2,287 results for Auckland University of Technology, Masters

  • Cross-grouping in mathematics

    Golds, Rosemary

    Masters thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    Improving mathematics teaching in primary schools is an ongoing research focus as achievement comparisons in international studies draws attention to shifting achievement levels and acknowledges that “improving educational outcomes is a vital economic necessity” (Wiliam, 2011, p. 26).‘Cross-grouping’ in primary school mathematics (whereby students are shifted across classes to provide ability grouping within a subject), has become a popular option in some New Zealand primary schools (Years 1-8) over the last few years. This is perhaps an unforeseen consequence of the Numeracy Professional Development Project (NDP) that was offered in more than 95% of New Zealand primary and intermediate schools between 2000 and 2009 (Holton, 2009). My present study has critically examined teacher perception of how (and if) cross-grouping in mathematics impacts upon teacher practice. Research from international studies supports the viewpoint that when ‘streaming’ (in the New Zealand primary school setting, known as ‘cross-grouping’) is adopted, teacher expectations of students are impacted upon and overall student achievement is not improved (Boaler, Wiliam, & Brown, 2000; MacIntyre & Ireson, 2002; Slavin, 1995). At present, there is very little research based in New Zealand schools on cross-grouping. This research may have implications for teaching as inquiry which is considered to be a characteristic of “effective pedagogy (which) requires that teachers inquire into the impact of their teaching on their students” (Ministry of Education, 2007, p. 35). A 2011 report from the Educational Review Office (ERO) (Education Review Office, 2011) suggested that many schools and teachers were still working towards gaining a clear understanding of the intent of teaching as inquiry. A qualitative approach applying an interpretivist paradigm underpinned this study, with a narrative inquiry process utilised which allowed the participants’ viewpoints to be heard. Interviews were conducted with eight teachers working in cross-grouped mathematics classes with students aged between eight and thirteen. Findings from the study revealed that all the teachers were in favour of cross-grouping, despite some teachers having some minor reservations. Some of the perceived benefits of cross-grouping were: it was more effective in meeting the needs of students and teachers, it allowed schools to ensure mathematics was actually taught each day, and it permitted teachers to become more confident in teaching a particular level of mathematics. It was also found that cross-grouping was likely to contribute to a more fixed notion of ability and was likely to have impacts upon teacher and student expectations. In most of the schools, there was little critical analysis undertaken into the reasons for or the validity of cross-grouping which suggests that this would be a useful future focus for school leaders and teachers. Results of the study suggest that questioning some long-held established practices (which are not necessarily evidence based) could be a useful starting point in developing a teaching as inquiry focus within a school. It is expected that this research will reveal ideas regarding the effects of streaming students in mathematics in primary schools and the impacts on flexible and responsive teacher practice. These findings may lead to a larger research project which considers aspects such as student attitude and self-belief or a comparison study which considers developing communities of mathematical inquiry (Ministry of Education, 2012) within some classes.

    View record details
  • The role of leadership in the experiences of Asian international students’ hospitality studies

    Dalosa, Diosdado

    Masters thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    This research explores the experiences of Asian International Students (AIS) who were studying professional cookery at a private training institution after reports (Tan, 2011) indicated that AIS was being described in New Zealand as “a ghetto education destination” by students in order to express their disappointment during their study in New Zealand. The reports concerned the New Zealand export education industry. The Ministry of Education recognised that the sustainability of the New Zealand export education industry rested on educational and social factors including institutional capacity and client satisfaction. This study was undertaken, therefore, to enable deeper insights about issues which occur for AIS. A case study was designed to investigate one particular institution with a focus on the leadership behaviours, and interactions between host educators and students. Eight participants were interviewed. The participants were the institution leader, two tutors, and five AIS. The data obtained were analysed using QSR NVivo software. The study found that AIS’ attitudes about their study experiences are marked by a frustration that the skills they learnt from their host institution did not meet the demands of the hospitality industry. AIS believed that their host institution’s lack of adequate learning facilities prevented them from achieving their learning goal/s. The issues AIS raised in this study could, however, help educational leaders in designing adequate educational resources and facilities appropriate for AIS. In turn, this could influence overall perceptions about the study experiences of AIS in New Zealand.

    View record details
  • The effect of paramedic position on external chest compression quality: a simulation study

    Davey, Paul

    Masters thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    Out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) is a globally important public health issue that continues to be a significant cause of premature death. The incidence of OHCA treated by Emergency Medical Services (EMS) is around 50 to 55/100,000 per person-years across the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. There is significant disparity in the rates of survival to hospital discharge from OHCA. For OHCA treated by EMS this rate can vary as much as 1% to 31%. In order to improve outcomes for cardiac arrests the International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation (ILCOR) aims to integrate resuscitation science with real world clinical practice. ILCOR states there is a need to develop a culture of high quality resuscitation using a quality improvement approach. Survival from cardiac arrest is a complex issue with many stakeholders that form the basis of a system of care. ILCOR proposes that individual performance needs to be evaluated so that participants within the system of care are informed and can therefore effectively intervene to improve care Paramedics are the primary treatment providers for OHCA. Recently the resuscitation guidelines, which paramedics use in their practice, have emphasised the performance of quality chest compressions. With this in mind this thesis sought to investigate whether the position of the paramedic performing chest compressions, either from-the-side (FTS) or over-the-head (OTH), influenced the quality of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). A review literature identified only a few small studies in which OTH CPR was investigated over short durations. There was heterogeneity in the study design, types of participants and quality metrics measured with inconsistencies in the results across the studies. All of the studies identified in the review were manikin studies that used manikin-based technology, such as the Laerdal Skill Reporter (LSR), to measure the quality of CPR. Subsequent to these studies defibrillator technology has evolved and now devices that can measure CPR quality have been integrated into the defibrillator, an example of which is Q-CPR associated with the MRx defibrillator. Such devices enable measurement of CPR quality in both manikin and human studies. The first study (Chapter 3) investigated if the new defibrillator technology could be used to measure CPR quality in a manikin study. This study compared the measurement of CPR quality metrics simultaneously using LSR and Q-CPR, for chest compression performed OTH and FTS. The principle finding of this study was that there is no significant difference in the majority of chest compression quality metrics measured between the LSR and the Q-CPR devices. However, there were significant differences in the measurement of duty cycle and also the depth of compressions between the two devices. The mean difference in the depth of compression was observed to increase with an increasing incidence of leaning. The conclusion was that Q-CPR is a suitable alternative to LSR for measurement of the CPR quality and thus it was used in the main study. The main study compared OTH and FTS CPR quality (performed by 30 paramedics) during two simulated cardiac arrest scenarios, each of approximately 25 minutes duration. There was no significant difference in mean CPR quality between compressions performed OTH or FTS for all metrics measured. We concluded that for two rescuer CPR the composite technique, where the paramedic that is positioned at the head of the manikin performs OTH CPR, is an effective alternative to the traditional method of only performing CPR FTS.

    View record details
  • Static animation: an exploration into the ambiguous boundaries of Little Red Riding Hood through an illustrative typographic inquiry within animation

    Ryan, Sarah Patricia

    Masters thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    This practice-led thesis explores the ways in which a narrative can create a sense of the macabre, which instills the sense of fear of death, through an investigation of the relationship between illustration and typography. The research takes the traditional children’s folk tale Little Red Riding Hood as a reference for this investigation. The research invites a rethinking of the notion of the narrative through an examination of the relationship between static and moving image developed through an illustrative and typographical short animation. It also questions the potential of how illustration and typography interact within a children’s folk tale as part of the visual narrative, and how these elements can add a subliminal component to the static animation. Contradictions between text and image is a re-occurring theme within this thesis as the idea of pairing something threatening with something nonthreatening can also help in imprinting an unsettled or disturbed feeling in the viewer. This thesis also explores the idea of the psychoanalytic gaze, and how ideas put forth through the narratology code help to develop the sense of the macabre through story telling techniques and camera movement. The combination of these elements raise questions and provoke a rethinking of a cherished childhood folk tale.

    View record details
  • The survival of things

    Coveny, Eloise Jayne

    Masters thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    How might a sonic archiving installation practice produce conditions of history other to orthodox narratives of time? What might a Benjaminian “destructive character” today make of analogue and digital archives for producing uncanny encounters within chips of messianic time? The above dialectical image maps out my research site. At my crossroads stands History proper and historical ambiguity—spoken as ‘I’, my site inscribes difference in archiving things from Victoriana inspired moments, filtered through a girl from Auckland, New Zealand circa 1980s and 1990s (culminating most poignantly in 1994). My installation practice evokes particularly voices materialised through sonic forces aided through photographic, filmic, and recording apparatuses and their representational modalities. These sonic forces material my artistic research practice as a historic figure existing within me as an artist-researcher figuring out (my) different narratives. I employ myself here as a type of destructive (Benjaminian) figure, making radical sonic interventions as historic otherness appear to me to bring to ‘light’ Walter Benjamin’s conceptual historic materialism of time as: the true picture of the past; time at a standstill; moment of danger; ambiguity; dialectical image that is pregnant with tensions; uncanny limits to ourselves. I unpack these radical expressions of time and history—that are marked out above in my dialectical image; my site of research—through the following exegesis. I figure my practice (my self) dangerously between the dominance of orthodox archiving narratives to specify an acute ‘familiar’ moment—say 1994 (1994: Time-space encounters between digital forces and analogue ghosts). I read my project as the dialectical image above and hope that one can better understand this site increasingly throughout the reading of this exegesis. This understanding of time at a [dialectical] standstill is taken from the philosopher Walter Benjamin. This time of arrest is counter to linear time that is often posed as the dominant voice throughout historicism [discourses] (i.e. writing history) that marginalises other voices and other experiences. My practice works within this site of investigation to privilege lost voices that explore a longing for historic authenticity—where the location of authenticity lies in its alterity, in what is distant to the present time and space. Benjamin practices [destructive] lyrical configuration through the modern allegory, which I here explore through my practice in the form of anachronistic spatial configuration (installation) as a method for [sonic] archiving. The anachronistic structuring of my installation tests activate dialectical tensions that speak to us of the hidden voices repressed by the orthodox structure of things; through juxtaposing and rupturing orthodox histories via my relations to things in the world. This has become in part an autobiographical tenor that lyrically composes my exegesis and installation as a methodology. It does this bearing in mind the viewer’s independence, where my own autos is largely heterogeneously fractured into the archival installation final exhibition aiming for uncanny registers that can only be designed by the ‘hand’ of weak messianic power (Benjamin). My sonic forces mapping out the research aims of this installation archiving practice are inspired primarily by the work of Walter Benjamin's concept of Messianic time in relation to historical materialism. My artistic research has focused in on relations of voices through time; voices that have spoken to me throughout (auto)biographical encounters with artefacts; things that continue to return and inhabit me more so than I realise. These things are speaking to me now, here; at a crux moment of a self-splitting between some fantasy autos of my biography, and yet they are shot through with the voices of those philosophers I am engaging and their autos. In this sense, my artistic material and precedence gather around the literary, poetic, and mystical voices of others (people, antiques, commodities, spaces, places, photographs, films and other textual forms of archival material). The images that make up my work emerge from the imagination, now brought to the fore through these textual methodological encounters that inspire my way through. In this sense, my practice appears on the surface to be voiding the proper of art historical practitioner precedence, and yet in this way I have followed an authentic (unorthodox) path that is akin to the destructive character Benjamin evokes. The images of others sit below this surface only to rise uncannily in the strange present that this time evokes. The concept of the uncanny, guided by voices of Martin Heidegger, Sigmund Freud and Walter Benjamin, open up my mystical moments for installing such an encounter of strange time as a survival of things.

    View record details
  • Carl Zeus

    Youngkong, Nattapon

    Masters thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    This project Carl Zeus (working title) investigates the German Expressionist film movement as an inspiration and a platform from which to develop a contemporary film project. The research focuses on the unique cinematographic and production techniques employed by the filmmakers of this movement. It explores the potential communicability of these cinematic devices. The movement (begun in 1919) emerged from the unique historical circumstances of post-World War One Germany. The works were primarily concerned with the country’s universally destabilized psyche and trauma that prevailed in German society after the war. The project questions the value of these cinematic devices in communicating contemporary issues and the experience of living in the present time. I next explore how to deploy an expressionist mode of cinema into a short film project. To negotiate this question, I produce a short film that deploys the Expressionist mode of cinema through the script, cinematography and mise-en-scene as a method of inquiry.

    View record details
  • An investigation into estimation and spatial sense as aspects of workplace numeracy: a case study of recycling and refuse operators within a situated learning model

    Kane, Philip John

    Masters thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    The abilities to estimate and to exercise spatial awareness are important elements of adult numeracy and are embedded in many workplace activities. However, contributions of these elements of numeracy in workplace activities are often overlooked. Although estimation is noticed, spatial awareness in particular seems to be rarely acknowledged (Marr & Hagston, 2007). This research study first investigates the use of these two elements by drawing on the perspective of numeracy as a situated social practice (Lerman, 2006; Street, Baker, & Tomlin, 2008) in a case study of the work of urban recycling and refuse collection operators. Ethnographic approaches such as observing the operators’ roles in their daily collection work and interviewing them are used to determine which strategies and numeracy practices the operators employ. What is seen is that a collection operator’s ability to estimate and use spatial awareness are important contributors to many of the critical decisions that are regularly made by him or her. A second part of the research is an investigation of how these operators have acquired the capabilities to make estimates and to be spatially aware. Although estimation and spatial awareness are established at an early age and then partly fostered in school mathematics themes such as number sense, measurement and geometry, the operators in the main did not recognise a great deal of mathematics in their everyday work. Instead their previous workplace training and experiences of driving and operating heavy equipment appeared to be the main sources of their senses of estimation and spatial awareness. This study demonstrates to trainers and educators they should not assume that these elements of numeracy are common knowledge or even common sense to their staff or students (Sorby, 2003). This study also suggests that estimation and spatial awareness practices which are concealed in workplaces and are probably overlooked, are challenging to assess by traditional measures. Hence trainers and educators need to continue to promote and model estimation practices, and even more deliberately, provide learning opportunities of those relevant components of spatial awareness for learners of any age.

    View record details
  • The wretched refuse of your teeming (virtual) shore: Second Life as homeland to the socially isolated

    Sherman, Kevin

    Masters thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    This mixed methods research explores the attachment that individuals harbour for the virtual world of Second Life by comparing participants with strong feelings of attachment to Second Life with those with weak feelings of attachment. In order to identify these two groups of participants, this research employed an online questionnaire that included actual world national attachment scales and their virtual world counterparts. Based on the results of this questionnaire, these two groups of participants were identified and located and their further participation requested. Once individuals agreed to further participate in this research, the two groups of participants – the primary group comprised of those with strong, multi-dimensional attachment for Second life and the comparison group comprised of those with weak attachment for Second Life – were then interviewed using qualitative, semi-structured interviews. Based upon thematic analysis of the results of the qualitative interviews, it was found that participants who possess strong, multi-dimensional attachment for Second Life tended to be those who can be classified as Socially Isolated or, in other words, unable, for the most part, to experience social interaction in the actual world. Participants who possess weak attachment for Second Life tended to be those who can be classified as Socially Supported or, in other words, possessing, for the most part, the capacity for actual world social interaction. The results of the thematic analysis indicates that across six of seven identified themes, the Socially Isolated participants possessed a much more positive perception of Second Life while the Socially Supported possessed a much more dismissive perception of Second Life, one characterized by ambivalence, derision and/or embarrassment. The research concludes by suggesting that Socially Supported participants are put ill at ease by a virtual world that attempts to replicate the actual world in which they already live while the Socially Isolated are not only untroubled by such a world but they exhibit deep appreciation and attachment for Second Life. In fact, Second Life seems to play a critical role in determining the very quality of their lives; it provides them with many things that the Socially Supported take for granted, including opportunities for socializing and friendship, workplace interaction, recreational activities, and even things as banal as walking down the street, sitting at a bar and dancing with a stranger.

    View record details
  • Content based authentication of Visual Cryptography

    Wang, Guangyu

    Masters thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    Visual Cryptography (VC) is perceived and studied as a perfect combination of secret sharing and digital image processing. The basic idea of VC is to split original secret image into several partitions which are also called shares. VC schemes include basic VC, grayscale VC, colour VC and multi-secret VC etc. Despite the security nature of VC in secret sharing, one of the common problems of current application of VC shares is that it lacks authentication. Previous related researches have proven the possibility of VC cheating through different methods. Attackers are able to complete both cheating and modification on VC process without being noticed by VC participants. Currently available authentication schemes for VC are derived from the view of utilizing additional shares and blind authentication. This research analyses effective authentication methods using 2D barcodes and embedding binary codes into VC shares for authentication purpose. A scheme of embedding 2D barcodes into VC shares to prevent cheating will be presented to enhance the use of VC in implementation. The embedding process includes four steps: resolution adaption, image matching and replacement, barcode selection and secret recovery. The aim of this research is to propose a method of embedding 2D barcode into VC shares, thereby strengthening the cheat prevention ability of VC shares by applying the security feature of 2D barcode into VC. As an international standard of reading guidance for the blind people, Braille has been widely used as an effective communication channel. In this thesis, we will also explain Braille encoding and explain how it is applied to handle the authentication problem in VC. Similar to the use of 2D barcode in VC, the utilization of Braille in VC is also attributed to the similarity of structure and construction between Braille cells and VC shares. Even though the research of visual cryptography is based on the combination of image processing and cryptography, knowledge of VC authentication related to digital image processing and cryptography has not been fully utilized in the past years. In this thesis, the analysis of both visual features and cryptographic features of VC will be presented and utilized to assist VC authentication. The visual features of VC in this thesis include moments, histogram, centroid, entropy and Tamura Texture. Compared to those existing methods, the contribution of this research is to propose an authentication scheme of integrate those features with Hash code and digital signature so as to be embedded into VC shares.

    View record details
  • No Longer/Not Yet: lacuna and dissemination in practice

    Meyle, Lucy

    Masters thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    This drawing project presently considers relationships between traditional elements of comics, and provisional, abstract painting. (Apparently) casual gestures are produced by labour-intensive means as ‘printed materials’, that are then dispersed. The concepts of lacuna and dissemination are key to this project for thinking through ideas of dispersion, production, and supplementation. The gaps between words/images and expectation/reality are used to disrupt normative ways of constructing meaning. The project infiltrates the public and the private: traveling into homes, getting lost, destroyed, pinned up, or thrown out. The categories of ‘original’ and ‘reproduction’ are purposefully blurred as a method to challenge the autonomy and value of images. As the work moves out into the world, how might it interact or disrupt an everyday experience in socio-political spaces?

    View record details
  • Luxury for oneself or luxury for others? Exploring the underlying emotions behind inconspicuous luxury consumption

    Makkar, Marian

    Masters thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    The field of luxury has been widely examined due to the financial advancement the industry has experienced over the last 10 years. Scholars have studied its antecedents by utilising attitude-behavioural models to discover consumers’ motivations to purchase luxury goods. However, research is scarce in understanding the different kinds of luxury brand signals and consumption involved, specifically the inconspicuous and conspicuous kind. This research focuses on inconspicuous luxury consumption with the aim of deepening insights around what related emotions are involved in this consumption preference, why do they experience them and how do they deal with them. Additionally, this study explores non-financial assets such as cultural capital and social capital and how these may emotionally drive inconspicuous consumers to purchase certain levels of luxury brand signals. Utilising an exploratory and qualitative approach, in-depth interviews with 10 luxury consumers in Dubai with inconspicuous preferences were undergone and thematic analysis was used for analysis and interpretation. Themes uncovered revealed that consumers go through a process of planning their luxury journey by pre-evaluating their choices of luxury conspicuousness. They exercise their active roles in the process and experience the choices they make and finally post-evaluate these choices. Emotions were revealed to have an important role in every part of this process, which dictates their behaviours, moving them on to the next stage of their journey. They experience these emotions because of the non-financial resources (social and/or cultural capital) they deem important to them. As they exercise their consumer choice, they experience positive, negative or mixed experiential emotions depending on whether it met their expectations. If it has, they are then able to enjoy their luxuries because it offers them symbolic schemas that complete their internal and external needs and extensions of themselves. After evaluating their experienced emotions throughout the journey, they begin the cycle once again by choosing inconspicuous luxury brands that positively elevates their emotions. It is interesting to note that inconspicuous luxury consumers demonstrate several characteristics based on their social and cultural capital, which have not been identified before in past literature. This research uncovers six groupings yielding a typology of inconspicuous luxury consumers: fashion influencers, trendsetters, fashion followers, fashion indifferent, cultural conservatives and habitual buyers. They not only desire inconspicuous luxury brands for its aesthetic beauty, functionality and quality but because it asserts their different roles in society. The usefulness of the typology is demonstrated through links to emotions and levels of social and/or cultural capital and its applications to consumption levels of inconspicuous luxury goods (i.e. highly inconspicuous versus lower inconspicuous levels). Findings offer theoretical implications in terms of luxury consumption and brand signalling and a deeper understanding into what can only be described as exploratory insights into the lives of inconspicuous luxury consumers. Further research in this line of work is needed to better uncover how emotions have a powerful role in luxury consumers’ decision-making process. Managerial implications for luxury retail management and communications of the brand are also explained to assist in the conception and development process of future luxury brands and designs to better segment and target different desired markets.

    View record details
  • He Marae Ora, He Marae Manawaroa: exploring the resilience in a Marae which has survived without gaming machine proceeds funding

    Thompson-Evans, Te Pora

    Masters thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    Quality funding that is clear of repercussion and ethical questioning is fundamental to marae development and whaanau wellbeing. With more and more communities becoming reliant on Gaming machine funding with little regard to the communities from which the funds were first generated. Gaming machines situated outside of casino are predominately located within low socio-economic, deprived and vulnerable neighbourhoods. Although the people within these neighbourhoods are least economically resourced, they are more than likely to be the greatest financial contributors to the gaming machine pool of funds. Problem gambling is a growing concern for such neighbourhoods and communities. Furthermore and quite often it is Maaori who make up a large portion of these communities and are again likely to suffer great harm from problem gambling, alongside their whaanau. To date studies have not yet considered in great depth the implications of receiving gambling funds from gaming machines. This eclectic kaupapa Maaori research study explored the resilience in marae who survived without the need for gambling funds from gaming machines. In-depth semi-structured interviewed were conducted with eight marae committee members of Te Iti o Hauaa marae in the Waikato region. The findings indicated that traditions of tikanga, tapu and mauri were the greatest factors that enabled and maintained a decision-making process by which gambling and the taking of gambling funds especially those from pokie machines has been disallowed on the marae for over one hundred years. The marae funding model in the form of four pou draws on whanaungatanga and relationship linkages the marae has established within the marae itself, the wider iwi and its kinship ties and also the relationship linkages to the community and government. Ethical issues relating to harms to whaanau also arose as a significant theme to not accepting gaming machine funding. Participants discussed their use of succession planning through building the capacity of their generations towards self-determinations has enabled the marae to sustain their operations and development with no funding sought outside their model. This study concludes that utilising such a model of funding based on tikanga values and ensuring succession planning to build social capital, community cohesion and participation may very well enable more marae to reduce and eliminate their reliance on gaming machine funding

    View record details
  • Effects of FUX on gemcitabine sensitivity in lung cancer cells

    Lu, Wei

    Masters thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    Lung cancer has accounted for the most deaths from cancer (19.2% of all cancer deaths) in registered cancer cases in New Zealand. At present lung cancer treatment is inadequate, as patients treated with the front-line drugs, such as gemcitabine, rapidly develop drug resistance by decreasing cellular accumulation and/or avoiding apoptosis. Fucoxanthin (FUX), extracted from edible seaweed such as Undaria pinnatifida, has recently been reported to inhibit membrane drug efflux transporters (ABC transporters) and induce apoptosis in various cancer cell lines. Previous studies in AUT have defined FUX extracted from New Zealand Undaria pinnitifida with anti-cancer properties by using in vitro cell models. FUX has been reported to have few adverse effects in some animal models. We hypothesize that FUX may be a safe sensitizer to reverse gemcitabine resistance in lung cancer cells by increasing cellular accumulation of gemcitabine. The primary objective of this study was to assess the potential effects of FUX to reverse gemcitabine resistance in human lung cancer cell lines. The secondary objective of current study is to investigate the mechanisms of FUX actions if FUX may potentiate gemcitabine sensitivity. The third objective of this study is to evaluate the effects of FUX on modifying gemcitabine toxicity in two typical normal human cell lines. Several types of human cell lines were used in this study including a lung carcinoma cell line A549, and two typical normal human cell lines embryonic kidney cell HEK293 and adult dermal fibroblasts (HDFa). Anti-proliferative effects were determined by 48-hr and 72-hr MTT (3-(4,5-Dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide) assays. As a single agent, either gemcitabine or FUX showed concentration-dependant inhibition of lung cancer proliferation in 72-hr MTT assays, with IC50 values of 9nM and 13μM, respectively. FUX increases gemcitabine sensitivity in an NSCLC cell line, A549 cell in a time and concentration dependant manner. Indeed, the 72-hr IC50 value for gemcitabine was only 3.9nM in the presence of 8μM FUX, which was decreased by 59% when comparing with control (P< 0.05). More importantly, FUX has no apparent effects on gemcitabine toxicity in two typical cell lines representing normal human tissues. It would be expected that FUX may represent a unique sensitizer, which may turn a less effective anti-cancer drug into an exceptional one. To elucidate the mechanisms of action of FUX, it is necessary to carry out a mechanistic study to investigate if FUX changes the intracellular gemcitabine accumulation in A549 cells. To determine gemcitabine in A549 cellular homogenates, an HPLC method has been developed and validated. In this study, while gemcitabine cannot be separated sufficiently from the cellular interferences using a conventional C18 column, aphenyl-hexyl column was found to be efficient to achieve better separation for quantitation of gemcitabine. This is because that separation using the phenyl column is conducted via the π electron, which in this case utilizes the π-π interaction between the phenyl group π electron and the analyte's π electron. Validation data indicates that the method is sensitive and reliable, with acceptable accuracy (85-115% of true values) and precision (CV < 15%). The assay specificity was indicated by the absence of interfering chromatographic peaks in cellular homogenates, and the LOQ of the assay was 0.5 μM. Calibration curves for gemcitabine were linear with the mean correlation coefficients > 0.987. This method has the advantage of being relatively rapid and efficient, with the retention time of gemcitabine separated from the substances in cellular homogenates. Therefore, this HPLC method is suitable for gemcitabine measurement in A549 cellular homogenates studies. Cellular accumulation studies suggest uptake of gemcitabine may reach equilibrium after 4-hr in the presence or absence of FUX. FUX (10 μM) shows the potentials to increase the steady-state accumulation of gemcitabine in A549 cells. However, it does not affect the initial cellular uptake of gemcitabine in A549 cells. While this mechanistic research provides some clues to elucidate the effects of FUX on gemcitabine accumulation, more details about the exact mechanisms of its action, are warranted for further studies in the future. However, a major limitation of this HPLC method is a lack of detection of gemcitabine metabolites. The cytotoxic action of gemcitabine has been attributed to inhibition of DNA synthesis by dFdCDP and dFdCTP. The HPLC method described in this study may not be suitable to simultaneously measure these active metabolites. Thus it is worthwhile to determine the cellular pharmacokinetics of gemcitabine and its metabolites in A549 cells and other NSCLC cells simultaneously by using an LC-MS/MS system. In conclusion, fucoxanthin increases gemcitabine sensitivity to A549 cancer cell lines, and more importantly, it has no apparent effects on gemcitabine toxicity in two typical cell lines representing normal human tissues. It would be expected that FUX may represent a unique sensitizer, which may turn a less effective anti-cancer drug into an exceptional one.

    View record details
  • Teenage girls' daily engagement with mass media: implications for identity construction and well-being

    Gooch, Andrea

    Masters thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    A process of identity formation often defines teenage years where young people transition into adulthood. Multiple factors such as family environment and sociocultural context contribute to shaping teen girls’ identities, what they believe in and how they see themselves as fitting into the world around them. Mass media plays a big part in constructing social realities, often depicting narrow and limited depictions of masculinity, femininity and ideal girlhood. Young people, who may have less experience and critical awareness when it comes to media messages, may take on stereotypical or problematic images as representing reality. This research project explores from a social constructionist perspective, teenage girls daily engagement with the mass media and the implications of this for their identity construction, health, and well-being. Six face-to-face interviews were conducted with teen girls aged between 14 and 17 years old. These girls were asked to collect media images over one week and their responses to these images were discussed. An inductive thematic analysis was conducted and four dominant themes were identified within the talk: ‘It’s all about appearance’; ‘Attracting the boys’; “Inspirational content”; and ‘The pressure to be “trendy”. These themes are discussed demonstrating the difficult terrain teen girls face in navigating the vast and pervasive nature of mass media in constructing their personal identity. Further research is necessary into the nature of teen girls’ engagement with mass media with comparative data required from a teen boy population to expand and support initial insights gained from this project.

    View record details
  • Customers' expectations of hotel green marketing: a New Zealand quantitative study

    Mat Yusof, Noor Amalina

    Masters thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    Tourists’ perceptions of destination impacts and environmental consequences of their visits to destinations likely play a central role in travel decision-making (Lee, Hsu, Han, & Kim, 2010) . Their demands for environmentally friendly products encourage hotels to react accordingly by participating in the ‘green movement’ and committing to green marketing strategies that require both financial and non-financial support. With a developing demand for environmentally friendly products and hotels, the purchasing of green products by customers should be increasing, but recently the actual purchasing of these products seems to have declined. Green marketing is proposed to neutralise negative perceptions towards green practices (Rex & Bauman 2007) This study therefore investigates customer perceptions of green marketing strategies and activities. Particularly, this study examines green marketing related activities with two main objectives: (1) explore hotel customers’ opinions of green marketing strategies and (2) explore hotel customer expectations of environmental best practices within green hotels. Focusing on the New Zealand context, this study aims to assist green hoteliers to better develop green marketing to improve such initiatives in the hotel industry. Customer perceptions are explored utilising the four Ps of the marketing mix: product, price, promotion and place. A quantitative case study approach to the research is used. In particular, a self-administered questionnaire was given to delegates who attended an environmental-related conference in Auckland in 2014. Respondents were expected to have informed knowledge about the environment and hotel green marketing programmes. This knowledge was expected to provide insights to help marketers develop better green marketing strategies. As explained in the results chapter, respondents acknowledged certain green marketing strategies as effective, neutral or ineffective. Effective strategies were those in which green products were seen as special, those that used internet technology to disseminate green initiatives to customers, where green practices were undertaken at the premises, where appropriate business partners were used, where environmentally friendly distribution channels (from vendors to customers) were used, and where the overall image was believed to encourage customers to purchase green products at a green hotel. The functionality of eco-labels in green promotions was perceived neutrally. Some respondents acknowledged the importance of these eco-labels as quality assurance, while others perceived them as uninteresting promotional strategies. The ineffective green marketing strategy was pricing strategy; respondents expressed their particular dislike of being charged extra for green products. The results also produced a surprise finding; in spite of viewing green products as special, respondents also believed green products may harm human health. In terms of green practices, generally respondents favoured tangible practices. However, they mostly preferred practices in which they could participate (e.g. recycling programmes, linen and towel re-use programmes), those which they were involved with at home (e.g. recycling programmes, linen and towel re-use programmes, using green cleaning products) and those which were convenient for them while staying at a hotel. These findings can assist hoteliers to review their current green marketing strategies and develop better ones to persuade green customers to purchase green products. In terms of the academic literature, results of this study were successful in their aim of adding new knowledge to the green marketing research area.

    View record details
  • Interactive evolutionary computation in design applications for virtual worlds

    Kruse, Jan

    Masters thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    Modern films, games and virtual reality are highly dependent on convincing computer graphics. Models of high complexity are a requirement for the successful delivery of many animated scenes and environments. While workflows such as rendering, compositing and animation have been streamlined to accommodate increasing demands, modelling of complex models is still a laborious and costly task. This research introduces the computational benefits of Interactive Genetic Algorithms to computer graphics modelling while compensating the negative effects of user fatigue, a commonly found issue with Interactive Evolutionary Computation. A multi-agent system is used to integrate Genetic Algorithms with computational agents and human designers. This workflow accelerates the layout and distribution of basic elements to form highly complex models. It captures the designer’s intent through interaction, and encourages playful discovery. A modelling pipeline integrating commercially available tools with Human-based Genetic Algorithms is implemented, and a Renderman Interface Bytestream (RIB) archive output is realized to provide easy adaptability for research and industry applications. Comparisons between Interactive Genetic Algorithms and Human-based Genetic Algorithms applied to procedural modelling of computer graphics cities indicate that an agent-based evolutionary approach outperforms a purely human-centric solution: More iterations are possible in less time, which ultimately leads to better results and a superior user experience. Based on initial testing, a range of suggestions for future investigation are given.

    View record details
  • Exploring the acceptability of, and adherence to, a carbohydrate-restricted, higher fat diet as an instrument for weight loss in women aged 40-55 years

    McPhee, Julia

    Masters thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    It is well recognised that aging in females is associated with a predilection for weight gain. Women with abdominal obesity are known to be at especially high risk of cardiovascular and metabolic disease, as well as associated poorer overall health outcomes. Many of these metabolic disorders however, can be alleviated through weight loss. The increasing evidence around the impact of hormonal function on weight gain and body composition validates the need for further investigation into the dietary effect on menopause-affected hormones. Current dietary and weight-loss guidelines, considered to be ‘best practice’, equate to promotion of a diet with a macronutrient profile comprising high levels of carbohydrate, moderate amounts of protein, and minimal fat. In contrast to this traditional ‘best practice’ approach, an alternative weight-loss strategy promoting a model of eating that is lower in carbohydrate, moderate in protein, and higher in fat has been posited as an effective weight-loss option. The low carbohydrate, high fat (LCHF) dietary approach recognises that the macronutrient composition of the diet itself may have a positive impact on weight loss due to hormonal interactions. This exploratory study investigated the acceptance of, and adherence to, a LCHF diet in women aged 40 – 55 years. The primary outcome measures of this study were barriers to and motivators for acceptance of and adherence to this way of eating. Secondary outcomes included mood state, adherence, satiety levels, and weight loss. The aim of this study was to determine factors affecting women aged 40 – 55 years in modifying dietary behaviours and maintaining those behaviours while undertaking a LCHF way of eating. The hypothesis underpinning this study was that LCHF - through its macronutrient profile - has the potential to enhance an individual’s adherence to the behavioural lifestyle modifications required to reduce weight and improve metabolic health outcomes. Furthermore, adherence to dietary modifications could be maximised by the combination of appropriate health behaviour theories (HBT), the web-based nature of the study, and the satiating effect of LCHF food options. Overall, mean percentage weight loss from baseline to study completion was 5.6%. Weight loss was greatest in participants with the highest average adherence levels across the study period. The overall average adherence level of 83.5% was a positive outcome and reflected focus group results around factors that impacted adherence. These key findings included support by family members, in particular spouses, who appeared to act as both a barrier and motivator to adherence, satiety, or feeling of fullness, and being prepared, in particular having acceptable LCHF options readily available. Findings from this study suggest that a LCHF way of eating was both acceptable and feasible for study participants. Furthermore this way of eating elicited weight loss and allowed adherence to the dietary intervention, possibly through the mechanism of improved satiety. While findings suggest that LCHF may be a promising weight loss approach for this population, further research is required for this target group.

    View record details
  • This Was Now Here! Filmic exploration of hidden meaning imbued in the architectural model

    McCormick, Jason Rodney James

    Masters thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    This visual arts research project utilises filmic explorations of scale models to investigate the nature of Colonial Nelson Civic buildings as architectural spaces of implicit and hidden power, with the notion that governance is in the hands of corporations and not elected councils governments. It questions if democracy is an illusion; an ideology rather than a reality. It explores hidden meanings within this architecture; the inherent metaphysical connotations imbued not only in the architecture, but also in the model and the image. The project investigates the merging of boundaries between what is real and unreal, creating an illusionary space that aims to establish the uncanny through the transformation of the familiar to the unfamiliar. This filmic exploration acknowledges the paradoxical nature of the project; that while investigating and critiquing manipulation, it is at the same time attempting to draw the viewer into a manipulated experience.

    View record details
  • Turning points in therapy with Bulimia Nervosa clients: a qualitative analysis of the therapist's perceptions

    Mysliwiec, Nadia

    Masters thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    This research explored therapeutic turning points as experienced by therapists working with clients diagnosed with Bulimia Nervosa. A growing body of research reveals that turning points make important contributions to change, transformation and recovery during therapy (King et al. 2003). This research aims to develop a deeper understanding of how turning points and mindfulness-based techniques effect the treatment of this complex eating disorder. While there is existing research on the turning points that occur during therapy with eating disorder clients there is a paucity of research on the turning points that occur specifically with clients diagnosed with Bulimia Nervosa. Studies have documented various changes in clients during and after treatment for bulimia, however, most of this research stems from quantitative data and little from the actual experiences of clients and their therapists. Therefore, this study conducted in-depth interviews with five experienced psychologists and psychotherapists working in this field. Using Braun and Clarke’s (2006) six-step guide to thematic analysis, five major themes emerged from the therapists’ discourses. Firstly, therapists believed that it was essential for their clients to build social relationships with others, and that one of the first turning points was the initial trust and collaboration between client and therapist. Secondly, therapists said that an important turning point in therapy was when clients felt that they wanted to change. This need was often driven by a client’s shame and guilt related to their bulimia and the detrimental consequences of their illness. Thirdly, it was crucial for clients to experience a feeling of success. An initial turning point, as experienced by the therapists, was when a client could resist the urge to binge and purge. This allowed the client to feel empowered and hopeful, in turn increasing their motivation and allowing space for the clients to realise that their lives could be different. Fourthly, therapists strongly believed that “negative” turning points were just as useful as positive ones. Lastly, therapists supported the use of mindfulness and acknowledged the positive influence it had on turning points. A key turning point was when clients could let go of their rigid thinking and be with their emotions. This often lead to “ah-ha” moments, ultimately facilitating the realisation that bulimia is a choice they could have control over. This study has added to the growing field examining the turning points that occur in therapy with clients diagnosed with Bulimia Nervosa and has yielded much needed information for practice and future research.

    View record details
  • Children whose parents foster other children: the experiences of growing up with a foster sibling

    Nel, Luzaan

    Masters thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    Within today’s society, many different forms of “alternative parenting” exist, including single parent homes, step-parent homes, grandparent headed households, adoption, and foster-care, all of which are family systems that differ to the traditional nuclear family form. In several of these different family forms there is the likelihood that children who are not genetically related are being raised together as siblings. The current study sought to investigate the experiences of the resident child growing up with a foster sibling. The findings from this study will add to the very limited literature on growing up with a foster sibling in New Zealand and may influence future policy. Five semi-structured interviews were conducted. The study explored whether the lived experiences of adolescent resident children is congruent with the research literature within the field of foster care; and sought to expand the knowledge of this population. There were nine topical areas investigated: parents’ motivations to foster from the resident children’s perspectives, preparation for fostering, overall experiences of having a foster sibling, the positives of fostering, the challenges of fostering, what resident children felt they gained from fostering, advice to parents and other resident children, resident children fostering when they are adults and the impact of permanence of the foster sibling relationship. A descriptive qualitative analysis was used to investigate the experiences of resident children, and concluded that in contrast to the majority of the literature, resident children overall had positive experiences of growing up with a foster sibling. Implications for families, limitations and suggestions for future research are discussed.

    View record details