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Items filtered by date: December 2013

Tuesday, 10 December 2013 14:21

Learning Styles

Learning Styles


Introduction

Today’s college students use different learning styles. Some learning styles encompass a direct approach while others are more or less indirect. In view of such aspects, it is pertinent for students to recognize and understand each style. Such knowledge is massively critical in terms of boosting the efficiency or the framework of learning outcomes. This analysis narrows down on the framework of the 3 learning styles. The spatial, musical, and interpersonal learning styles comprise the framework of analysis in this assignment.


The Interpersonal Learning Style

The interpersonal learning style pertains to a style in which a student prefers to gain knowledge through interactions with other people. Such students derive a sense of satisfaction through interactions with colleagues or even other people in the society. For instance, this learning style can be exemplified when a student gains extensive knowledge from group assignments (LeFever, 19). Through the group assignments, the student has an excellent chance to interact and learn from colleagues. Knowledge about this learning style is massively essential in numerous ways. Such knowledge enables the student to make appropriate decisions as pertains to the choice of career. In essence, a learning style plays a critical role in terms of influencing the career decision of students.


Musical Learning Style

Apart from the interpersonal style, the musical learning style is also common among today’s college students. The musical style applies to students who can easily understand the relationships between sounds. Such relationships are extremely helpful towards the student’s acquisition of knowledge. For these students, they can understand the linkages or meanings of different patterns in sounds. In college, these kinds of learners join choirs, bands, and other musical platforms (LeFever, 21). The standards of creativity among such students are considerably high. A notable trait among these students is that they frequently hum. This learning style is also highly beneficial from the perspective of making decisions about one’s career. Consequently, the musical learning style is strongly beneficial for all students.


The spatial learning style

Among today’s college students, the spatial style serves as another significant learning style. As opposed to other learning styles, the spatial style focuses on students who derive knowledge by observing the different aspects in their surroundings. Consequently, visual perspectives are pertinent elements of this learning style. Such students have an excellent ability to assess and understand information by visual means. For instance, the spatial learner can gain extensive knowledge from art galleries, museums, or drama. Consequently, the learners in this category have an excellent visual memory. Such a memory contributes massively towards cognitive development (LeFever, 61). The significance of this learning style is that it enhances the realization of talent. For instance, such students can perform exceptionally in journalism and media studies.


Conclusion

The analysis zeros in on the three major learning styles. The spatial, musical, and interpersonal learning styles are dominant among today’s college students. There are numerous beneficial implications of understanding or gaining information about different learning styles. A notable aspect about the three learning styles is that they facilitate for effective choices in careers. The different learning styles are also extremely helpful in terms of boosting a student’s framework for cognitive development. Some students are brilliant in the interpersonal learning styles while others are characterized by the spatial learning styles. Such aspects are pertinent components of the entire learning process.


References

LeFever, Marlene. Learning styles, David & Cook Publications, 2011


Published in Education
Tuesday, 10 December 2013 14:17

Poem Review

Poem Review


Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806 - 1861)

Sonnets from the Portuguese

This poem was inspired by the personal love life of Elizabeth. The collection of these sonnets demonstrates her like for lyricism in verse. The sonnet is a sequence of forty four love sonnets written secretly in 1845-1846. Most sonnets take the format of love poetry. They involve a sense of unfolding narrative and accumulate complexity of experience in the lovers’ tale. Elizabeth sonnets are based on two types of sonnet format that include the patriarch model and the English model. The central theme of sonnets is the intense love that the poet felt for her would-be husband.  


WALT WHITMAN (1819 - 1892)

From Song of Myself

 Whitman uses dramatic dialogue effectively to drive home the theme of ecstasy. This is a great deviation to his other popular works, which explore themes of nationalism, democracy and other social themes.  The poem is based on a less narrative sequence that describes two moments of ecstasy, their consequences in life, and the dogma to which they emanated.  The poem is presented as a sequential unfolding of Whitman state of mind.  The narrator takes a representative of a working man who prefers to idle around. In the first sequence, a hero is introduced to the listener. He is presented as an individual in love with his body and deeper soul. In chant 5, an ecstasy of the poet is presented as a sexual union. The poet unites with his soul. At this point, he claims to have had a vision that enables him to realize wonders in peculiar places and in a peculiar manner.


References

Reuben Paul. Perspective in American literature. Retrieved from http://www.csustan.edu On 21/5/2013.


Tuesday, 10 December 2013 14:13

Sample Poems

Sample Poems


1. The Dream of the Rood

The dream of the Rood is one of the most celebrated religious poems of the time.  The poem successfully blends the heroic characteristics of Christianity and German heroes. This portrays the Christian and pagan influence of the poem. In the dream, the poet portrays the cross as a Christ retainer. This representation has double effects: one, Christ is presented as the Savior while, in the second, he presented as a German hero. The poet presents the brave battle Christ had to go through when He was crucified. The poem presents a conflict between heroic value of tradition warriors and Christian ethics. The poet serves as the mediator between the two conflicting sides. The cross represents a royal retainer and Christ represents an earthly lord. The poet details the death and resurrection of Christ, which represents a triumph over sin and evil.  The concept of death and resurrection of Christ is very crucial in Christianity. However, the cross has some pagan representation. First, the cross is personified. This is a common practice among pagans who have talking elements/ spirits.  The crucifixion can also be viewed as a ritualistic sacrifice. The idolatry worship of the tree/cross may also be associated with pagans. Before Christ was crucified, ancient religions used cross for several purposes.  For example, the Babylonians used it a symbol of the sun god. Ancient priests in Egypt and Chaldea carried a cross as a symbol of authority. Given the data the poem was written the cross could be representing a pagan cross. The cross is being worshipped; it’s adorned and offered jewels.


2 Mannerly Margery Milk and Ale                        

The poem is a satirical dialogue between a licentious cleric and his spirited mistress. The poem is thought to be a dialogue for three voices. However, the conversation is dominated by Margery mouthy words, which lacks manners. The reader is quickly plunged into the feisty of Margery as she rebuff James and show her view of young clergymen. Skelton uses “tumbling meter” to give the reader a rough time. The each of the stanza has 5 lines that have the same rhymes. This serves to emphasize the physicality of the action. The setting of the poem is rustic as evidenced by the diction used by Skelton. For example, the use of words such as “a whole cart-load” and straw. The third stanza is characterized with assaults. The end-rhymes in the third stanza gang up menacingly and the mistress passionate protests become fruitless. James succeeds to get through the mistress as seen between the third and fourth stanza (The best cheap flesh that I ever bought).  James proceeds to say that Margery was effortless, and he is no longer interested.


Skelton satire largely targets the mistress. Despite her name reference to Posset, a medicinal drink, Margery is portrayed as immoral and cheap. Skelton has managed to develop her characters fully. He uses names of the main characters to bring them to live. He also uses speech-Rhythms to show the changing moods.


3. “They flee from me” is one the finest poems from Sir Thomas Wyatts. All through the poem, he uses extended but implied metaphor that compares fickle lovers to timid deer, a comparison that became popular for the poet’s sense of women as skittish, nervous, and easily scared. He also uses metaphor to show the fickle nature of women appetite who uses him and later leave him. The lovers are portrayed as stalking into the poet’s chamber.


In the first stanza, more than one creatures who had approached the poet meekly, seeking “bread at my hand”, but who now “range…Busily seeking with a continual change.” The second stanza speaks of one woman in particular who seduced the poet with her beauty and her wiles, only to leave him in the third stanza. The poet is referring to a woman he was romantically involved, but who later left him. He uses metaphor to show that not encounters with the woman were bad.  The “gentleness” of the poet led him only to her “strange fashion of forsaking.” The poem charges the women with the cruelty that is traditionally associated with men. In the poem, the woman who turn out not to be nervous and sensitive at all, rather, they act as if to be so in order to get the upper hand. The gentleness and good manners of the poet receives unwanted cruel reception from the woman. The poet uses antithetic to demonstrate the women as “gentle,” and “meek” while at the same time being “wild” Thomas succeeds in using metaphor to portray women as both “hunters” and as being “hunted” animals. He also uses metaphor to describe his sexual encounter with the women.


5. Death Be Not Proud

John Donne has been reputed as one o f the masters of metaphysical conceit. In his poem, “death be not proud”, Donne uses conceit to conflate death and the life, which culminate in him saying “death, thou shall die.” The poem addresses earthly life, which is disparage compared to the everlasting life promised in Christianity traditions. Donne uses death to refer to both life and death. Donne refers to both death and life as dreadful and mighty. The rises the question whether the existence of human being is threatened by life or by death. He stares that death cannot kill but life kills.

Donne asserts his tradition aspect of life a death by stating

 “From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures bee,

Much pleasure, then from thee, much more must flow,

And soonest our best men with thee doe goe,

Rest of their bones, and soules deliverie”

Through these lines, Don the present the concept of death as cessation of life. However, in the following line, Donne expounds sleep to mean the earthly life. He accuses the addressee as being slaves to fates, kings and desperate men.

Another example of conceit used by Donne is the use of poppy (charms). In real life, herbs are used to make one healthy. However, Donne uses sleep to offer more misdirection to the leader. He contrasts the idea that drug gives death by stating that, after a short sleep, we shall wake externally (Zybekoglu, 2005).

It is clear that Donne was representing the earthly life as the most realistic form of “death” and living as dying.


References

Bahadir Zeybekogli (2005). The use of metaphysical conceits in John Donne’s songs and sonnets and holy sonnets. Retrieved from www.sosyalbil.selcuk.edu. On 17/5/2013.


Tuesday, 10 December 2013 14:04

Comprehensive Doctoral Review Examination

Comprehensive Doctoral Review Examination


How Theory Informs Practice

Introduction

Being successful in today’s education goes beyond the one-size-fits-all approach to instruction and planning (Meltzoff, 2008). Learners and teachers alike must know the necessary school routines but they must also demonstrate the ability to improvise and adapt their teaching and learning practices in day to day, moment to moment practices. The relationship between theory and practice is at the focal point of psychology, and has implications on how psychologists are trained and how they subsequently apply acquired knowledge in the field of practice (Henderikus, 2007). Theory is a set of principles intended to guide practice.


Theories guide or inform practice by proposing the direction for action and the rationale or basis for decision making (Gelso, 2006). In the practice of psychology, it is essential for psychotherapists to account for their interventions. The relationship between theory and practice is reciprocal. In the same way theory guides practice, practice can also guide theory. The results of the actions of a person provide feedback that can facilitate the person to adapt models that reflect lived experience. The concept of theory informing practice is what, in often times, colloquially referred to as “walking-the-talk” (Wacker, 1998). Therefore, this paper attempts to describe the ways in which theory, or rather evidence, informs practice, with respect to how scientific research utilizes theory to validate concepts and inform practice. It describes the importance of theory in science and research.


How Theory Guides or Inform Practice

Theory is defined as an interrelated set of variables or constructs expressed in the form of hypothesis or propositions that present the relationship between and among variables, in terms of magnitude or direction (Creswell, 2009). In a research study, a theory can occur in the form of an argument, rationale or discussion. Theory helps to predict or explain an occurrence or phenomenon. Theoretical rationale is coined from the definition and has a meaning, “specifying why and how the rationale statements and variables are interrelated (Meltzoff, 2008).


In scholarly research, a well structured and appropriately-reported study must provide answers to address the what, why, who, how, when, and where questions (Ellis & Levy, 2008). Theories are formulated to help understand nature (committee on science, engineering, and public policy, 2009). Theories define the beauty of science; they are the reason why researchers are transfixed on the laboratory benches investigating a phenomenon or exploring the threads of a complex theoretical problem. Experiencing by explaining or observing ideas or concepts learned previously is a personal triumph. It can also be considered a collective triumph considering that, through the description and explanation of a concept, the researcher draws on and adds to the body of knowledge subscribed to by all researchers. Through the investigation of theories, the discoverer, explorer, or scientist contributes to the discovery of new ideas about nature. Researchers seek to provide answers to the most fundamental and intriguing questions that people ask about natural phenomena. They draw from theories and literature to provide answers to the complex things about nature and impact significantly on the lives of people throughout the world.   This involves difficult decision making as regards the design of investigations, presentation of results, and interacting with colleagues (Henderikus, 2007).


Throughout time, researchers have designed and developed professional standards aimed to promote the progress of science and minimize the difficulties involved in research (Meltzoff, 2008). These research standards form the formal or accepted principles that govern the way research is done. It is the expectation that researchers recognize and embrace these standards. Those who disregard these codes may lose respect and the result may pose threats to their careers. Science is a progressive enterprise which utilizes past results to build new research. New researchers have an obligation towards their mentors and advisors (Henderikus, 2007).


In particular, a well-articulated statement of the problem is the goal of the research process in disciplines including education, engineering, and information systems. Establishment of a research problem is a complex task. However, it is the most crucial part of the entire research. Appropriate statement of the problem should demonstrate how the intended research builds on existing theory or contributes to the creation of new theory. It must describe how knowledge gained is used and the potential significance of the uses. A clear, well-structured, and precise problem statement leads to a quality research. It is a focal and highly vital procedure of the study procedure. It is the heart of all research projects, i.e., the axis upon and around which the entire actions of research revolve. By basing research on appropriately-articulated, argued, and supported statement of the problem provides the potential for gathering accurate and useful results. A negligible amount of research can establish accurate solutions if the critical subject of evaluation is not clearly identified and studied. It is, therefore, vital that researchers construct and develop argumentation based on logic for the statement of the research problem.


Translating Theory into Practice

The Role of Theory in Problem Statement

Problem statement is the heart of a research project (Creswell, 2009). All the procedures that are included in the study process revolve around the problem statement. In scientific researches, a well-designed and properly reported study must provide answers to the questions of interest to the study. In particular, a well-articulated problem statement is the goal of the research process in disciplines including education, engineering, and information systems. In as much as it is a difficult task, identification of the problem is an integral stage of the entire research process. Appropriate statement of the problem should demonstrate how the intended research builds on existing theory or contributes to the creation of new theory. It must describe how knowledge gained is used and the potential significance of the uses. A clear, well-structured, and precise problem statement leads to a quality research. It is a focal and highly vital part of the research process. It is the heart of all research projects, i.e., the axis upon and around which the entire actions of research revolve. By basing research on appropriately-articulated, argued, and supported the statement of problem provides the potential for gathering accurate and useful results. A negligible amount of research can establish accurate solutions, if the critical subject of evaluation is not clearly identified and studied. It is, therefore, vital that researchers construct and develop argumentation based on logic for the problem statement of the research.


The process of research is a process that comprises a distinct number of elements including goals, research question, and problem statement, review of literature, methods, findings, and conclusions (Henderikus, 2007). In all of these elements, the research problem is the most fundamental; it drives the entire process. The problem statement is the starting point of the processes and serves as a unifying component that runs through the entire procedure.  Without a defined problem statement, the research process cannot proceed successfully. A research problem that is viable can be noted at the introduction part of the study manuscript to state and describe why the study is fundamental. The review of literature validates all the procedures (aims/research questions/ hypothesis, methodology, conclusion, findings, and problem statement) followed in research. In the diagram, the research aims, questions and hypothesis determine the methodology that the study will use. The methodology produces results while the results permit conclusions. The conclusion gives the answers to the study questions (Meltzoff, 2008). Theoretical analysis influences all stages in the cycle of research starting from aims, research questions, and hypothesis formulation to methodology, to findings, and to conclusions.


Theory Testing and Theory Construction

In reviewing literature, one component is to determine the theories that may be relevant in exploring the questions of investigation in a scholarly article (Henderikus, 2007). In a quantitative study, investigators often conduct a test of theories to explain the answers to the questions. In writing a dissertation proposal, the entire proposal may be dedicated to the presentation of theory for the research project. The application of theory in qualitative research is much more varied than in quantitative research. The investigation may develop a theory as the study outcome and place it at the end of study such as in grounded research. However, in other qualitative studies, theory comes at the beginning providing a lens that shapes the research questions to be asked. This is the case in advocacy studies and in ethnographies. In mixed methods studies, researchers test and generate theories, in the same study. Furthermore, mixed methods studies may contain a theoretical lens that guides the entire study.


The value of theory in research is significant and cannot be underestimated (Henderikus, 2007). Research requires a theoretical basis that is sound and a strong methodology. Theory is fundamental to research owing to three reasons. Theory provides a framework for analysis, an efficient method used in field development, and clear explanation for the pragmatic world.  However, the elements that constitute theory are debatable. The majority of researchers utilize classification systems and typologies to define the types of theory. Comprehensiveness, clarity, integration, testability, descriptiveness, explanatory power, and parsimony are the constructs that have been developed to classify theory. However, theory does not have a universal or fixed meaning.


Research Procedure in Quantitative Research

In quantitative studies, the researcher uses theory deductively, and positions it toward the start of the study proposal. The objective is to test or verify theory, but not developing it. The investigator advances a theory, gathers data for the purpose of testing, and reflects on the confirmation or otherwise of the outcome. The theory is the framework for the whole study, organizing framework for the hypothesis or research questions, and procedure for data collection. The deductive framework of thinking used in quantitative research is shown in the figure. The investigator verifies or tests a theory by assessing the questions or hypotheses derived from the theory. The questions or hypotheses have constructs or variables which the investigator intends to define. The researcher then locates an instrument for observing or measuring behaviors and attitudes of the study participants. In the next step, the researcher collects data or scores on the instrument to confirm or reject theory.


The deductive approach of research has implications in terms of the placement of theory in qualitative research studies. The general procedure is to introduce the theory in the introduction and in the literature review section just after the hypothesis and research questions. The theory expresses the rationale for the linkages between variables. Sometimes the theory may be placed on a separate section, different from the research questions and aims (Meltzoff, 2008).


Research Process in Qualitative Research

Qualitative investigators use theory in their research in several ways. First, theory is used as a wide explanation for attitudes and behavior. In this case, it may be complete with constructs, variables, and hypotheses. In the study of social projects such as language, change, social organization, and social control, ethnographers use cultural themes. In this context, themes provide a ready-made hypothesis or hypotheses to be tested from the literature. They provide broad explanations even though researchers may not refer to them as theories. This approach is common in qualitative health science studies, in which inquirers begin with a theoretical model; for example, adoption of health practices. Second, researchers use a theoretical perspective or lens for the study of questions such as race, gender, class and other issues involving marginalized groups. The lens becomes the advocacy perspective which defines the types of questions to be asked.  They also determine the way in which the investigator positions himself or herself in the study, the type of data to be gathered and analyzed, and expresses a call for action or change. The lens guides researchers as to which issues are fundamental to examine such as women empowerment, homelessness, and others. The third aspect involves qualitative studies in which theory is presented as the end point or outcome. It entails an inductive process of building from the data, creating broad themes, and to developing a generalized model or theory as shown in the figure.


Mixed Methods Theory

In mixed methods, studies may incorporate theory inductively to establish an emerging pattern or theory, or deductively in quantitative theory verification or testing (Trochim & Donnelly, 2008). A health science or social science theory may be utilized as a framework that is to be tested in either qualitative or quantitative approach to inquiry. In mixed methods, a theoretical perspective or lens can also be used to guide the study, in cases where the investigator is looking at issues such as gender, race, social class, and related issues.


In testing and constructing theory, theories are attempts to answer the study questions in social science research (Henderikus, 2007). These theories vary in terms of scope, abstraction, and the complexity (the number of links and variables). In order to understand the role of theory in studies, it is compulsory to recognize the variation in the styles or methods of research, i.e., theory building and theory testing. In theory building, the research process begins with observations and applies inductive thinking to generate theory from the observations. This kind of theory building involves inquiring whether an observation or a series of observations are a cause of a general factor. In theory testing, the approach contrasts with the theory building approach. The research process starts with a theory which guides the process of making observations (Trochim & Donnelly, 2008).


The process moves from a general point of view to a specific point of view. It entails the use of deductive reasoning to generate a set of propositions that provides that if a postulated theory is true, certain things should happen in the real world. The theory is thought to hold true if predictions are found to be correct. Theory modification and total rejection are the alternatives when the predictions or propositions are found to be false.  Using de Vaus’ example, we can test whether abortion affects the well-being of the children. Therefore, we can make predictions on the wellbeing of the children under the different family conditions and conduct investigations to test the propositions or predictions.


The Role of Research Design in Research

Research design is the structure of a study or investigation (De Vaus, 2001). It is the logic behind the determination of the methods of study.  Any type of design can use make use of either quantitative or qualitative data. The design of study does not relate to any method of data collection, exploratory or descriptive methods. In exploratory studies, the study purpose is to generate and evaluate causal relationships between variables as described in causal theories.  The relevance of study design is that it reduces the chance of drawing inaccurate conclusions. The study design ensures that the evidence gathered facilitates the researcher to test the theories or answer the study questions (Henderikus, 2007). Therefore, in designing the study, it is fundamental to consider the kind of evidence desired by the researcher. The desired evidence or study outcome determines the design to develop. An accurate design of research facilitates collection of data that will serve the intended purpose of providing answers to the research questions.


The study design should be structured in a way that it facilitates observation of alternative explanations of the phenomenon under study. Through empirical methods, the researcher determines the most valid explanations. The process must not only observe the evidence to look for the one that supports our preferred theory; we must also observe the evidence that has the potential to disapprove the preferred explanations or theories. In order to realize, a reasonable design of research, the researcher must respond to a broad range of factors. These include validity (internal and external) and measurement error (Henderikus, 2010). These are factors that contribute to the ability of the designed study to produce credible and valid results.


Researchers must develop research questions before developing the research design of their studies (De Vaus, 2001). It is fundamental to specify a question and not just identify it. Research questions streamline and narrow down descriptive research in terms of a question that is researchable. Exploratory studies, on their part, moves from a specific issue such as a statistic to the broad elements such as the causes. For this kind of research, independent variables, dependent variables, intervening variables, and extraneous variables are fundamental factors that facilitate exploration. Consideration of the various methods of structuring research designs helps in reaching conclusions that are accurate. Causes of various phenomena cannot be observed. They must be inferred from the study findings or observations. Structuring research design in the right way helps in improving the quality of the study inferences. It is vital to make meaningful comparisons among groups as a fundamental element of drawing inferences.


Conclusion

In research, theory is informs practice through quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods of research (Henderikus, 2007). Investigators apply theory in a quantitative study to predict or explain a relationship among study variables. In this case, it is vital to have prior knowledge of the variables, in terms of their nature and use as they have a bearing on research questions and hypotheses. Here, theory explains why and how the study variables are related. Theory acts as a link between and among the variables. Theory may be narrow or broad in scope, and investigators state their theories in many ways including visual models, series of hypotheses, or if-then logic statements. Deductively, researchers advance theories at the starting section of the study, in the literature review section. Theories can be presented with the research questions and hypothesis, or they can be placed in separate sections (De Vaus, 2001).


In relation to the inductive use of theory, i.e., qualitative research, researchers use theory as a broad explanation, in the similar way as in quantitative research such as ethnographies (Trochim & Donnelly, 2008). It can also be used to construct a theoretical perspective or lens that expresses questions about race, gender, class, and other issues. Alternatively, theories may appear as the end point or outcome, in the form of patterns or theoretical framework. As the end point, it may also be placed as a conclusion based on the views of the participants.  Some studies do not have an implicit theory, and only present s descriptive study of the central phenomenon. Mixed methods of research use theory either deductively or inductively.  In mixed studies also, researchers may use theoretical perspective or lens. Modern designs of studies use mixed methods research where they incorporate mixed methods into all phases of the study process.


References

Creswell, J. (2009) “Research Design: Qualitative, quantitative & mixed methods approach”. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications

De Vaus, D. (2001) “Research Design in Social-Science Research” Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications

Meltzoff, J. (2008) “Critical thinking about research: Psychology and related fields” Washington, DC: American Psychological Association

Strunk, W. & White, B. (2000) “The elements of style (4th ed)” New York, NY: Longman

Trochim, W. & Donnelly, J. (2008) “The research methods knowledge base (3rd ed)” Mason, OH: Cengage

The American Psychological Association (2010) “Publication manual of the American Psychological Association” Washington, DC: American Psychological Association

Ellis, T. & Levy, Y. (2008) “Framework for problem-based research” International Journal of an Emerging Transdiscipline, 11: 17-33

Gelso, C. (2006) “Applying theories to research: The interplay of research and theory in science” Thousand Oaks, CA:   Sage Publications 

Harlow, E. (2009) “Contribution” Encyclopedia of Case Study Research” Http://www.sage-ereference.com

Henderikus, S. (2007a) “Theoretical psychology” The International Handbook of Psychology   Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.  Http://www.sage ereference.com.  

Henderikus S.   (2010b) “Theory” Encyclopedia of Research Design, SAGE Publications Http://www.sage-ereference.com  

Wacker, J.   (1998). “A definition of theory”.  Journal of Operations Management, 16 (4): 361–385

Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy (2009) “A guide to responsible conduct in research Washington, D.C: National Academies Press


Published in Education

Global Actors in Iraqi Mental Health Care Systems


Introduction

Mental health disorders contribute significantly to the global burden of disease[1]. According to the Iraqi Mental Health Survey report published in 2007, mental disorders affect 13.6% of the population. According to the World Health Organization, emotional distress and mental health disorders make up the number four leading cause of death among people over 5 years in Iraq[2]. There is no doubt that social and political repression and the consequent interruption of basic services has taken a toll over the Iraqis[3]. In comparison to the mental health data collected in various countries by the WHO, Iraq has mental health prevalence rate higher than China and Nigeria[4]. The only other country that has a similarly higher prevalence rate is Lebanon. This can be attributed to the situation of conflict in the two Middle East countries[5]. Due to the rising rates of distress and conflicts, the prevalence of mental health disorders has gone up and has become a global problem. The problem of mental health is compounded by the fact that 40% of the primary health care clinics do not have any physicians[6]. Physicians have left the country due to US-led Iraq invasion, in 2003. The principal challenge is the need to provide widespread treatments acceptable to both children and adults who currently do not have access to physicians[7]. Globalization has increased participation of non-state and global actors[8][9].


International Collaboration and the Role of Foreign Influence

The challenges and obstacles in the post conflict Iraq necessitated the development of mental health policy and involvement of various stakeholders5. Global non-state agencies are involved in collaboration with the Iraqi government, through the Ministry of Health3. The collaboration involves the provision of technical expertise and supervision[10]. The function of global agencies includes modeling effective services and adapting psychological counseling to the needs of the Iraqi people, in terms of mental health services[11]. Global actors have helped in the provision of training of counselors to be better equipped to help thousands of people cope with the mental distress that they experience. The goal of these institutions is to ensure that counseling is integrated into the existing health facilities across the country[12], in order to make health services accessible to the people in need of social support[13].


Following the post American invasion of Iraq, Iraq received a lot of goodwill and support from the global community and the country’s Diaspora citizens[14]. As at 2007, there were 80 global non-governmental organizations present in Iraq. The global health actors have played a tremendous role in supporting the provision of health care in Iraq. The International Red Cross intervened and rescued the Al-Rashad Hospital that was damaged and looted during the period of the invasion. The World Health Organization is one of the multilateral organizations that have provided their support to the Iraqi Ministry of health. In 2003 and 2005, the WHO convened consultations with health partners in Cairo with respect to the deteriorating health status in Iraq.  In addition, the WHO has conducted epidemiological studies to understand the mental health burden. In collaboration with the WHO, global health partners funded a refurbished center for mental health in every governorate.  


The United States Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), in collaboration with the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), mobilized resources and prioritized mental health on the health agenda. The agency convened action planning meetings in 2005 in Amman, Jordan, and 2006 in Cairo Egypt.  In 2005, in the United Kingdom, the Royal College of Psychiatry convened an Iraq sub-committee, conducted Annual Fringe Meetings and a volunteer scheme with the aim to bring mid-career-level psychiatrists to Iraq to conduct capacity building. In 2007, a delegation went to Iraqi’s Kurdistan regional governorate and established a link between the Royal College and the governorate with respect to the provision of psychiatric support services. The Diaspora Iraqis established the Iraqi Mental Health Forum to provide assistance in the form of supervision, technical support, and program development expertise to local providers in Iraq.


Global health partners conducted capacity building in collaboration with governments such as Jordan, Kuwait, Egypt, and the United Kingdom. Financial contribution by international donors such as the USAID supplemented the budget of the country’s ministry of health. Japan donated 6 million dollars for mental health care services. The CPA dedicated $100 million to ambulatory services. In the most recent developments, USAID is supporting the ministry of health to incorporate in primary health care mental health services. This is being conducted in 20% of the basic health care facilities. WTO, UNDP, IMF, and World Bank are involved in providing funds and strategic planning to the ministry and other institutions involved in health care provision, in Iraq[15].


Shortcomings of Global Health Partnership for Iraq

The increased participation of health partners in Iraq in the post invasion period led to the development of varied leadership within the health sector[16]. This propagated and delayed development of a national strategy and implementation policies targeted at mental health care[17]. For example, the USAID and the pentagon got entangled in a power struggle during the tenure of the Coalition Provisional Authority. This resulted in a change of health leadership and delay in service provision.  Security issues have also led to the inability of global organizations to perform their health care activities in the country[18]. Despite the large number of organizations that entered the country in 2003, only a small number of them were involved in mental health care activities. In addition, many of the organizations have since withdrawn from the country because of security concerns.  The failure, however, may be attributed to the impact of the stigma attached to mental problems in society, which influences health policy with respect to psychiatry.


Conclusion

The 30 years of an oppressive regime and the ensuing invasion of 2003 have devastated the society and imposed an overwhelming mental health crisis on the population[19]. Forced migration, daily violence, and pervasive human rights abuses have taken a toll on the individual members of the population and the society at large[20].  It is not straight forward how the health situation in Iraq will resolve. However, the work that has been done by the local health institutions with the support of International organizations has provided a fundamental framework for the creation of effective mental health framework[21]. The World Bank and United Nations continue to conduct assessments to provide strategic planning reports for health care service development9. This, however, will require policy development for appropriate implementation, which will be done by the Iraqi government[22].


References

[1] Ministry of Health, Iraq (2007) “Iraqi Mental Health Survey 2006/7” Geneva: World Health Organization

[2] Hamada Hamid (2008) “Iraqi Mental Health” Policy Brief no. 24, Clinton Township, Michigan: Institute for Social Policy and Understanding

[3] Medecins Sans Frontieres (2012) “Healing Iraqis: The Challenges of providing Mental Health Care in Iraq” www.msn.org

[4] World Health Organization (2011) “Mental Health Atlas, 2011” Geneva: Author

[5] Florence Baingana, Ian Bannon and Rachel Thomas (2005) “Mental Health and Conflicts” HNP Discussion Paper, The World Bank

[6] Paul Bolton “Mental Health in Iraq: Issues and Challenges” Lancet 381, no. 1(2003): 879-881

[7] Sabah Sadik, Saad Abdulrahman (2011) “Integrating mental health into primary health care in Iraq” London: Radcliffe Publishing

[8] James Ricci “Global Health Governance and the State: Premature Claims of a Post-International Framework” Global Health Governance 3, no. 1 (2009): 1-18

[9] Inoue, K. & Drori, G. (2006) “The Global Institutionalization of Health as a Social Concern” International Sociology 21, no.199: 199-219

[10] Garfield, R. (2003) “Challenges to Health Service Development in Iraq” The Lancet, 362, no. 9392: 1324

[11] Sonali Sharma, Marion Birch, Judith Cook, and Emily Phipps (2012) “Mental Health Policy Since 2003) London, UK: Medact

[12] Al-Saffar, S. (2007) “Integrating rehabilitation of victims of torture into the public health of Iraq” Torture 2007, 17 no.2

[13] AbdulKareem Al-Obaidi, Boris Budosan & Linda Jeffrey (2010) “Child and Adolescent Mental Health in Iraq” Intervention, 8 no.1: 40-51

[14] Non State Actors in the Global Health World (n.d)

[15] SEATINI, TARSC (2012) “Global Actors in Health Policy” EQUINET Policy Brief no. 29, Harare: EQUINET, ECSA

[16] Hamada Hamid (2007) “Developing Iraq’s Mental Health Policy” Psychiatric Services, 58 no.10: 1355-1357

[17] Nicole Szlezak, et al. “The Global Health System: Actors, Norms, and Expectations” PLOS, 7, no.1, e1000183

[18] Jesper Sundewall, Collins Chansa, Goran Thomson, Biger Forsberg, and Dale Mudenda (2009) “Global Health Initiatives and country health systems” The Lancet, 374(2009) : 1237-1238

[19]  Sonali Sharma & Jack Piachaud “Iraq and Mental Health Policy: a post war invasion analysis” Intervention 9, no.3 (2011): 332-334

[20] Kate O’Neill, Jorge Balsiger, and Stacy, VanDeveer (2004) “Actors, Norms, and Impact: Recent International Cooperation Theory and the Influence of the Agent-Structure Debate. Annual Reviews

[21] Abed, R (2003) “An Update on Mental Health Services in Iraq” Psychiatry Bull R Coll Psychiatry, 27(2003): 461-462

[22] The World Report (2005) “What will the new World Bank head do for global health” The Lancet, 365(2005): 1837-1840


Published in Sociology
Tuesday, 10 December 2013 13:55

Schistosomiasis

Schistosomiasis


The NTD researched is schistosomiasis. The disease is listed as one of the 17 neglected diseases by World health organization.  It is a poverty related disease that results into chronic ill-health. Individuals acquire schistosomiasis through contact with water that is freshly infected with larvae form of parasitic flute called schistosomes.  Once inside the body of a human being, adult schistosomes drain the urinary tract and intestine of the affected person.  The adult Schistosomes lay eggs which are trapped in   tissues of the affected person. Many tissues are damaged as the body respond to these eggs. More than 240 million people are affected by schistosomiasis with 700 people living in pandemic areas. Schistosomiasis is widespread in tropical and sub-tropical regions, and impoverished communities that lack clean water sources.  


The source that offers an explanation on the alternation of generation in plants is the university of California museum of paleontology (UCMP) the information was retrieved from http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/glossary/gloss6/altergen.html under the topic Haploid-Diploid life cycle. The source provided a detailed explanation of haploid-diploid cycle, which is the basis of plant generation alternation.  The source helped me understand the concept of generation alteration by explaining in simple terms the process of haploid-diploid lifecycle.  The site also provided link sites and URL where one can read more on generation alteration ion plants. On a scale of 1-5, the source scores 3. First it is an education source because its URL ends with edu. Secondly, the source uses a simple language that ca n be understood by everyone. Third, the source uses diagrams and illustrations to explain to the reader. However, lack of scientific terms may reduce its authority as a scientific source.


References

The haploid and diploid cycle. Retrieved from http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/glossary/gloss6/altergen.html on 31/5/2013.


Published in Education
Tuesday, 10 December 2013 13:41

X-Men

X-Men


It is very difficult for a mutant that does not look human to be human.  Mutation causes some changes into the physical, mental and psychological nature and characteristics of the affected person.  As in the case of Mystique, the huge the effect of mutation on the physical forms of the mutant, the difficult it becomes to live and associate with the humans. The physical changes make the mutant feel uncomfortable, easily identified and singled out as a mutant. The nature of human being dissents what is different from them and that threaten their own existence as superior animals. However, mutants whose mutation was not manifested physically were able to intermingle with human beings.  Charles Xavier and professor are able to intermingle with human beings because their mutation is not manifested physically.  Freud conceptualized that things that seem terrifying and frightening appears so because they were once familiar. This is the case of Mystique and other mutants who were once humans but lost their humanity because of genes mutation after the atomic bomb.  People do not readily accept what is different; as Mystique, I would disguise myself as a human being.


It is human nature to view creatures that are different yet close to human beings with suspicion. People are likely to reject her, and it would be difficult for her to be integrated into the normal society.  The mutants have already created their sub-culture, which is different from humans.  In the current world, discrimination and prejudice on the basis of color exist. If human being discriminate fellow human beings on the basis of color, what would happen to mutants who are not humans.  Considering the existing tension between human beings and mutants in the movie, appearance of Mystique on a grocery store on her blue color would attract unwanted attention, panic and mostly likely confrontation.


The plan of Sebastian Shaw would not have worked.  First, he is already experiencing resistance from some of the mutants (Xavier & Mystique), so it is likely that more mutants will revolt against him. His intention to use nuclear strategy on human population would wipe out all human beings some of whom are relatives and friends of the mutants.  The mutants have not been depicted as loyalists to Shaw, and as in case of many revolts, there is a likelihood of emerging differences after the revolution.


The efforts by Shaw to terminate the human race are similar to Nazi efforts to exterminate Jewish.  Nazi efforts collapsed after a united force rose against his intentions. Similarly, the efforts of Magneto and his allies are likely to defeat Shaw’s efforts and his plan of terminating human race. 

The character of Charles Xavier is quite appealing. Xavier appears human in all aspects, and his mutation manifestation is hidden. He can interact with human beings effectively and even form social bond with humans. The only thing that separates him from human beings is the mutant’s sub-culture.  His ability to read the intent and mind of people is fascinating.  According to the film, human action resulted into the mutation that resulted into Shaw and other mutants. Therefore, it would be hard for any mutant to side with human beings who are only concerned with their existence alone. However, exterminating them would not offer a solution because two wrongs do not make it right.

Sebastian powers are resentful.  They make him infuriated and filled with anger and intent to revenge.  Instead of using such powers to exterminate human beings, I would use my financial endowment to empower fellow mutants so that they can compete with humans fairly.


Published in Education

A Comparative Analysis Of Gallup And Field Research Corporation Opinion Polls


Opinion polls are used worldwide to report public views on different issues. They are used as opinion shapers in different legislative, social, economic and political spheres. In the political field, opinion polls are used to report public choice on elective positions. In united state, opinion polls are part of the electoral process. Many opinion polls companies have sprung up in different states. These companies and organizations use different methodologies to conduct their surveys. However, credibility of some companies is regularly questioned.  Any effective and authoritative opinion poll is based on scientific research methods that are standards and universally accepted. However, in united state, pollsters have to contend with instituting necessary measures to ensure any poll is based on a representative sample. This posses a huge challenge because of the large population of the country, different social backgrounds, economic disparity, ethnicity, race and geographical distribution of it’s population. This paper explores two opinion polls conducted shortly before the 2012 presidential election in united state.


Gallup poll opinion released on November 4, 2012

This opinion poll was conducted by Gallup Inc. The poll showed a neck to neck race between Obama and Romney. The poll sought to seek the preferred presidential candidate among USA citizens.  The poll was conducted between the first and fourth of November 2012 as part Gallup Daily election tracking poll. The poll findings were based on a sample of 3,117 participants who were randomly selected from the fifty states and the Colombia district. The target population was all likely voters in the forthcoming election.  Unlike other national polls, Gallup survey was based on adults aged 18 years and above and registered voters. The pollster used landline and cell phone call to conduct interviews.  The sample included a minimum quota of two hundred and fifty cell phone participants and two hundred and fifty landline participants per five hundred national adults.  Landline participants were randomly selected from a list of numbers from service providers. Cell phone participants were selected using random digital dial methods.  A random household selection method was used to select participants for the study. The pollster used recent birth records to select the household for efficiency. The sample was weighted by race, gender, Hispanic, education, age, size of households, and phone cell status.  The demographic weighting was based on 2011 March population results. This was used to decide on age selection of the participants.


On a scale of one to ten, the results by the pollster scores 8 out of ten.  This is basically based on the comprehensive methodology that the organization has elaborated. The poll results by Gallup are well supported by a clearly documented methodology that explains how the participants were selected. Being a national survey, the opinion poll employed a comprehensive weighting process to ensure the sample was as representative as possible. The organization has also employed several strategies to reduce marginal errors.   Landline and cell phone participants were selected from a minimum quota of 250 interviewees. The organization has also informed its audience that its results are prone to wording, questioning or other practical difficulties. This is a sign of openness and the results sound genuine. Most cell phone interviews are prone to non-response bias. Some citizens do not answer calls from strangers or they decline participating in opinion polls. This introduces the potential of the poll having a selection bias. It represents the opinion of participants who agreed to participate in the poll and disregard the opinion of those who declined to participate.


The poll results are also prone to response bias in which the responses given by a participant do not represent the actual beliefs of that respondent. The bias may be caused by the wordy interview and incorrect ordering of the questions.

The poll was also open to coverage bias. The sample was basically selected from individuals who own telephone lines. However, this bias can be undermined by the fact that a large population of US citizens own telephone lines. In other regions, majority of people have mobile phones only. In some states, it is unlawful for pollsters to solicit calls to individuals where the participants will be charged for receiving the call. Such states are not represented in the survey. The poll was also susceptible from errors or bias introduced by the wording of the questions.


Analysis of opinion polls conducted by field Research Corporation based in California.

The opinion was published on November 3, 2012. According to the pollster, Barrack Obama enjoyed an over whelming support in the state of California. Polls also indicated that Obama enjoyed unwavering support from Latino/Hispanic voters.


A total of 1,912 registered voters from California took place in the poll. 1,566 were identified as potential in the forthcoming election. This sample is relatively small but if collected in a fairly randomized it can provide a picture of the public position. In order o minimize errors caused by the small size of the sample, the pollster allowed for multiple dialing of participants who were randomly selected from the list of voters.  The credibility of the sample will obvious depends on how scientific it was its selection and sampling.   The pool was conducted using interviews which were conducted using telephone.  The potential voters were randomly selected based on frequency of voting, party registration, voting patterns, Geographical area, regions, gender, age and race/ethnicity.  The research company was socially response because it conducted its interview in six different languages including Vietnamese, Spanish, English and Korean.   Data was collected in two consecutive interviews.


The first batch of interviews was conducted between October 17-24. 815 participants participated in this first round.  The second phase of the interview was conducted in October and it involved 751likely voters.  The pollster insisted on using participants who were eligible voters, but it did not have ways of authenticating whether the participants were actually registered voters. The poll sought to answer several questions such as whether a respondent would vote for barrack Obama. The poll sought to answer whether a client’s preference of Obama was informed from resentment of Romney and vice verse. Apart from polling the national presidential candidate, the poll also polled state governorship position pitting Feinstein and Emken.


On a scale of 1 to 10, the pollster result would score 7 out of ten. This is because of its frantic effort to ensure errors introduced by the small size of the sample were compensated by putting enough effort to ensure all the randomly selected participants participated. However, the credibility of the pollster’s result can be severely affected by the disadvantages of phone interviews. This includes coverage bias, response bias and non-response bias. Phone interviews are characterized by lack of sincerity and personal touch. The pollster did not have any mechanism in place to validate that the respondent was actually the participant selected. There are, therefore, chances that some responses were not the opinion of registered voters but rather close relatives. 


The list of questions that the pollster used was large. This would affect the credibility of the responses. Most American citizens live a busy life. Combining the two polls was likely to introduce errors to the answers given.  The pollster should have concentrated on either the national election or state election. Most opinion polls are also affected by the large number of undecided voters. The pollster did not employ any measure to curb the influence of undecided voters on the final results of the poll.


On a comparative point of view, Gallup poll is authoritative compared to field Research Corporation. Gallup has provided a detailed and clearly itemized result of all the questions under investigation. Gallup survey was specific and addressed only the presidential election unlike Field Research Corporation, which conducted a broad survey. Gallup has also provided a detailed methodology that it used to select the sample. Field research is highly susceptible to errors and bias introduced by the wording of its questionnaire, which is very wordy. Field Research Corporation has not comprehensively documented its sampling methodology. It has also not acknowledged the possible errors to its final results.


References

The Field poll results. Retrieved from http://www.field.com on 24/5/2013.

Romney 49%, Obama 48% in Gallup's Final Election Survey. Retrieved from http://www.gallup.com.


Published in Sociology
Tuesday, 10 December 2013 13:06

Case Study: VisitBritain

Case Study: VisitBritain


Introduction

      VisitBritain is the United Kingdom’s national tourism agency, with the task of marketing Britain overseas[1]. The agency works with different entities in the United Kingdom and foreign locations to market Britain to potential visitors from around the world1.  It also works to promote the tourism industry within the United Kingdom itself. The agency’s role is to attract tourists from around the world and encourage them to help improve the British economy by spending more time and money exploring the countryside and cities. Britain has a rich heritage, but the weather is not something that will attract people seeking for the sun1. At the same time, many other countries, especially those in the affected European Union Countries such as Greece and Spain, as well as other emerging countries, are fiercely battling for the same customers1.


      VisitBritain has a vision is to inspire world citizens to explore Britain while its mission is to promote the worth of tourism to the United Kingdom in partnership with the industry and country and regions. This paper analyzes VisitBritain’s marketing strategies with a focus on tourism marketing segmentation process, competition, positioning, sustainability, and the significance of branding and technology on the profitability of the marketing agency.


  1. Importance Of Marketing For The Agency

Tourism is one of the most principal sectors of the world economy[2]. In relation to labor estimates, the industry holds at least 10% of the workforce globally[3]. In Europe, the statistic is about 10%. In 2020, the World Tourism Organization projects that countries such as Britain will double the volume of tourist arrivals by 2020 to over a billion guests3.  Italy and China are rising suddenly in tourist arrivals. Tourism sector is a highly competitive industry in the 21st century global world[4]. It influences the entire tourism business as a corporate response involving both the frontline and the boardroom staff.  For VisitBritain to be able to attract more to its visitor base, it must create networks and infrastructure for promotional and reception activities[5]. It must create a brand clearly detectable in the eyes of the customers.  For these reasons, marketing is very fundamental. Marketing is a systematic strategy based on the expectations and needs of the market[6].


Marketing has achieved a lot of success for the organization4. In 2011, the royal wedding was televised all over the world1. In mid-2012, the Monarchy hosted the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations which again were screened all over the world1. Later on in 2012, the Olympic Games in London were also a world event that brought in visitors from across the world.  The Olympic Games were viewed by an audience of 4.7billion people globally. The government through VisitBritain intends to build on the 2012 Games to increase the country’s legacy and the annual tourist visits by 4 million. In addition, the government wants to create 50, 000 new jobs and generate additional £2 billion in annual revenue. In its latest strategy, with the slogan Love Football Love Britain, VisitBritain uses foreign players, in the Barclays Premier League, to market the country. This is done by means of player interviews and football itinerary to express the beauty of Great Britain. Foreign players are interviewed about their experiences in Great Britain during their stay in the country, in the course of their football careers1


  1. Strategies Adopted By The Agency In Recent Years

Travel demand is driven by rising incomes, increased mobility, escapism, education, business purpose, and improved transport7.  The travel destination is influenced by accessibility, nature of tourist products, search for foreign exchange, and historical connections. These are the factors that influence the strategies used by tourism agencies.


Segmentation, Targeting, Positioning Strategy

      Tastes and preferences of customers are different and are dynamic, and so they keep changing1.  The strategy of segmentation acknowledges that few destinations are acceptable and desired universally. Therefore, rather than using promotion resources to try to please all travelers, tourism marketing strategies should focus their promotional resources and efforts on needs and wants of potential customers5.  This implies that it is beneficial for VisitBritain to focus on diversifying its marketing brands, in order to focus on various segments with identical needs1. It should divide its potential and present market on the basis of meaningful characteristics. This enables the agency to concentrates its products, promotion, and pricing efforts on reaching the most prominent portions of target markets.  The principal bases for market segmentation are

  • Geographic (political boundaries, population boundaries, and climate)
  • Demographic (age, marital status, sex, marital status, and family size)
  • Socioeconomic (education, incomes, social class, occupation)
  • Psychographic (activities, lifestyles)
  • Behavior patterns (media habits, travel frequency)
  • Develop and build its market position,
  • Maintain and hold its strong market position,
  • Defend its dominant position, and
  • Withdraw from a market with minimal loss

       VisitBritain has developed new products that are appealing to varied segments of customers1. It has created super destinations outside London. This is to make sure that customers who have previously experienced London can have new experiences in different new destinations outside London. For instance, the agency has linked sports and tourism and made destinations such as Manchester the new targets for travelers. This can be a source of referrals with a great prospect of raising the number of tourists traveling to Britain.  The agency must identify segments that it has the resources and capacities to serve5. It must analyze the amount of revenue that it can realize from the various segments. In this respect, variables such as quality stay, satisfying experiences, raised perceived value, and unparalleled offerings can entice more tourists to Britain. In the traditional models of marketing, VisitBritain focused much on the European market. However, strategy change is fundamental because there are countries that are emerging and whose middle class is expanding.


      Citizens of countries such as the emerging BRICS are much willing to visit great destinations such as the Great Britain6. The agency must work to create a match between brand identity, foreign language skill development, effective segmentation, and travel infrastructure enhancement. A mismatch between these factors can have a significant impact on the country’s tourism marketing success. However, careful segmentation, position, and targeting can reduce the effect of competition in the global tourism platform. In line with this, partnership development and creation of strategic alliances are essential. In addition, lobbying for relevant policies and better transport infrastructure can greatly enhance the course of VisitBritain.


Competitive Positioning

            Competitive positioning encompasses different tools and processes developed to appraise an organization of its competitive position and inform strategy development8. It involves the action of strategically changing a firm’s position in the market place. Strategic positioning provides a marketing agency with an overview of the industry, and enables it to appraise its own competitive position7. It assesses the factors that influence the organizations profit performance and market performance. The agency normally conducts an examination of the industry, and the participants within it to gain knowledge of the industry and competition. Specifically, it looks at the competition and the way in which competitors perform in the market, in terms of their strengths and weaknesses.

            VisitBritain conducts regular analysis of the competitiveness of the British tourism industry in various markets1. The goal of the analysis is to engage its resources to defend the country’s market position in terms of tourism visits.

            The agency conducts market analysis to appraise its strategy and conduct the following


The Four-Point Strategy

      VisitBritain’s corporate strategy is based on the Four Point marketing strategy, which has four sets of goals1.

  1. To inspire overseas citizens to travel and explore the United Kingdom

           In relation to this goal, the agency creates and delivers public relations and marketing which maximizes and capitalizes on Britain’s environmental, cultural, sporting, and key events1. The agency has established a global strategy for its tourism brand which leverages the 2012 Olympic Games and promotes the brand of London, Wales, Scotland, and England. The agency promotes and tracks the performance of Britain as a brand. In addition, the agency has prioritized emerging markets in its marketing strategies, such as the BRIC markets. The agency works with international media to facilitative an attractive and compelling editorial that inspires travelers to visit Britain. The agency also engages the travel industry in building the country’s reputation as a global leader in sustainable meetings and events.


  1. Deliver a world-wide network that facilitates tourism promotion globally

      In line with this goal, the agency seeks to maintain an international presence that facilitates the delivery of market intelligence and customer insight1. The other action for this strategy is to deploy the portfolio of regional and national tourism brands in line with the level of consumer understanding of the regions and nations that make up Great Britain. The agency also uses the most effective public relations channels for targeted media activities. The other action earmarked for this activity is the maintenance of local language web content.


  1. Champion tourism and incorporate government and industry in support of the agency’s growth

      The action that is vital here is the development and delivery of public policy with the support of the government and relevant industry organizations.


  1. Maximize the legacy benefits of the 2012 Olympic Games

      In line with this strategy, the agency seeks to secure Olympic Games-related partners to inspire foreign visits1. This necessitates working with industry wide partners, and the government to enhance the visitor experience and welcome.


  1. Significance Of Branding To Visitbritain’sSuccess

      Britain is a strong nation brand1. In the Nations Brand Ranking of 2009, United Kingdom ranked number four out of the 50 countries. The country dropped to number to four from three, the position that it attained in 20081. In overall global ratings, the countries that were in front were the United States, France, and Germany.  According to research, Britain’s principals strengths are education, culture, London, and sports.  In this regard, the brand is very important to VisitBritain.


VisitBritain’s main brand is Britain. The sub brands are

  • England
  • Wales
  • Scotland
  • London

The United Kingdom needs a clear tourism brand that is impactful. The idea of the tourism brand is to promote differentiation, durability, consistency, and destination marketing3. In 2009, the agency started a process of reviewing and revising its current Britain Brand to establish the way to make it relevant for today and to enhance its efficiency within the agency’s marketing.  Britain has the upper hand in terms of having a strong brand that post exceptional performance in terms of culture and tourism. Its assets remain heritage and history, its contemporary culture, and the people.

The strengths are

  • Contemporary culture (films, music, literature, and art)
  • History and heritage
  • Strong sports
  • Welcome
  1. Online Marketing Mix Strategies

            VisitBritain is a popular tourist board in the digital and social media1. The agency caters for more than 1 million highly active fans in Facebook, Twitter, and Weibo. The agency also engages approximately 2 million potential customers in its database to inspire them to visit Britain.  The agency’s website is the principal platform for communicating with clients online. Others include visitbritain.tv, VisitBritain SuperBlog, and blogs run by established bloggers journalists, travel writers, and social media professionals.


            Today, the internet has become pervasive for VisitBritain’s tourism marketing. The agency performs a multitude of tasks to impact a number of areas of the marketing mix. Advertising, direct e-marketing, relationship marketing, customer service, research, and distribution.  An increasing segment of consumers is flogging the internet for trip planning, research, information, and booking trips. In this respect, the internet will continue to expand as an essential tool for marketing.


            Online channels of marketing enhance cost-effectiveness, improve forecasting techniques, and consolidate fragmented tourism products4. In terms of cost-effectiveness, technology facilitates scheduling of staff, global distribution system and consolidates a better integration of functions and departments. In addition, it promotes the provision of better services and reduction of the cost of operations.  In terms of forecasting, technology facilitates a reliable yield management, facilitates, marketing programs and routes planning and promotes a better understanding of consumer needs.  It helps to reduce the gap between the perceived experience and consumer expectations. In terms of consolidation of tourism products that are fragmented, online marketing occurs within the framework of one-stop shopping. Agencies can hold promotions with airlines through computer reservations system.


   In relation to the customer, the internet promotes ease of access to sufficient product information, speed of destination decisions[7]. The application of technology is in line with VisitBritain’s philosophy, which is based on the need to be close to the customer so as to provide world-class customer service.  When the customer utilizes the agency’s marketing channels (CRM, online, and mobile), the agency personalizes its content in the realization of the fact that one-size may not always fit all. The agency embraces strategies that deliver guides in understanding the customer and providing only the information that is relevant to them.


  1. Technological Changes

      Technology is changing the way agencies such as VisitBritain conduct its marketing activities, as a national marketing agency for tourism4. The agency has placed social networking at the mainstream of its marketing strategies.  Popular sites such as Facebook, MySpace, and Flick are constantly being utilized within VisitBritain marketing campaigns. Some content is also being provided through bloggers. In April 2010, VisitBritain launched its new world-class website (VisitBritain.com) which will be a vital tool for the agency’s content distribution. The website will provide a more close integration with the agency’s third party sites, databases, and online shops. In the 21st century, these tools are the modern version of the traditional word-of-mouth7. In total, the agency has adapted new channels such as

  • Wikipedia
  • Yahoo
  • Google
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • YouTube
  • MySpace
  • TripAdvisor
  • Blogs

      Technology is a marketing tool that amplifies of word-of-mouth, the biggest influence on travel decisions[8].  Instead of depending on talking to neighbors and friends regarding holiday destination and choices, technology enables customers to receive travel tips from strangers distributed at distant locations across the world. The agency has incorporated the technological changes brought about by the explosion in social media.  In 2009, VisitBritain created the social media project team. In 2010, the agency developed the outline plan for the team’s activities.   Technology enables marketing agencies to replace part of their human labor with technological labor. Things such as booking tickets online and handling online telecommunications are a common practice currently. Today, customers utilize technology more that other channels of marketing. Agencies must realize this and take advantage of it and create marketing models that link customers and tourism brands online.


Conclusion

      VisitBritain aims to streamline its inbound marketing strategies alongside the World Tourism Organization’s principles8. These are visitor satisfaction; industry profitability; Community acceptance; and environmental protection, i.e. VICE. The agency’s goal is to promote business activities that are sustainable and inspire visitors who are responsible to visit Britain. In the Tourism Framework Review, the concept of sustainable development is addressed directly. This covers sustainable social, environmental, and economic development. In line with this, VisitBritain is developing a marketing policy agenda that comprises all sustainable tourism aspects. The agency aims to integrate sustainable tourism brands within its marketing content and to offer education and guidance for its customers.


      In order to increase visits and spending by overseas travelers in different parts of Britain and Improve the country’s ranking on the destination wish list for international travelers, the marketing agency is guided by the following vision and mission. Funded by the UK Government’s department of Culture, Media and Sport, VisitBritain is a non-departmental Government body whose remit is to promote tourism to the UK1.  The agency has the following goals: Maximize the legacy benefits of the London 2012 Olympic Games, inspire visitors from overseas countries to explore Britain, deliver a network that supports tourism promotion globally in all markets, and to engage industry and Government to champion and support the growth of tourism.


References

[1] VisitBritain (2012) “Britain Marketing and 2012 Games Global Strategy 2010-2013” http://www.visitbritain.org/Images/VB%20Strategy%202010-13_tcm139-181832.pdf

[2] Hollensen S (2012) “Essentials of Global Marketing (2nd Ed)” London: Pearson Education

[3] McDonald M (2011) “Marketing Plans- How to Prepare Them, How to Use Them” New York, NY: Wiley

[4] McDaniel C Jr., Gates R (2012), “Marketing Research (9th Ed)” New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons

[5] Armstrong G, Kotler P, Harker M, Brennan R (2012) “Marketing: An Introduction (2nd Ed)” London: Pearson Education

[6] Chaffey D, Ellis-Chadwick F (2012) “Digital Marketing: Strategy, Implementation & Practice (5th Ed) London: Pearson Education

[7] Doyle P, (2008) “Value Based Marketing: Marketing Strategies for Corporate Growth and Shareholder Value” New York, NY:  John Wiley

[8] Hooley G, Piercy NF, Nicolaud B (2012) “Marketing Strategy & Competitive Positioning (5th Ed)”, London: Prentice Hall


Published in Sociology

Sir Philip Sidney (1554 - 1586):Ye Goatherd Gods


Similar to his work, Philip Sydney writes about a pastoral romance which relates to anguishes of two shepherds happen to be affectionate with same woman. The lover then leaves then, and the two shepherds are miserable and heartbroken. They cry to the gods, nature and heavens in anguish. This poem is highly emotional and hyperbolic the poem is unique because it is written in the form of a double sestina.


The first stanza of the poem is spoken by Strephon. At this stanza, Strephon is seen appealing to the gods, nymphs and satyrs. Sydney uses imagery to create a mental picture of fine grazing plains. In the second stanza, Klaius, the second lover, is heard speaking to the heavens in woes. He mentions the mercury (visible in the evening), Diana (moon) and Venus.  Similar to the first stanza, where Strephon as the gods to him, Klaius also asks the gods to hear his plea. The third stanza features Strephon lamenting how his days have dramatically changed from a converted musician to a sorrowful individual. Similarly, Klauis flashback to his old days when he used to play personifying music.  The desperation state of Strephon is exacerbated in the fifth stanza where he equates his song to swans song, which is sung before death.   Klauis reiterates by wishing he was dead (underneath a mountain) instead of suffering the agony of losing a lover.  The perception off the two lovers has generally changed after they lost her. Strephon, anthropize nature by extrapolating onto its emotions, present and past.

It is also imperative to note that the last stanza of the poem is a tristich where Strephon and Klauis reiterate their sorrow.


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