14,080 results for Masters

  • A two-screen approach to facilitate communication and collaboration in the context of distance education

    Sasa, Hobert (2011)

    Masters thesis
    University of Otago

    For the past decades, many academic institutions avoided, or tried to avoid physical travel in favour of Video Conferencing Systems (VCS). With VCS, the real-time two-way visual and verbal interaction of the traditional classroom could be simulated by technology – creating a virtual classroom whose boundaries are limited only by the extent of the video conferencing network. However, compared with real face-to-face conversation, research suggests that communication through conventional video conferencing tools is an artificial experience. VCS filter out and distort many of the often unconscious signals that are used in face-to-face interaction. These signals, such as body expression, posture, gaze, and eye contact are used to regulate, maintain and progress verbal and social interactions among participants. In addition, VCS generally support the communication aspects of the interactions only, neglecting the collaboration aspect. Collaboration in an educational context is determined by the teaching and learning material used in an interactive way. What is needed is an integration or convergence of the communication and collaboration aspects into one integrated system. The Educator Collaborator (EC) approach, proposed in this thesis, addresses this issue. With the use of questionnaires as instruments of measure, this project intends to explore and compare the degree of students’ perceived interaction and satisfaction in three different VCS settings, in favour of our proposed system.

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  • Always Best Connected (ABC) and Perceived Value: An Analytical Study

    Parameswaran, Vinod (2011)

    Masters thesis
    University of Otago

    The concept of Always Best Connected (ABC) is pivotal to the emerging scenario of 4G networks, which intends to integrate different network technologies in order to exploit mutual advantages and to provide a variety of services to the users, maximizing their satisfaction on the one hand and maximizing the network and service providers' profits on the other hand. The ABC concept allows a person to have access to applications using the devices and network technologies that best suit his or her context, needs or profile at any time. In order to realize this concept, unprecedented technical challenges need to be addressed. This research proposes the idea of an Iterative Integration Model determined by the actual user base, as the most business savvy path towards the ABC network paradigm. In addition, this research also maintains that the key to such integration model is to start with a single, basic common factor that would be of interest to the cross-section of the user base considered, and identifies cost as that factor within the research context. In order to demonstrate that such integration can be both evolutionary and hence natural, and speedy as it can leverage on the status quo, this research tackles one of the key issues of seamless integration: vertical soft-handoff. A solution model integrating two access networks with substantially large user bases, on the most widely used mobile device platform, has been explored. Keeping in view the time and resource constraints, the concept of Application Layer Roaming (ALR) has been made use of to eliminate network-related preoccupations.

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  • Bis(quinolyl)pyridine and Bis(isoquinolyl)pyridine Ligands for Carbon-Rich Molecular Clefts

    Smart, Matthew Craig (2011)

    Masters thesis
    University of Otago

    This thesis describes the synthesis of a 2,6-bis(quinolyl)pyridine ligand that can form a large molecular cleft upon metal coordination. The walls of the cleft are defined by the 42 carbon PAH hexa-peri-hexabenzocoronene (HBC) that is able to bind aromatic guests through complementary supramolecular interactions. The cleft ligand is synthesised in 11 steps from commercial starting materials and the structure is confirmed by NMR, mass spectrometric and infrared spectroscopic measurements. Significant challenges were encountered in the synthesis of some precursors and the various methods attempted are outlined. In particular, efficient routes for the preparation of the bifunctional heterocycles 7-bromo-2-iodoquinoline and 7-bromo-2-acetylquinoline were developed. Complexation studies of the cleft ligand with Pd(II), Ag(I) and Ru(II) metal centres have been undertaken and complexes identified primarily by mass spectrometry measurements; the moderate solubility of the products hindered purification and complete characterisation. A second HBC-based ligand with a larger bis(isoquinolyl)pyridine binding cleft is proposed and preliminary steps towards its synthesis are also described.

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  • A reduction in FODMAP intake correlates strongly with a reduction in IBS symptoms – The FIBS study.

    Harvie, Ruth (2014)

    Masters thesis
    University of Otago

    Background: Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) affects 7-10% of the population. Patients have identified that food is a trigger for their symptoms. There is emerging evidence that a diet low in fermentable oligosaccharides, monosaccharides, disaccharides and polyols (FODMAP) is beneficial. This Randomised Controlled Trial (RCT) aimed to compare symptom severity and quality of life of participants following a low FODMAP diet and those following their customary diet at three months. The hypothesis was that a reduction in dietary FODMAP molecules would cause a reduction in symptom severity and an improvement in quality of life in participants with IBS. Methods: Participants with IBS according to Rome III criteria were recruited from gastroenterology outpatients, general practice and through advertising in a community newspaper. Participants completed the IBS SS (IBS symptom severity scoring system,0- 500 points), IBS QoL (IBS quality of life questionnaire, 0-100) and a FODMAP specific food frequency questionnaire at baseline and three months. They were randomised to either education with the dietitian on a low FODMAP diet or a waiting list control. Results: Out of 117 screened patients, 50 participants were recruited for the study, 32 of whom had diarrhoea predominant IBS. In the intervention group (n=23) there was a statistically significant reduction in IBS SS from 275.6 (±63.6) to 128.8 (±82.5) (p<0.0001). The low FODMAP diet consumed by participants was nutritionally adequate. Conclusion: This study demonstrated that a low FODMAP diet reduced symptom severity and improved quality of life in participants with IBS while ensuring a nutritionally adequate diet.

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  • DNA Copy Number Variation and BRCAx Hereditary Breast Cancer

    Coufal, Nicole Jessica (2014)

    Masters thesis
    University of Otago

    Breast cancer is the second most deadly cancer for New Zealand (NZ) women aged between 25-75 years. Breast cancer generally exhibits familial aggregation, consistent with variation in genetic susceptibility to the disease. However, known susceptibility genes only account for less than 25% of the familial risk of breast cancer. The remaining genetic variance is likely to be due to variants conferring more moderate risks. To identify further breast cancer susceptibility alleles, 24 BRCAx (no pathogenic breast cancer 1, early onset (BRCA1) and breast cancer 2, early onset (BRCA2) mutations) probands from breast cancer families, 644 healthy female controls and 626 healthy male controls were fine-mapped for copy number variants (CNVs). Genome wide scanning of DNA germline CNVs was performed using Illumina Human1M-duo V3 beadchip single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) array and the PennCNV calling algorithm; many novel CNVs were validated by quantitative PCR. In the array data, rare CNVs that were deletions were found only in the BRCAx cases, but not in the healthy controls. These rare deletions overlapped 15 genes (13 loci) that were all predicted to be disrupted: ANKRD45, DTX2, PDXDC1, PIK3C2G, PRAME, SLC9C2, RHD, TBC1D5, TMEM106B, UPK3B, CKM, KLKB1, SELP, SEMA7A and SPINT4. The first ten CNV events are suggested to be of low to moderate risk of breast cancer susceptibility. Many of these genes above belong to several biological pathways, for example TP53, oestrogen/progesterone signalling, and Fanconi Anemia (Fanconi Anemia is an autosomal recessive genetic disorder), and many of these genes have already been reported in relation to breast cancer pathogenesis and other cancers. These findings support an association between these rare CNVs and the genes they overlap. Further studies are warranted to assess definitively the role and susceptibility risk of these CNVs and genes in hereditary breast cancer development.

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  • The aetiology of febrile illness in low-and-middle income countries

    Prasad, Namrata (2014)

    Masters thesis
    University of Otago

    Fever is a common reason for people to seek healthcare in low-and-middle-income countries. For decades, cases of febrile illness have often been considered to be malaria and treated as such. However, with apparent declines in malaria worldwide since 2004, along with the increased deployment of malaria rapid diagnostic tests, it is now being found that a growing proportion of patients presenting with fever do not have malaria. Furthermore, given the undifferentiated clinical presentation of many infections causing fever, in conjunction with limited microbiological and diagnostic facilities available in some low-and middle-income countries, it is becoming evident that many patients do not receive a precise diagnosis for their illness. As a result, malaria tends to be over-treated while other causes of febrile illness are not addressed, sometimes leading to patients experiencing worse case fatality ratios. It is clear that a more comprehensive understanding of febrile illness and its aetiology is required to avert illness and death, particularly in low-and-middle income-countries. The following thesis, aims to gain an insight into the epidemiology of febrile illness in low-and-middle income-countries and shed light on its various aetiological agents. A variety of methodological techniques have been used in this project. Firstly in order to investigate the diverse aetiology of febrile illness, a systematic review was conducted. Secondly, analysis of Demographic and Health Survey’s (DHS) and Malaria Atlas Project (MAP) data was done to investigate the importance of fever as a symptom and examine the contribution of malaria towards its prevalence. Finally, a retrospective review of blood culture records was conducted in Yangon General Hospital, Myanmar to gain a more local and specific insight into the characteristics of bloodstream infections, a common febrile illness.

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  • Visual Occlusion and User Experience in Augmented Reality Post-Stroke Therapy

    Allen, Max (2014)

    Masters thesis
    University of Otago

    The objective of this study is to investigate the effect of visual occlusion on users’ perception in a prototype augmented reality post stroke therapy system. A review of the literature shows a need for affordable therapy systems, and that the effects of visual occlusion on user experience had not previously been investigated. An upper limb rehabilitation exercise was implemented using the Kinect motion controller to enable depth sensing, spatial interaction with virtual objects, and correct visual occlusion of the upper limb and virtual elements of the augmented reality scene. Thirty participants evaluated the exercise under three different occlusion modes representative of those seen in augmented reality systems: correct visual occlusion, virtual always occludes real, and semi-transparency. The analysis of their reported experience showed that correct visual occlusion was the preferred mode for performing the task, providing a more tangible and realistic interactive experience, and that the therapy task was easy and satisfying to perform using the prototype system. The results of the experiment are encouraging, and suggest that correctly resolving occlusion should be a key consideration for future work in the field of augmented reality for physical rehabilitation.

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  • Aspects of the Moon in Ancient Egypt, the Near East and Greece

    Bray, Chloe Francesca Delia (2014)

    Masters thesis
    University of Otago

    This study discusses the various perceptions of the Moon in pre-Hellenistic Egypt, the Bronze Age Near East, and Archaic and Classical Greece. It covers diverse aspects of these cultures including mythology, cult practice, and iconography as well as astronomy and astrology. Its purpose is to investigate whether a common theme can be identified between the lunar ideologies of these cultures. This comparative aspect is approached in consideration of numerous theories and principles concerning the study of cultural exchange. The Near East and Egypt are dealt with independently, and in each culture it is found that the Moon is frequently related to potentially dangerous and liminal activities such as passage into the underworld, birth and events of cosmic disorder. In both cultures, lunar deities play an ambiguous role, as guides and protectors as well as embodiments of the potential danger associated with crossing boundaries. In Greece, there is a conspicuous lack of lunar mythology during the periods of interest; therefore, by comparison with the lunar ideologies of Egypt and the Near East, the possibility is addressed that the goddesses Artemis and Hekate were associated with the Moon earlier than is usually thought. It is found that while Artemis was not significantly associated with the Moon until the fifth century BC, Hekate’s constant similarity to the lunar deities of Egypt and the Near East allows the hypothesis that she was on some level associated with the Moon during the Archaic period. In light of the lunar aspects of Hekate and the lunar gods of Egypt and the Near East, it seems very likely that a common lunar theme existed between these cultures, as the result of cultural exchange and independent observation of the Moon’s visible properties.

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  • Dark Matter - Engagement Through Threshold States

    Roberts, Martin William (2014)

    Masters thesis
    University of Otago

    This MFA focuses on my practice as a lighting designer and in particular the development and refinement of my methodology, which involves creating states or scenarios that sit at the edge of perception and understanding. This was explored through three workshops and Dark Matter, a final showing where audiences were engaged in an open and ‘meaning-making’ process experiencing threshold states. ‘Threshold state’ refers to a point of perception that compels the viewer to engage with an image or sound to create meaning before it vanishes. It was my intention to create threshold states across the disciplines of lighting, sound design and site specific spatial design. I also used photography to facilitate a greater understanding of how meaning, perception and recognition occur in these threshold moments. I used my own experience as a deaf person to define how deafness has created a particular viewpoint from which to understand my own design methodology. I define my deafness as a threshold state with which I live. It informs how I create installations which operate on the edge of meaning and recognition. This exegesis is a companion document to the practical investigations and findings from three workshops and a final staged event.

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  • Feasibility Studies for Determining Bacterial DNA Profiles from Dental Calculus for Future Applications in Ancient DNA Analysis

    Muthuplackal, Juhi (2014)

    Masters thesis
    University of Otago

    The study of ancient DNA is a relatively new field and the methods and standards involved are evolving. DNA isolated from ancient specimens is defined as aDNA. As a DNA source, teeth are the hardest structures of the body and are resistant to harsh conditions such as incineration, mutilation, immersion and trauma. Calculus is a feature of archaeological teeth. The DNA from bacteria, viruses and fungi are more likely to be preserved in amorphous calcifications, making dental calculus a potential source of microbial aDNA. In this study, 16S rRNA and rpoB genes served as the molecular markers of microbial DNA from calculus. The three specific aims of this project involved (i) amplification of bacterial DNA from calculus and assessing the feasibility of preparing 454 sequencing template directly from bacterial DNA within calculus, (ii) comparing the effects of three buffer systems, namely Tris, Citrate and EDTA, at varying pH and concentrations, on the demineralization of calculus (mimicked by HAP beads) and on DNA integrity, and (iii) application of 454 high-throughput sequencing of dental bacteria as a method of tracking human domestic interactions. The results indicate that direct amplification of bacterial sequences from calculus was possible and established a protocol for generating bacterial amplicons for sequence analysis. In two of the three buffer systems (Citrate and EDTA), DNA degradation occurred regardless of the presence of HAP beads, with increased degradation of DNA in the presence of HAP beads, suggesting their lack of suitability for aDNA recovery. Analysis of the molecular markers used in this study, showed unrelated individuals sharing the same household did not share strains of oral streptococci, hence suggesting microbial DNA is unable to track human domestic interactions in this scenario.

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  • Explaining the Cash Flow Sensitivity of Investment in Australian Firms

    Fea, McGregor Duncan (2014)

    Masters thesis
    University of Otago

    I investigate the primary determinants of the cash flow sensitivity of investment (CFSI) in Australian firms. My findings fail to support either of the two hypotheses which have previously dominated the literature — the asymmetric information hypothesis and the free cash flow hypothesis — indicating instead that there are multiple determining impacts culminating to create CFSI. I find that governance does not play a significant role in the determination of CFSI. I also offer an explanation for the earlier variations in findings across much of the existing literature, including financial distress driving the low CFSI of constrained firms; sales growth enhancing CFSI; high-asset firms reporting high CFSI; and financial constraint providing only a part of the explanation of CFSI. Ultimately, I find that CFSI is not a by-product of undesirable firm performance as previously thought, but in fact the outcome of an ability to utilise preferred internal financing for investments.

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  • Examining the choice behaviour of sensation seekers using concurrent schedules

    Farrelly, Nicholas Peter (2014)

    Masters thesis
    University of Otago

    The risky choices of high sensation seekers can have serious consequences. However, the choice behaviour of this population is not often subjected to the experimental analysis of behaviour. The current research examined the choice behaviour of sensation seekers in concurrent schedules using slot-machine-like games on a computer. In Experiment 1, university students could choose between two games that varied in response cost, reinforcer magnitude, and reinforcer frequency. High sensation seeking students, particularly males, tended to prefer the game that provided the larger reward, even though it cost more to play and paid out less frequently. In other words, high sensation seekers were less affected by the response cost, and preferred the option that involved more risk. A similar procedure was used in Experiment 2, which examined choice when there were intermittent losses rather than a response cost. It also arranged “Double or Quits” or “Stay” options following wins and losses. Results showed that high sensation seekers did not prefer the game that paid larger rewards infrequently when there was no response cost for that game, and did not find losses as aversive as low sensation seekers. Regardless of sensation seeking level, participants increasingly preferred the safe option as they approached the end of the task. Overall, the current study provides preliminary evidence that personality traits, such as sensation seeking, influence choice in concurrent schedules. Future research should systematically examine how personality types and personality traits are manifested behaviourally, especially in populations that have a propensity to make risky decisions.

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  • “his own Divided Image:” The Gnostic Female in William Blake’s The Book of Thel & Europe – A Prophecy

    Dobson, Judith (2014)

    Masters thesis
    University of Otago

    This thesis examines William Blake’s engagement with Western esoteric tradition, specifically the beliefs and ideas of the Gnostics, as a form of political activism during the Revolution. In particular, it considers Blake’s incorporation of these ideas in relation to gender in The Book of Thel (1789) and Europe – A Prophecy (1794). My intent is to challenge the much debated view of Blake as unconsciously misogynistic by exploring the ways in which Gnostic concepts inform two of his most controversial female characters, Thel and Enitharmon, as a social critique of contemporary gender discourses. The thesis incorporates a range of scholarship and critical receptions of Blake to provide a contextual framework. It also traces the development of Gnostic concepts through various primary sources to illustrate Blake’s acquaintance with these ideas. The main body comprises two chapters dealing with Thel and Europe respectively. The former focuses on Blake’s use of Gnostic ideas in Thel as a rejoinder to the empiricism of John Locke. It examines the significance of Locke’s theories in underpinning contemporary attitudes to gender as expressed in the limited scope of female education in the eighteenth century. The latter explores the politico-theological context of the 1790s and its depiction in Europe. I will discuss how Gnostic ideas influenced Blake’s portrayal of Enitharmon in response to the impact of the Revolution on women’s rights. This thesis aims to show how Blake, by incorporating Gnostic ideas in his depictions of women, challenges orthodox discourses and modes of representation. It also addresses the wider implications of the esoteric for Blake and other Romantics in a counter argument to the predominant perception of the poet/visionary as the ‘lone wolf’ of Romanticism.

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  • SNS (Social Networking Samoans): Exploring the ethnic identities of Samoan Facebook users in New Zealand.

    Pau, Clara Kathryn (2014)

    Masters thesis
    University of Otago

    As digital media pervades the institutions and infrastructures of contemporary society with new inventions, new applications and new devices, so too does it pervade daily lived experiences. The social networking site Facebook.com is one such application which is highly integrated into the daily habits of individuals worldwide. The daily lived experiences of an individual contribute, according to the theorists in support of constructivism, to an individual’s ethnic identity. It has also been suggested that the reverse is true: ethnic identity also contributes to daily life. Despite the ubiquity of Facebook and the extensive writings on ethnic identity, there has been a limited contribution by scholars on how ethnic identity is manifested in and informs Facebook use. This thesis examines the daily Facebook use of seven Samoan individuals located in New Zealand. The thesis argues that key elements of their ethnic identities are manifested in and expressed through their use of the streamlined photograph, timeline post and friending Facebook functions. The thesis explains these three themes in terms of three N’s: Nationalism, Natives (and Immigrants) and Nostalgia.

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  • Work Experiences of Breast Cancer Survivors in New Zealand

    Atkinson, Katy (2014)

    Masters thesis
    University of Otago

    Advances in breast cancer diagnosis, treatment and increased public awareness have contributed to increased survival rates over the last 10 years (Soeberg, Blakely, Sarfat, Tobias, Costilla, Carter & Atkinson, 2012). More breast cancer survivors (BCS) are returning to work after treatment and a body of research is developing in this area (Roelen, Koopmans, Schellart, & van der Beek, 2011). However, in countries like New Zealand where the incidence of private health insurance is low and sick leave allowances are relatively short, there are increasing numbers of people working during treatment (Heymann, Rho, Schmitt, & Earle, 2010). There is a paucity of data about the experiences of these individuals and how they negotiate, navigate, seek support and adapt to their working environment during treatment. The purpose of this research was to examine BCS work experiences during treatment using the model of Main, Nowels, Cavender, Etschmaier and Steiner (2005). This research used a qualitative methodology, drawing on an interpretive paradigm. Research diaries and semi-structured interviews were used to gather data. The participants comprised of four females and one male BCS involved in the Exercise Training Beyond Breast Cancer (EXPINKT™) clinic at the University of Otago in Dunedin. The interview data was transcribed verbatim and analysed inductively to allow themes to emerge. Findings highlighted that BCS all have unique experiences in terms of their treatment effects and work experiences and therefore it is impossible to produce one finite set of guidelines for employers to follow. Work was also discussed as a site of recovery, with it being a distraction and participants who worked discussed less of a decline in mental and cognitive health. Finally, the study found that male BCS may disclose their illness, if the individuals around them are positive and supportive.

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  • Voronoi Dynamics Simulation of Platelet Sea Ice Growth with Diffusive Heat and Mass Transfer

    Wongpan, Pat (2013)

    Masters thesis
    University of Otago

    Platelet ice is a sea ice type found near an ice shelf. Platelet crystals, which originate in the water column, rise to the surface and deposit under the sea ice cover in a loose layer forming a subice platelet layer. There they grow in the near-surface supercooled water to become frozen into the ice cover as incorporated platelet ice. Several Antarctic field campaigns have collected ice cores, measured crystallographic and physical properties and simultaneously recorded oceanographic conditions. However, some in situ measurements are difficult to acquire experimentally, in particular the solid fraction of subice platelet layer which is required in this region to obtain sea-ice thickness from remote-sensing measurements. Voronoi dynamics is a simple but efficient grain growth technique. By integrating this with mechanical stability and heat and mass transfer by diffusion, virtual ice cores are simulated in three dimensions. This model shows topological similarity with incorporated platelet ice from real sea ice cores. The calibrated spatial-temporal distributions of porosity, salinity, temperature and crystallographic c-axes are extracted and compared with the observations. The solid fraction of the subice platelet layer obtained from our simulation due to the local growth of platelet crystals within this layer is 0.22 ± 0.01. In order to account for the flux of new crystals deposited into the sub- ice platelet layer, this must be combined with a packing efficiency of the deposition of platelet crystals 0.06 ± 0.01 (Dempsey et al., 2010). The total solid fraction is 0.28 ± 0.01 which is in good agreement with 0.25 ± 0.06 reported by Gough et al. (2012).

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  • The Mapuche Struggle for/of Recognition. Identity and Self-Determination in Chile

    Pirsoul, Nicolas (2014)

    Masters thesis
    University of Otago

    The theory of recognition argues that identities are the product of a struggle to be recognised by a significant other so that the nonrecognition or misrecognition of an identity can lead to a type of social suffering which can be experienced by groups. While Axel Honneth‟s theory of recognition emphasises the individual, in order to develop its full critical potential, I argue that the theory of recognition needs to encompass collective identities and the role of institutions in its analysis. Ultimately, struggles over recognition lead to struggles over collective self-determination of minorities. This dissertation applies this theoretical framework to the struggle of the Mapuche people in Chile and shows how the birth of a Mapuche identity with an ethnonationalist consciousness can be interpreted as the result of a conflictual relationship between the Mapuche and the Chilean state. This conflict has led Mapuche ethnonationalists to engage in an agonistic struggle with the Chilean state since their project can only be achieved through a radical reconfiguration of the state which clashes with the Chilean political elite‟s interests. The Mapuche political movements reveal several difficulties and paradoxes typical of indigenous politics related to the way indigenous identity can best be embedded in a modern society. It is argued that it is important to avoid the danger of both reifying indigenous identity and diluting it altogether. It is also necessary to avoid either denying or idealising the indigenous people‟s political potential to disrupt what Jacques Rancière calls the police order.

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  • Wildflower Harvesting on the Agulhas Plain, South Africa: Challenges in a Fragmented Industry

    Blokker, Thijs (2014)

    Masters thesis
    University of Otago

    The Agulhas Plain, in South Africa’s Western Cape Province, is home to the Cape Floristic Region (CFR), one of the richest floras in the world and the smallest of earth’s six plant kingdoms. The indigenous fynbos flora is harvested from the wild and is both exported and sold locally. Wildflower harvesting represents an industry which to an extent is achieving conservation goals simultaneously with goals of socio-economic development. Both of these objectives are fundamental in the South African context, due to the conservational value of the CFR, and also to address deeply entrenched socio-economic disparities and high poverty levels both of which are legacies of the apartheid era. The wildflower harvesting industry currently faces many challenges which are hindering the sustainability of the industry. The specific challenges are; working within the constraints of nature, a lack of regulation, poverty alleviation and a highly competitive production and marketing environment (both locally and internationally). The strong competition which exists has resulted in fragmentation of the industry and a breakdown in communication. Recent research, which provides the basis for this thesis, indicates that the wildflower harvesting industry needs to pull together and improve communication levels in order to provide a strong voice through which the multitude of challenges facing the wildflower harvesting industry can be addressed collectively. Without such a collective voice, the sustainability of the industry, the environment and the livelihoods of disadvantaged communities could be affected. This thesis examines the context of wildflower harvesting and suggests that the formation of a ‘Wildflower Harvesting Forum’ could provide a potential solution with wide-ranging benefits.

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  • Investigating Factors Leading to Participation in Mobile Crowdsourcing Applications

    Alsaeed, Mustafa (2014)

    Masters thesis
    University of Otago

    Crowdsourcing (CS) has undergone a new and emerging shift recently – it can now be deployed on smartphones. CS is not a new technology; it has been used for years on websites and GSM mobile phones. However, the use of CS on smartphones allows more and different opportunities for CS technology because it combines a sense of the surrounding environment with crowdsourcing, which has not yet been well studied. There are some challenges in using CS on smartphones, the main one being that a number of projects do not have sufficient participants to share sufficient data, which results in a lack of information. This research explores, empirically, the factors that affect people's use of mobile crowdsourced participatory sensing (CSPS) applications. We used the TobaccoFree application (TFA) (“http://tobaccofree.nzdis.org/”) and NoiseTube Mobile (NTM) (“http://noisetube.net/”) as cases in this study. The factors that were identified are perceived usefulness (PU), perceived ease of use (PEOU), perceived privacy concerns (PPC) and perceived enjoyment (PE). Results indicate that behavioural intention is mainly correlated with perceived usefulness and perceived enjoyment.

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  • The Associations among Alcohol Use, Ethnicity and Schizotypy in a New Zealand Undergraduate Population

    Maha, Jaimee (2014)

    Masters thesis
    University of Otago

    Previous research has shown that identification as an ethnic minority and high alcohol use are each associated with risk of schizophrenia (schizotypy). However, the question of whether these two factors interact has not been addressed. The aim of the present study was to identify correlations among alcohol use, ethnicity and schizotypy. Undergraduate students (n = 500) from the University of Otago completed questionnaires assessing schizotypy, alcohol and drug use, and demographic information. Participants also reported on their family history of mental illness, and personal depression, anxiety and stress levels. It was hypothesised that ethnic minorities would have greater schizotypy scores. It was also expected that individuals who report Māori descent, but not Māori identity, would exhibit higher schizotypy scores compared to individuals who report both descent and ethnic identification. Whereas high alcohol use was expected to be associated with higher schizotypy scores, this effect was expected to be exacerbated for individuals of ethnic minorities, and those who reported incongruent ethnic identity and descent. The results indicate a positive association of both Asian and Māori identities, with higher schizotypy scores. However, alcohol use was found to be negatively associated with interpersonal, disorganised, and total schizotypy scores. A significant interaction was established between Asian drinkers and higher disorganised scores. Māori descendants who did not identify as being Māori did not exhibit significantly higher schizotypy scores, compared to those who reported congruent identity. These results may reflect the way in which New Zealand university students view alcohol use. The results of this study may increase the understanding of alcohol use and ethnicity as potential schizotypal risk factors. This information may also be useful in the development of support groups or interventions for those with a heightened risk of developing schizophrenia.

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