Open Access Institutional Repository at Robert Gordon University

    Voters' online information behaviour and response to campaign content during the Scottish referendum on independence.

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    Research into the public's motivations for, and barriers to, the use of referendum campaign sites was carried out in the final weeks before the 2014 vote on Scottish independence. As a qualitative study, drawing on 54 interactive, electronically-assisted interviews, where participants were observed and questioned as they searched for and used information on the websites and social media sites of the campaign groups, the results enable more precise causal inferences to be drawn about voters' exposure to campaign sites. Results indicate participants value 'facts', what they perceive as authoritative voices, the capacity to compare campaign messages directly, infographics and concise, direct information. They are sceptical, particularly about celebrity contributions, preferring expert messages, and uncertain about their personal capacity to evaluate information they will use to make decisions. The authors set out a new model of levels of user engagement with political discourse during campaigns. Results have relevance for governments, as well as researchers in the fields of politics, communications and information management

    Citizenship information research at the School of Information and Media.

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    Discusses recent and current research into citizenship information needs at the School of Information and Media, The Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen. Reviews the most important results from two large-scale, nation-wide surveys (funded by the British Library Research and Innovation Centre) of the citizenship information needs of the UK public, highlighting those occasions where the response in Scotland differed significantly from national trends. Outlines a current project, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, studying the impact of the use of information and communication technologies on the communication of parliamentary information in the UK, with particular attention being paid to the situation in the three new devolved legislatures - the Scottish Parliament, the National Assembly of Wales and the Northern Ireland Assembly. The paper summarises the aims and objectives of the current project and provides a preview of the methodologies to be used, including the development of a novel interactive, electronically assisted interview technique

    Morphological characterization and gas permeation of commercially available ceramic membrane.

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    This work presents experimental results relating to the structural characterization of a commercially available alumina membrane. A {esc}gc{esc}s-alumina mesoporous tubular membrane has been used. Nitrogen adsorption-desorption, scanning electron microscopy and gas permeability test has been carried out on the alumina membrane to characterize its structural features. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) was used to determine the pore size distribution of the membrane. Pore size, specific surface area and pore size distribution were also determined with the use of the Nitrogen adsorption-desorption instrument. Gas permeation tests were carried out on the membrane using a variety of single and mixed gases. The permeabilities at different pressure between 0.05-1 bar and temperature range of 25-200oC were used for the single and mixed gases: nitrogen (N2), helium (He), oxygen (O2), carbon dioxide (CO2), 14%CO2/N2, 60%CO2/N2, 30%CO2/CH4 and 21%O2/N2. Plots of flow rate verses pressure were obtained. Results got showed the effect of temperature on the permeation rate of the various gases. At 0.5 bar for example, the flow rate for N2 was relatively constant before decreasing with an increase in temperature, while for O2, it continuously decreased with an increase in temperature. In the case of 30%CO2/CH4 and 14%CO2/N2, the flow rate showed an increase then a decrease with increase in temperature. The effect of temperature on the membrane performance of the various gases is presented in this pape

    The condition of smallness: how what it means to be small deters firms from getting bigger

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    Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to examine and explain why most small firms remain small. A new conceptual framework - the condition of smallness - is proposed. Design/methodology/approach: A critical examination of the literature about the nature of being a small firm is first conducted. Employing an inductive analysis of responses from a survey of 2,521 small business owners about employment regulation, the nature and effects of smallness is examined. Findings: It was found that owners' choice making combines with perceptions about their resources to produce a condition of smallness. The condition of smallness is conceptualised as the circularity perceptions, attitudes and consequent practices that reflect lack of knowledge, time and capability. It is argued that this condition of smallness inhibits growth to create a wicked problem that explains why most small firms don't grow. Research limitations/implications: This work is largely conceptual, albeit the argument is grounded in, and illustrated by, empirical data. The findings may not be generalisable beyond this paper's data sets, but may be generalisable conceptually. Originality/value: The focus of much scholarly work has been on growth firms. Yet the typical small firm is excluded so that the issues of smallness are often overlooked. This paper, therefore contributes to understanding why small firms don't grow. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited

    Human factors approaches to evaluating outpatient parenteral antimicrobial therapy services: a systematic review.

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    Background: The expansion in terms of available treatment options and models of care has led to a growing global momentum for outpatient antimicrobial therapy (OPAT) services. A systematic review was undertaken to explore Human Factors aspects relating to OPAT service delivery and to evaluate whether OPAT is amenable to description using the Systems Engineering Initiative for Patient Safety (SEIPS 2.0) model. Method: Following a preliminary search, a search string was applied to four databases, including Medline, Cumulative Index of Nursing and Allied Health Literature, International Pharmaceutical Abstracts and PsychINFO. Inclusion criteria ensured only articles published after the year 2000 and written in English were accepted. The methodological quality of studies was assessed by three reviewers. Narrative synthesis was performed to uncover the key interactions between work system entities which underpin OPAT processes and outcomes as described using the SEIPS 2.0 model. Results: A total of twenty-seven studies were deemed eligible for the final review. Of these, most described sample populations representative of the population under study, while duration of the studies varied from a few months to years. Some studies evaluated a single model of care whilst others evaluated all three currently available models. The breadth and scope of the studies included enabled extraction of rich Human Factors data describing barriers and enablers to service provision. Conclusion: OPAT is a service which offers significant benefits to both patients and care providers. These benefits include patient satisfaction and wellbeing, as well as financial performance. OPAT is a complex sociotechnical system, and a systems approach may offer the opportunity to enhance system design, maximising system performance. This review demonstrates that the service can be better understood using the SEIPS 2.0 model to identify key work system interactions that support performance

    Great expectations? Assessing the creation of national police organisations in Scotland and the Netherlands.

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    Against a background of recent structural reforms to police organisations in northern and western Europe, this paper examines the experiences of Scotland and the Netherlands where national police forces were established in 2013. Taking a comparative perspective, an analysis of the police reform proposals is followed by a review of the arguments for reform, the challenges of implementation and the findings emerging from the evaluations of the police reforms in each country. The paper concludes by drawing out the contrast between the ‘great expectations’ of the two police reforms articulated by the governments and the realities of bringing about rapid and large-scale organisational change, arguing that institutionalist perspectives on police reform have much to offer in making sense of the challenges of the police reform process

    Leading through art: exploring action and improvisation.

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    A keynote such as this raises the expectations of a new beginning to a discourse, of presenting another way of thinking about a shared set of issues. The process of arriving at the focus of the keynote has been collaborative and discursive through a number of exchanges with Dr James Oliver of CCP. Our shared field of research is the role of the arts in the public sphere. My approach to that field involves practice-led research through the visual arts. To me this has come to mean an exploratory process of understanding what questions to ask-questions that go beyond the 'how to?' of artistic endeavour to 'why does it matter?'. I develop experimental art projects in response that enable those questions to become part of experience as critical understanding. The keynote is in three parts: the first sets out a proposition for a different point of entry into public art discourse from some current theories (Kester, Bishop et al): I offer 'leadership' and 'improvisation' as possible, interrelated alternatives. The second section draws on an experience of an experimental art project to 'test' some of the (aesthetic, social, cultural) implications of that proposition in experience. The learning from this project resonates in important ways with Hannah Arendt's discussion of leadership and its implication in the notion of action. Leadership is therefore only ever part of a process, one that is contingent, improvisational. The third section draws out some implications for discussion

    Hope Co-Housing: approach and innovation.

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    The country is facing an aging population as people live longer. 10 million people in the UK are currently over 65, with a 5.5 million increase projected over the next 20 years. 3 million people are aged over 80 and that is expected to double by 2030. This puts additional strains on health and social services, with both a smaller proportion of working population available to support services and with the older population having more complex medical needs. The 'Hope Co-Housing' project is a new typology of housing that demonstrates a collaborative approach to age by combining the principles of salutogenic housing design, wellbeing and healthcare principles, and technology to support active ageing. The innovative homes will be co-designed with input from design, computing, health and care professionals, with the aim of creating a new typology of senior citizen housing in which people aspire to live and support each other, and which help to eliminate social isolation and fuel poverty. The proposal will be exploring how senior housing can be designed collaboratively to support health, well-being, activity and community engagement as people age. It will be multi-disciplinary, with anticipated expertise required from colleagues from several schools across the Robert Gordon University RGU and Orkney Island Council (OIC)

    Claims-makers versus counter claims-makers: new sites of civic conflict in the construction and contestation of moral panic narratives through online newspaper discussion-threads.

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    Technological, cultural and economic forces are transforming political communication, posing challenges and opportunities for politicians and media organisations, while at the same time many governments and civil society express concerns about the extent and nature of political empowerment and civic engagement

    It’s a balance of just getting things right: mothers’ views about pre-school childhood obesity and obesity prevention in Scotland.

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    Background: The high prevalence of childhood obesity is a concern for policy makers and health professionals, leading to a focus on early prevention. The beliefs and perspectives of parents about early childhood obesity, and their views and opinions about the need for weight management interventions for this age group are poorly understood. Methods: A formative qualitative focus group study with parents of pre-school children took place in eight community-based locations throughout North-East Scotland to explore their ideas about the causes of early childhood obesity, personal experiences of effective weight management strategies, and views about the format and content of a possible child-orientated weight management programme. Study participants were recruited via pre-school nurseries. Results: Thirty-four mothers (median age 37 years) took part in the study, but only two believed their child had a weight problem. Participants (who focussed primarily on dietary issues) expressed a strong sense of personal responsibility to ‘get the balance right’ regarding their child’s weight, and were generally resistant to the idea of attending a weight management programme aimed at very young children. At the same time, they described a range of challenges to their weight management intentions. These included dealing with intrinsic uncertainties such as knowing when to stop ‘demand feeding’ for weight gain, and judging appropriate portion sizes - for themselves and their children. In addition they faced a range of extrinsic challenges associated with complex family life, i.e. catering to differing family members dietary needs, food preferences, practices and values, and keeping their ‘family food rules’ (associated with weight management) when tired or pressed for time. Conclusions: The findings have important implications for health professionals and policy makers wishing to engage with parents on this issue, or who are currently developing ‘family-centred’ early childhood weight management interventions. The challenge lies in the fact that mothers believe themselves to be the primary (and capable) agents of obesity prevention in the early years – but, who are at the same time, attempting to deal with many mixed and conflicting messages and pressures emanating from their social and cultural environments that may be undermining their weight management intentions
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