417 results for Doctoral, 2017

  • Policy, Operations and Outcomes in the New Zealand Employment Jurisdiction 1990-2008

    Robson, Susan (2017)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Otago

    This analysis of the policy for, and the operations of, the dispute resolution institutions established successively by the Employment Contracts Act 1991 and the Employment Relations Act 2000, examined the relationship between dispute resolution system design and success in meeting government employment policy objectives. The grounded theory research method was utilised to first gather archived material from the Department of Labour (now the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment) about policy for, and the operations of, the institutions of each period under review. This material was organised for each period under review by commencing with a narrative of the policy that established the institutions, and following with a description of the operations of those institutions, policy changes, and the outcomes (in terms of policy objectives) that resulted. Each institution created by statute is described separately. From these narratives common themes emerged as subjects of further analysis and this formed a concluding part of each operational chapter. The final chapter draws from this theme analysis. The dominant themes concerned the transition from collectivised to individualised approaches to dispute resolution, the arrival of lawyers to a jurisdiction that had historically excluded or restricted them, the speed with which individual disputes (personal grievances) dominated the work of the institutions, and the emergence of two distinct and different advocacy and resolution cultures: a collectivist culture of union and employer association advocates and mediators; and an individualist culture of lawyers, employment advocates and adjudicators. The individualist culture imposed the norms, practices, costs and outcomes of the civil courts on the employment institutions, notwithstanding specific policy prescription (in both statutes) against that form of resolution. This study concludes that the relationship of advocacy culture to institutional structure is key to predicting effects on policy objectives. It is furthermore possible that success in meeting those objectives may be more dependent on advocacy culture than institutional structure.

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  • Synthesis of shape-controlled magnetic nanoparticles and a novel route for their surface modification in suspension for biomedical applications

    Jaskolska, Dagmara Ewa (2017)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Otago

    Superparamagnetic nanoparticles (SNPs) have many potential biomedical applications, for instance as MRI contrast agents, which was of specific interest in this work. Various techniques were used to synthesise spherical and non-spherical SNPs of a desired size in suspension. The size, shape and composition of the resulting NPs were characterised by DLS, TEM, TGA, ICP-MS, elemental analysis and IR spectroscopy. Magnetic properties of the NPs in solid form were characterised by VSM and SQUID, and further discussed within the context of their size, shape, crystallinity and the synthetic methods used to produce the NPs. Langevin function fitting to M-H curves yielded the magnetic moment of the particles (μ) and a magnetic domain size (d). Magnetic resonance properties of the NPs in suspension were characterised through NMRD measurements, and further analysed according to a well-accepted superparamagnetic theory. Finally, the magnetometry results were compared with those obtained from NMRD analysis. Competitive stabiliser desorption (CSD)-based cluster growth in the presence of silica was exploited in this thesis. A series of experiments were performed in order to gain an understanding of the mechanism of this process. Parameters which govern the CSD-based growth of clusters were identified. Next, a novel CSD-ligand exchange method performed on the surface of iron oxide nanoparticle (IONP) clusters and discrete particles in suspension was successfully developed. Various secondary ligands were trialled which rendered the NPs dispersible in more polar solvents. A new molecule, 2-azido-2-methyl-propionic acid 2-phoshonooxy-hexyl ester (C6), was synthesised and used in the CSD-ligand exchange process. ATR-IR spectroscopy was appointed as an effective method for the pre-selection of a potential secondary ligand which could be utilised during the CSD-ligand exchange procedure. Various experimental vessels were developed in order to scale up the CSD-cluster growth and ligand exchange experiments, and to address some technical issues that arose while performing the experiments on a small scale. The results of the CSD-cluster growth and ligand exchange procedures performed in these vessels were presented and discussed. Moreover, a glass vessel with a Teflon holder for TLC plates was successfully developed and used for both CSD-cluster growth and ligand exchange procedures. This approached not only enabled the scale-up of the experiments, but also allowed an advantageous change from silica gel to silica gel-covered TLC plates.

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  • Low-intensity land use in grassland catchments: Effects on a large, oligotrophic lake

    Weaver, Amy Katherine (2017)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Otago

    In southern New Zealand, many upland streams drain into large oligotrophic lakes surrounded by native grassland, low-intensity farming, and small urban centers. Little work has been undertaken to determine the impact low-intensity development has on nutrient dynamics and microbial activity in these large lake systems. Lake Wanaka, Central Otago, was chosen as a study site since the recent appearance of nuisance organic aggregates and changes in phytoplankton community structure suggest the lake is not in a steady state. Research undertaken for this project included intensive sampling of tributaries to the lake during different seasons and hydrological conditions, following the path of two tributaries out into the lake, and laboratory-based experiments. In the Wanaka catchment, pasture cover correlated positively with stream dissolved organic carbon (DOC), total nitrogen (TN) and nitrate-nitrogen (NO3-N) concentrations. Nitrogen concentrations were not influenced by weather-related variables, but temperature and soil moisture mitigated the influence of pasture cover on surface water DOC concentration under very dry or wet conditions. Neither land use nor weather-related conditions correlated with total phosphorus (TP) or dissolved phosphorus (DRP) concentrations in streams, possibly reflecting good P-binding in soils, low-intensity agriculture in the catchment and/or lack of sampling during high flow events. Amending lake water with stream water in the laboratory did not influence the production of sticky polysaccharides (i.e. transparent exopolymer particles (TEP)), but enriching treatments with high concentrations of N and P increased TEP 1.7 to 9.3 times over unamended treatments. Phytoplankton cell numbers, diatom abundance, and chl a also increased in response to nutrient-enrichment, and organic aggregates were visible in nutrient-enriched treatments within 6 days. In the field, the intermixing depth of a main river inflow varied under stratified and un-stratified conditions, affecting where catchment-derived material was delivered in the Lake. Nutrient and DOC concentrations in the Matukituki River were within range of the Lake, and the river plume was capable of stimulating phytoplankton growth in nearshore waters. Despite similar bulk DOC concentrations, dissolved organic matter (DOM) character and lability differed between the River and the Lake. DOM from deep-sourced lake water contained more aromatic, refractory structures than shallower lake water or river water. The river had almost double the number of organic sulphur compounds than the lake, including potential sulfonates. The source of the S is unknown, but may be geologic in origin or reflect agricultural activity in the River catchment. In the laboratory, riverine bacterial communities could break down a diverse array of organic substances regardless of season, suggesting a consistent labile supply of DOM. In contrast, organic substrate use patterns in the lake were seasonal, and varied by depth. Lake water amended with Matukituki River water stimulated bacterial respiration and uptake of DOC and P, but did not affect bacterial productivity, which may reflect limitations of the experimental design. My results indicate low intensity land use in grassland catchments affects nutrient flux and microbial processes in Lake Wanaka. These data provide a foundation for future research on land development and microbial dynamics in similar large, oligotrophic lake systems.

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  • The experience of cancer treatment with curative intent: A mixed-methods exploration with patients and oncology healthcare professionals

    Aldaz Barba, Bruno Eduardo (2017)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Otago

    It is estimated that 35% of patients receiving oncology treatment may be affected by psychological distress, making a compelling case for researchers to further investigate how psychosocial supportive services or interventions could best help patients reduce distress and enhance well-being during oncology treatment. The aim of this thesis was to explore patients' experiences and their psychosocial needs during the active phase of oncology treatment with curative intent. The empirical research undertaken in this thesis consisted of Studies 1 and 2 (qualitative phase) followed by Study 3 (quantitative phase). A mixed-methods approach allowed the gathering and integration of complementary qualitative and quantitative findings underpinned by a pragmatic epistemology and psychological theories of uncertainty, stress and coping. The aim of Study 1 was to gather in-depth insights into the experiences of patients with a range of primary sites of cancer. Ten patients receiving oncology treatment with curative intent participated in individual semi-structured interviews. Six themes were identified using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis: (i) diminished well-being; (ii) role changes in intimate relationships; (iii) heightened awareness of limited time; (iv) a new order of priorities; (v) taking things as they come and; (vi) development of trust in healthcare professionals (HPs). Study 2 involved a multi-disciplinary sample of nine HPs who also participated in individual semi-structured interviews. Six themes were identified using Thematic Analysis: (i) treating patients as people; (ii) facing death brings new meanings to life; (iii) social support as a buffer to distress; (iv) barriers to psychosocial supportive services; (v) acceptance, denial and endurance of difficulties and; (vi) compatibility of modern and alternative medicine. HPs endorsed a patient-centred approach that enables the effective identification and provision of services to meet the needs of patients with cancer. The quantitative phase of this thesis was developed following integration of the findings of the two studies within the qualitative phase. The aim of Study 3 was to investigate daily distress, well-being, illness uncertainty, and experiential avoidance of illness uncertainty across a week of active oncology treatment with curative intent. Thirty-one patients with heterogeneous primary sites of cancer produced a total of 213 days' worth of data. Analyses were conducted at both the between- and within-person levels. On the days participants reported higher levels of experiential avoidance of illness uncertainty, they also reported corresponding increases in their levels of distress. Moreover, experiential avoidance of illness uncertainty mediated the relationship between average daily distress and well-being across a week of oncology treatment. Taken together, this thesis supports previous qualitative and quantitative studies and offers novel contributions to the psycho-oncology literature by exploring patients' relevant psychosocial experiences during oncology treatment complemented by the perspectives of oncology HPs. A novel contribution of this thesis to the literature consisted in its within-person idiographic analysis, as well as detecting experiential avoidance as an unhelpful emotional regulatory strategy in coping with illness uncertainty. The findings of this thesis may have practical application to psychosocial supportive services and future interventions, particularly by helping patients overcome experiential avoidance and encouraging acceptance of illness and treatment uncertainty as two helpful ways of coping during oncology treatment with curative intent, which may be beneficial in reducing distress and enhancing well-being.

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  • The reactions of superoxide with tyrosyl radicals on proteins

    Das, Andrew Bejoy (2017)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Otago

    Superoxide is continuously removed from cells by superoxide dismutase (SOD). Genetic knockout studies have shown that SOD is crucial for survival, suggesting that higher levels of superoxide are damaging. Tyrosyl radicals are a likely target because they react rapidly with superoxide, either by reduction to form tyrosine (repair), or by oxidative addition to form reactive hydroperoxides. Because tyrosyl radicals are formed on proteins under pathological and physiological conditions, taking a closer at look these reactions will shed light on the role of superoxide and SOD in aerobic organisms. The purpose of this thesis was to investigate the reaction between superoxide and protein tyrosyl radicals generated by different mechanisms. The reaction of hydrogen peroxide with sperm whale myoglobin is a useful model because tyrosyl radicals are produced, facilitating myoglobin dimer formation. When myoglobin was treated with hydrogen peroxide and superoxide, dimer formation was greatly decreased. SOD restored dimer formation in a dose dependent manner. Tryptic digestion of products, analysed by mass spectrometry, revealed evidence for repair and addition, with addition occurring specifically on Tyr151. Overall, the ratio of repair to addition was approximately 10:1. These results show that superoxide is capable of reacting with tyrosyl radicals formed on proteins, with tyrosine hydroperoxide and tyrosine hydroxide as potential products. To detect superoxide addition products in biological samples, other members of my host lab began antibody development. Attempts to produce sufficient quantities of tyrosine hydroxide as an antigen led to the discovery that glutathione conjugates readily to this product. My initial attempts to detect the glutathione adduct on oxidised myoglobin via mass spectrometry and immunoblotting revealed that the adduct was reversible when excess glutathione was removed. After treatment with sodium borohydride the glutathione adduct was detected in tryptic digest samples as well as via anti-GSH immunoblotting. These results suggest that any tyrosine hydroxide arising in vivo should be conjugated to thiols, with implications for protein aggregation and cell signalling. During oxidative stress, the transfer of radicals from free tyrosine to proteins can occur. Using insulin aspart as a model protein, free tyrosine transferred radical equivalents to the protein when oxidation was initiated by a peroxidase. In the absence of superoxide, a number of dityrosine products formed as measured by mass spectrometry. Superoxide prevented the formation of these dityrosine products, and addition products were detected, both on the whole protein as well as in tryptic digests. Superoxide addition was localised to Tyr14. These results suggest that tyrosine hydroperoxide formation on proteins may occur under conditions of oxidative stress that involve peroxidases and free tyrosine. Ribonucleotide reductase (RNR) catalyses the rate-limiting step of DNA synthesis, with catalysis requiring radical transfer along a pathway of tyrosines. Superoxide has been shown to remove the radical signal in vitro, and increase the mass of the whole protein corresponding to superoxide addition. Therefore, RNR activity was measured in sodΔ strains of S. cerevisiae. RNR activity in cell lysate from both sod2Δ and sod1Δ cells was decreased compared to wt. When superoxide production was increased with the paraquat treatment, sod1Δ cells were the most sensitive with respect to RNR activity loss and decreased growth. These results suggest that SOD is important for maintaining RNR activity. In summary, the findings in this thesis support the hypothesis that the reactions of superoxide with protein tyrosyl radicals could contribute to superoxide toxicity. They also show that SOD has the potential to mitigate this damage.

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  • Regulating the Tobacco Retail Environment in New Zealand

    Robertson, Lindsay (2017)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Otago

    Background Tobacco use is a leading risk factor for preventable mortality and causes around 5,000 deaths in New Zealand (NZ) each year. In 2011, the Government committed to making NZ smokefree by 2025, through reducing smoking prevalence and tobacco availability to minimal levels. However, the retail environment for tobacco remains relatively unregulated, with no restrictions on where tobacco can be sold, or requirements for tobacco retailers to be licensed. This thesis examines the potential for regulating the tobacco retail environment to reduce smoking prevalence and achieve NZ’s 2025 goal. Methods This research comprises five distinct projects. The first is a narrative literature review on tobacco retailing and smoking, and potential policy options to regulate the tobacco retail environment. The second project is a systematic review and meta-analysis examining the association between point-of-sale tobacco marketing and smoking. The third and fourth projects involve qualitative research with tobacco control sector key informants and tobacco retailers, in which stakeholders’ views of the tobacco retail environment and regulatory options are examined. The final project is a survey with a complex design to investigate smokers’ perceptions of the relative effectiveness of five policy options to reduce tobacco availability. Results The available evidence suggests that greater access to tobacco retail outlets and exposure to tobacco retail products at the point-of-sale are significant risk factors for youth smoking initiation, and for relapse after a quit attempt among adults. Key informants within the tobacco control sector believe that licensing of tobacco retailers is an important intermediate step in achieving the 2025 goal, and envisage tobacco being available only at a small number of specialised outlets in the long-term. Retailers’ perceptions of potential tobacco retail policies were mixed; some were supportive of measures to reduce tobacco availability and the 2025 goal, though several expressed ambivalence towards licensing policies. Retailers tended to be more supportive of tobacco retail policies where the rationale was to protect children from tobacco-related harm, and where this intention was explicit. Among NZ smokers, of the five policy options to reduce tobacco availability that were tested, two were perceived as most effective: i) tobacco only sold at half the existing liquor stores, and ii) tobacco only sold at pharmacies. Each of these policies was rated more likely to prevent youth smoking initiation, and at least as likely to help smokers to quit, relative to a benchmark policy of continued tobacco taxation. Conclusions In order for the Government to achieve its own goal of reducing tobacco availability to minimal levels by 2025, regulation of the tobacco retail environment is needed. The recent implementation of legislation banning point-of-sale tobacco displays demonstrates that policy interventions in this environment are feasible. The tobacco control sector strongly supports licensing of tobacco retailers and measures to reduce tobacco availability. Retailers are unlikely to strongly oppose these policies, particularly if the public health rationale is clear. Based on smokers’ perceptions, policies that substantially reduce tobacco availability and remove it from smokers’ usual places of purchase could be at least as effective as tax increases, in terms of reducing smoking initiation and supporting cessation.

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  • When the numbers do not add up: Health research and health disparities in Aotearoa New Zealand

    Tumilty, Emma (2017)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Otago

    Decisions about health policy and services are, in part, informed by research. In this thesis, I argue health research and the systems which generate and then use it, fail to consider marginalised populations. As a consequence, decision-makers in service and policy settings lack appropriate information to address health inequity and in fact contribute to it through their regard for these marginalised populations. To support this argument, I draw on a range of empirical work. I review public records for evidence of marginalised groups’ inclusion in research and the activities that use research to decide policy or service provision. I then examine the role of ethics committees in reviewing justice and the systems and structures that researchers who work with marginalised populations navigate. Using this information, I then look at reasons and potential solutions to this injustice. I scrutinised public records for representation of three case populations considered marginalised in Aotearoa New Zealand (NZ) in evidence-generating activities and evidence-using activities to establish a lack of inclusion. Based on the data available, representation was found to be lacking. In NZ, approved ethics committees have the task of ethically assessing health research that has the potential to create evidence. The National Ethical Advisory Committee (NEAC) of NZ sets out what justice entails in the review and practice of research. I surveyed committee members to understand their views on justice requirements and their review of them. The survey response rate was too low to be representative but provided starting points for discussion. Using an institutional ethnographic method, I analysed interviews with senior researchers (informants) who work with marginalised populations alongside institutional texts to understand informants work and how it sits within the larger system of health research. I theorise that the marketisation of the university and health system within a neoliberal knowledge economy, along with an emphasis on the biomedical, direct research practices in ways counter-intuitive and counter-productive to those working with marginalised groups. Not only that but these research systems create what Miranda Fricker calls an ‘epistemic injustice’ by their privileging of certain kinds of research work over others. Moving from the empirical, the thread of epistemic injustice is then taken up and elaborated. Epistemologies in health research– their foundations, the information they provide, and their limitations are laid out. I argue that the privileging of one kind of knowing is in part based on our established theory of justice narrowing our perspective (especially within a neoliberal environment). Then, I put forward the claim that a shift in justice theory to a Capabilities Approach (CA) that reframes the questions that we need to address and therefore the methods needed to address them, might be more effective in acknowledging health inequity and creating a fairer health research environment. Sen’s CA takes as its foundation the equalising of people’s capabilities to achieve their preferred functionings, recognising the diversity of these functionings and does this on the basis of public discourse and decision-making. This approach to justice in health research requires a more inclusive and patient-centered framework than the current model which in practice is often disease-centric and generalising. I argue a CA framework is likely to not only change the informational environment required to make decisions but liable to improve inequity because it more explicitly asks us to notice it.

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  • The languages of relevant logic: a model-theoretic perspective

    Badia Hernandez, Guillermo (2017)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Otago

    A traditional aspect of model theory has been the interplay between formal languages and mathematical structures (hence Chang and Keisler's famous equation "model theory = universal algebra + logic"). This dissertation is concerned, in particular, with the relationship between the languages of relevant logic and Routley-Meyer models. One fundamental question is treated: what is the expressive power of relevant languages in the Routley-Meyer framework? In the case of finitary relevant propositional languages, two answers are provided. The first is that finitary propositional relevant languages are the fragments of first order logic preserved under relevant directed bisimulations. The second is that, when we restrict our attention to what can be labelled as De Morgan models, we can obtain an analogue of Lindström's theorem for finitary propositional relevant languages. Furthermore, it is shown that a preservation theorem characterizing the expressive power of infinitary relevant languages in classical infinitary languages follows as a consequence of an interpolation theorem for classical infinitary logic. In addition, algebraic characterizations of the classes of Routley-Meyer models axiomatizable in relevant propositional languages, incompactness of infinitary relevant propositional languages and the expressive power of quantificational relevant languages are discussed. A final chapter is devoted to the study of relevant languages as second order frame languages. In particular we devote our attention to the problem of which properties expressible by relevant languages are elementary and which are not. An algebraic characterization of such elementary properties together with some examples of non first order properties axiomatizable in relevant logic are given. Finally, a Sahlqvist-van Benthem algorithm showing that relevant formulas with a certain syntactic form express calculable first order properties at the level of frames is established.

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  • Consumer Culture in China: Consumption Face

    Xia, Zhenhua (Raymond) (2017)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Otago

    “Face” in China is one of the country’s most traditional social and cultural factors. Generally, “Face” in Chinese social life represents the image of a person’s social self (through the thesis I will use Face with a capitalised F to represent this specific concept). Many studies have indicated that in China Face influences consumption, and specifically, relates it to conspicuous consumption (Bao, Zhou, & Su, 2003; J. J. Li & Su, 2007; Monkhouse, Bradley R, & Stephan, 2012; N. Wong, Y. & Ahuvia, 1998). However, Chinese Face is a very general concept. This thesis specifically classifies which type of Chinese Face particularly influences consumption among other types: moral Face (Lien), social Face (Mien-tzu), renqing Face and interaction Face. These are types of Face that are referred to in existing studies and research. I name the type of Face that relates to consumption, “Consumption Face”. The aim of my study is to clarify the influence and role of Consumption Face on Chinese consumption patterns, the mechanism by which these patterns take place, and also consider how they will develop in future. I review the geopolitical nature of China as well as Chinese culture from ideology to values and norms, and in particular, the socio-political changes that occurred after the establishment of the Peoples Republic of China as background regarding the formation of Face and the place of consumption in current Chinese life. The recent rapid development of consumption in China and social needs in modern China increase the importance of identifying and conceptualising Consumption Face. This is from the basis that Chinese tend to strive for self-actualisation by using consumption to signal their social status and wealth. To do this on the basis of a broad literature review, this thesis aims to define Consumption Face and to develop a three-dimensional construct of it as a foundation for further analysis. Following the trend of globalisation and commercialisation after the late-1970s when China opened its economy, Chinese people were considered, or hypothesised by Western scholars and others, to be more Westernised. Young Chinese especially are now considered to be more individualistic, and thus less influenced by Face than was the situation in the former traditional collectivistic Chinese society. To study the influence of Consumption Face on consumption now and in the future, I conducted a series of studies to answer two questions: 1. To what extent does Consumption Face influence purchase decisions between different categories of products and brands? 2. To what extent does the influence of Consumption Face on purchase decisions differ between young consumers and preceding generations? To do this, I developed a Consumption Face Influence (CFI) measurement. I used this measurement construct to test different age cohorts for their consumption behaviour in regard to the purchase of luxuries and necessities. This test crossed the contexts of public consumption and private consumption. The test was also applied to measure CFI across the contexts of product categories and brands. The findings do not support the hypothesis that young Chinese consumers are less influenced by Consumption Face than their parents and older generations. CFI was even stronger for young Chinese than for their preceding generation for luxury consumption. The results also reveal that the dominant motivation for Chinese conspicuous consumption is not conspicuousness, but instead conformity. Simply using theories formulated by Western scholars to understand Chinese consumer behaviour may be misleading. Consequently, from a practical perspective, trading with China, doing business with Chinese, and undertaking marketing targeted at China, could and should engage and apply knowledge of Chinese consumption behaviour and understand behaviour related to Face. This thesis contributes to marketing literature by identifying and conceptualising a new type of social influence toward consumption patterns which is becoming vital in China but which tends to be overlooked due to its implicit attribute. My research verifies that Consumption Face exists and profoundly influences the purchasing behaviour of young modern Chinese. It also contributes to the Face research field by classifying different types of Face for future relevant research to help specify their research scope, and by adding one more conceptualisation to the theory: Consumption Face. The conceptualisation of Consumption Face provides a new tool to investigate and analyse Chinese marketing phenomena, both as applied by them and applied to them, within substantial and sound interpretive dimensions. The tool could complement relevant research that applies Western developed concepts. This thesis suggests a developed measurement set of CFI that can help further research in the future; not only the research of Chinese in China, but also research applying to Chinese immigrants in overseas countries as well as to cross-cultural studies applied to other ethnicities.

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  • Cultural Distance and Ethnic Migrant Entrepreneurship: A Qualitative Comparative Inquiry of Challenges, Resources and Opportunity Exploitation in Malaysia

    Abd Hamid, Hamizah (2017)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Otago

    The core puzzle in entrepreneurship studies is entrepreneurial opportunities (Suddaby, Bruton, & Si, 2015). In enhancing the understanding of entrepreneurial opportunities, this research explores how cultural similarities and differences between countries influence entrepreneurial activities in a selected host country. This study focuses on the experiences of ethnic migrant entrepreneurs (EMEs) from three migrant sending countries: Indonesia, Pakistan and South Korea (Korea hereafter), in a single host country, Malaysia. Cultural distance (CD) (Kogut & Singh, 1988) calculated using Hofstede’s (2015) indices is employed as a construct to illustrate cultural similarities and differences of country pairings, in which Indonesia as a country is most culturally similar to Malaysia, followed by Pakistan and Korea. The institutional approach (North, 1990; Scott, 2014) frames this study, particularly through North’s (1990, 2005) classification of formal and informal institutions, combined with Scott’s (1995, 2014) conceptualisation of regulative, normative and cognitive institutional pillars. The Forms of Capital model (Bourdieu, 1983; Nee & Sanders, 2001; Vershinina, Barrett, & Meyer, 2011) and the concept of entrepreneurial opportunities (Eckhardt & Shane, 2003; Shane, 2000, 2003; Shane & Venkataraman, 2000) provide complementing theoretical and conceptual basis for this research. Views from the field of ethnic migrant entrepreneurship are incorporated to deepen the contextualised understanding of this study. The rich and in-depth findings of the research are a result of adopting a qualitative approach employing multiple case studies (Eisenhardt, 1989; Yin, 2014), enabling a real-life investigation of the context based on detailed narratives (Flyvbjerg, 2006). The three migrant-sending countries are represented as three case studies for this research. This study relied on primary and secondary sources of data. Primary data were obtained from interviews with 32 EMEs in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Additionally, eight supplementary interviews were held with home country trade leaders in the host country, embassy representatives, community leaders and a trade representative from the host country’s official trade agency arm of the government. Secondary data sources, such as trade reports, business directories, community-based magazines and newspapers and websites, were used throughout the research for verification of interviewees’ statements where appropriate. The results of this study indicated that cultural similarities influence ethnic migrant entrepreneurship activities within three aspects: the institutional environment of the host country, sources of key business support and the exploitation of entrepreneurial opportunities. This study produced several propositions which can enrich the discussion on entrepreneurship in international settings. This research offers (a) a link in connecting the institutional-individual gap in discussing entrepreneurship through an institutional lens and (b) a more balanced view of culture in researching international business. As a growing field in international business, researchers are recommended to study underexplored countries, such as Malaysia, in assisting them in examining the selected entrepreneurship phenomenon (Terjesen, Hessels, & Li, 2016). Practice-wise, international entrepreneurs or entrepreneurs across borders will find this study beneficial for future undertakings of international ventures and this research will be useful for policymakers in tailoring trade-related policies in relation to the potential contributions of migration.

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  • Mountain Bike Experience and Affect

    Hagen, Scarlett (2017)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Otago

    This research explores mountain bike experiences, with an emphasis on the affective ride sensations that are felt when descending. The concept of affect negotiates the relationships between social history, the mountain bike subculture and riding practice. These contexts intertwine to enable the realisation of heightened and deep affective experiences. Utilising the voices of dedicated recreational mountain bikers, this thesis describes the functional exchanges in the mountain bike subculture. The complex social-body relationship is explored using Bourdieusian theories of field, habitus and capital. Such concepts provide a framework for examining the research material, and help connect the interview responses thematically. The mountain bike social history locates these relationships, and values the past in the creation of the narrative. The descriptive accounts from riders illustrate the role that affective sensations play in their involvement. The research follows a qualitative bricolage methodology, where phenomenology is nested within social constructivism. Dual methods were used to ensure the embodied phenomenological accounts were grounded in the social. The qualities of the mountain bike subculture, environment and trail components are encompassed in the complexity of lived affective experiences. Semi-structured interviews were used to gather data from 12 mountain bike riders. Using a postmodern lens, the researcher’s reflexivity is entwined in the research process and acts as a point of reference. The postmodern lens accounts for the fluid and flux nature of action sport, and appreciates the role of self-referentiality in deep conceptualisations of affect. The findings extend theoretical constituents on mountain biking by defining affect inducing terrain and obstacles. Affective terrain is examined, with individual obstacles such as jumps, drops, chutes and fast sections creating distinctive ride moments. The riders describe the affective sensations such as weightlessness, gravity acting in and on the body, and their primal cravings for speed. The results provide information for industry professionals to design and maintain mountain bike tracks that are desired by dedicated riders. Trail managers may use these insights for planning, site selection, terrain, gradient, elevation and the inclusion of specific obstacles. The findings highlight how the strongest ride affects are evoked by the accumulation of affective moments on various technical and challenging obstacles. The results found that affective assemblages are created through interlinking terrain-bike-body associations. The corpus of data provides richly textured descriptions of the sensuous mountain biking body, and extends theoretical strands for this affective action sport. This thesis contributes to theoretical knowledge in the areas of affective theorising, action sport, subcultural studies and mountain biking.

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  • Reservoir computing approaches to EEG-based detection of microsleeps.

    Ayyagari, Sudhanshu (2017)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Canterbury Library

    Long-haul truck drivers, train drivers, and commercial airline pilots routinely experience monotonous and extended driving periods in a sedentary position, which has been associated with drowsiness, microsleeps, and serious accidents. Consequently, the detection and preferably prediction of the microsleeps in subjects working in these high-risk occupations is very important to workplace safety. Therefore, the aim of this project was EEG-based characterization and early detection of microsleeps during a sustained attention task. The overall approach was to identify reliable physiological cues of lapses of sustained attention and microsleeps, to develop a microsleep system which could be used to detect, or better yet, predict the onset of microsleeps in real time and trigger an alert to rouse the user from an impending microsleep. The main motivation of this project was to develop a state-of-the-art lapse detection system by employing novel classifier schemes based on reservoir computing (RC), specifically echo state networks (ESNs) with cascaded-leaky-integrator-neurons and liquid state machines (LSM) to increase current benchmark performances on microsleep detection. This is the first project and study to have implemented and evaluated EEG-based microsleep detection using RC models for the characterization and detection of microsleeps from the underlying EEG. Moreover, the novelty of the ESN-based cascaded-leaky-integrator neuron approach is in its simplicity (as networks with only 8 or less neurons could achieve optimal performance) and its superior microsleep detection performance. In this research, previously collected behavioral EEG data from fifteen healthy male, non-sleep-deprived volunteers performing a 1D-visuomotor tracking task for 1 hour, was used to form classifier models capable of detecting microsleeps with second-scale resolution. The performance of the microsleep detector was measured both in terms of its ability to detect the lapses-of-responsiveness states and microsleep states (in 1-s epochs). The previous lapse detection benchmark performance on this data, used a simple linear discriminant analysis (LDA)-based classifier, fitted with a meta-learner model. This LDA-based system reported the best performance in terms of its mean phi correlation (φ) = 0.39± 0.06, receiver operator characteristics. An epoch length of 2 s and an overlap window of 1 s (50%) between successive epochs were used in the analysis (AUC-ROC) = 0.86 ± 0.03, and precision recall (AUC-PR) = 0.43± 0.09. Models based on EEG power spectra, and power in the traditional bands, were used to detect the changes in the EEG during microsleeps. Normalized EEG epochs with z-scores > 30 were excluded from analysis, resulting in rejection of 8.3% of the epochs. This process was referred to as data pruning. Reduced features from 6 independent feature reduction schemes including, principal components analysis (PCA), kernel PCA (KPCA), probabilistic PCA (PPCA), symmetric neighbourhood embedding (SNE), Nearest neighbour embedding (NNE), and stochastic proximity embedding (SPE) were passed as an input to the classifier models. Classifier models evaluated included the RC-based models including the ESNs with sigmoidal neurons, cascaded ESNs with leaky-integrator neurons and LSMs. The RC-based models were compared to other standard classifier models, such as, support vector machines with polynomial kernel (SVMP), LDA, spiky neural networks (SNN), and k-nearest neighbour (KNN) classifiers. Best microsleep detection was achieved using cascaded ESNs with cascaded-leaky-integrator neurons and 50-60 PCs from PCA of the overall 544 power spectral features. This configuration resulted in φ = 0.51 ± 0.07 (mean ± SE), AUC-ROC = 0.88 ± 0.03, and AUC-PR = 0.44 ± 0.09. LSM-based detectors had a lower performance of φ = 0.42 ± 0.06, AUC-ROC = 0.83 ± 0.03, and AUC-PR = 0.43±0.06, compared to the cascaded-leaky-ESN approach. The PCA-based feature reduction modules showed the highest overall performances of the 6 feature-reduction schemes evaluated. This high performance of PCA-modules was found on all classifier schemes. PPCA-based methods followed the PCA schemes in terms of the best microsleep detection performances. Analysis also showed that creating multiple microsleep detection models (ensemble learning) and combining them to form an overall detector resulted in an improvement in performance over a single classifier model. Microsleep detection was also found to have higher accuracy than the other metrics of flatspots, video microsleeps and definite microsleeps. To study the effect of pruning the data, performances were determined for the classifiers when presented with unpruned data in its entirety for training. Performance was compared with a previous study which used a long short-term memory (LSTM) recurrent neural network (RNN) for which φ = 0.38 ± 0.07, AUC-ROC = 0.84 ± 0.02, and AUC-PR = 0.41 ± 0.08). Similar to the pruned datasets, ESNs with cascaded-leaky-integrator neuron models outperformed all the other classifier schemes and set a new benchmark for EEG-based microsleep detection of φ = 0.44 ± 0.06, AUC-ROC = 0.88 ± 0.04, and AUC-PR = 0.45 ± 0.09. This performance, albeit lower than for the pruned datasets, is deemed the best overall performance for microsleep detection as it was for the full behavioural dataset. In summary, the cascaded-leaky-integrator-ESN approach has provided a new benchmark performance for microsleep detection, which is significantly higher (p = 0.012) than by all previous approaches. Notwithstanding, the performance of these EEG‐based microsleep detection systems is still considered to be modest. Further research is needed to identify additional cues in the EEG leading to devices capable of more accurate detection and prediction of microsleeps.

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  • Hearth and Home: A History of the Rural Kitchen in New Zealand, 1840-1940

    Cooper, Catherine Elizabeth (2017)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Otago

    Taking as its basic assumption the belief that there are vital cultural insights to be found in the details of the daily round, this research examines everyday patterns of life for rural Pākehā and Māori families in New Zealand between 1840 and 1940. It intersects fundamental quotidian routines at a particular point of coalescence, using the kitchen space as a framing device to capture some of the key processes by which rural people produced, cooked, and shared food. The kitchen was the nexus of a web of social relations that stretched across and connected distant places, but it was also a space in which intimate personal relationships could be built and fostered. As such, it is the perfect vantage point from which to examine the overarching structures of the rural economy and rural society while also capturing the diversity of individual experiences. Divided into six thematic chapters, the thesis begins with a reconstruction of the historical kitchen space. Utilising personal manuscripts, housing reports, and photographs, Chapter One integrates material, emotional, and symbolic constructions of the kitchen to consider what it has meant to be “at home” in New Zealand, and how that manifested in the form and function of rural kitchens. The three chapters that follow examine key processes which animated the space, following the logical progression of provisioning, cooking, and eating. Chapter Two reconstructs food gathering systems to demonstrate the physiological and psychological importance of land to rural people, offering stories of adaptability, resourcefulness, and survival within a broader narrative of dispossession and dispute. Chapter Three traces the development of cooking technology from open fire to electric oven, but highlights important economic, cultural, infrastructural, and personal reasons why this progression was not unilinear or universal. Chapter Four considers meals as social rituals, arguing that the sharing of food has been an important mechanism for the formation and maintenance of community relationships in rural New Zealand. Chapter Five analyses the dissemination of knowledge about food and cookery in New Zealand communities, assessing not only what sources of information were available to rural people but also how they incorporated that knowledge into their daily practices. Finally, Chapter Six offers various perspectives on the labour rural women performed within the structures of the home and family, arguing that the kitchen was not necessarily a stultifying place of work as subsequent historical analyses have suggested, and that many women found satisfaction in their domestic tasks. Evincing the central importance of food and foodways in shaping our homes, daily routines, and communities, this thesis offers a searching look in through the window of the historical kitchen, showing individuals at work and at rest, capturing moments of sorrow and joy, and demonstrating the enduring social and cultural significance of the ritual of breaking bread. The rhythms and routines of country life are brought into sharp focus, revealing the important insights that may be reaped by bringing together rurality, race, and gender as intersecting forms of cultural difference: heretofore largely untilled ground in New Zealand history.

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  • Opportunity Identification and Exploitation for Technology Commercialization across Borders

    Nadayama, Naoto (2017)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Otago

    MNEs’ technology commercialization across borders is a challenging task, because it involves high uncertainty in relation to both new technologies and foreign markets. Even if they develop a potential technology, they cannot easily identify where the technology could be a source of competitive advantage in the world. Scholars of technological innovation and also scholars of international business discuss that MNEs need to organize opportunity identification and exploitation for new business development under uncertainty. To contribute to the discussion, this thesis aims to analyze a dynamic process in which an MNE identifies and exploits new business opportunities in foreign markets with their own technologies. Specifically, it focuses on administrative aspects, analyzing organizational process as an organizational mechanism in an MNE. This thesis explores an empirical study through a single case of Valio Limited, a Finnish dairy product manufacturer. Data about technology commercialization in the case company was collected by semi-structured interviews and secondary data. After a description about an empirical context of the case, I described and analyzed organizational processes for technology commercialization with respect to opportunity identification and exploitation. In addition, I analyzed how the case company’s three technologies were commercialized on the basis of the organizational processes. Firstly, this thesis finds out that the case company’s technology commercialization is organized by an organizational process for domestic business, as well as by two kinds of organizational processes for international business: “deliberate approach” and “serendipitous approach”. While the case company deliberately identifies new business opportunities in the strategic foreign countries, it also identifies the opportunities by serendipity in foreign countries that are not strategically important. Secondly, this thesis finds out that three technologies of the case company were commercialized in an idiosyncratic internationalization path, even though their commercialization was based on the same organizational processes. It would be because an actual process of opportunity identification and exploitation in MNEs would be influenced by managerial decision making about each opportunity under uncertainty, with various factors as well as managerial cognition. Thirdly, this thesis finds out that the decision making is influenced by managers’ evolutionary learning of opportunity, from the MNE’s existing commercialization of the technology in home/foreign countries. Furthermore, it is also influenced by co-evolutionary learning of the opportunity with external players. Finally and most essentially, on the basis of these findings, this thesis is concluded with a proposition of a framework about MNEs’ internationalization with the utilization of strategic resources. In this framework, MNEs’ internationalization is analyzed as a dynamic process of opportunity identification and exploitation under uncertainty.

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  • Kripke’s Wittgenstein’s Sceptical Solution and Donald Davidson’s Philosophy of Language

    Hossein Khani, Ali (2017)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Otago

    This thesis is an attempt to investigate the relation between the views of Wittgenstein as presented by Kripke (Kripke’s Wittgenstein) and Donald Davidson on meaning and linguistic understanding. Kripke’s Wittgenstein, via his sceptical argument, argues that there is no fact about which rule a speaker is following in using a linguistic expression. Now, if one urges that meaning something by a word is essentially a matter of following one rule rather than another, the sceptical argument leads to the radical sceptical conclusion that there is no such thing as meaning anything by any word. According to the solution Kripke’s Wittgenstein proposes, we must instead concentrate on the ordinary practice of meaning-attribution, that is, on the conditions under which we can justifiably ascribe meaning to each other and the utility such a practice has in our life. Davidson has also argued that following rules is neither necessary nor sufficient for explaining success in the practice of meaning something by an utterance. According to his alternative view of meaning, a speaker’s success in this practice is fundamentally a matter of his utterance being successfully interpreted by an interpreter in the way the speaker intended. On the basis of these remarks, Davidson raises objections to Kripke’s Wittgenstein’s sceptical argument and solution. In this thesis, I will argue that Davidson has failed to fully grasp the essentially sceptical nature of the argument and solution proposed by Kripke’s Wittgenstein. I will argue that as a result of this Davidson’s objections and his alternative solution to Kripke’s Wittgenstein’s sceptical argument are mistaken. These criticisms are pursued via an investigation of Davidson’s problematic reading of Quine’s sceptical arguments for the thesis of the indeterminacy of translation. Having criticized Davidson’s actual response to Kripke’s Wittgenstein, I will claim that Davidson’s best option for resisting the sceptical problem is to adopt a form of non-reductionism about meaning. Claudine Verheggen’s recent claim that Davidson’s use of the notion of triangulation will help to establish non-reductionism will be argued to be a failure. I will urge that the main obstacle in defending a non-reductionist view is the problem of accounting for the nature of self-knowledge of meaning and understanding. After discussing Davidson’s account of self-knowledge and Crispin Wright’s objection to this account, I will argue that, although Wright’s objection is ultimately unsuccessful, Davidson’s account fails for other reasons. Finally, I tentatively suggest that the resources for an alternative response to the sceptical problem can possibly be extracted from Davidson’s account of intending, which has some features suggestive of a judgement-dependent account of meaning and intention.

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  • Towards the Making of User Friendly Public Space in China: An Investigation of the Use and Spatial Patterns of Newly Developed Small and Medium-Sized Urban Public Squares in Guangzhou and Shenzhen

    Nguyen, Ngoc Minh (2017)

    Doctoral thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    This thesis investigates how new small and medium-sized public squares are designed and used on a daily basis in Guangzhou and Shenzhen, two major cities in the Pearl River Delta, China. Given an extreme lack of open public space in these cities, these newly developed public space are expected to improve the life of millions of Chinese urban citizens; however, many of them are frequently criticised as inconvenient for users. How to improve the performance of these small and medium-sized public squares is therefore a critical issue faced by the city planners and designers. However, to dates, academic studies of public space in China are primarily focused on the architectural expression of the space or the development of the ‘public sphere’ in China. Hence, information about the actual use of small and medium-sized public squares in China is virtually absent. In order to fill this gap in knowledge on how these new public space are designed and used, this thesis examines 13 small and medium-sized public squares that have been (re)developed over the last 15 years in Guangzhou and Shenzhen using primarily the space syntax methodology, including direct (non-participant) observations and space syntax analysis techniques. The thesis focuses on the examination of three aspects: static occupancy and its relation to actual physical settings, transient use of the space and its relation to urban configuration, and the location preferences by Chinese users and the underlying visual logic. The findings from this thesis document a significantly different way of using public squares in China, as compared to their Western counterparts. Specifically, these spaces are used primarily by the elderly and organised activity groups. This collective way of using public space in China in combination with a wide range of cultural specific activities such as “exercising”, “babysitting”, “playing chess/cards” and “group-singing” has resulted in different spatial use patterns. In particular, this thesis has documented a strong preference for visually exposed locations, with much activity occurring at the centre rather than at the edges of public space, which are the most popular locations in public space in the West. Apart from providing valuable insights about the use and design patterns of small and medium-sized public squares, this research also proposes a number of spatial principles that could provide some guidance for designers and policy makers in the making of more user friendly public space in China in the future. Last but not least, findings of this thesis also hope to stimulate further studies of public space in China, especially those using Space Syntax methods.

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  • Through the grapevine: In search of a rhetoric of industry-oriented science communication

    Szymanski, Erika Amethyst (2017)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Otago

    Rhetorical features of industry-oriented science communication texts structure meetings between science and industry communities and, consequently, structure research industry relationships. Industry-oriented science communication, however, remains dominated by metaphors of technology transfer and research utilization which continue to enact deficit model paradigms by drawing on essentially positivist constructions of scientific knowledge. In so doing, these models limit the capacity for science communication texts to make research relevant to industry practice and to facilitate research-industry collaboration as multidirectional knowledge sharing. Better metaphors for more relevant and more collaborative communication can, I argue, be found in material semiotic paradigms which would have science communicators align and overlap the multiply practiced worlds of science and industry instead of transferring acontextual, would-be universal knowledge to deeply emplaced sites of utilization. In interviews with and surveys of winemakers and growers in Washington State and New Zealand, I find that technology transfer paradigms configure wine industry members' interactions with research in ways which systematically eliminate moments in which this public participates in scientific processes. Winemakers and growers generally value and seek out scientific information, but also tend to perceive scientific and industry knowledge as complementary, with industry knowledge having the epistemic authority to judge new scientific findings. Textual analyses of research dissemination in these two settings outline science communication texts which limit valid knowledge to scientific knowledge alone, manifestly ignoring industry knowledge and the context-dependency of knowledge-making practices for industry use. These texts construct research practices as above and distant from the world of winemaker and grower practices rather than making scientific and industry practices adjacent and proximal. Material semiotic paradigms would in contrast have science communicators align and overlap the multiply practiced worlds of science and industry. Instead of transferring acontextual knowledge to sites of utilization, science communication would make it possible for industry readers to locate scientific knowledge practices with respect to their own practices, making science relevant to industry by drawing relationships amongst them. A collaborative rhetoric of industry-oriented science communication would, therefore, communicate scientific research as locatable practice in the context of its generation, recognizing the meaning-making practices of industry audiences and their potential contribution to the iterative process of creating applied scientific claims valid in both scientific and industry spaces.

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  • Challenging Neighbourhood Conceptions: The Stockholm Study

    Filep, Crystal Victoria (2017)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Otago

    Through the following investigation, I examine how the compact neighbourhood type is conceptualised and experienced in Sweden, so as to contribute to wider deliberations about the relevance of a historically-derived form in relation to emergent—and sometimes divergent—notions of contemporary sociality or meaningful coexistence, particularly within metropolitan landscapes. Recently, compact neighbourhood development has been critiqued as problematic because of its association with new urban discourse and, thus, efforts to effect elusive notions of community. Such efforts have been shown to be ineffective at best and to approximate determinism at their worst. Yet recent impulses to re-evaluate agency in relation to larger discourses and structures hint at the potential of neighbourhood form, its designers and inhabitants to transcend such problematisations of new urban discourse and objectivist social orders. In other words, the following study builds on emerging work of more-than-relational human geographers, critical realists in the post-positivist landscape of planning theory, and reception theorists in landscape architecture. Similar to these researchers, I tread a middle-ground approach that values contextualisation or relational influences, but also recognises that built form and individual persons amount to more than the sum of their relationalities. In addition to contextualising the compact neighbourhood type via literature that has addressed its formal precedents and conceptually entangled formal-social relationalities to date, I critically evaluate it as a formal type in relation to which social meanings are continually co- constructed, adapted and transformed through new conceptions and experiences. Defining the neighbourhood as a typological system of material forms with agency and, thus, causal or communicative capacity, I carried out empirical research to reveal new meanings described or embedded in conceptions and accounts of lived experience in relation to the compact neighbourhood type in Stockholm, Sweden, from May through June 2014. From qualitative data collected in Stockholm primarily via interviews, but also through solicited diaries, self-directed photography and observation, I have unveiled themes that—when analysed via the middle-ground approach mentioned above—point toward the simultaneity of separateness and connectedness in how contemporary sociality is entangled with compact neighbourhood form. I argue that various depths of social meaning co-constructed in relation to compact neighbourhood form reveal the type’s situated capacity to mediate or provide temporary buffering between individuals and larger, more complex contexts. In other words, the following investigation reveals potential for the compact neighbourhood to contribute to the meaningful coexistence of persons in Stockholm—and, potentially, in other cities—through its provision of cosy or just right spaces of temporary reprieve amidst more challenging landscapes. In order for such contribution to be meaningful, however, I argue that neighbourhoods—as well as other built forms that might provide shelter or buffering—need to remain porous or penetrable to outside complexity, just as the self ought to remain open to others. Urbanity is on the rise in this century, particularly within metropolitan landscapes where lifestyles, cultures and perspectives are thrown together as individuals pursue various promises of a good life. New conceptions of compact neighbourhood form—and, more broadly, of the neighbourhood typology and other urban development patterns—are needed that take into consideration diversity of lived experience and its variable echoes of meaningful coexistence. Yet such diversity also necessitates understanding or the possibility of common themes and research-based predictions emerging to improve city-making efforts genuinely. Whilst there is a significant and growing body of research and practice in relation to neighbourhood community, there is a dearth of information on individual motivations and the causal capacity of individuals to seek out various—yet possibly also resonating—notions of meaningful coexistence within compact neighbourhoods. Therefore, this thesis contributes to academic and practical knowledge not only through its investigation of social meanings co-constructed in relation to compact neighbourhood form, but also through its conceptualisation of and empirical research into what constitutes meaningful coexistence for contemporary individuals in all their complexity.

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  • Influence of inferential skills on the reading comprehension ability of adult Thai (L1) and English (L2) students.

    Srisang, Pawadee (2017)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Canterbury Library

    The ability to make inferences from linguistic information (spoken and written discourse) is regarded as a significant factor in successful reading success. Although, this relationship has been researched with English first language/monolingual cohorts (see Cain, Oakhill, Barnes, & Bryant, 2001; Oakhill & Cain, 2012; Silva & Cain, 2015), there is a paucity of research on inferential skills in other languages as well as in bilinguals or second language learning contexts. Therefore, the present study focused on investigating inferential skills and reading comprehension in two different languages (Thai and English) within the same group of adult students at a college in Thailand. The primary objectives of this study, as reported in this thesis, were to examine the reciprocal relationships of inferential skills within Thai and English, and to investigate whether inferential skills can predict reading comprehension both within each language and across languages (Thai-L1 and English-L2). The study involved measures of inferential skills, reading comprehension, vocabulary and listening comprehension in Thai and English, following appropriate adaptation, piloting and revision. Raven’s Advanced Progressive Matrices test (short form) was also used to explore non verbal reasoning, and a questionnaire was used to provide background details about the participants and their views on reading comprehension strategies. Data collection was conducted at one campus of a university in Thailand. All ten measures were administered to a group of 220 Thai undergraduate students. The results demonstrated a significant inter-relationship between inferential skills in Thai (L1) and English (L2). Scores on the inferential tasks were also related to reading comprehension within the same language. Furthermore, the findings from hierarchical regression analyses indicated that the addition of inferential skill scores significantly increased the predictability of reading comprehension in the same language, after controlling for within-language vocabulary levels (and listening comprehension in the case of Thai) and non-verbal reasoning. Analyses across languages showed positive correlations between Thai inferential skills and English reading comprehension, and between English inferential skills and Thai reading comprehension. Hierarchical regression analyses indicated that the addition of English inferential skills scores predicted extra variability in Thai reading comprehension, after controlling for English and Thai language related skills and non-verbal reasoning measures, but the addition of Thai inferential skills scores did not influence the level of prediction of English reading comprehension after controlling for the same variables. The reading strategies questionnaire did not reveal a significant relationship with either the Thai or the English reading comprehension scores. However, relationships between self-reported reading comprehension strategies and inferential skills scores were found, though the correlations were relatively small. Overall, the findings are consistent with the ability to make inferences being an important component of successful text comprehension–although there is little evidence of awareness influencing performance among the current participants. The influence of inference making does not seem to be explained by more general language skills (such as vocabulary and listening comprehension), nor by more general (non-verbal) reasoning skills, and it has the potential to occur across languages (from English to Thai in the present study), although within language influences may be larger than between languages. These findings have both theoretical and practical implications, which are discussed in this thesis.

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  • Late Quaternary vegetation and climate history reconstructed from palynology of marine cores off southwestern New Zealand

    Ryan, Matthew Thomas (2017)

    Doctoral thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    Little is known about how mid-latitude Southern Hemisphere terrestrial vegetation responded during glacial terminations and the warmer phases of the Late Quaternary, especially beyond the last glacial cycle where records are commonly fragmentary and poorly-dated. The timing, magnitude and sequence of environmental changes are investigated here for terminations (T) I, II and V and their subsequent warm interglacials of MIS 1, 5e and 11 by direct correlation of terrestrial palynomorphs (pollen and spores) and marine climate indicators in marine piston cores MD06-2990/2991 recovered from the East Tasman Sea, west of South Island, New Zealand. The climate there is strongly influenced by the prevailing mid-latitude westerly wind belt that generates significant amounts of orographic rainfall and the proximity of the ocean which moderates temperature variability. Chronological constraint for the cores is provided by δ¹⁸O stratigraphy, radiocarbon chronology and the identification of two widespread silicic tephra horizons (25.6 ka Kawakawa/Oruanui Tephra (KOT); ~345 ka Rangitawa Tephra (RtT)) sourced from the central North Island. Similar vegetation changes over the last two glacial cycles at MD06-2991 and in the adjacent nearby on land record of vegetation-climate change from Okarito Bog permit transfer of the well resolved Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) chronology to Okarito for the pre radiocarbon dated interval (~139-28 ka). Placing both sequences on a common age scale nonetheless assumes there is minimal lag between pollen production and final deposition on the seafloor. However, the timing of Late Pleistocene palynomorph events and KOT between independently dated marine and terrestrial sedimentary sequences are found in this study to be indistinguishable, which supports the direct transfer of terrestrially derived ages to the marine realm and vice versa. Vegetation change in southwestern New Zealand is of similar structure during T-I and T-II, despite different amplitudes of forcing (i.e., insolation rise, CO₂ concentrations). In a climate amelioration scenario, shrubland-grassland gave rise to dominantly podocarp-broadleaf forest taxa, with accompanying rises in mean annual air temperature (MAAT) estimated from Okarito pollen typically synchronous with nearby ocean temperatures. The T-II amelioration commenced after ~139 ka in response to increasing boreal summer insolation intensity, with prominent ocean-atmosphere warming over the period from ~133-130 ka. In contrast, northern mid-high latitude paleoclimate records display cooling over Heinrich Stadial 11 (~135-130 ka), and are prominently warm from ~130-128 ka, while southwestern New Zealand and the adjacent ocean displays cooling. Such millennial-scale climate asynchrony between the hemispheres is most likely a result of a systematic, but non-linear re-organisation of the ocean-atmosphere circulation system in response to orbital forcing. The subsequent MIS 5e climatic optimum in Westland was between ~128-123 ka, with maximum temperatures reconstructed in the ocean and atmosphere of 2.5°C and 1.5°C higher than present. Similarities revealed between land and sea pollen records in southwestern New Zealand over the last ~160 ka offer confidence for assessing vegetation and climate for older intervals, including T-V/MIS 11, for which no adjacent terrestrial equivalents currently exist. Vegetation change over T-V is similar to T-II and T-I, with southern warming antiphased with northern mid-high latitude cooling. Tall trees and the thermophilous shrub Ascarina lucida define interglacial conditions in the study region between ~428-396 ka. East Tasman Sea surface temperatures rose in two phases; 435-426 ka (MIS 12a-MIS 11e) and 417-407 ka (MIS 11c climatic optimum), reaching at least ~1.5-2°C warmer than present over the latter. Similarly, Ascarina lucida dominance over MIS 11c is akin to that displayed during the early Holocene climatic optimum (11.5-9 ka) in west-central North Island, where MAAT average ~3°C higher today. This contrasts markedly with the dominance of the tall tree conifer Dacrydium cupressinum for the Holocene (MIS 1) and last interglacial (MIS 5e) in southwestern New Zealand. Biogeographic barriers are proposed to have inhibited the migration of species from more northerly latitudes better adapted to warmer climatic conditions over MIS 5e and MIS 11.

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