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Victoria PhD Graduates at 5 year high

Victoria PhD Graduates at 5 year high

Victoria’s December graduation (December 10 & 12) will seal a five-year high in the number of PhD’s conferred, with a total of 71 in 2003.

Seventy one students will have received PhD’s by the end of 2003, highlighting the increase in doctoral and postgraduate study at Victoria. The number of students graduating with a doctorate from Victoria has more than doubled since 1998.

Professor Stuart McCutcheon, Vice-Chancellor of Victoria University, is delighted that so many students will graduate at doctoral level in 2003.

“Research is the backbone of our university and the PhD graduates this year have excelled at the highest level of academic achievement. Their research has provided answers and insights into some of the major questions and problems that we all face.

“The students who will have their PhD’s conferred next week are amongst an elite group who recognise the value of their qualification.

“They are in the group who are leading the Government’s vision of a knowledge society and are attractive employees in a global market.”

Many students have worked in collaboration with employers and research organisations around the country to achieve high quality and varied research topics, which range from geology and religion to music and psychology.

An outline of research topics is included with this release and contact details can be provided.

Victoria University Graduation Ceremonies:

Wednesday 10 December, 1:30pm
Faculties of Architecture and Design, Commerce and Administration, Science

Wednesday 10 December, 6:30pm
Faculties of Humanities and Social Science, Law

Friday 12 December, 12pm
Te Hui Whakapûmau, Te Herenga Waka Marae, Victoria University

ENDS

Victoria University December Graduation 2003
PhD Abstracts

Page 1: Classics
Geology
Industrial Relations
International Relations

Page 2: Law
Linguistics

Page 3: Linguistics
Management
Music
Nursing

Page 4-5: Psychology

Page 5: Public Policy
Religious Studies
Classics

Emma Madison
Doctor of Philosophy (in Classics)
Cassandra is a well-known figure from Greek mythology, capturing the imagination of poets, playwrights, psychoanalysts and even pop-stars for more than 2,500 years. Emma Madison has completed the first comprehensive analysis of the figure of Cassandra in Aeschylus’ Oresteia and Euripides’ Troades. This study deepens our understanding of the different conceptions of her character and the way the playwrights sought to use her for dramatic effect, principally through the exploitation of her character as the prophetess who always speaks truthfully but is never believed. This study helps understand Cassandra’s character in all subsequent depictions of her.

Geology

Cliff Atkins
Doctor of Philosophy (in Geology)
Cliff Atkins' research uses modern day geological features to help understand ancient glaciers and shed light on climate change. When glaciers slide over rock, they leave numerous marks and striations, which can last for millions of years, and are used by geologists to document their original position. This study characterises striations from different types of modern glaciers in New Zealand and Antarctica and compares them to similar rock markings made by present day fault movements and landslides. The results provide criteria to interpret ancient glacier types and to separate them from non-glacial events. Cliff Atkins discovered previously undescribed erosion marks produced by super-cold Antarctic glaciers.

Industrial Relations

Gay Simpkin
Doctor of Philosophy (in Industrial Relations)
In the 1980s government restructuring introduced new values of choice and competition to a wider variety of services in the economy. Gay Simpkin studied this restructuring as it impacted on education in the form of Tomorrow’s Schools; a new philosophical approach that was diametrically opposed to teacher’s existing philosophies. Her thesis looks at the build up to Tomorrow’s Schools by focusing on discussions surrounding the 1989 pay negotiations for secondary school teachers, where the opposing philosophical approaches led to industrial action. Her findings have explanatory implications for subsequent teacher negotiations and show how 1989’s resolutions continue to influence the approach to education in New Zealand.

International Relations

Julian Chapple
Doctor of Philosophy (in International Relations)
Since the late 1980s the Japanese government has undertaken a policy of internationalisation. Julian Chapple’s research focused on the history, aim and philosophy of the policy, analysing issues relating to human rights, education, and modern society. He developed the term ‘profound internationalisation’, examining its acceptance in Japan and the prospects for a more multicultural society developing in the near future. He concludes with a call for Japan to actively seek profound internationalisation policies as it tries to modernise, which will have far-reaching consequences for the global community in the years ahead.

Law

Gordon Hook
Doctor of Philosophy (in Law)
The Constitutional Status of Military Tribunals: Paradigm Lost, Paradigm Regained
A Critical Analysis of New Zealand Military Justice in the Light of International Trends
New Zealand military courts are presided over by military officers, not judges, and are capable of punishing service persons overseas and at home with imprisonment, detention and other criminal forms of punishment. They reflect a 19th Century form of justice and have failed to keep up with New Zealand’s international human rights obligations. Gordon Hook's research finds that military courts in New Zealand must undergo a constitutional shift to reflect the civil justice standards of independence and impartiality, and to also bring the military justice system into line with those of our defence allies.

Linguistics

Dianne Bardsley
Doctor of Philosophy (in Applied Linguistics)
A lexicon of rural New Zealand English terms formed the basis of Dianne Bardsley’s thesis, in which she provided evidence that rural New Zealand English is a distinctive and diverse variety of the English language. She compiled more than 5,000 entries from a systematic search of sources from 1842 to 2002 and provided more than 20,000 examples of their use in language. She examined the influences upon the lexicon, its development and its status as a storehouse of cultural data to add to the understanding of the development of New Zealand English.

Teresa Chung
Doctor of Philosophy (in Applied Linguistics)
Teresa Chung designed a method of classifying words that will be useful in sorting terms for specialised use. She examined a range of ways to distinguish technical terms from other words, and created an original way of logically defining the borderline. The research findings will be useful for extracting terms, creating technical dictionaries, designing a vocabulary learning syllabus in English for Specific Purposes courses, and measuring the vocabulary load of text, which is important for teachers and learners when dealing with specialised texts.

Lynn Grant
Doctor of Philosophy (in Applied Linguistics)
Lynn Grant's research findings provide teachers of English as a second language with new skills to combat teaching the peculiarities of the English language. Her study explores idioms e.g. 'kick the bucket', which cannot be understood by simply adding together the meanings of the individual words. Compounding the difficulty in learning these idioms is the fact that they are relatively rarely used in everyday speech. She developed three categories of idiom - core idioms, figuratives, and one non-compositional element - which cover the thousands of idioms listed in dictionaries. Finally, she made suggestions for the teaching of all three categories and for future research to advance the field of second-language acquisition.

Peter Keegan
Doctor of Philosophy (in Applied Linguistics)
Peter Keegan’s thesis examined the Mâori vocabulary knowledge of Year 6 students at 12 Mâori-immersion programmes across the country. The students undertook several vocabulary assessment tasks that covered language and mathematics skills. Because the Mâori vocabulary is currently being expanded and standardised, there were some challenges for the analysis but overall findings showed that the students demonstrated sufficient vocabulary knowledge to complete the tasks. The study produced encouraging evidence of the students' vocabulary competence in Mâori, while highlighting the need for more research on student achievement in Mâori immersion education.

John Macalister
Doctor of Philosophy (in Applied Linguistics)
The Presence of Mâori Words in New Zealand English
The presence of Mâori words distinguishes New Zealand English from other varieties of English. John Macalister's thesis tracks the use of Mâori words from the time of colonisation. It identifies changes in their use, including a gradual but constant increase in the proportion of Mâori words in written New Zealand English, and recently, a steep rise in the number of Mâori words used to describe social cultural terms. He proposes multiple reasons for those changes, including a change in speakers' attitudes towards Mâori people and Mâori language.

Sandra Shearn
Doctor of Philosophy (in Linguistics)
This research examines the neglected field of attitudes towards foreign language learning in New Zealand schools. Sandra Shearn’s research showed that attitudes were mostly positive and that the low number of language learners resulted chiefly from barriers within the education system. She found that most adults believed that learning a language contributed to a broad general education, enhanced language skills and cultural understanding. This research supports the Ministry of Education’s recent recommendations regarding languages in the curriculum, which are designed to encourage more language learning in schools from an early age.

Management

Kesten Green
Doctor of Philosophy (in Management)
Outcomes of conflicts such as industrial disputes, takeover battles, trade negotiations, and wars might be improved if protagonists' decisions could be predicted. Kesten Green obtained more than 300 forecasts for eight diverse conflicts. Unaided judgment by experts, the usual method for such situations, was accurate for three conflicts, which was little better than chance. Forecasts by game-theory experts were no better. Experts using a new method called structured analogies were accurate for five of the eight conflicts. Finally, when non-experts were used in simulated interactions (a type of role playing) accurate forecasts were obtained for seven of the eight conflicts.

Music

Megan Collins
Doctor of Philosophy (in Music)
Megan Collins’ research completes the first detailed English language study of a West Sumatran musical instrument. Her thesis focused on an examination of the musical culture of the rabab Pasisia, a bowed instrument that is played by the Minangkabau people from Sumatra, Indonesia. The instrument is played in an all night performance that combines a tight web of solo voice with complex rabab melodies as they convey ancient epics and new creations to the audience. This thesis expands our knowledge of Indonesia’s diversity and contributes to a greater understanding of one of our most important Asian neighbours.

Nursing

Sue O'Reilly
Doctor of Philosophy (in Nursing)
Families and carers often use the expression 'there's nobody there' when referring to people with dementia. Sue O'Reilly uses both biographical texts and interviews with family members of dementia sufferers to uncover significant cultural understandings of what it means to be a person with dementia. The powerful biomedical framing highlights the organic aspects of the illness; contemporary philosophy suggests the sufferer loses the moral aspect of being a person, and; biographical texts disclose unexpected gains by viewing the person in new ways. It is critical for nurses working with dementia sufferers and their families to understand and work with all three understandings.

Psychology

Kristy Bolter
Doctor of Philosophy (in Psychology)
Kristy Bolter's research provides insights into understanding and ultimately rehabilitating action disorders among brain-damaged individuals. Focussing on people with Huntington’s Disease, a genetically-transmitted degenerative brain disease, she studied implicit learning (unconscious learning of skills, e.g. touch-typing) as well as explicit memory (conscious, deliberate remembering, e.g. memorising a shopping list) and implicit memory (events or items are recalled without deliberate intention or conscious awareness). Kristy Bolter studied an innovative combination of these elements, with her research that was purposefully designed to take into account the limited movement of those with Huntington’s Disease.

Jo Brown
Doctor of Philosophy (in Psychology)
Jo Brown studied people aged 50-65 coping with redundancy. Literature indicates that it is hard for this group to find re-employment and her study showed the group suffered a depression rate of more than 40 percent. She looked at the factors that contributed to happiness including: use of leisure time; using humour; and level of life-planning skills. Her research indicated a number of differences between men and women: that men, who often source their identity through work, fought more to regain work; while women were more likely to find happiness by accepting job loss. The research findings have already generated interest from agencies associated with ageing and from overseas.

Justine Cornwall
Doctor of Philosophy (in Psychology)
This thesis investigated the inclusion of heterosexual de facto relationships into the Property (Relationships) Act 1976. Justine Cornwall’s research challenged the idea that de facto and married couples are fundamentally different, finding commitment levels and views about financial and non-financial contributions similar in both types of relationships. She explored ideas about relationship types, gender roles and the meanings of equity and fairness. Her results support the inclusion of heterosexual de facto couples into the Act and will assist the judiciary to make decisions that result in fair outcomes for partners in both types of relationship.

Michael Duggan
Doctor of Philosophy (in Psychology)
Evaluating and demonstrating the utility of utility analysis
Michael Duggan's research evaluated utility analysis - a human resources analysis tool - that previous research had suggested was not useful. He researched a range of areas including a review of existing utility analysis models, a case study of the recruitment and selection process of the New Zealand Police, and an examination into the persuasiveness of utility analysis information. From these and other studies he developed an improved utility analysis model and enhanced understanding of its strengths and weakness. Ultimately, he demonstrates that utility analysis is an effective tool but lack of use and inappropriate application undermine its worth.

Angela Mansell
Doctor of Philosophy (in Psychology)
Angela Mansell’s thesis explored the work environment and its influence on employee psychological health. Focusing on the influences of individual disposition, coping strategies, and work characteristics, she used new statistical techniques to expand on concerns related to earlier research in this field. Her results indicated that work-related support consistently predicted higher job satisfaction and lower levels of anxiety, depression and turnover. The implication is that improving supportive relationships at work should be associated with global improvements to employee psychological health.

Joseph Oliver
Doctor of Philosophy (in Psychology)
Joseph Oliver developed a model that revealed the impact of various work pressures on psychological health and job satisfaction. He found that pressures such as high workload and unreasonable pay affected the way that people viewed their work. His research showed that the way people perceive the level of support from their supervisors is as important as the actual support they are given. This research has applications for managers and staff to develop effective stress management programmes at both individual and organisational levels.

Benjamin Sedley
Doctor of Philosophy (in Psychology)
Benjamin Sedley’s thesis examined children and young people’s ideas about mental illness. Participants discussed cartoon strips that depicted adults with mental health problems. They offered a range of ideas about causes and treatments with their ideas about causes influencing their ideas about treatment. The analysis indicated that as children grow older they develop a more comprehensive concept of mental illness that reflects media influences and their increasing knowledge about psychology and biology. This research has implications for helping children with a mentally ill parent and the development of education programmes.

Stefanie Sharman
Doctor of Philosophy (in Psychology)
Stefanie Sharman’s thesis furthers our understanding of memory. When people are led to imagine fictitious childhood events, they become more confident that these events really happened. This ‘imagination inflation’ occurs because people confuse the images produced by imagination with images from genuine childhood memories. Stefanie Sharman’s research examined whether people could become immune to imagination inflation if they focused on the source of their images. Her series of experiments showed that the more people were armed with cues telling them that the source of their images was false, the less likely they were to show imagination inflation. This research sheds light on common but potentially dangerous therapeutic practices such as guided imagery.

Public Policy

Jacqueline Cumming
Doctor of Philosophy (in Public Policy)
Jacqueline Cumming’s thesis examines the public policy issues that relate to whether there should be a list of health services that all New Zealanders have access to. Her research finds that a more explicit approach, where the list is obvious and available to all, would enable services to be delivered effectively. As with the clinical priority assessment criteria and booking system being used for elective care, it could help to ensure that all New Zealanders have access to the same types of care, regardless of where they live.

Religious Studies

Llewelyn Richards
Doctor of Philosophy (in Religious Studies)
Logic is like mathematics: it is the totally reliable rules of reasoning that animals, humans, and now computers, use all the time. Llewelyn Richards used modern logic systems to look at three versions of Christianity, then Pantheism, Buddhism and Confucianism. Only Confucianism came near to being logical, the other five being very wobbly. He discovered that any religion's logic may be tidied up but major changes to the religion will follow. If you want to keep your religion unchanged (that is, chaotic), that shows you are full of faith, but you cannot pass muster as being rational.

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