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Every year GetPublished! funds and mentors Oxford Brookes students to take part in two national conferences.
Posters in Parliament is an annual event at which the best original UK undergraduate research is presented to MPs in parliament.
Through GetPublished!, two Brookes students are fully funded to travel to parliament and present their undergraduate research at the conference poster event.
Students spend a whole day in parliament. In the morning, they learn about how parliament works and how to influence parliament through their research, for example by responding to calls from committees of MPs by submitting evidence, or by lobbying local MPs. After a short tour of some of the parliament buildings, students then have lunch in Westminster, and in the afternoon they present their posters at the conference. The conference is attended by MPs as well as university Vice Chancellors and other prominent figures in higher education.
In 2018, students Hanna Rose and Max Jones both presented their work. Hanna's research examined the views of female engineers to try and determine why there is an underrepresentation of women in engineering. Max's research examined barriers to sustainable water use in the tourism industry in Malta. Max said the event “was a fantastic experience".
Dr Louise Bunce (Faculty of Health and Life Sciences) accompanied the students and said "It was a very encouraging event and I was impressed at the quality of our students and the enthusiasm they have for their work. It was a great experience for them, and we all learned a lot about how to influence government policy through research".
Hanna Rose (left), Dr Louise Bunce (centre), Max Jones (right)
The two students nominated to represent Oxford Brookes University at Posters in Parliament 2019 are:
Following a policy proposal on migration in 2013, net migration in the Faroe Islands changed from negative to positive and has since remained so. The Faroese migration situation offers a unique conundrum as a nation faced with three simultaneous migration objectives of firstly wanting its youth to out migrate due to structural, financial and logistical constraints, but simultaneously needing young people to return to help maintain the nation’s public welfare system. The third objective was to make possible out-migrants into non-migrants by improving education opportunities in the Faroe Islands, and also to provide quality education as a public good for voluntary non-migrants.
The study conducted an impact analysis of the migration policy proposal with a narrow focus on five policies targeting tertiary degree students to indicate whether the two correlative phenomena were related, and evaluated their significance. A voluntary survey was conducted for the study and completed by 378 tertiary degree students aged 20-34, or 4.4% of the entire Faroese 20-34 demographic in 2018. The impact analysis also relied on secondary data from the Prime Minister's Office on the status of the policies' implementation, from the national database ‘Statistics Faroe Islands’ on migration, and from the University of the Faroe Islands on intake, degrees offered, and national budget allocation.
All the findings combined support existing theory that the most cost-effective solution for continuous growth in the highly educated youth population in the Faroe Islands would be to incentivise out-migration for education purposes. Political resources are then better spent on facilitating return migration rather than strengthening the national university, which was shown to have little impact on migration. Ultimately, the survey conducted for this study showed the most important factor for increasing return migration to be the ability to obtain a job relevant to one’s education. The second most important factor for both reduced emigration and increased return migration would be to increase adequate and affordable housing.
Prefabrication (prefab) is the process that involves offsite factory construction of housing. Prefabricated house building in the UK was encouraged post-World War II by the Prime Minister, Winston Churchill. The poor quality of post-war prefabs subsequently played a key role in shaping current negative societal perceptions of this housing type. Post-war prefabs have since disappeared from our landscapes, and the method has since been superseded. However, the current UK housing market faces arguably the greatest pressure since the Second World War, including issues such as an increasing demand, lack of economic viability and ‘eco-consciousness’. Subsequently, there has been increasing interest in prefabs as a potential solution for the UK’s housing crisis. The aim of this research is to establish why the UK has not adopted prefab and why it could be beneficial to the UK housing market. The methodology of this research centred on a literature review. My search strategy for the literature review was purposeful – reading resources such as journal articles, books and online webpages that referred to prefab generally. This is advantageous as it highlights the wide range of narratives regarding prefab across academic, policy and media sources. Key findings are that prefab has a negative history, which has caused the current societal adverse perceptions. This negative history has caused other terms to be coined, for example ‘modular’. Prefab/modular housing, whilst not a silver bullet, has the potential to contribute to easing the UK housing crisis.
The British Conference for Undergraduate Research is the largest UK conference of its kind to provide undergraduates with the opportunity to present their research.
Every year, Brookes students are selected through the GetPublished! project to attend this two-day multi-disciplinary conference and present their work, either as a poster, talk, workshop or performance. The students are accompanied by a member of staff who mentors them to present their research, and supports them in enjoying the academic and social opportunities of the conference.
The 2018 conference was the biggest yet, with students from over 69 institutions presenting their work. These included 5 Oxford Brookes students who presented their original research on topics such as testing the cognitive abilities of Harris Hawks, examining breathing difficulties in Parkinson’s disease, and analysing themes of capitalism and authenticity in Brett Easton Ellis’s novel Psycho.
Francis Hughes, a 3rd year Biomedical Sciences student said: “It was a fantastic two days and the experience is one I will remember always. Meeting new people and developing the skills to present at the conference was really enjoyable.”
Dr Louise Bunce (HLS) who accompanied the students said: “It was a great experience for the students to get a taste of a real academic conference and to gain an insight into research in other disciplines. I was genuinely impressed by the quality of our students' research projects, as well as their ability to present in a confident, knowledgeable and engaging manner. It was a real pleasure to be able to be able to support them”.
The 2018 Oxford Brookes BCUR students: Stephen Rowlett, Daniel Underwood, Francis Hughes, Trang Dang and Sarah Andree.
British Conference for Undergraduate Research 2019
The five students nominated to represent Oxford Brookes University at the British Conference for Undergraduate Research 2019 are:
eHealth is a technique which improves health-care by using technology. It has garnered much attention and has seen a rise over the past decade. Preoperative anxiety is the feeling of uneasiness before a procedure, and it has been linked to the reduced postoperative quality of life. The effect of eHealth on preoperative anxiety has been researched, but its specific effect in endoscopic procedures is still unclear. The objectives of the study are literature review to identify commonly associated anxieties, which will be tested by surveying endoscopy patients. This study will then develop an animation addressing the common anxieties in an attempt to reduce preoperative anxiety and improve preoperative guidance. An increase in the number of endoscopies performed is attributed to the substantial increase in preoperative anxiety. However, preoperative anxiety is also correlated with the amount of knowledge the patients receive before the procedure. Therefore, this indicates that patient engagement and education may alleviate it. However, not all types of patient engagement have been shown to reduce preoperative anxiety as pamphlets have shown no significant change. This is due partly to the overwhelming information they entail. Therefore, a more suitable and engaging approach such as eHealth is required. The developed animation will be evaluated by professors, clinicians, and patients by a way of a survey to determine efficacy.
Africa has always been significant in Chinese foreign policy, yet recently China have been expanding their security presence in Africa at increasing rates; Djibouti in East Africa now holds the first Chinese overseas military base. But why increase their security role in the region? Why not remain simply a powerful economic actor? This research aims to address such notions, investigating what China hopes to gain from an enhanced security presence on the African continent, and how this compares to the foreign policy of different political eras in China’s modern history. Evidence and arguments will be developed through qualitative research methods, but empirical data will help reinforce conclusions made – allowing a greater analysis of long term Chinese political gains, which do not always present themselves quantitatively. Such research is important as it opens a discussion into the changing dynamics of international politics and the relationship between foreign economic and security policies, as well as providing an investigation into the motives behind China’s growing international role. It is predicted that China will be shown to be increasing their security role in Africa, not only for economic gains, but as preparation for an attempt to challenge the United States as the world’s largest superpower. This therefore differs from Mao Zedong’s foreign policy, where intervention, expansion and forms of imperialism were strictly opposed. The economic liberalization of China, initiated by Deng Xiaoping, caused a shift in the core foreign policy tenants of the Chinese state, eventually resulting in the policies we see today.
The Human Rights Act provides the domestic foundations in human rights for all individuals in the UK. The focus of my study is on Section 3, which asks UK courts to interpret domestic legislation in a way that is compatible with Convention rights. I begin with an historical account which compares different interpretative methods to determine whether the process of transitioning into a Convention-compatible legal system was an easy one. Then, I explore whether the effects of Section 3 have been positive in light of UK case law and Parliamentary Sovereignty. Positive effects include an accurate representation of Parliamentary intent that compromises with the Section 3 principle; a flexible ability to interpret legislation that is square with the judge’s role as interpreter of law which maintains Parliamentary sovereignty. I explore a combination of academic opinions and case law to assess the arguments for preserving, reforming or repealing Section 3, concluding in favour of its preservation. Some academics expressed their reservations, claiming that judges have too much power under Section 3 whilst others applauded the Section 3 rule because it gives judges a much-needed flexibility in making sure the law is fair and modern. The reason I conducted this research was because these issues were topical, given the legal and political turmoil caused by Brexit. The UK may move to abolish the Human Rights Act; the 2015 Conservative manifesto promised this although initial plans to do so were shelved until after the UK left the EU. By reflecting on the current effects of the law and examining what reform in this area may look like, I am able to provide recommendations for a future-proof rules for human rights in the UK.
With the growing popularity of comics and fantasy texts, such as the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe or the Game of Thrones TV series, fan cultures and fan practices are emerging into mainstream culture. Therefore, it is important to examine fan contributions to literary culture in the form of fan fiction: fan-written texts based on published works. Can fan fiction be considered a ‘legitimate’ form of literature, or be respected alongside professional texts? This research will explore the legal contexts that affect fan fiction and will examine both the opinions of original writers of fan-revered texts, expressed in published interviews, and the opinions of fan fiction writers and readers themselves. The latter will be discovered through a web-based survey to be conducted in January 2019, via social media, with a target of 100 participants. As most fan fiction texts feature LGBT relationships, the research will also analyse case studies to explore whether LGBT representation in fan fiction is potentially constructive or exploitative. The research is valuable as it will capture a range of voices and opinions, from both professionals and fan fiction hobbyists. The research is timely and topical given current controversies surrounding Article 13 and copyright in the EU. Ultimately, whilst acknowledging any criticisms of the practice, this research intends to use the results of the web-based survey to defend the legitimacy of fan fiction. Acknowledging the laws that exist to protect fan fiction, the research will also present fan fiction as a creative and inclusive outlet, giving credence to the legitimacy of fan fiction as a creative form.
This research will investigate the nutritional value of UK commercial ready meals, looking specifically at Indian ready meals. The sales of ready meals have been on the rise and it is important to see if they have a significant effect on health. With the obesity epidemic also on the rise, it is important to be aware of the foods that people are eating. Previous research has carried out similar analysis but is now outdated and newer products are now available on the market, therefore up to date research is needed in this area (Remnant and Adams, 2015). Nutritional data from Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s, and Morrisons will be gathered. This data will include; energy, fat, saturated fat, carbohydrates (of which sugars), protein, fibre, and salt. The meals will be categorised into meal ranges, for example, ‘healthy’ or ‘luxury’ meal. It will then be possible to compare and rank products according to their nutritional values. Parametric methods of analysis will be used due to the large sample size. T-tests will assess whether there is a significant difference between meal ranges. It is expected that the ready meals analysed will have high energy, high fat and saturated fat contents, with high salt and high sugar. The ‘healthy’ options should be lower in these nutritional areas. The results could be significant for highlighting action needed on ready meal nutrition (including reformulation), or for giving a rationale for reducing UK consumption of ready meals.