysis in relation to injury risk in the anterior knee, nor has a method been developed where a functional movement screening (FMS) protocol can be said whether it has relevance in application to a cycling population or not. The reliability and validity of both the FMS and 2D motion analysis have been studied extensively in a variety of settings and disciplines, however they have not been studied together to identify any relationships within the frontal plane projection angles (FPPA) of the lower limb of a cyclist. As both the FMS protocol and 2D motion analysis are relatively easy to utilise and are both easily accessible to the majority of clinicians this study will investigate if there is any viable application for the two to merge to aid clinicians in identifying at-risk cycling populations for anterior knee injury. AIM: To identify if there is a relationship between FMS compound results and frontal plane knee movement of cyclists using 2D video analysis. DESIGN: Paired sample test of relationship PARTICIPANTS: 29 recreational cyclists (n=16 male, n=13 female) MAIN OUTCOME MEASUREMENT: Same day recordings of FMS tests and cycling protocol with a test of correlation between results per participant. INTERVENTIONS: Participants performed the overhead squat, hurdle step, inline lunge, active straight leg raise and rotary stability tests. They were then set up appropriately on the static bicycle and cycled continually throughout the duration of the testing, lasting approximately thirteen and fifteen minutes, whilst being continually recorded via 2D video recording. Once the participant reached an 11 on the Borg’s iv scale a two minute timer would begin, of which the first ten seconds were used for data analysis. This was repeated five times. RESULTS: A Spearmans’s correlation identified that there were no statistically significant correlations found between the FMS compound test results and the knee movement angle. CONCLUSIONS: No significant relationships were found between the FMS tests and frontal plane knee angles using 2D video analysis, in this cycling population. This concludes that whilst the FMS and 2D motion analysis for FPPA have been identified as possibly useful protocols in isolation to identify potential injury risk to some populations, they are not a suitable protocol for clinicians when combined in identifying cyclists with an increased risk of anterior knee pain. Further research should be sought with other easily accessible movement screening protocols with 2D motion analysis to help identify an appropriate method to aid clinicians in identifying at-risk persons for anterior knee injury within a cycling population.
  • Orchestration of network applications using middleware for 5G enhanced autonomous robots

    Bratus, Bartosz (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2023-12)
    The demand for multi-purpose solutions grows in the era of the dynamic evolution of cloudnative solutions and robotic applications. The cloud-native applications allow flexibility regarding the number of deployed resources and the variety of available solutions. Currently, robotic applications require a monolithic approach to the solutions presented, which is the opposite of the microservices architecture that is the most popular approach when creating cloud-native solutions. The movement of the robotic software to the cloud accelerated by 5G networks faces the problem of resource orchestration from the perspective of the dynamic changes of the objectives and the complex domain processes. As the movement to the cloud happens, there will be a need for dedicated resource and service orchestration methods that will enable end-to-end communication between the vertical applications and the cloud platforms. The dynamic orchestration and the optimisation of the resources could potentially be one of the biggest challenges that the movement of the robotic network applications to the cloud will face.
  • Deep learning for multi-factor human behaviour analysis

    Christou, Nikilaos (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2023-09)
    This research aims to develop a comprehensive, multi-scale human behavior analysis system using state-of-the-art techniques and methodologies. Various approaches were employed, including facial expression recognition, emotion expression classification, and Natural Language Processing (NLP), to analyze human behavior in digital communication contexts. The study utilized benchmark datasets, such as Fer2013, Yale dataset, and BookClub artistic makeup dataset, for training and testing purposes. The proposed system combined engineered features algorithms, metalearning approaches, and ensemble techniques to improve classification accuracy. Novel contributions of this work include the utilization of Homogeneous Underlying CNN Ensembles, a Supervisor ANN to enhance accuracy, and the introduction of a meta-learning approach for facial recognition and emotion expression classification systems under real-life scenarios. The potential of the proposed system to accurately detect and classify human behavior in images, videos, and textual data was demonstrated by this research’s findings. The research’s importance lies in its contribution to the understanding of human behavior in various contexts, with potential applications in fields such as psychology, marketing, and social research. By incorporating advanced methodologies and techniques, this work paves the way for further advancements in the field of human behavior analysis.
  • An exploration of factors influencing the recent levels of incarceration of girls in England and Wales

    Goodfellow, Pippa (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2024-02)
    This study seeks to highlight the existing gaps in understanding the imprisonment of girls in England and Wales. The relatively small number of girls in the youth justice system, further marginalised within custody, exacerbates the fact that they are overlooked by the penal system in both policy and practice. Compared to boys, the number of girls in the justice system and custody is low, but their particular vulnerabilities and aetiology of offending justify their consideration from a gendered perspective. The damaging effects of custody on girls during and after their release underline the argument that incarceration should be kept at an absolute minimum. Since the early 1990s, shifting systemic responses have produced substantial fluctuations in the levels of criminalisation of girls, which have been even more pronounced for their levels of incarceration. While the overall numbers were much lower, the dramatic proportionate increase and subsequent decline in numbers were more marked than similar trends for their male counterparts. This systemic dynamic has received less attention than other aspects of girls’ involvement in the penal system and represents a significant gap in youth justice scholarship. This thesis seeks to explain the shifting levels of custody for girls by exploring a range of factors and gendered dynamics that have influenced these trends. This thesis provides an analytical account of custody trends over the past three decades, considering the socio-political context, changing public perceptions and narratives, and how these dynamics have influenced policy, practice and professional culture. By drawing on the research literature, analysis of legislative and policy developments, and the views of a wide range of professionals, this study integrates empirical findings with existing theoretical concepts to engender original insights into the phenomenon under investigation. The current low levels of penal incarceration of girls are certainly welcome but have further engendered a vacuum of strategic attention for girls at a time when the youth justice system is otherwise ripe for potential reform. To guard against a future increase in incarceration, the factors driving these systemic dynamics must be recognised from a gendered perspective to inform a gender-responsive and effective decarcerative strategy. Without an understanding of what explains the extent to which custody is used for females in the youth justice system, there is a perpetual risk of a future upward spiral of hyper-custodial inflation for girls.
  • Students perspective regarding employability skills within business and management education in Jordanian universities

    Al Jaber, Amneh (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2022-07-15)
    This study set out to determine how undergraduates view the concept of employability at business faculties at Jordanian universities, and how they apply it to the marketplace, in order to improve the fundamental motivation which helps them to bring their employability skills into line with the needs of the market. This study used Tomlinson’s graduate capital model, as well as, Bourdieu social theory to gain a clear understanding of the nature and progression of employability. The issue of graduate employability has attracted the attention of Higher Education, government and employers alike. This study presents both practical and academic findings which will make a significant contribution to the field of employability research, by undertaking a literature review, and extracting relevant information from government policy and experiential and theoretical academic studies. The study was carried out across the business faculties of five typical private universities, namely: The Philadelphia University; the Applied Science Private University; the University of Petra (Amman); the Al-Ahliyya Amman University; and the Middle East University, Amman, Jordan. Data collection began with organising focus groups where students were asked questions, and their responses were subsequently presented during interviews with HE educators and stakeholders. The study used an interpretive case study methodology, since this yielded a broad range of views and opinions about employability. The data was used to build a composite student perspective on employability, put together by the researcher, which evidenced that students had a comprehensive understanding of what is meant by the term employability, while maintaining that its development is a complex issue. Contrary to the conclusions reached in some of the literature, students were well aware that employability does not consist of gaining a number of transferable skills. The study discovered that applying knowledge through work experience was seen by students as a more helpful way of developing employability, although some students were not aware of how to pursue this avenue. In addition, the study found that students felt university teaching methodology needed to be modernised and focus on applying, rather than merely acquiring, knowledge. Moreover, self-awareness and confidence – which is a source of psychological capital – was instrumental in buttressing the meaning of employability for students. This study’ theoretical framework has thus underlined that the development of employability hinges to a significant extend on psychological capital. The responses to students’ views, which the researcher elicited from employers and educators, indicate that ongoing development is also of major importance for employability. As a result, this study provides a framework which distinguishes it from past research, setting out nine approaches that create the standards adopted in the Jordanian universities, which 10 could make a major contribution to ensuring qualified outputs meet and line up with the needs of the marketplace.
  • The social, legal, and technical perspectives of cyberstalking in India

    Miftha, Ameema (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2024-02)
    Cyberstalking is a consequence of the worldwide growth in the use of internet-enabled information and communication technology (ICT) services and devices, especially the indiscriminate and unhindered use of the products and services of social media sites, channels, and apps. This cybercrime has had a severe impact on the psychological and physiological states of millions of innocent victims and is a major social and legal concern. Society is still discovering ways to effectively address cyberstalking, especially in countries such as India, where IT-based technologies and services are comparatively better developed due to the country’s strong talent pool and expertise. This study explores the social, technical, and legal perspectives on cyberstalking in India. Although cyberstalking is a global phenomenon, in the Indian context it has received limited attention in both academic and social research fields. From the Indian perspective, the research gaps result from poor sociocultural perception, perpetual ignorance, and cultural conflict among the victims and their family members; poor perception, inadequate legislation, and late reaction from the legal authorities; and technological limitations to identifying perpetrators. The objectives of this research were to examine Indian victims’ perceptions of cyberstalking in their prevailing socio-cultural setting; examine the impacts of cyberstalking; understand the perceptions of legal enforcement authorities and identify inadequacies of the Indian legal system; understand the role of technology in preventing cyberstalking; draw a comparison between India, the United States, and the UK; and suggest improvement measures. Following a grounded theory synthesis, this study used a victim questionnaire, individual victim’s testimonials, and thematic expert interviews as the primary data collection tools together with an exploratory literature review to achieve the research objectives and answer the research questions. An extensive review of the literature on the subject was conducted to analyse and identify gaps in the research to formulate the research questions according to the objectives of the study and to frame the research strategy with tools. Accordingly, a Likert scale survey, which had 260 samples associated with cyberstalking, was conducted to understand the following: the social media environment and cases of cyberstalking, the victims’ perceptions based on their experiences in the online environment, the victims’ experiences of dealing with the police and the legal system, the responses, and attitudes of the victims’ families while they were pursuing their cases, and the outcomes. The research also delved into specific cases of cyberstalking to understand the genesis, development, and outcomes of such incidents. To further understand the causative factors and dynamics of cyberstalking and its outcomes, an expert opinion was sought from select experts from the technological, social, and police/legal justice systems. The analysis included quantitative analysis of the survey data with statistical tools such as percentage analysis, comparative analysis, and correlation coefficient analysis using statistical package for the social sciences (SPSS) software to gather insights about the internet and the social media environment. Next, the perceptions of victims gathered via the Likert scale method were analysed using content analysis and comparative analysis techniques. The third stage included an analysis of expert inputs using thematic analysis and content analysis backed by software-based output using NVivo software. From the sociocultural perspective, the accumulated findings from the literature review, victim surveys, victim case studies, thematic analyses of interviews with experts and victims, and semiotic analyses of victim case studies suggested issues and concerns, primarily secondary victimisation from family and friends. The primary study results pertaining to the case testimonials and the thematic interviews suggest that secondary victimisation by family members’ and relatives’ reactions to cyberstalking are determined by the social and cultural responses that may happen if such incidents occur in the real world. In Indian society and culture, family prestige and standing have more value than an individual’s choice or preference. The family, extended family, and social environment are integral parts of life. However, in most cases of cyberstalking, the support system does not provide the required support, as there is a gap in the parents’ and family support groups’ understanding of the context of the cyberstalking. In India, the flawed sociocultural mindset and inadequate legislation often result in secondary victimisation. Factors such as poor social and cultural perceptions of the victims and their family/relatives, general and cultural ignorance, and false family prestige permeate the crime and its implications for victims’ psychological and physiological states. Cyberstalking can even result in victims being punished and harassed further by family members. As a result, the number of formal legal complaints and cases remains low compared to the actual number of incidents. Often, the cyberstalking incidents change victims’ lives permanently. The impact on victims is particularly severe due to secondary victimisation. As per the findings from the legal and technical perspectives, factors such as poor social perception of the crime, cultural conflict and ignorance, the subjective characteristics and habits of the victims, the freedom and remoteness of internet technology, and the inadequacy of cyber-legislation to preventing and to penalise cyberstalking have all facilitated the proliferation of cyberstalking in India. Hence, from the Indian perspective, the research gaps are threefold: social, legal, and technical. From a social perspective, the factors are general lack of understanding, cultural conflict, and perceptual ignorance on the parts of the victims and their family members. From a legal perspective, compared to developed countries like the United States and the UK, the law is inadequate to prevent cyberstalking, and from a technical perspective, technology plays the dual role of facilitator and preventer of cyberstalking. This study validates the findings, and recommendations based on Stamper’s semiotic framework are given. In addition, a framework for regulating cyberstalking across the six layers of the semiotic framework is suggested.
  • A study of advanced RTO (Regenerative Thermal Oxidizer) technology by optimised combustor integration and carbon-free fuel for non-carbon emissions

    Liu, Jingyin (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2024-01)
    The control of emissions of VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) has been an important issue when environmental standards has been starting to implement. Thermal Oxidation which involves combustion processes of gases, liquids and solids has been a common technique to destroy VOCs and has a vast application prospect, especially the application of regenerative thermal oxidizer (RTO). In this thesis which is aiming to investigate advanced RTO technology by optimised integration with combustor(s) and by carbon-free fuel for non-carbon emissions, based on necessary literature review on advanced RTO technologies, main methodology to study and optimize RTO (Regenerative Thermal Oxidation) performances, current development of relevant numerical simulation, non-carbon combustion with carbon-free fuels, experimental investigation and CFD simulation have been carried out for examining effects of various design parameters and operation parameters on VOC conversion efficiency, energy application and non-carbon emissions. After the experimental equipment, instrumentations and testing conditions for initial experimental investigation are introduced, influences of operating temperatures and purging time on gas-out VOC concentration have been examined. Those results suggest that to maintain a lower gas-out VOC concentration but keep low fuel consumption and low combustion temperature still need significant work to do. The CFD numerical model including relevant sub-models have been introduced and developed. Based on those, the required meshes have been created and presented. Initial validations show the modelling results have very good agreement with the experimental results. It suggested the developed CFD model can be used for simulating the performance of three-bed RTO. Then the integration between combustor(s) and RTO has been investigated with CFD simulation. Five sections Including combustor protrusion, combustor diameter (or combustor exit velocity), combustor vertical position, combustor horizontal position, twin combustor were studied for examining their influences on temperature distributions, flow field, VOC concentration distributions, VOC concentration in gas-out flow, NO emissions etc. In summary, combustor horizontal position can provide a better solution for reducing both VOC and NO outputs, while twin combustor is not so promising for benefiting RTO performance improvement. As hydrogen can provide zero CO2 emissions and other emissions except NOx, it as fuel was studied with the main objective to explore the possibility for RTO to implement carbon-free combustion and emissions,. The same heat amount with hydrogen as fuel was supplied for comparing the difference between hydrogen as fuel and natural gas as fuel. When stoichiometric combustion is maintained for both natural gas fuel and hydrogen fuel, modelling cases for same combustor diameter and same combustor exit velocity are simulated. Results show that, although the same heat amount is supplied with hydrogen as fuel, both the same combustor diameter case and the same combustor exit velocity case produce higher VOC concentration in gas-out flows. The reason may be the reduced temperature in most RTO space due to more water condensation for hydrogen combustion. Reduced hydrogen amount/flowrate was also investigated for examining effects of reduced energy supply on RTO performance. Results show that reduced hydrogen amount will almost proportionally increase VOC concentration in gas-out flows. With the same heat amount for hydrogen as fuel, NO emissions have no big difference, compared to natural gas although VOC amount increased. With reduced hydrogen amount/flowrate, NO emissions amount has some slight reduction. It suggests that both reduced temperature in most RTO space due to water condensation and increased flame temperature of hydrogen combustion contribute to the results.
  • A study on the impact of contractor selection method and contractors’ pre-qualifications on delays in Jordanian public construction projects

    Amireh, Farah (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2022-11-01)
    The construction sector significantly contributes to Jordan's economy; delivering projects on time stands as a paramount success factor. Contractors play a pivotal role in project timelines, aiming to minimize delays and failures. Consequently, the pre-qualifications of contractors hold critical importance. Unfortunately, the pre-qualifications of contractors are often disregarded in the process of awarding construction projects in Jordan. Excessive emphasis is placed on selecting the lowest bidding price. This research contends that a systematic investigation into contractor pre-qualification is imperative to enhance the likelihood of project success and prevent potential delays. As a final point, a practicable framework is proposed to aid decision-makers in selecting appropriate contractors and refining decision-making to bolster success rates. The research employed a dual-method approach to data collection. Quantitatively, a questionnaire was distributed to 800 participants, yielding 250 responses. Qualitatively, case studies were conducted in two school building construction projects, supplemented by researcher-conducted interviews within these educational institutions. The findings were categorized into four main sections. The first section reveals that the construction industry in Jordan is predominantly perceived as male-dominated. Notably, school projects emerge as the most common type of government project in Jordan, typically characterized by medium-sized scope and executed by contractors classified as first-class. Regarding success factors, the outcomes indicate that contractors tend to perceive their projects as more successful compared to the viewpoints of owners and consultants. The utmost success factor across all parties is project quality. Among the challenges faced by all stakeholders, project delays stand out prominently. In terms of contractor selection, the impact index of the contractor selection method on success is notably high at 80.6%. The significance attributed to contractor qualifications varies among stakeholders. Owners prioritize the contractor's financial standing; consultants underscore the importance of technical staff skills; for contractors, proficient project planning takes precedence. A majority of respondents (71.6%) believe that enhancements can be made to the contractor selection method. Reasons for delays diverge based on stakeholders. For owners, the financial circumstances of the contractor are a primary cause. Consultants attribute delays primarily to inadequate project planning by contractors. Contractors cite government payment delays as their main concern, followed by government decision-making delays and their own financial situations. Delays primarily lead to cost overruns for all parties, followed by disputes. From the owner's standpoint, delays predominantly result in disputes. All parties unanimously agree that communication is the most commonly utilized and effective solution to address delays. Comparative analyses were conducted and are presented in tables on specified page numbers 184, 188, and 191 for success factors, contractor pre-qualifications, and reasons for delays in different countries. Concerning theoretical underpinnings, this study integrated two core theories, the multi-attribute theory and the analytical hierarchy process theory, to develop the final framework. Given their foundational status within the selection process, these theories informed the framework's development. Notably, the most crucial pre-qualification aspects for selecting qualified contractors were identified as follows (in percentages): technical staff skills (27%), project planning (22%), financial considerations (20%), experience and capability (15%), contract management (8%), risk management plans (5%), and technology (3%). This framework aims to facilitate decision-makers, particularly the Ministry of Public Works and Housing, in streamlining the contractor selection process and simplifying decision-making.
  • Investigating the issues and core professional for a construction planner competencies

    O'Callaghan, Anthony (University of Bedfordshire, 2023-11)
    The research examines the issues and state of planning within construction in the UK, and associated competencies and skills that should be expected. Project planning does not yet have any assessment criteria or recognised body in place either in the UK or Europe to support or help monitor planning SME’s (Subject Matter Experts), whereas other specialisms that operate alongside planners in project controls or project management offices such as cost engineers have ACostE (Acoste.co.uk, 2013) or risk managers have the Institute of Risk Management (Theirm.org/, 2014) have supporting bodies. This has resulted in planning being saturated with unqualified or poor planners. My research focuses and builds on my BSc (Hons) dissertation and includes the suggested adjustments from the MiPP proposal “How competent planning can effectively influence procurement within the construction sector.” The research incorporated questionnaires, interviews, and relevant literature pertaining to the specialism of planning combining both qualitative and quantitative data. The resultant of this has confirmed that planning indeed has serious issues with regards to qualifications, ability, behaviors, etc. and that this is viewed not just across planning, but also by other disciplines. The research demonstrates and proves there that from the sample of interviewees taken, a significant percentage believe there are issues within the specialism of planning. And if this continues to go on unaddressed it will damage the reputation and value that planning, and a good planner can actually bring to projects when done correctly.
  • ‘Prepare for unforeseen consequences’: narrative game mechanics as affective mechanics in two interactive fictions and two video games

    McGill, Kirsty Michelle (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2023-11)
    The continually developing game studies field has given rise to the question of ‘How do games tell stories?’ In response, this thesis aims to develop the ongoing understanding of narrative game mechanics (NGMs) and their capabilities as affect producing mechanics. By utilising a braided approach involving the roles of researcher, player, spectator and designer this thesis achieves a multi-faceted view of the emerging understandings of NGMs. This study builds on work from key researchers including Teun Dubbelman, Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari. In addition, work from the fields of affect and horror is drawn upon to create a strong theoretical underpinning which then contributed to four textual analyses. This involved two interactive fictions, The Uncle Who Works for Nintendo (2014a) and Stories Untold (2017); and two video games, INSIDE (2016) and Until Dawn (2015). As NGMs are still in their nascence, this necessitated the creation of a new analytical framework to aid in identifying and analysing any NGMs present in the games chosen. By drawing on the work of the theorists noted above, among others, the Action, Aesthetics, Mechanics and Narration (AAMN) framework was created. This framework establishes the basic actions afforded to the player and proceeds through progressive levels to determine whether they have contributed to the game’s narrative. As the Narration level can be indistinct, YouTube Let’s Plays of the chosen games were utilised to contribute to this gap as they offer player driven commentary and can function as a paratext of the chosen games. In addition to the textual analyses carried out, an IF was designed (using the platform Twine) which was also analysed using the previously noted framework. Player feedback was collected in place of the YouTube Let’s Plays used for the other games analysed. Taking on the role of a designer allowed insights on creating NGMs. Consideration of what could be accomplished within the possibilities and limitations of Twine further enforced the creative practice of thinking within a medium. This approach allowed for the creation of an exploratory artefact which aided in generating new knowledge through reflection on the creative practice used. The insights gained from the designer role aided in the textual analyses and vice versa. By utilising a braided role approach this enabled a more rounded reflection and analysis of NGMs and their affective capabilities. This thesis concludes by establishing that two specific NGMs have been identified during the research. These NGMs, the information mechanic and purposeful ambiguity, function as affective mechanics with horror-affect producing capabilities. Furthermore, this thesis contributes an extended definition of NGMs to the academic field, and notes that NGMs go beyond encouraging the game narrative, and further proposes definitions for the two specific NGMs identified.
  • Exploring post-war asylum experiences among Sri Lankan Tamils in the UK

    Geoffray, Ravibhahini (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2023-10)
    In a rush to leave their homeland and seek sanctuary, asylum seekers face substantial difficulties in proving or providing documentation for their asylum claim. Usually, the only ‘proof’ asylum seekers can rely on is their oral testimony, from which decision makers determine the need for asylum protection. With the end of armed conflict in 2009, Sri Lankan Tamil refugees and asylum seekers (especially those living in the West) experienced pressure and anxiety about their legal status in their host countries. This thesis aims to explore the perspectives and experiences of Sri Lankan Tamil asylum seekers under this post-war context. The research aims to explore how a sample of UK-based Sri Lankan Tamil asylum seekers have experienced their asylum journey since the end of the 2009 war in Sri Lanka. The purpose of this thesis is to focus particularly on the asylum process, that is how asylum seekers reaching host countries under post-war contexts interpret the meaning and understanding of the asylum system and their experiences of this process. This thesis does not aim to understand the asylum system, but to highlight how the marginalized groups understand this system from their ‘lived’ experiences. After gaining ethical approval from the University and consent from participants, in-depth semistructured interviews and diary writing were utilized to carry out research with 14 asylum seekers. Results: The participants of this study narrated their post war experience as ‘nothing has changed’ denoting they face continued oppression, persecution, violence despite the end of the war. The continued violence forced the participants to seek asylum in UK. This research identifies the difficulties, barriers and challenges experienced by the asylum seekers as they adapt to the asylum process in the host country. The interviews and diaries were analysed thematically, highlighting a range of dominant themes such as mistrust, credibility, social bonds, and language, which are explored further within this thesis. Overall, the participants responded that the UK asylum system (the Home Office, judges and others handling the asylum cases) treated them as less credible, bogus, criminals, unworthy, liars and system abusers. The participants also experienced a lack of knowledge, professionalism and human empathy among the officials who handle the cases. The participants further concluded that the asylum system approaches the applicants with prejudices, limited country profile knowledge and, ironically, with a decision made even before conducting the interview. The research results also indicate that, despite the end of the war, the participants experienced traumatic situations in both their country of origin and their host nation. The research demonstrates that the common understanding of the particular social group does not match with the asylum seekers’ experiences, and hence more empirical investigations are needed in this area to remove this (mis)understanding. The findings of the study recommend strong changes in the procedural, attitudinal, professional, and humanitarian approach while handling such vulnerable groups and proposed recommendations for the immigration system dealing with this population, along with recommendations for future research.
  • A study of Fante-speaking students' learning of academic writing at the Methodist University College, Ghana (MUCG)

    Davis, Regina Atracta (University of Bedfordshire, 2023-09)
    This research study examined Fante-speaking students’ learning of academic writing (L2) at Methodist University College, Ghana (MUCG). For the researcher to narrow the scope of this research study, she chose Fante-speaking students as the population of study because there are over 80 different languages spoken in Ghana. The focus of the research project was to infer ways in which Fante-speaking students’ experiences might be enhanced from their reported experiences of learning academic writing I and II courses. The Academic Writing, I and II courses are university-required courses which are offered to all Level 100 and Level 200 students in MUCG, equivalent to first- and second-year university students in the United Kingdom (UK). The researcher used a mixed-methods approach, which combined qualitative and quantitative methods. The research instruments were designed to allow the researcher to find the answers to the research questions. The university provided Course Outline and Course Content for both Academic Writing I and two courses. Therefore, the researcher designed the research questionnaire questions and the interview questions in line with the Course Outline and the Course Content of the academic writing I and II courses, which can be found in Appendix number 3. The findings are based on a study sample of n=100 participants who were divided into 2 groups, 51 were young students (aged 18-24), and 49 were mature students (aged 25 and above). Both the questionnaire questions and the interview questions investigated each mature and young student’s educational background, qualifications, age, experiences of the difficulties they had before and after taking the two academic writing courses, and how the two courses impacted their learning. The research instruments also inferred ways in which students’ experiences might be improved from their reported perspectives in the two academic writing courses. All Ghanaians have their mother tongue but learn English as a second language so, there was also a question on how the students perceived that Fante their first language (L1) influenced their academic writing in English (L2). The researcher also explored participants’ learning outcomes as well as their suggestions for improvement and their feedback after they participated in the two courses. The course outline was also used as a guideline for both questionnaires and interview questions and was aligned with the research questions. Please refer to the Course Outline in number Appendix 3. Additionally, the features of academic writing that emerged from the course outline and the course content of the two academic writing courses were categorised into four main groups, namely English, grammar, comprehension, paragraph structure and referencing. The study was conducted using mixed methods comprising questionnaires and interviews and the data was repeatedly gathered from the same participants, focusing on the same study population throughout this research project over an extended period. Generally, the research findings highlighted those young students found grammar, comprehension and referencing more difficult than paragraph structures. Furthermore, the feedback from participants also offered important insights into the content of these academic writing courses and has the potential to make positive contributions to the creation of new teaching methods and potential updates to the content of the Department of Language and Communication Studies Course at MUCG. Finally, the researcher hopes that the responses and learnings obtained from this study will be used to improve the experience and learning outcomes of future students partaking in the British Standard English (BSE) academic writing course at MUCG. In this view, it will be important for the institution to consider this feedback and suggestions from the participants as it may help the English department to improve teaching and learning.
  • Developing a framework for enhancing strategic performance by applying lean service: an empirical study of the Jordanian commercial banking sector

    Al-Abdallat, Hani (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2023-11)
    The research focused on enhancing banks' strategic performance through applying lean services in commercial bank branches, with particular reference to the housing loan process. The main issue it resolved is utilizing lean services as a holistic business strategy that extends the effect of lean out of the operational performance limits. This required developing a framework for implementing lean that links customized lean service principles, practices, and daily tools with a specific area of strategic performance through a Lean Service Strategy Map. Most of the Jordanian commercial banks were included in this case-study research, where data was collected from 24 Jordanian bank employees across three levels (Headquarter, Branch Manager, and Branch Employee), representing eight different Jordanian-origin commercial banks (62% of the population), through in-depth Semi-Structured interviews, and the support of observation to a branch from each of the eight banks. The empirical qualitative data was analyzed through text analysis, including Thematic and Content Analysis, using NVivo-12 software to facilitate the analysis process. The research specifies the 25 most important strategic performance measures for banks in Jordan, which allowed for designing a comparative strategic performance assessment tool. In addition to defining the customized banks' L.S. (Lean Service) Principles, practices, and tools used to enhance each pillar of Strategic performance. Moreover, the results specified the lean service implementation success factors, sequence of activities, change-management practices and services capes elements. The findings were utilized to develop the aimed Strategic enhancement framework through applying lean service in banks.
  • The role of Quality Driven Sustainability (QDS) in export food supply chains: the case of food Industry in Jordan

    Jreisat, Lana Eed Essa (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2023-11)
    The thesis is concerned with creating adaptive Sustainable Supply Chain Management (SSCM) in the Export Food Supply Chain (EFSC) in Jordan. Supply Chain Management (SCM) is an urgent problem in the Middle East. Supply chains are global, and their disruptions cause food shortages and insecurity of food supplies. Wars in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, plus pandemics such as COVID-19, financial crises and stagflation, threaten world export food supplies everywhere. The main purpose of this research is to analyse the state of the EFSC in the export food industry in Jordan, using the concept of Quality-Driven Sustainability (QDS) and, as a result, develop a new Decision Framework for Sustainable Supply Chain Quality Management (SSCQM). The essence of SCM can be understood through three perspectives of Supply Chain Networks (SCN), Total Quality Management (TQM) and Sustainability (SUST). They have been extensively researched individually, but integration is rarely considered. The researcher shows that the underlying factors are closely related and integrates them into the concept of QDS. Within QDS, SCN is the platform for sharing and transmitting information relating to TQM and SUST. This research is an empirical qualitative study undertaken in Jordan. First, a systematic literature review was conducted, evidencing research gaps and providing the initial conceptual framework. Second, a pilot Case was carried out to refine the initial framework. Third, the empirical work was based on Case Studies of four Triads showing network relationships between the supplier, Manufacturer, and customer. The Triad approach simplifies the complexity, and treating the Manufacturer as the focal actor reveals the essence of SCM. In total, 32 semi-structured interviews were supported by observations, tours and documents to individually explore each Case and examine the proposed framework for each Case at the exploratory stage. Fourth, the four Cases were cross-analysed to provide an empirical explanation and match findings to the proposed framework across all Cases at the explanatory stage. The evidence of data collected was triangulated, and further findings were elaborated with a literature review and validated using NVivo. Moreover, this research has developed a new conceptual framework validated through the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) to prioritise the importance of the critical factors (key Themes ) based on five expert opinions. This derived continuous development toward the new Decision Framework for the conceptual framework of SSCQM incorporated with QDS in EFSCs. This research has contributed to the theoretical, methodological, and practical knowledge pertaining to the three integrated perspectives. The theoretical contributions are related to the new framework that shows how to adapt and be sustainable in the face of disruptions by balancing social, economic and environmental issues in an Adaptive Sustainable SCM Performance (ASSCMP) in EFSCs in Jordan. The practical and managerial outcomes are achieving sustainable supply chain performance through QDS by formulating a practical framework (SSCQM). This provided managers and policymakers with the knowledge and practices for the focal actors in Triads along their EFSCs and similar industries in developing countries. A methodological contribution is substantial in that a Case is an appropriate approach combined with AHP theory, providing an analytical generalisation of EFSC.
  • Investigating the self and other in improvisational dance-making using 360° immersive technology

    Russell, Kirsty (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2023-11)
    The continually developing game studies field has given rise to the question of ‘How do games tell stories?’ In response, this thesis aims to develop the ongoing understanding of narrative game mechanics (NGMs) and their capabilities as affect producing mechanics. By utilising a braided approach involving the roles of researcher, player, spectator and designer this thesis achieves a multi-faceted view of the emerging understandings of NGMs. This study builds on work from key researchers including Teun Dubbelman, Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari. In addition, work from the fields of affect and horror is drawn upon to create a strong theoretical underpinning which then contributed to four textual analyses. This involved two interactive fictions, The Uncle Who Works for Nintendo (2014a) and Stories Untold (2017); and two video games, INSIDE (2016) and Until Dawn (2015). As NGMs are still in their nascence, this necessitated the creation of a new analytical framework to aid in identifying and analysing any NGMs present in the games chosen. By drawing on the work of the theorists noted above, among others, the Action, Aesthetics, Mechanics and Narration (AAMN) framework was created. This framework establishes the basic actions afforded to the player and proceeds through progressive levels to determine whether they have contributed to the game’s narrative. As the Narration level can be indistinct, YouTube Let’s Plays of the chosen games were utilised to contribute to this gap as they offer player driven commentary and can function as a paratext of the chosen games. In addition to the textual analyses carried out, an IF was designed (using the platform Twine) which was also analysed using the previously noted framework. Player feedback was collected in place of the YouTube Let’s Plays used for the other games analysed. Taking on the role of a designer allowed insights on creating NGMs. Consideration of what could be accomplished within the possibilities and limitations of Twine further enforced the creative practice of thinking within a medium. This approach allowed for the creation of an exploratory artefact which aided in generating new knowledge through reflection on the creative practice used. The insights gained from the designer role aided in the textual analyses and vice versa. By utilising a braided role approach this enabled a more rounded reflection and analysis of NGMs and their affective capabilities. This thesis concludes by establishing that two specific NGMs have been identified during the research. These NGMs, the information mechanic and purposeful ambiguity, function as affective mechanics with horror-affect producing capabilities. Furthermore, this thesis contributes an extended definition of NGMs to the academic field, and notes that NGMs go beyond encouraging the game narrative, and further proposes definitions for the two specific NGMs identified.
  • Effects of supply chain integration and innovation dimensions on business performance of Jordanian manufacturing firms

    Bwaliez, Omar Mohammad (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2023-10)
    The purpose of the current research is to examine the effect of supply chain integration (SCI) in terms of internal integration, supplier integration, and customer integration on business performance (BP) directly, and indirectly through the mediating effect of innovation in terms of product innovation, process innovation, marketing innovation, and management innovation in the context of Jordanian manufacturing firms. Based on the resource-based view (RBV) and relational view (RV), a research model was developed representing the proposed hypotheses about SCI dimensions, innovation dimensions, and BP. To test this model, survey data were gathered from 292 Jordanian manufacturing firms belonging to different industry types. SmartPLS 4 software was used to test the validity and reliability of the research constructs, and to conduct partial least squares structural equation modeling (PLS-SEM) to test the proposed research hypotheses. Regarding the direct relationships between SCI and BP, the results indicated that internal integration and supplier integration directly and positively affect BP, while customer integration does not. For the innovation-BP relationships, the results indicated that only product innovation and management innovation directly and positively affect BP. For the SCI-innovation relationships, the results indicated that internal integration positively affects all innovation dimensions. However, supplier integration positively affects all innovation dimensions except process innovation, and customer integration positively affects all innovation dimensions except management innovation. Regarding the indirect relationships, the results showed that internal integration indirectly affects BP through both product innovation and management innovation, and customer integration indirectly affects BP through product innovation only, while supplier integration does not have an indirect effect on BP through any one of the innovation dimensions. This research addresses an evident gap in the available literature regarding the effects of SCI dimensions on innovation dimensions and BP. This research extends the current literature by contributing the discussion of a comprehensive model underlining the different mediating roles of innovation dimensions on the relationships between SCI dimensions and BP. This research also acquires additional value as a result of conducting it in a developing country, Jordan. In general, manufacturing firms in developing countries face more difficulties related to the supply chain than those in developed ones; these challenges can limit the innovation and subsequently BP of manufacturers in developing countries. This research informs manufacturers interested in improving their BP to focus on establishing both internal and supplier integrations. This research also provides theory-driven and empirically proven explanations for manufacturers to differentiate the effects of internal and external integration efforts on different innovation dimensions and subsequently BP. In developing countries in particular, manufacturers need to pay substantial attention to internal integration, as it is the key antecedent of product and management innovations and subsequently BP. Moreover, manufacturers should be aware of the essential role of customer integration in improving product innovation and subsequently BP. Thus, they should make long-term plans to integrate their internal units and functions, incorporate their key external customers, and reconsider their current relationships with their suppliers.

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