Recent Submissions

  • Investigating Ethical Decision Making in Marketing Research: An Exploratory Study Towards the Interaction of Different Moral Agents in Marketing Research

    Fukukawa, Kyoko; Reynolds, Nina L.; Bimpli, Iva
    The premise of this study is the in-depth exploration and investigation of the nature of Ethical Decision Making (EDM) in marketing research. More specifically, this research is concerned with exploring the understanding and the holistic conceptualisation of Ethical Decision Making (EDM) through the investigation of different moral agents in marketing research in the United Kingdom. In particular, marketing research researchers’ (MR researchers) and marketing research respondents’ (MR respondents) ethical judgements and behavioural intentions have been investigated based on two marketing research techniques that generate ethical issues; neuromarketing [NM] and autoethnography [AE], Despite the examination of the two aforementioned moral agents, at the heart of this thesis has been the investigation of MR researchers’ (un)willingness to adopt or practice (i.e. behavioural intentions) these marketing research techniques. This study employed a qualitative design and was initiated on descriptive behavioural ethics, in order to investigate MR researchers’ behavioural intentions, while it has a nonnative purpose towards norm generation in the field. Thus, the Theory of Planned Behaviour’ and the ‘General Theory of Marketing Ethics’ (i.e. H-V model) were applied for the initial theoretical considerations of this thesis. By utilising descriptive and nonnative ethical accounts, this study has found that Ethical Decision Making (EDM) in marketing research is grounded in a social contract ethics foundation of a multidimensional structural functionalistic premise. Within this ethical setting the MR researcher is considering the MR respondent’s decision making processes with regards to norm generation, governed by social consensus, social proof and conformity. This results from a multidimensional interdependent social interaction of the two moral agents. Finally, this thesis concludes that Ethical Decision Making (EDM) in marketing research is not conceptualised in a linear progressive manner, but it consists of numerous constructs that fit with each other in a rather loosely coupled modular manner depicting a rather complex and dynamic system of multilayered factors and multi-dimensional constructs.
  • Investigating the Existence, Cognitive Attributes and Potential Pathological Consequences of the Extreme Female Brain

    Lesk, Valerie E.; Waters, Gillian M.; Jones, Sarah L.
    The ‘extreme female brain’ (EFB) is derived from the empathising - systemising theory (E-S) which hypothesises that sex differences in cognition exist on a continuum, based on abilities in ‘empathising’ and ‘systemising’ (Baron-Cohen, 2003). The EFB profile; extreme empathising alongside deficient systemising, has received little attention in social cognitive neuroscience research, compared to the extreme male brain, which has advanced the knowledge of sex differences in the expression of autism. Currently, there is no solid evidence of a clinical pathology relating to the EFB nor a marker of cognition associated with a person’s ‘place’ on the E-S continuum. Here, an episodic memory paradigm with social and non-social conditions was given to participants along with measures of empathising and systemising. Scores on the social condition predicted where a person lies on the E-S continuum. The thesis then investigated the hypothesis that schizophrenia is expressed in the feminised profile (Badcock & Crepsi, 2006) and the presumption that empathising and systemising demonstrate a tradeoff. Elements of paranoia were associated with an empathising bias. However, a bias in systemising ability was associated with schizotypy along with a significant overlap in the expression of autistic traits and schizotypy. Therefore, schizophrenia as a whole is unlikely to be the pathology seen in the EFB, rather, the positive symptoms of schizophrenia. A trade-off between empathising and systemising was seen but only in participants over 36 years. These results have significant implications for assessment and treatment of neuropsychological disorders and provide more specific details on the potential EFB pathology. ii
  • Rheology and Pumping of Waxy Crude Oils: An experimental study of the yield stresses of waxy crude oils measured using a range of rheological techniques

    Benkreira, Hadj; Patel, Rajnikant; Abdelrahim, A.M.A.
    A major problem faced by the petroleum industry is the deposition of wax during the pumping of waxy crude oils. This precipitation occurs at “normal” temperature, typically 20-30°C in Libya. It could occur during the journey from well to terminal through hundreds of miles of pipelines. This kind of transportation is expensive in terms of pumping costs. The pumping has to be continuous; otherwise wax can build up in the pipeline, reducing the pumping or even stopping it. The property that defines this characteristic is the yield stress which depends on wax concentration and cooling rate. The build-up of paraffin and asphaltenes can lead to serious problems in formation, tanks, and pipelines. Blockages can be expensive and time-consuming to deal with; this is precisely the topic of this research. For this research, model and real waxy crude oils are formulated and their rheology systematically measured under various cooling rates to determine the yield stress. A pipeline loop has been designed to measure the start-up pressure of stagnant oil which has been allowed to precipitate wax. The start-up pressure and the thickness of deposited wax are used in a simple mathematical model to calculate the yield stress. This research thus provides two independent means of predicting the yield stress. This research studied three different waxy crude oils. An MCR-301 Anton Paar rheometer was used to measure the rheology of the oils, and a pipeline rig was used to obtain the start-up pressure to calculate the yield stress of each type of oil after different stoppage times. Also, the thickness of the precipitated wax is measured to calculate the yield stress precisely. The data show that the layer thickness has significant effect on the yield stress and start-up pressures and corresponding yield flow stresses have been found to underpin the crystallisation process of the wax and slow cooling rate produce stronger structures requiring higher stresses to fracture and induce flow. Also, longer shutdown times make these structures even stronger and therefore require even larger stresses for flow to commence.
  • Six Sigma Implementation in Middle East Organisations: An Empirical Study

    Hafeez, Khalid; Abdi, M. Reza; Ashri, Fahad H.
    In the last decade, the rapid economic development in the Middle East has encouraged organisations to implement modem quality management and strategic initiatives such as Six Sigma to ensure continuous improvement and achieved excellence. Six Sigma is a comprehensive business strategic quality programme and a systematic process improvement methodology for achieving, sustaining and maximising business success. The proper implementation of Six Sigma leads to breakthrough in profitability through ensuring quantum gains in product/service quality, customer satisfaction and productivity. This research presents an empirical exploratory and comparative study that aims and attempts to bridge the gap in the existing literature of Six Sigma by investigating the current implementation status of Six Sigma in organisations of three Middle East countries (namely, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and United Arab Emirates (UAE)). The reasons/benefits that encourage Middle East organisations to implement Six Sigma projects, the challenges commonly faced during implementation, the critical success factors (CSFs) for effective implementation and the organisations’ satisfaction with the implementation are investigated. The key issues of Six Sigma implementation and their criticality relating to the experience of the implementing process of Six Sigma projects are explored through an extensive review of the relevant literature. The data were collected from a combination of quantitative (232 questionnaires) and qualitative (74 semi-structured interviews) methodologies. The research covered 44 organisations from manufacturing and services sectors and large, small, and medium enterprises (SME) sizes, which have implemented or were implementing Six Sigma projects in the selected countries at the time of study. The study findings identified 15 significant reasons/benefits which encourages Middle East organisations to implement Six Sigma projects, 13 major challenges commonly faced during implementation, 19 CSFs for effective implementation and level of the organisations’ satisfaction with the implementation. Based on the research findings, a generic model for successful and effective implementation of Six Sigma in Middle East organisations is developed and proposed. The research concludes that Six Sigma implementation in Middle East organisations still in early stage, most organisations have outstanding opportunities to implement the Six Sigma project successfully and effectively with tangible and intangible benefits. In addition, all the responding organisations, which are actively implementing Six Sigma programme, regardless of their countries, sectors and sizes are highly satisfied with the implementation results. However, the research output highlights that an improvement culture must be developed and promoted throughout the organisation to ensure long-term benefit and sustainable success. Furthermore, the research makes recommendations on development of an implementation strategy in Middle East organisations. Finally, a number of suggestions are made for future research.
  • Secondary Metabolites from Xylaria Endophytes: The isolation and structure elucidation of secondary metabolites from Xylaria endophytes by chemical and spectroscopic methods

    Maitland, Derek J.; Edwards, Raymond L.; Al-Busaidi, Harith
    This thesis describes the isolation and structure elucidation of secondary metabolites from a number of endophytic Xylaria fungi. Six Xylaria endophytes were surface cultured on an aqueous malt extract-glucose medium. The fungus A311R, from a palm tree in Thailand, produced nonane-1,2,3-tricarboxylic acid, which was isolated for the first time as a natural product. Also isolated from the same fungus was spiculisporic acid; the first instance of isolation from a Xylaria fungus. The fungus 6RD12 produced cycloepoxydon, which was isolated for the first time from a Xylaria fungus, and 4,5,6-trihydroxy-3-propyl-3,4,6,7-tetrahydro-l//-isochromen- 8(5//)-one, which is a novel compound. The fungi A217R and A517R produced cytochalasin D, (S)-mellein and (3S,4S)-4-hydroxymellein as main secondary metabolites suggesting that the two fungi are the same species. The fungus X04 (Xylaria cf. juruensis) produced 2-Hydroxy-5-ethoxy-3-methylcyclohexa-2,5-dien- 1,4-dione as a novel compound, coriloxin as the main secondary metabolite in addition to (R)-mellein and a mixture of two stereoisomers of the 4-Hydroxymellein. The fungus 6RD8 produced (S)-Omethylmellein as the main secondary metabolite. l
  • Identification and characterisation of antiplatelet antibodies in ITP patients

    Lindsey, Nigel J.; Aghabeigi, Nabiollah
    The autoimmune disease known as autoimmune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) is clinically defined by a low numbers of platelets in the circulation blood. Anti-platelet antibodies bind to glycoprotein molecules on the membranes of platelets and result in their dysfunction and destruction. Despite a growing body of information about ITP, it is difficult to isolate and characterise anti-platelet antibodies, because only limited monoclonal antibodies are available from ITP patients. This study used a phage display system to recognise Fab anti-platelet antibodies. Anti-platelet Fab-expressing phage was isolated by sequential panning of an ITP Fab library against normal non-ITP platelets. After isolation, the anti-platelet Fab-expressing phage was characterised by ELISA and Western blotting. The Fab-bearing phage pool obtained from five rounds of panning was analysed in order to determine its anti-platelet reactivity. Of the phage colonies obtained, 100 colonies of different sizes were randomly selected for reaction with whole platelets, using Ml3 phage as a negative control. 12 colonies of them had strong reactions against the whole platelet preparation, but only four colonies showed substantial reactivity against the lysed platelet preparation (lysate). Colony S7 showed highest the greatest degree of binding to both the lysate and the whole platelet preparation. The specificity of the four colonies (S2, S7, S8 and S9) that had strong positive reactions against platelet antigens was determined for the glycoprotein component GP Ilb/IIIa. Further characterisation of the proteins in the lysate preparation was carried out using blotting techniques. The protein content of the four Fab-bearing phage colonies was quantified under the non-reducing conditions of Western blotting to evaluate their ability to recognise platelet antigens. Three of the four colonies showed three bands representing proteins with different molecular weights. Each of these three colonies had one band that corresponded to a protein of molecular weight 92 kD. The fourth colony showed only a single band, but this band also corresponded to a 92-kD protein.
  • Does Cyberspace outdate Jurisdictional Defamation Laws?

    Usman, Muhammad
    Cyberspace produces friction when the law is implemented by domestic courts using 'state-laws'. These laws are based on a ‘physical presence’ of an individual within the territory. It elevates conflicts relating to cyberspace jurisdiction. This research examines private international law complications associated with cyberspace. The paradigm of libel that takes place within the domain of social media is used to evaluate the utility of traditional laws. This research is conducted using ‘black-letter’ methodology, keeping in mind the changes constituted by the Defamation Act 2013. It pinpoints that the instantaneous nature of social media communication demands an unambiguous exercise of 'personal-jurisdiction', beyond the doctrine of territoriality. An innovation to the code of Civil Procedure is recommended to revise the process of service for non-EU defendants. The permission to serve a writ via social networks (or to the relevant Embassy of the defendant’s domicile state), can accelerate the traditional judicial process. This thesis can be utilised as a roadmap by libel victims for preliminary information. It contributes to the knowledge by discovering that the thresholds under Section 1 and Section 9 of the Defamation Act 2013 overlap with the conventional ‘forum-conveniens’ tests. This crossover is causing legal uncertainty in the application of existing rules to the digital libel proceedings. Section 1 and Section 9 thresholds do not fulfil the purpose of eliminating ‘libel-tourism’ and maintaining a balance between speech freedom and reputation rights. They raised the bar for potential victims and restricted their rights to justice. It is proposed that the traditional ‘conveniens test’ must be used for social media libel victims to produce legal certainty in cyberspace defamation.
  • Exploring the Impact of Business Intelligence (BI) Use on Organisational Power Dynamics: A National Health Service (NHS) Case Study

    Hussain, Zahid I.; Sivarajah, Uthayasankar; Mahroof, Kamran A.
    The public sector, particularly healthcare organisations are under ever increasing pressure to do more with less. This coupled with the need to keep up to the constant technological changes and ever increasing abundance of information has led to many public sector organisations adopting Business Intelligence (BI) in order to leverage business value and improve decision-making. However, many organisations such as the National Health Service (NHS) continue to fail in their Information Technology (IT) related initiatives. While the rise of BI and its growing influence in organisations has attracted much academic attention, this has largely been from architectural, design and technological perspectives, whilst little is known about how BI is used by various organisational actors to reach decisions, nor much is understood regarding its resulting impact on organisational power dynamics. Thus, there remains an under researched area of discussion in the literature from the perspective of BI users. While studies report how BI can impact organisational effectiveness, facilitate data driven decision making and supposedly overcome intuitive decision making, the extent to which BI impacts and alters power dynamics between organisational actors across the organisation has received little attention. Accordingly, this research adopts a qualitative case study approach to explore power resulting from BI use within a large NHS trust by conducting 30 semi-structured interviews consisting of operational managers and BI analysts. Through taking a human-centric approach, this research uncovers how BI is altering power dynamics between organisational actors, whereby BI analysts are becoming increasingly influential as a result of their analytical skills. It was found that operational managers are becoming more reliant upon data analysts, resulting in the analysts having more and more influence. However, this research finds it is only when the analysts supplement their technical skill-set with their institutional knowledge, that they have the ability to influence and enact power within the organisational settings. The research also offers insights into the contestations and conflicts which arise from the use of BI, between operational managers and analysts as well as between in-house analysts, based in the operation setting and the centralised analysts, operating across the entire trust. Accordingly, this research empirically validates a BI Power Enactment Framework and proposes the BI Power Matrix, which may assist policy makers in identifying determining key factors which are contributory to the success or failure of technological initiatives.
  • Evaluation of the critical parameters and polymeric coat performance in compressed multiparticulate systems

    Grimsey, Ian M.; Isreb, Mohammad; Gough, Timothy D.; de Matas, Marcel; Benhadia, Abrehem M.A.
    Compression of coated pellets is a practical alternative to capsule filling. The current practice is to add cushioning agents to minimize the stress on the coated pellets. Cushioning agents however add bulkiness and reduce the overall drug loading capacity. In this study, we investigated the performance of compressed coated pellets with no cushioning agent to evaluate the feasibility of predicting the coat behaviour using thermo-mechanical and rheological analysis techniques. Different coating formulations were made of ethyl cellulose (EC) as a coating polymer and two different kinds of additives were incorporated into the polymeric coating solution. Triethyl Citrate (TEC) and Polyethylene glycol 400(PEG400) were used as plasticizers at different levels to the coating formulations (10%, 20%, 30%). Thermal, mechanical and rheological measurements of the coating film formulations were achieved to investigate the effect of plasticizers. Thermal gravimetric analysis results (TGA) showed higher residual moisture content in films plasticised with PEG 400 compared to their TEC counterparts. Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC), Dynamic Mechanical Analysis (DMA) and Parallel Plate Shear Rheometer (PPSR) were used to study the influence of the level and type of plasticisers incorporated in coating film formulation on the performance of the coating film. In this study, both DSC and DMA were used to investigate the Tg for each film coating formulation in order to evaluate the effect of the additives. In general DMA results for the Tg value of the films were always higher by 10-20% than those measured by the DSC. Furthermore, clamp size and the frequency of the oscillation have an influence on the evaluation of Tg. Complex viscosity for different coating film formulations revealed that the shear hinning gradient changes with temperature and plasticiser type and concentration. The value of complex viscosity from DMA and PPSR exhibits power law behaviour. The rheological moduli were indirectly affected by the level of plasticiser. There was a discrepancy between the complex viscosity results obtained from both DMA and PPSR at similar temperature but they follow the same trend. The non plasticized polymer showed a 10 time higher complex viscosity values when measured by DMA over that measured by PPSR. The difference was smaller in plasticized films but it was not consistent. Therefore a consistent coefficient to correlate the DMA and PPSR couldn’t be accurately determined Coated pellets were compressed and key process parameters were evaluated. The obtained results revealed that the coating thickness has a significant effect on the release profile of the final products. It was found that by increasing the coating film thickness, the percentage released decreased. Also the compression force has lower influence on the drug release profile, while the dwell time has very low effect on the percentage release from the final products. Optimum release profile was obtained at a coating level of 5.5% w/w and a compression force of 4700N In conclusion, the elasticity of the plasticised EC films in this study meant that the internal stress is not dissipated during compression and the dwell time range that was used in this experiment. Increasing the thickness therefore was necessary to enhance the strength of the film and avoid cracking. The mechanical and rheological profiling was helpful therefore to understand the behaviour of the coated pellets and predict the film properties at various steps of the process of coating and compression (i.e., various shear rate regimes). Experimental design approach to studying the key process and formulation parameters helped identify the optimum values for the process.
  • Impact of material attributes & process parameters on critical quality attributes of the amorphous solid dispersion products obtained using hot melt extrusion

    Sabnis, Aniket D.
    The feasibility of hot melt extrusion (HME) was explored for development of amorphous solid dispersion systems. Controlled release formulations were developed using a cellulose based derivative, AffinisolTMHPMC 100cP and 4M grades. BCS class II drugs ibuprofen and posaconazole were selected due to their difference in glass transition temperature and lipophilicity. This study focused on investigation of the impact the material attributes and process parameters on the critical quality attributes in preparation of amorphous solid dispersions using hot melt extrusion. The critical quality attributes were sub divided into three main attributes of material, process and product. Rheology of ibuprofen-Affinisol 100cP from melt phase to extrudate phase was tracked. A partial factorial design was carried out to investigate the critical parameters affecting HME. For optimisation of 40%IBU-Affinisol 100cP blends, a feed rate of 0.6kg/hr, screw speed of 500rpm and screw configuration with two mixing elements were found to be optimum for single phase extrudates. ATR-FTIR spectroscopy was found to be an indirect technique of choice in predicting the maximum ibuprofen drug load within extrudates. Prediction was based on the prepared extrudates without charging them to stability conditions. An alternative strategy of incorporation of di-carboxylic acids to increase the dissolution of posaconazole-Affinisol 4M blends was investigated. Succinic acid and L- malic acid incorporation was found to increase the dissolution of posaconazole. Although, the extrudates crystallised out quicker than the naïve posaconazole-Affinisol 4M, but free posaconazole formed eutectic and co-crystal with succinic and L-malic acid within extrudates. This lead to an increase in dissolution of the extrudates compared to day 0.
  • Evaluation of telomerase activity and telomerase inhibitors in Head and Neck cancer

    Phillips, Roger M.; Parkin, Susan M.; Watt, David; Graham, Anne M.; Adekunle, Adesole A.
    Cancer is a major cause of morbidity and mortality with increasing incidence worldwide. Early detection of cancers and better treatments would improve the outcome for patients. The overall 5-year survival rates of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma have not improved in the past several decades due to diagnosis at advanced stages and recurrent disease. Early detection and improved chemotherapy drugs are two key areas that are required to help to improve the prognosis for this disease. This thesis focuses on the enzyme telomerase which is known to contribute to one of the hallmarks of cancer (immortality). Elevated telomerase activity has been observed in the majority of cancer cells but not in most normal human cells so there is an opportunity to use telomerase as a biomarker for disease. This first part of this study assessed telomerase activity in saliva and tissues of head and neck squamous cell cancer patients. The Telomerase PCR-ELISA kit was used to assess telomerase activity in the saliva of patients with confirmed oral carcinomas and its expression was analysed in paraffin embedded tissue using immunohistochemistry (IHC). Whilst telomerase was detected in cell lines, no telomerase activity was detected in saliva samples from patients but was detectable in IHC specimens. The second part of the study focused on the pharmacological evaluation of a series of small molecule G–quadruplex DNA binding agents as potential telomerase inhibitors. A total of 19 telomerase inhibitors were identified but of these, only 4 were specific inhibitors of telomerase. These compounds also caused toxicity to cell lines following a 2 hour drug exposure at doses that also inhibit telomerase activity. Further studies are required to explore these compounds further. In conclusion, the results of this study have demonstrated that detection of telomerase activity I the saliva of patients with oral cancers is unlikely to be useful in terms of detecting oral cancers before symptoms of the disease are clinically manifest. A series of novel and specific inhibitors of telomerase have been identified and further studies are required to develop these compounds further.
  • Internationalisation of the National Aspirations of the Palestinian Arab Citizens of Israel

    Bluth, Christoph; Hughes, Caroline; Shahi, Afshin; Shahbari, Ilham
    This study is concerned with the concept of internationalisation as a tool for disadvantaged minorities to affect change in their situation. This phenomenon has been studied widely with respect to authoritarian regimes and later on with liberal Western democracies. The current study has focussed on the state of Israel and the situation of its Palestinian Arab minority to investigate the origins and purposes of internationalisation, the extent to which these efforts have achieved the objectives that were set, and whether this process is in any sense capable of achieving them. The analysis shows that the internationalisation process whereby the Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel sought to reclaim their rights by invoking the support of the international community has emerged in the 1950s. It came to be perceived as necessary because internal legal and political processes were understood to be insufficient to achieve any redress for their grievances. The Arab leadership in Israel articulates internationalisation as a strategy designed to invoke the norms of democracy to question the conduct of successive Israeli governments, and counter the narrative offered by them on the world stage. The internationalisation strategy is seen to undergo a profound transformation from public memoranda, to civil and legal advocacy by invoking international conventions and treaties and finally to personal diplomacy. The results show that it is not a zero sum game; it is an especially effective method in different ways and with varying degrees of success. It created an extension of the critique of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians in the Occupied Territories to its Palestinian minority. Using the international law in the modality of legal advocacy to compel the Israeli state to adhere to the commitments it had made by acceding to an international convention, proved more effective than mere political pressure. Another factors such as the nature of the claims, geopolitical circumstances, global momentum, and domestic politics are crucial as well for the success of the internationalisation. Yet, Israel’s response varied in particular cases to minimise external critics, and its respect for the international law was uttered by utilitarian justification to protect its reputation. The application of the social constructivist boomerang-spiral model to the process of internationalisation is deemed to be a particularly effective instrument to explore both the potential and the limits of the process of compelling the Israeli state to conform to internationally supported norms. The results of this study demonstrate that the construction of the state’s identity as a Jewish and concerns over national security are potentially in conflict with the egalitarian democratic norms that it claims to be governed by. The implications of these two elements for the operation of the Israeli state has resulted in a failure to fully integrate its Arab citizens. The Nation-State Law of 2018 reinforces the legal and systematic discrimination against the Palestinians in Israel and explains why internationalisation has not been successful. 443 It is the first comprehensive investigation into a selected series of case studies that document international appeals made by Israel’s Arab elite due to three chronological periods: 1948-1979, 1992- 2013 and 2015 onwards. On a theoretical level, it is the first time that the spiral model has been tested in the context of Israel and its Arab minority. This can serve as a strategic information source for Arab MKs, NGOs and Israeli decision makers.
  • Drying shrinkage of self-compacting concrete incorporating fly ash

    Ashour, Ashraf F.; Sheehan, Therese; Abdalhmid, Jamila M.A.
    The present research is conducted to investigate long term (more than two years) free and confined drying shrinkage magnitude and behaviour of self-compacting concrete (SCC) and compare with normal concrete (NC). For all SCCs mixes, Portland cement was replaced with 0-60% of fly ash (FA), fine and coarse aggregates were kept constant at 890 kg/m3 and 780 kg/m3, respectively. Two different water binder ratios of 0.44 and 0.33 were examined for both SCCs and NCs. Fresh properties of SCCs such as filling ability, passing ability, viscosity and resistance to segregation and hardened properties such as compressive and flexural strengths, water absorption and density of SCCs and NCs were also determined. Experimental results of free drying shrinkage obtained from this study together with collected comprehensive database from different sources available in the literature were compared to five existing models, namely the ACI 209R-92 model, BSEN-92 model, ACI 209R-92 (Huo) model, B3 model, and GL2000 model. To assess the quality of predictive models, the influence of various parameters (compressive strength, cement content, water content and relative humidity) on the drying shrinkage strain are studied. An artificial neural network models (ANNM) for prediction of drying shrinkage strains of SCC was developed using the same data used in the existing models. Two ANNM sets namely ANNM1 and ANNM2 with different numbers of hidden layer neurones were constructed. Comparison between the results given by the ANNM1 model and the results obtained by the five existing predicted models were presented. The results showed that, using up to 60% of FA as cement replacement can produce SCC with a compressive strength as high as 30 MPa and low drying shrinkage strain. SCCs long-term drying shrinkage from 356 to 1000 days was higher than NCs. Concrete filled elliptical tubes (CFET) with self-compacting concrete containing FA up to 60% are recommended for use in construction in order to prevent confined drying strain. ACI 209R-92 model provided a better prediction of drying shrinkage compared with the other four models. However, a very high predictability with high accuracy was achieved with the ANNM1 model with a mean of 1.004. Moreover, by using ANNM models, it is easy to insert any of factors effecting drying shrinkage to the input parameters to predict drying shrinkage strain of SCC.
  • The Impact of External Shocks on Nigeria’s GDP Performance within the Context of the Global Financial Crisis

    Jalilian, Hossein; Arora, Rashmi; Akpan, Nkereuwem I.
    This research examines the impact of external shocks on Nigeria’s output performance for the period 1981 – 2015. It aims to bring to the fore the importance of considering external shocks during policy design and implementation. The multivariate VAR and VECM frameworks were used to evaluate the impact of the shock variables on Nigeria’s output performance and to achieve the stated objectives. Findings show that the external shock and domestic policy variables have short-run effects on Nigeria’s output performance. Also, all the measures of external shocks and domestic policies display some viable information in explaining the variabilities in Nigeria’s output performance over the horizon. The comparison between the results of the VECM and the unrestricted VAR shows that the unrestricted VAR model outperformed the VECM. The overall result of the study confirms the view about the vulnerability of the Nigerian economy to external shocks. These shocks explain more than half of the variance in real output performance and have varying effects on output performance in Nigeria. The dynamic response of output performance to each of the defined shock variables show that output performance responds rapidly to the shock variables, while its response to the domestic economic variables is seemingly moderate. Finally, the variance decomposition show that international crude oil price and terms of trade have the largest share in accounting for the variability in output performance, followed closely by the shares of capital inflows and monetary policy.
  • Ashes to Ashes: Identifying archaeological fuels

    Batt, Catherine M.; Bond, Julie M.; Griffin, Greggory A.
    Understanding fuel use is important in researching ancient communities. This project developed methods to identify archaeological fuel from midden, hearth, and ash samples using comparison to modern analogues. Modern analogue fuels were ashed at 2000C, 4000C, and 9000C then analysed with a suite of methods, the results were then used to inform the development of an approach for the identification of archaeological fuels. These methods were tested using samples from Ness of Brodgar, Knowe of Swandro, and Smerquoy/Muckquoy in Orkney. Magnetic susceptibility, scanning electron microscopy with energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, pH and Munsell colour assignment were chosen based upon previous archaeological, biofuel, and soil pollution research. The methodologies were refined with the analysis of ash from fuels including peat, seaweed, driftwood, willow, hazel, heather, grasses, cow dung, sheep dung, and bone. Modern analogue fuels at increasing temperatures showed an intensification in magnetism and alkalinity, and an alteration to mineral components during the chemical reaction of combustion that is indicative of fuel type and temperature. Principal components analysis confirmed matches between archaeological samples and modern ash, indicating a strong relationship between peat fuels and the archaeological samples. A correlation is also demonstrated between some of the archaeological samples and sheep dung, driftwood, willow, and animal bone. It is evident that each archaeological site has unique patterns of both fuel type and temperature. This shows that in the absence of abundant traditional wood fuel resources, the occupants of these sites used a combination of alternative fuels.
  • Capacity building of human resources in the oil and gas sector in Ghana: An exploration into the public-sector capacity building of human resources in the emerging oil and gas in Ghana

    Analoui, Farhad; Lawler, John A.; Amenshiah, Ambrose K.
    This empirical research explored the capacity building of human resources in the emerging oil and gas sector in Ghana. Ghana’s oil and gas were discovered in commercial quantities in 2007 by GNPC and its partners in Jubilee field in the Cape Three Point in the western region, which signified a turning point in the development effort of the state. Local skills shortage perceived as a significant challenge. Thus the government envisaged the need to build local skill capacity which attracted an initial grant of US$38 million from World Bank to facilitate the implementation of oil and gas capacity building project in 2010. The study adopted a mixed method approach for primary data collection. Matched samples of employees (226) working in four public sector organisations in the oil and gas sector were surveyed using the simple random technique, while human resource/training and development directors (9) were purposively sampled and interviewed on the human resources capacity building to assess and corroborates the survey data. The study findings confirmed shortcomings in local skills in the public organisations in the petroleum industry. Comparatively, the results suggested that the performance appraisal tools could be further improved. The study also found local skills mismatch. It revealed that inadequate funding and delays in the release of funds affected local skill capacity building in the public-sector organisations in the industry. Originality, this is one of the very few studies to explore the shortcomings of local skill capacity in the selected organisation including the strategies used in addressing the skill gap. Research implications, more matched-sample studies are necessary to understand further how private companies (IOC’s) contributing to local skill capacity building. Practically, the study is of significance to the policymakers to address the skill gap in the energy sector. The main contribution of the research is to conceptualise the concept of HRM in Ghana’s context. The thesis, therefore, is an essential contribution to our understanding of the skill gap in the oil and gas industry in Ghana and the role of HR in this field.
  • The Development of a Hybrid Knowledge-Based System for Lean Six Sigma Implementation in Healthcare Environment: The Development of a Hybrid Knowledge-Based (KB)/Gauging Absence of Pre-Requisites (GAP)/Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP) Model for Implementing Lean Six Sigma System in Healthcare Environment

    Khan, M. Khurshid; Munive-Hernandez, J. Eduardo; Al Khamisi, Yousuf N.K.
    To improve their services and maintain patients’ satisfaction, healthcare organisations have adopted and applied different quality tools and models in recent times, with some even developing their own quality-based initiatives. For example, the approach of Lean Six Sigma (L6σ) has recently been gradually and slowly implemented in healthcare institutions. However, the nature and complexity of healthcare environment which directly impact on humans require leaders to carefully apply appropriate Quality Management (QM) systems suitable for this critical environment. The aim of this research project is to develop a Knowledge Based System (KBS) to assist healthcare managers and practitioners during decision-making process in the context of achieving excellent benchmark and action plans prioritisation. The system will be built based on a conceptual framework for Quality Management in Healthcare Environment (QMHE) which will be modified into a model. The KBS will be developed from this model with the integration of Gauging Absence of Pre-requisite (GAP) method for benchmarking and Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP) method for prioritisation. The contribution of this research is the use of KBS with GAP and AHP to develop an integrated Knowledge-Based Lean Six Sigma (KB-L6σ) in QMHE. This will accomplish the necessities of investigating quality problems and recommend suitable solutions according to international best practices. It will use a systematic approach that can be applied multiple times, follow defined steps to secure consistency in the approach and integrate different healthcare management levels to maintain strategic decision-making alignment. It consists of 964 KB rules that have been produced via a knowledge acquisition process from the literature and interviewing experts in the field of QM and L6σ in healthcare environment. Feedback from conferences and system testing were used for the verification of the model, whilst validation was carried out through three case studies implementation at three tertiary hospitals in Oman. The analysis of using the KB system in these hospitals has shown clearly that the developed system is a consistent and reliable methodology for assisting decision-makers in designing, planning, and implementing L6σ for QMHE.
  • Virtual sensor for air mass flow measurement in an SI engine: Application of distributed lumped modelling in prediction of air mass flow into the cylinder of SI combustion engines

    Qi, Hong-Seng; Ebrahimi, Kambiz M.; Filippou, Sotirios
    After undergoing an extensive study about engine air mass flow measurement approaches as well as engine modelling for air mass flow prediction, a major problem found to exist is that engineers have still not found a suitable technique to accurately measure the air mass flow entering the cylinder of an internal combustion engine. The engine air mass flow is the most important parameter needed during engine development so the fuel control can be accurately calibrated and as a result increase performance and reduce emission output of an engine. The current methods used to determine the air mass flow lead to inaccuracies due to the large amount of mathematical assumptions and also sensor errors and as a result the mapping and calibration process of a new engine family takes approximately 2 years due to extensive modelling and testing required overcoming the above drawbacks. To improve this, the distributed lumped modelling technique (D-L) of the inlet manifold was chosen, where the intake system is separated into very small sections which are distributed continuously throughout the volume of the intake until entering the cylinder. This technique is validated against a CFD model of the engine’s intake system and real engine data as well as a 1D engine model.
  • Towards an Improved Framework of E-Government Implementation in Chaotic Environment; Proposed Social Collaboration Model: Case study of Libya

    Kamala, Mumtaz A.; Tassabehji, Rana; Khamallag, Masoud M.
    E-government is basically described as using all available electronic media to provide an online public services companies, agencies, citizens or persons in certain country or region. This provision can be provided by the government institutions, agencies, or organisation, in addition to public and private sectors subject to government policies and legislation. Political instability, armed conflict, corruption and chaotic situations are considered to be an obstacle confronting public services delivery and governance in some developing countries around the world. Therefore, Libya is selected a case study of this research. Post the 2011 ousting of the Gadhafi regime in Libya, the country has been experiencing a severe and deep-rooted environment of conflict and chaos, which has destabilised and in some cases dismantled government institutions throughout the country. Within this environment, the original aim of this study was to explore the possibility of implementing e-government services that can provide public services to citizens and, if so, how and what services could be utilised. An exploratory qualitative pilot study was conducted to investigate the feasibility of e-government implementation in Libya utilising the knowledge of government officials. The study found that, the Libyan government had recently and successfully implemented an online e-passport service. An extensive literature review carried out in relation to e-government implementation to help understanding lesions learned and factors behind such success then to utilise the knowledge for further services implementations. Critical success factors of e-government implementation were addressed but available ones are related to stable countries under normal situations. This research is aiming to investigate its implementation in chaotic environment where not much of research is available. During the chaotic environment and instability, different factors may emerge to drive the implementation and the usage of e-services such environment. From government perspectives, it is noticed that cases of corruption, lack of citizens’ safety and poor infrastructure were found to be drivers behind the success of existing government institutions and departments of implement e-passport system. Social collaboration and trust in government institutions’ commitment were emerged from the citizens’ perspectives as factors encouraged the citizens to use the e-passport system. Quantitative data analysed using structural equation modelling techniques using SmartPLS (3.2.7) together with the SPSS 23 were used to analyse the collected data. The outcome were used to propose a framework that can improve the implementation of public e-services while the country at unrest. Another contribution of this studies is the proposal of social collaboration model towards better e-services in such environment.
  • Assessing the risk of chemotherapy toxicity and hospital admission due to toxicity: A study of acute chemotherapy toxicity and related hospital admission in a large UK teaching hospital, based on proactive telephone assessment patients

    Silcock, Jonathan; Scally, Andy J.; Malton, Samuel R.
    Introduction: Acute chemotherapy toxicity is common and can have negative effects for the patient and health economy and hospitalisation can be necessitated. Aims: To identify the incidence of toxicity and admission, and predictors of toxicity occurrence, severity, hospitalisation and length of stay. Method: Data was obtained from a proactive telephone assessment of acute toxicity 24 hours after administration of a first cycle of chemotherapy to patients in a large UK NHS teaching hospital. Results: 1539 patients were studied and the overall incidence of toxicity was 35.6% (530 patients). Disease site and number of chemotherapy agents given were shown to predict toxicity, with breast and upper gastrointestinal cancers having a higher likelihood of toxicity. Disease was predictive of toxicity grade, with urology, gynaecology and lung cancer patients experiencing higher grades of toxicity than other tumour sites. The rate of hospital admission due to toxicity was 13.1% (203 patients) and median length of stay 3 days (1-28). The risk of admission had some risk factors in common with toxicity. Disease and the number of drugs in the regimen affected the risk of admission, with gynaecology, head and neck and lung cancer patients and patients who received 3 drugs having a higher likelihood of admission. Predictors in the subgroups of breast, colorectal and lung cancer patients did not differ greatly from the whole population and the number of drugs was shown to be a predictor of nausea, vomiting and fatigue when explored as secondary outcomes. Conclusion: The research partly addressed the main aim and highlighted areas where further research is required. Keywords

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