Category / REF Subjects

Find out about Max Lowenstein’s research into denunciation

Dr Max Lowenstein, from the Law Department in the Business School, has a piece of research coming out in Criminology & Criminal Justice: An International Journal (rated A in the Excellence Research Australia journal ranking list) that explores the meaning of judicial denunciation. The article attempts to relate sentencing principle, policy and social theory to legal practice by comparing the perceptions of English and Danish lower Court judges when sentencing minor theft offenders. There is no coherent international academic agreement as to what judicial denunciation means. The qualitative data gathered by interviewing Danish and English judges commonly pointed to the ‘public condemnation of someone or something’ Oxford Dictionaries Online (World English). In other words, judges pointing out wrongful behavior in theft offenders during sentence summation and explaining how this impacts victims, themselves and wider society. Through a small comparison of judicial perceptions in two distinct legal cultures there were common hints provided as to what denunciation may mean and what it could achieve when applied to theft offenders. In England, the potentially negative repercussions of denouncing theft offenders in Court were the focus. As one English lay judge eloquently summed up;

‘There is little impact on hardened persistent theft offenders because they know full well what they have done is wrong. It is like water off a duck’s back to them. Public shaming only has an impact if the theft offender cares about what others think of him.’

 However, in Denmark, the potentially positive repercussions of denouncing theft offenders in Court were the focus. As one Danish professional judge confidently stated;

‘When you explain why conduct is unacceptable in society, particularly early on in a theft offender’s anti-social habits, it can act as an important wake up call.’

Sadly comparative qualitative data on judicial denunciation is very rare due to the significant challenges it presents to the researcher. Indeed this research comparing such an important element of the sentencing approach had never been attempted before. By gathering more data across legal cultures it may be possible to align our theoretical understandings of judicial denunciation with the common perceptions in legal practice across Europe and beyond. In this way, comparative academics can contribute to the continuing future globalization of criminal justice. Much more research on judicial denunciation can and should be done. In so doing, how public condemnation of wrongful behavior is commonly perceived by judges in relation to similar criminal offences across different legal cultures will begin to emerge.

Assessing societal impact of social work research

Edwin Van TeijingenREF logoJonathan Parker
The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the new assessment method for publically funded research in universities. Its controversial new ‘impact’ element rates work based on evidence of social, economic or cultural benefits generated from it. But how easily can such things be quantified, particularly in applied academic subjects like social work?

Professors Jonathan Parker and Edwin van Teijlingen from Bournemouth University have addressed these questions in their paper ‘The Research Excellence Framework (REF): Assessing the Impact of Social Work Research on Society’, published in Practice: Social Work in Action.

They argue that ‘the framework raises doubts about whether it is possible to capture fully the impact of social work research at all, and social work itself for that matter’, and stress that some pathways need to be identified to do this.

In suggesting ways to evidence impact, such as primary evaluative research, Parker and Van Teijlingen also outline the stumbling blocks. There are data protection laws and the expense and time of tying up research evaluation with another research project.

The solution, they say, is for social work research to be built and undertaken in partnership with social care agencies; that impact is everybody’s concern and practitioners and those who use social work services and their carers have a role to play in its creation and identification.

Parker and Van Teijlingen acknowledge that the REF will promote critical-thinking, engage practitioners and address the challenges of public spending restraint, but express a deep-seated concern that this new method of assessment will mark a loss of ‘conceptual, theoretical and critical’ research.

Although assessing research through improved social, economic, health, and environmental aspects of life is unlikely to be questioned, Parker and Van Teijlingen strongly argue that it should not be the only set of research outcomes recognised.  They argue that if the REF approach becomes common currency, ‘society is likely to lose the deeper understandings and meanings that have permeated thinking and, no doubt practice and behaviour.’

Both firmly believe BU’s research programme designed to enhance social work practice through continuing professional education has changed practice and influenced policy, as well as numerous other benefits to culture, public services, health, environment and quality of life.

Read Parker and Van Teijlingen’s full paper.

TheHorseCourse – changing behaviour in prisoners

Dr Ann Hemingway from BU’s School of Health and Social Care is working with Dr Rosie Meek from the University of Southampton to work with prisons to deliver TheHorseCourse, where horses are used to challenge offending behaviour.

The horses are trained to give clear and unbiased feedback on mental and emotional self control. Tasks are progressive and challenging, requiring the participants to remain calm and focused… or lose the plot! 

Prisoners are coached to overcome frustration and failure by taking control over their thoughts and feelings. The horses provide both motivation and feedback, and reliably create positive change with even the most difficult individuals.

Initial findings are extremely positive, with participants showing results such as:

  • better self control
  • greater engagement with available education
  • confidence as learners
  • stronger focus on positive goals
  • hope

The horsemanship goal of the 7 sessions is to gain Parelli Level 1 accreditation, the more important goal is to have the skills to lead constructive and satisfying lives.

One of the participants has commented: “”I’ve been on anger management courses, alcohol courses, things like that – this is much different, you’re learning it physical, not mental if you know what I mean. It’s helped me more, without a doubt. I don’t like talking. …Normally, with other courses you’re in a group of people… you have to talk about your issues and things like that, but here you get it out in a different way, you’re doing physical things not just talking. I’ve been doing that since I was 6 years of age and it’s never worked. I learnt a lot about myself. I can actually do things. I always say I can’t but I can.”

‎”From the video based evaluation undertaken so far it is clear to me that this intervention shows real innovation and promise and may indeed have the potential to reduce reoffending. To date there has been no published longitudinal evaluation focused on this type of intervention. It is for this reason that we have committed to undertaking a pilot evaluation.” Dr Ann Hemingway, Bournemouth University, (Public Health Interventions)
 
Reliably changing behaviour in the most difficult prisoners, to donate please visit: https://mydonate.bt.com/charities/thehorsecourse
 
Join TheHorseCourse Facebook group: http://www.facebook.com/TheHorseCourse
 
Dr Ann Hemingway is also the course lead for BU’s MSc Public Health course (part-time and full-time options). Read more about the course to see how you could bring about positive changes in health promotion and influence policies to improve public health and wellbeing locally, nationally and internationally.
 
 

BU’s Sarah Bate talks about developmental prosopagnosia at Birkbeck College

In September 2011 BU’s Dr Sarah Bate was invited to talk at a Face-Blindness Open Day at Birkbeck College.  The event was attended by people with prosopagnosia (face blindness) from all over the world and the media.  The other keynote speakers were big names in the face processing world: Brad Duchaine (Dartmouth College), Tim Valentine (Goldsmiths) and Martin Eimer (Birkbeck).

You can watch an excellent video of Sarah’s presentation here:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WdCMj7Yp6CU&feature=related

The ocean colour scene: How plant pigmentation changes in response to nutrient levels

A diatom

Recent research has suggested ocean nutrient levels are affected by human activities. But what does mean for tiny single-celled marine plants at the base of the food chain?  Can they adapt when faced with decreased nutrient levels, or do they simply die? And what impact will this have on the rest of the food chain?

These are some of the big questions currently being asked by environmental scientists at Bournemouth University.

A new researcher in the department, Dr Daniel Franklin, has just published A coccolithophorea study on cell productivity under nutrient-restricted conditions, examining two important single-celled marine plants (a coccolithophore and a diatom).

The study is in response to growing concerns that the rise in ocean temperatures will restrict nutrient supplies to the marine plants at the base of the food chain.

Dr Daniel Franklin commented: “As the surface ocean warms, we know there will be an increase in stratification, whereby a warm skin of water lies over a colder, denser layer, which might restrict nutrient supply from the deeper water to shallow water and result in decreased productivity.”

The study just published in Limnology and Oceanography examined growth of the coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi, often found in the subtropical open ocean, and the diatom Thalassiosira pseudonana which is often found in coastal seas.

“We showed that E. huxleyi cells adapt to declining nutrients in order to wait for more nutrients, and don’t die” said Dr. Franklin. “T. pseudonana, however, which is known to grow quickly in response to increased nutrients, did not adapt, and quickly died. These two types of response reflect the ecology of the two organisms in their natural habitat.”

But in addition to understanding how sensitive cells are to nutrient changes, these findings could inform how we measure ocean productivity in the future.

“Measuring the amount of photosynthetic pigments, mainly chlorophyll, is how we assess phytoplankton productivity on the macro-scale. We measure pigments from satellites. As part of this work we have been looking at how pigments alter during cell decline so that we can refine our understanding of how productivity can be measured at the macro-scale,” said Dr. Franklin.

Satellite data

The full paper, entitled ‘Identification of senescence and death in Emiliania huxleyi and Thalassiosira pseudonana: Cell staining, chlorophyll alterations, and dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) metabolism’ can be viewed through the Limnology and Oceanography website.

Radio heritage digitised and available on the British Universities Film & Video Council website

Watch this excellent short video from BU’s Professor Hugh Chignell who has worked with London Broadcasting Company’s independent radio news archive to digitalise over 8,000 tapes, creating a live history account which is now available on the British Universities Film and Video Council’s website: http://radio.bufvc.ac.uk/lbc/

To see other BU videos on YouTube go to the BU YouTube page.

 

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=svdm_2f4V24

Research into public health and tourism strategies

Watch this excellent short video from BU’s Dr Heather Hartwell (School of Tourism and School of Health and Social Care) who describes unique research facilitating strategic direction for public health, in alignment with tourism strategies, aimed at creating conversation and collaboration

To see other BU videos on YouTube go to the BU YouTube page.

 

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hv8DM9zKU1c

Workshop on Evolving Predictive Systems

Workshop on Evolving Predictive Systems

co-located with the 12th International Conference on Parallel Problem Solving From Nature (PPSN-2012)

September 1-5, 2012

Taormina, Italy

In recent years, the data mining scientific community witnessed a very strong demand for predictive systems that will be able to evolve and adapt. The range of tasks fulfilled by evolving predictive systems is very broad and covering many different application areas. Despite the high number of publications dealing with applications, there are still unaddressed pressing issues of evolving predictive systems design and development, such as complexity analysis, ensemble architectures and meta-learning. This workshop is devoted to the discussion of robust, context aware and easy-to-use evolving predictive systems, which improve, adapt and possibly maintain themselves within their respective environments and constraints.  Contributions presenting recent work on ensemble systems, complexity analysis and meta-learning are particularly welcome.

The workshop addresses people from the scientific IT community who are active in the research domain of data-driven systems capable to adapt to changing situations and environments. The considered approaches can include evolutionary algorithms, other nature-inspired methods or heuristic approaches. Special focus will be put on research dealing with ensemble architectures, as well as with complexity issues (size, form and interpretation of the solution formula, time and algorithm complexity) and meta-learning incorporation.

Researchers are invited to submit original work as papers of not more than 10 pages. Authors are encouraged to submit their papers in LaTeX. Papers must be submitted in Springer Verlag’s LNCS style.

Topics of interest

Topics that are in the area of interest of the workshop include, but are not limited to:

•             Advanced Modelling Techniques for Evolving Predictive Systems
•             Evolving Predictive Ensembles
•             Complexity Analysis for Evolving Predictive Systems
•             Advanced Adaptation Mechanisms
•             Meta-learning
•             Applications

Important Dates

Submission of Papers: 2 April 2012

Notification of Acceptance: 1 June 2012

Camera-Ready submission of Papers: 20 June 2012

Early Registration Deadline: 25 June 2012

Conference: 1-5 September 2012

Papers are submitted by direct email to mailto:atsakonas@bournemouth.ac.uk

Organization Committee

Bogdan Gabrys, Bournemouth University, UK, bgabrys@bournemouth.ac.uk

Athanasios Tsakonas, Bournemouth University, UK, atsakonas@bournemouth.ac.uk

Mailing address: Bournemouth University, Poole House, Talbot Campus, Fern Barrow, Poole, Dorset, BH12 5BB, UK

Green Economy and sustainability workshop yesterday

GREEN ECONOMY AND SUSTAINABILITY – post presentation notes

FUSION – smarter way of working, many have already been working in this way. Research informs education; education (students) may be subjects of research and co-producers; both may inspire PP. PP can influence research, be subject of research and feeds back into education.

THEME – offers excitement and sharing which could enhance all aspects of the fusion triangle through collaboration across disciplines

POINTS FROM GROUP DISCUSSION/FLIP CHARTS

ACT NOW to seize window of opportunity. The language for Rio+20 in 2012 reinforces the terms ‘Green economy’. Negotiations leading to Rio are underway with the argument being that the way to sustainable development is to put green growth at the heart of economic development strategies while at the same time reducing pollution and green house gasses, maintaining biodiversity and reducing inefficient use of natural resources. The time to get material out and seek to influence is now.

INTER-DISCIPLINARY research/perspectives are required to address SD and develop solutions. There are gaps in the literature in a number of areas. Perhaps a future session might articulate the current gaps?

THINK PIECES might be developed to get out externally but as a starting point this might be used internally to enable the group to learn about the diversity of perspectives within the group. Need a way to share these that is internal ‘Google docs’ might be useful. Need something to support collaborative working either asynchronous but preferably synchronous.

FUTURE EVENTS and collaborations

  • Forums – opportunities for collaboration and sharing
  • Importance of tangible outputs
  • Paper writing sessions – focused collaborative working where paper is drafted by end
  • Book – collection of chapters but with caveat about impact
  • Edited volume of papers

STICK IT COMMENTS ideas and areas of interest:

  • Use the database of GKE interest people, augment it with thought pieces and make it available
  • BU – cross school collaboration with community lead projects = impact at grass roots level e.g. DECC bid with energy saving; TT Dorchester.
  • Short policy papers supported by a new cornerstone text (e.g. Blueprint for a Green Economy or Our Common Future
  • Green health issues – how can this link?
  • Sustainable Tourism/ Eco tourism
  • Recognition of value of nature capital in leisure
  • Renewable energy
  • Green consumer profile
  • Green Lifestyle
  • Green supply chain
  • Resilience of Green Economy
  • Human Behaviour and cooperation (in terms of climate change scenarios
  • Motivational behaviour
  • Impacts of ‘Greentec’ (Social Environmental Economic)
  • Social justice
  • Leadership for SD
  • Systemic thinking/futures thinking – envisioning alternative lifestyles
  • Contradictions and challenges within greener economy and economic growth

Critical thinking and professional judgement for social work

Professional judgement, communication and critical reflection are vital aspects of a social worker’s role and a new book, ‘Critical thinking and professional judgement for social work’, aims to empower post-qualifying students to develop these skills.

The front cover of 'Critical Thinking and Professional Judgement for Social Work'Author Lynne Rutter from the Centre for Post Qualifying Social Work at Bournemouth University explains more about professional learning, a new way of thinking and her own research.

“I am intrigued by the psychology associated with learning. It is obviously an emotional and very personal experience, especially for qualified practitioners, but it should also be an empowering experience.

“For me, professional higher education is about developing more complex thinking which has practical, reflective, personal, moral, as well as objective, conceptual and theoretical aspects. All these aspects are part of professional reasoning and judgement and ultimately professional understanding and knowledge, and so are equally important.

“My journey has led me to understand that there is a productive and empowering synergy here if no one aspect is privileged over the others and if a professional perspective becomes a focus. These were very important elements within the professional doctorate which made it very meaningful and useful for my own practice. The book brings much of this work together and aims to highlight and develop the complex thinking associated with professional learning as a key part of developing confidence and authority in a professional role.”

Order a copy of ‘Critical thinking and professional judgement for social work’.