Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 32

Search results for: M. S. Kaiser

32 Grid Pattern Recognition and Suppression in Computed Radiographic Images

Authors: Igor Belykh

Abstract:

Anti-scatter grids used in radiographic imaging for the contrast enhancement leave specific artifacts. Those artifacts may be visible or may cause Moiré effect when a digital image is resized on a diagnostic monitor. In this paper, we propose an automated grid artifacts detection and suppression algorithm which is still an actual problem. Grid artifacts detection is based on statistical approach in spatial domain. Grid artifacts suppression is based on Kaiser bandstop filter transfer function design and application avoiding ringing artifacts. Experimental results are discussed and concluded with description of advantages over existing approaches.

Keywords: grid, computed radiography, pattern recognition, image processing, filtering

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31 Wet Sliding Wear and Frictional Behavior of Commercially Available Perspex

Authors: S. Reaz Ahmed, M. S. Kaiser

Abstract:

The tribological behavior of commercially used Perspex was evaluated under dry and wet sliding condition using a pin-on-disc wear tester with different applied loads ranging from 2.5 to 20 N. Experiments were conducted with varying sliding distance from 0.2 km to 4.6 km, wherein the sliding velocity was kept constant, 0.64 ms-1. The results reveal that the weight loss increases with applied load and the sliding distance. The nature of the wear rate was very similar in both the sliding environments in which initially the wear rate increased very rapidly with increasing sliding distance and then progressed to a slower rate. Moreover, the wear rate in wet sliding environment was significantly lower than that under dry sliding condition. The worn surfaces were characterized by optical microscope and SEM. It is found that surface modification has significant effect on sliding wear performance of Perspex.

Keywords: Perspex, wear, friction, SEM

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30 Web 2.0 Enabling Knowledge-Sharing Practices among Students of IIUM: An Exploration of the Determinants

Authors: Shuaibu Hassan Usman, Ishaq Oyebisi Oyefolahan

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This study was aimed to explore the latent factors in the web 2.0 enabled knowledge sharing practices instrument. Seven latent factors were identified through a factor analysis with orthogonal rotation and interpreted based on simple structure convergence, item loadings, and analytical statistics. The number of factors retains was based on the analysis of Kaiser Normalization criteria and Scree plot. The reliability tests revealed a satisfactory reliability scores on each of the seven latent factors of the web 2.0 enabled knowledge sharing practices. Limitation, conclusion, and future work of this study were also discussed.

Keywords: factor analysis, latent factors, knowledge sharing practices, students, web 2.0 enabled

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29 Innovative Acoustic Emission Techniques for Concrete Health Monitoring

Authors: Rahmat Ali, Beenish Khan, Aftabullah, Abid A. Shah

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This research is an attempt to investigate the wide range of events using acoustic emission (AE) sensors of the concrete cubes subjected to different stress condition loading and unloading of concrete cubes. A total of 27 specimens were prepared and tested including 18 cubic (6”x6”x6”) and nine cylindrical (4”x8”) specimens were molded from three batches of concrete using w/c of 0.40, 0.50, and 0.60. The compressive strength of concrete was determined from concrete cylinder specimens. The deterioration of concrete was evaluated using the occurrence of felicity and Kaiser effects at each stress condition. It was found that acoustic emission hits usually exceeded when damage increases. Additionally, the correlation between AE techniques and the load applied were determined by plotting the normalized values. The influence of w/c on sensitivity of the AE technique in detecting concrete damages was also investigated.

Keywords: acoustic emission, concrete, felicity ratio, sensors

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28 Promoting Community Food Security and Empowerment among Somali Bantu Refugees: A Case for Community Kitchen Gardens

Authors: Michelle D. Hand, Michelle L. Kaiser

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African refugees are among the fastest-growing populations in the United States and nearly half of these refugees come from Somalia, many of whom are Somali Bantus, the most marginalized group in Somali society. Yet limited research is available on Somali Bantu refugees. In this paper, Empowerment Theory is used to guide an in-depth exploration of the potential benefits of using community kitchen gardens to increase community food security among Somali Bantu refugees. In addition, recommendations for future research, policy and practice are offered following existing scholarly and grey source literature guidelines as informed by an Empowerment perspective to best meet the needs of this under-researched and underserved yet growing population.

Keywords: community kitchen gardens, food insecurity, refugees, Somali Bantu

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27 Batman Forever: The Economics of Overlapping Rights

Authors: Franziska Kaiser, Alexander Cuntz

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When copyrighted comic characters are also protected under trademark laws, intellectual property (IP) rights can be overlapping. Arguably, registering a trademark can increase transaction costs for cross-media uses of characters, or it can help advertise across multiple sales channels. In an application to book, movie and video game publishing industries, we thus ask how creative reuse is affected in situations of overlapping rights, and whether ‘fuzzy boundaries’ of right frameworks are in fact enhancing or decreasing content sales. We use a major U.S. Supreme Court decision as a quasi-natural experiment to apply an IV estimation in our analysis. We find that overlapping rights frameworks negatively affect creative reuses. At large, when copyright-protected comic characters are additionally registered as U.S. trademarks, they are less often reprinted and enter fewer video game productions, while generating less revenue from game sales.

Keywords: copyright, fictional characters, trademark, reuse

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26 Optimization of the Transfer Molding Process by Implementation of Online Monitoring Techniques for Electronic Packages

Authors: Burcu Kaya, Jan-Martin Kaiser, Karl-Friedrich Becker, Tanja Braun, Klaus-Dieter Lang

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Quality of the molded packages is strongly influenced by the process parameters of the transfer molding. To achieve a better package quality and a stable transfer molding process, it is necessary to understand the influence of the process parameters on the package quality. This work aims to comprehend the relationship between the process parameters, and to identify the optimum process parameters for the transfer molding process in order to achieve less voids and wire sweep. To achieve this, a DoE is executed for process optimization and a regression analysis is carried out. A systematic approach is represented to generate models which enable an estimation of the number of voids and wire sweep. Validation experiments are conducted to verify the model and the results are presented.

Keywords: dielectric analysis, electronic packages, epoxy molding compounds, transfer molding process

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25 Research Attitude: Its Factor Structure and Determinants in the Graduate Level

Authors: Janet Lynn S. Montemayor

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Dropping survivability and rising drop-out rate in the graduate school is attributed to the demands that come along with research-related requirements. Graduate students tend to withdraw from their studies when confronted with such requirements. This act of succumbing to the challenge is primarily due to a negative mindset. An understanding of students’ view towards research is essential for teachers in facilitating research activities in the graduate school. This study aimed to develop a tool that accurately measures attitude towards research. Psychometric properties of the Research Attitude Inventory (RAIn) was assessed. A pool of items (k=50) was initially constructed and was administered to a development sample composed of Masters and Doctorate degree students (n=159). Results show that the RAIn is a reliable measure of research attitude (k=41, αmax = 0.894). Principal component analysis using orthogonal rotation with Kaiser normalization identified four underlying factors of research attitude, namely predisposition, purpose, perspective, and preparation. Research attitude among the respondents was analyzed using this measure.

Keywords: graduate education, principal component analysis, research attitude, scale development

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24 Investigation of Chip Formation Characteristics during Surface Finishing of HDPE Samples

Authors: M. S. Kaiser, S. Reaz Ahmed

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Chip formation characteristics are investigated during surface finishing of high density polyethylene (HDPE) samples using a shaper machine. Both the cutting speed and depth of cut are varied continually to enable observations under various machining conditions. The generated chips are analyzed in terms of their shape, size, and deformation. Their physical appearances are also observed using digital camera and optical microscope. The investigation shows that continuous chips are obtained for all the cutting conditions. It is observed that cutting speed is more influential than depth of cut to cause dimensional changes of chips. Chips curl radius is also found to increase gradually with the increase of cutting speed. The length of continuous chips remains always smaller than the job length, and the corresponding discrepancies are found to be more prominent at lower cutting speed. Microstructures of the chips reveal that cracks are formed at higher cutting speeds and depth of cuts, which is not that significant at low depth of cut.

Keywords: HDPE, surface-finishing, chip formation, deformation, roughness

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23 X-Ray Diffraction Technique as a Means for Degradation Assessment of Welded Joints

Authors: Jaroslav Fiala, Jaroslav Kaiser, Pavel Zlabek, Vaclav Mentl

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The X-ray diffraction technique was recognized as a useful tool for the assessment of material degradation degree after a long-time service. In many industrial applications materials are subjected to degradation of mechanical properties as a result of real service conditions. The assessment of the remnant lifetime of components and structures is commonly based on correlated procedures including numerous destructive, non-destructive and mathematical techniques that should guarantee reasonable precise assessment of the current damage extent of materials in question and the remnant lifetime assessment. This paper summarizes results of an experimental programme concentrated on mechanical properties degradation of welded components. Steel an Al-alloy test specimens of base metal, containing welds and simple weldments were fatigue loaded at room temperature to obtain Woehler S-N curve. X-ray diffraction technique was applied to assess the degradation degree of material as a result of cyclic loading.

Keywords: fatigue loading, material degradation, steels, AL-alloys, X-ray diffraction

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22 Corrosion Behaviour of Hypereutectic Al-Si Automotive Alloy in Different pH Environment

Authors: M. Al Nur, M. S. Kaiser

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Corrosion behaviour of hypereutectic Al-19Si automotive alloy in different pH=1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, and 13 environments was carried out using conventional gravimetric measurements and was complemented by resistivity, optical micrograph, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and X-ray analyzer (EDX) investigations. Gravimetric analysis confirmed that the highest corrosion rate is shown at pH 13 followed by pH 1. Minimum corrosion occurs in the pH range of 3.0 to 11 due to establishment of passive layer on the surface. The highest corrosion rate at pH 13 is due to the presence of sodium hydroxide in the solution which dissolves the surface oxide film at a steady rate. At pH 1, it can be attributed that the presence of aggressive chloride ions serves to pick up the damage of the passive films at localized regions. With varying exposure periods by both, the environment complies with the normal corrosion rate profile that is an initial steep rise followed by a nearly constant value of corrosion rate. Resistivity increases in case of pH 1 solution for the higher pit formation and decreases at pH 13 due to formation of thin film. The SEM image of corroded samples immersed in pH 1 solution clearly shows pores on the surface and in pH 13 solution, and the corrosion layer seems more compact and homogenous and not porous.

Keywords: Al-Si alloy, corrosion, pH, resistivity, scanning electron microscopy (SEM)

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21 Person-Environment Fit (PE Fit): Evidence from Brazil

Authors: Jucelia Appio, Danielle Deimling De Carli, Bruno Henrique Rocha Fernandes, Nelson Natalino Frizon

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The purpose of this paper is to investigate if there are positive and significant correlations between the dimensions of Person-Environment Fit (Person-Job, Person-Organization, Person-Group and Person-Supervisor) at the “Best Companies to Work for” in Brazil in 2017. For that, a quantitative approach was used with a descriptive method being defined as a research sample the "150 Best Companies to Work for", according to data base collected in 2017 and provided by Fundação Instituto of Administração (FIA) of the University of São Paulo (USP). About the data analysis procedures, asymmetry and kurtosis, factorial analysis, Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin (KMO) tests, Bartlett sphericity and Cronbach's alpha were used for the 69 research variables, and as a statistical technique for the purpose of analyzing the hypothesis, Pearson's correlation analysis was performed. As a main result, we highlight that there was a positive and significant correlation between the dimensions of Person-Environment Fit, corroborating the H1 hypothesis that there is a positive and significant correlation between Person-Job Fit, Person-Organization Fit, Person-Group Fit and Person-Supervisor Fit.

Keywords: Human Resource Management (HRM), Person-Environment Fit (PE), strategic people management, best companies to work for

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20 Wear Behavior of Commercial Aluminium Engine Block and Piston under Dry Sliding Condition

Authors: Md. Salim Kaiser

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In the present work, the effect of load and sliding distance on the performance tribology of commercially used aluminium-silicon engine block and piston was evaluated at ambient conditions with humidity of 80% under dry sliding conditions using a pin-on-disc with two different loads of 5N and 20N yielding applied pressure of 0.30MPa and 1.4MPa, respectively, at sliding velocity of 0.29ms-1 and with varying sliding distance ranging from 260m-4200m. Factors and conditions that had significant effect were identified. The results showed that the load and the sliding distance affect the wear rate of the alloys and the wear rate increased with increasing load for both the alloys. Wear rate also increases almost linearly at low loads and increase to a maximum then attain a plateau with increasing sliding distance. For both applied loads, the piston alloy showed the better performance due to higher Ni and Mg content. The worn surface and wear debris was characterized by optical microscope, SEM and EDX analyzer. The worn surface was characterized by surface with shallow grooves at loads while the groove width and depth increased as the loads increases. Oxidative wear was found to be the predominant mechanisms in the dry sliding of Al-Si alloys at low loads

Keywords: wear, friction, gravimetric analysis, aluminium-silicon alloys, SEM, EDX

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19 Genetic Variation among the Wild and Hatchery Raised Populations of Labeo rohita Revealed by RAPD Markers

Authors: Fayyaz Rasool, Shakeela Parveen

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The studies on genetic diversity of Labeo rohita by using molecular markers were carried out to investigate the genetic structure by RAPAD marker and the levels of polymorphism and similarity amongst the different groups of five populations of wild and farmed types. The samples were collected from different five locations as representatives of wild and hatchery raised populations. RAPAD data for Jaccard’s coefficient by following the un-weighted Pair Group Method with Arithmetic Mean (UPGMA) for Hierarchical Clustering of the similar groups on the basis of similarity amongst the genotypes and the dendrogram generated divided the randomly selected individuals of the five populations into three classes/clusters. The variance decomposition for the optimal classification values remained as 52.11% for within class variation, while 47.89% for the between class differences. The Principal Component Analysis (PCA) for grouping of the different genotypes from the different environmental conditions was done by Spearman Varimax rotation method for bi-plot generation of the co-occurrence of the same genotypes with similar genetic properties and specificity of different primers indicated clearly that the increase in the number of factors or components was correlated with the decrease in eigenvalues. The Kaiser Criterion based upon the eigenvalues greater than one, first two main factors accounted for 58.177% of cumulative variability.

Keywords: variation, clustering, PCA, wild, hatchery, RAPAD, Labeo rohita

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18 The Employees' Classification Method in the Space of Their Job Satisfaction, Loyalty and Involvement

Authors: Svetlana Ignatjeva, Jelena Slesareva

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The aim of the study is development and adaptation of the method to analyze and quantify the indicators characterizing the relationship between a company and its employees. Diagnostics of such indicators is one of the most complex and actual issues in psychology of labour. The offered method is based on the questionnaire; its indicators reflect cognitive, affective and connotative components of socio-psychological attitude of employees to be as efficient as possible in their professional activities. This approach allows measure not only the selected factors but also such parameters as cognitive and behavioural dissonances. Adaptation of the questionnaire includes factor structure analysis and suitability analysis of phenomena indicators measured in terms of internal consistency of individual factors. Structural validity of the questionnaire was tested by exploratory factor analysis. Extraction Method: Principal Component Analysis. Rotation Method: Varimax with Kaiser Normalization. Factor analysis allows reduce dimension of the phenomena moving from the indicators to aggregative indexes and latent variables. Aggregative indexes are obtained as the sum of relevant indicators followed by standardization. The coefficient Cronbach's Alpha was used to assess the reliability-consistency of the questionnaire items. The two-step cluster analysis in the space of allocated factors allows classify employees according to their attitude to work in the company. The results of psychometric testing indicate possibility of using the developed technique for the analysis of employees’ attitude towards their work in companies and development of recommendations on their optimization.

Keywords: involved in the organization, loyalty, organizations, method

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17 Robust Heart Rate Estimation from Multiple Cardiovascular and Non-Cardiovascular Physiological Signals Using Signal Quality Indices and Kalman Filter

Authors: Shalini Rankawat, Mansi Rankawat, Rahul Dubey, Mazad Zaveri

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Physiological signals such as electrocardiogram (ECG) and arterial blood pressure (ABP) in the intensive care unit (ICU) are often seriously corrupted by noise, artifacts, and missing data, which lead to errors in the estimation of heart rate (HR) and incidences of false alarm from ICU monitors. Clinical support in ICU requires most reliable heart rate estimation. Cardiac activity, because of its relatively high electrical energy, may introduce artifacts in Electroencephalogram (EEG), Electrooculogram (EOG), and Electromyogram (EMG) recordings. This paper presents a robust heart rate estimation method by detection of R-peaks of ECG artifacts in EEG, EMG & EOG signals, using energy-based function and a novel Signal Quality Index (SQI) assessment technique. SQIs of physiological signals (EEG, EMG, & EOG) were obtained by correlation of nonlinear energy operator (teager energy) of these signals with either ECG or ABP signal. HR is estimated from ECG, ABP, EEG, EMG, and EOG signals from separate Kalman filter based upon individual SQIs. Data fusion of each HR estimate was then performed by weighing each estimate by the Kalman filters’ SQI modified innovations. The fused signal HR estimate is more accurate and robust than any of the individual HR estimate. This method was evaluated on MIMIC II data base of PhysioNet from bedside monitors of ICU patients. The method provides an accurate HR estimate even in the presence of noise and artifacts.

Keywords: ECG, ABP, EEG, EMG, EOG, ECG artifacts, Teager-Kaiser energy, heart rate, signal quality index, Kalman filter, data fusion

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16 A Review of Critical Factors in Budgetary Financing of Public Infrastructure in Nigeria

Authors: Akintayo Opawole, Godwin O. Jagboro

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Research efforts on infrastructure development in Nigeria had not provided adequate assessment of issues essential for policy response by the government to address infrastructure deficiency. One major gap existing in previous studies is the assessment of challenges facing the budgetary financing model. Based on a case study of Osun State in Southwestern Nigeria, factors affecting budgetary financing of public infrastructure were identified from literature and brainstorming. Respondents were: 6 architects, 4 quantity surveyors, 6 town planners, 5 estate surveyors, 4 builders, 21 engineers and 26 economists/accountants ranging from principal to director who have been involved in policy making process with respect to infrastructure development in the public service of Osun state. The identified variables were subjected to factor analysis. The Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin measure of sampling adequacy tests carried out (KMO, 0.785) showed that the data collected were adequate for the analysis and the Bartlett’s test of sphericity (0.000) showed the data upon which the analysis was carried out was reliable. Results showed that factors such as poor collaboration between the state and local government establishments, absence of credible database system and inadequate funding of maintenance were the most significant to infrastructure development in the State. Policy responses to address challenges of infrastructure development in the state were identified to focus on creation of legal framework for liberation policy, enforcement of ‘due process’ in the procurement and establishment of monitoring system for project delivery.

Keywords: development, infrastructure, financing, procurement

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15 Self-Efficacy Perceptions of Pre-Service Art and Music Teachers towards the Use of Information and Communication Technologies

Authors: Agah Tugrul Korucu

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Information and communication technologies have become an important part of our daily lives with significant investments in technology in the 21st century. Individuals are more willing to design and implement computer-related activities, and they are the main component of computer self-efficacy and self-efficacy related to the fact that the increase in information technology, with operations in parallel with these activities more successful. The Self-efficacy level is a significant factor which determines how individuals act in events, situations and difficult processes. It is observed that individuals with higher self-efficacy perception of computers who encounter problems related to computer use overcome them more easily. Therefore, this study aimed to examine self-efficacy perceptions of pre-service art and music teachers towards the use of information and communication technologies in terms of different variables. Research group consists of 60 pre-service teachers who are studying at Necmettin Erbakan University Ahmet Keleşoğlu Faculty of Education Art and Music department. As data collection tool of the study; “personal information form” developed by the researcher and used to collect demographic data and "the perception scale related to self-efficacy of informational technology" are used. The scale is 5-point Likert-type scale. It consists of 27 items. The Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin (KMO) sample compliance value is found 0.959. The Cronbach alpha reliability coefficient of the scale is found to be 0.97. computer-based statistical software package (SPSS 21.0) is used in order to analyze the data collected by data collection tools; descriptive statistics, t-test, analysis of variance are used as statistical techniques.

Keywords: self-efficacy perceptions, teacher candidate, information and communication technologies, art teacher

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14 Development of Patient Satisfaction Questionnaire for Diabetes Management in Thailand and Lao People Democratic Republic

Authors: Phoutsathaphone Sibounheuang, Phayom Sookaneknun Olson, Chanuttha Ploylearmsang, Santiparp Sookaneknun, Chanthanom Manithip

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Patient satisfaction is an outcome that can be measured and used to improve diabetes care and management. There are limited instruments for assessing patient satisfaction covering the whole process of diabetes management. In this study, the questionnaire was developed with items pooled from a systematic review of qualitative studies of patients’ and healthcare providers’ perspectives in diabetes management. The questionnaire consists of 11 domains with 45 items. The Thai version was translated to Lao and then checked by back-translating it into Thai. We tested the questionnaire on 150 diabetes patients in Thailand and 150 in Lao People Democratic Republic (PDR). Validity was performed by factor analysis and Pearson correlation. Internal consistency reliability was estimated by calculating Cronbach’s alpha. The study was approved by the Mahasarakham University Ethics Committee, and the National Ethics Committee for Health Research, Lao PDR. The Thai and Lao versions showed the construct validity by principal component analysis. This consisted of 11 domains which account for 71.23% of the variance (Thai version) and 71.66% of the variance (Lao version) in the total patient satisfaction scores. The Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin (KMO) measures were 0.85 for the Thai version and 0.75 for the Lao version. The Bartlett tests of sphericity of both versions were significant (p < 0.001). The factor loadings of all items in both versions were > 0.40. The convergent validity of the Thai and Lao versions was 93.63% and 79.54% respectively. The discriminant validity for the Thai and Lao versions was 92.68% and 88.68% respectively. Cronbach’s alpha was 0.95 in both versions. The Patient Satisfaction Questionnaire (PSQ) in both versions had acceptable properties. This study has yielded evidence supporting the validity and reliability of both versions.

Keywords: construct validity, diabetes management, patient satisfaction, questionnaire development, reliability

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13 The Construct of Assessment Instrument for Value, Attitude and Professionalism among Students Faculty of Sports Science and Coaching

Authors: Ahmad Hashim, Thariq Khan Azizuddin Khan, Zulakbal Abd Karim, Nohazira Abdul Karim

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This research aims to obtain the validity and reliability of a survey instrument to evaluate the values, attitudes, and professionalism of sports science students, from the Faculty of Sports Science and Coaching, Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI). It is a survey which is divided into two components namely first; moral, self-esteem, proactive, self-reliant and voluntary and second; ethics and professionalism. Development of the survey instrument is based on the Malaysian Education Development Plan, Higher Education Malaysia. There are 50 items prepared based on the five-point Likert scale which were tested at the pilot test level. It involved 212 research subjects selected based on random sampling. In addition, the research method applied is in the form of pre-experimental one group pre-test-post-test. Results of the analysis showed that overall field expert validity is r = .89, while the Cronbach alpha reliability correlation value of outdoor education instrument evaluation survey is r = .85. Next, this survey was tested again for construct validity using the factor analysis method for statistical analysis which would validate each item tested was supposed to be in the right component. From the analysis, results show that Bartlett's test is significant p < .05 and Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin index range is r = .87. The result showed 39 survey items are produced out of 50 items of the survey based on this factor analysis method. Research has shown that the survey instrument developed is valid and reliable to be used for the Faculty of Sports Sciences and Coaching, UPSI.

Keywords: values, attitudes, professionalism, ethics, professionalism

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12 The Optimization of Sexual Health Resource Information and Services for Persons with Spinal Cord Injury

Authors: Nasrin Nejatbakhsh, Anita Kaiser, Sander Hitzig, Colleen McGillivray

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Following spinal cord injury (SCI), many individuals experience anxiety in adjusting to their lives, and its impacts on their sexuality. Research has demonstrated that regaining sexual function is a very high priority for individuals with SCI. Despite this, sexual health is one of the least likely areas of focus in rehabilitating individuals with SCI. There is currently a considerable gap in appropriate education and resources that address sexual health concerns and needs of people with spinal cord injury. Furthermore, the determinants of sexual health in individuals with SCI are poorly understood and thus poorly addressed. The purpose of this study was to improve current practices by informing a service delivery model that rehabilitation centers can adopt for appropriate delivery of their services. Methodology: We utilized qualitative methods in the form of a semi-structured interview containing open-ended questions to assess 1) sexual health concerns, 2) helpful strategies in current resources, 3) unhelpful strategies in current resources, and 4) Barriers to obtaining sexual health information. In addition to the interviews, participants completed surveys to identify socio-demographic factors. Data gathered was coded and evaluated for emerging themes and subthemes through a ‘code-recode’ technique. Results: We have identified several robust themes that are important for SCI sexual health resource development. Through analysis of these themes and their subthemes, several important concepts have emerged that could provide agencies with helpful strategies for providing sexual health resources. Some of the important considerations are that services be; anonymous, accessible, frequent, affordable, mandatory, casual and supported by peers. Implications: By incorporating the perspectives of individuals with SCI, the finding from this study can be used to develop appropriate sexual health services and improve access to information through tailored needs based program development.

Keywords: spinal cord injury, sexual health, determinants of health, resource development

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11 The Impact of Access to Finances on Survival of Small and Medium Enterprises: The South African Perspective in an Covid-19 Era

Authors: Thabiso Sthembiso Msomi

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SMEs are the main engine of growth in most developing economies. One of the main factors that hinder the development of SME is access to finance. In this study, we explored the factors that hinder the growth and survival of SMEs in South Africa. The capital structure theory formed the theoretical underpinning for the study. The quantitative research design was adopted and data was collected from retail, construction, manufacturing and agriculture sectors of SMEs within the KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa. The modified version of the Cochran formula was used to determine the sample size as 321 SMEs and analysed using the five-point Likert scale. The purposive sampling technique was used to select owners of SME. Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) was used for the data analysis through Exploratory Factor Analysis (EFA) to determine the factor structures of items employed to measure each of the constructs in this study. Then, the Cronbach’s alpha test was conducted to determine the reliability of each construct. Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin (KMO) was used to determine the adequacy of the sample size. Linear regression was done to determine the effect of the independent variables on the dependent variable. The findings suggest that the main constraints facing South African SMEs were the lack of experienced management. Furthermore, the SMEs would fail to raise customer awareness of their products and services, which in turn affects their market access and monthly turnover. The study recommends that SMEs keep up-to-date records of business transactions to enable the business to keep track of its operations. The study recommends that South African banks adopt an SME accounting and bookkeeping program. The finding of this study benefits policymakers in both the private and public sectors.

Keywords: small businesses, access to finances, COVID-19, SMEs survival

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10 Application of Multivariate Statistics and Hydro-Chemical Approach for Groundwater Quality Assessment: A Study on Birbhum District, West Bengal, India

Authors: N. C. Ghosh, Niladri Das, Prolay Mondal, Ranajit Ghosh

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Groundwater quality deterioration due to human activities has become a prime factor of modern life. The major concern of the study is to access spatial variation of groundwater quality and to identify the sources of groundwater chemicals and its impact on human health of the concerned area. Multivariate statistical techniques, cluster, principal component analysis, and hydrochemical fancies are been applied to measure groundwater quality data on 14 parameters from 107 sites distributed randomly throughout the Birbhum district. Five factors have been extracted using Varimax rotation with Kaiser Normalization. The first factor explains 27.61% of the total variance where high positive loading have been concentrated in TH, Ca, Mg, Cl and F (Fluoride). In the studied region, due to the presence of basaltic Rajmahal trap fluoride contamination is highly concentrated and that has an adverse impact on human health such as fluorosis. The second factor explains 24.41% of the total variance which includes Na, HCO₃, EC, and SO₄. The last factor or the fifth factor explains 8.85% of the total variance, and it includes pH which maintains the acidic and alkaline character of the groundwater. Hierarchical cluster analysis (HCA) grouped the 107 sampling station into two clusters. One cluster having high pollution and another cluster having less pollution. Moreover hydromorphological facies viz. Wilcox diagram, Doneen’s chart, and USSL diagram reveal the quality of the groundwater like the suitability of the groundwater for irrigation or water used for drinking purpose like permeability index of the groundwater, quality assessment of groundwater for irrigation. Gibb’s diagram depicts that the major portion of the groundwater of this region is rock dominated origin, as the western part of the region characterized by the Jharkhand plateau fringe comprises basalt, gneiss, granite rocks.

Keywords: correlation, factor analysis, hydrological facies, hydrochemistry

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9 Exploratory Factor Analysis of Natural Disaster Preparedness Awareness of Thai Citizens

Authors: Chaiyaset Promsri

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Based on the synthesis of related literatures, this research found thirteen related dimensions that involved the development of natural disaster preparedness awareness including hazard knowledge, hazard attitude, training for disaster preparedness, rehearsal and practice for disaster preparedness, cultural development for preparedness, public relations and communication, storytelling, disaster awareness game, simulation, past experience to natural disaster, information sharing with family members, and commitment to the community (time of living).  The 40-item of natural disaster preparedness awareness questionnaire was developed based on these thirteen dimensions. Data were collected from 595 participants in Bangkok metropolitan and vicinity. Cronbach's alpha was used to examine the internal consistency for this instrument. Reliability coefficient was 97, which was highly acceptable.  Exploratory Factor Analysis where principal axis factor analysis was employed. The Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin index of sampling adequacy was .973, indicating that the data represented a homogeneous collection of variables suitable for factor analysis. Bartlett's test of Sphericity was significant for the sample as Chi-Square = 23168.657, df = 780, and p-value < .0001, which indicated that the set of correlations in the correlation matrix was significantly different and acceptable for utilizing EFA. Factor extraction was done to determine the number of factors by using principal component analysis and varimax.  The result revealed that four factors had Eigen value greater than 1 with more than 60% cumulative of variance. Factor #1 had Eigen value of 22.270, and factor loadings ranged from 0.626-0.760. This factor was named as "Knowledge and Attitude of Natural Disaster Preparedness".  Factor #2 had Eigen value of 2.491, and factor loadings ranged from 0.596-0.696. This factor was named as "Training and Development". Factor #3 had Eigen value of 1.821, and factor loadings ranged from 0.643-0.777. This factor was named as "Building Experiences about Disaster Preparedness".  Factor #4 had Eigen value of 1.365, and factor loadings ranged from 0.657-0.760. This was named as "Family and Community". The results of this study provided support for the reliability and construct validity of natural disaster preparedness awareness for utilizing with populations similar to sample employed.

Keywords: natural disaster, disaster preparedness, disaster awareness, Thai citizens

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8 The Hierarchical Model of Fitness Services Quality Perception in Serbia

Authors: Mirjana Ilic, Dragan Zivotic, Aleksandra Perovic, Predrag Gavrilovic

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The service quality perception depends on many factors, such as the area in which the services are provided, socioeconomic status, educational status, experience, age and gender of consumers, as well as many others. For this reason, it is not possible to apply instrument for establishing the service quality perception that is developed in other areas and in other populations. The aim of the research was to form an instrument for assessing the quality perception in the field of fitness in Serbia. After analyzing the available literature and conducting a pilot research, there were 15 isolated areas in which it was possible to observe the service quality perception. The areas included: material and technical basis, secondary facilities, coaches, programs, reliability, credibility, security, rapid response, compassion, communication, prices, satisfaction, loyalty, quality outcomes and motives. These areas were covered by a questionnaire consisted of 100 items where the number of items varied from area to area from 3 up to 11. The questionnaire was administered to 350 subjects of both genders (174 men and 176 women) aged from 18 to 68 years, being beneficiaries of fitness services for at least 1 year. In each of the areas was conducted a factor analysis in its exploratory form by principal components method. The number of significant factors has been determined in accordance with the Kaiser Guttman criterion. The initial factor solutions were simplified using the Varimax rotation. Analyses per areas have produced from 1 to 4 factors. Afterward, the factor analysis of factor scores on the first principal component of each of the respondents in each of the analyzed area was performed, and the factor structure was obtained with four latent dimensions interpreted as offer, the relationship with the coaches, the experience of quality and the initial impression. This factor structure was analysed by hierarchical analysis of Oblique factors, which in the second order space produced single factor interpreted as a general factor of the service quality perception. The resulting questionnaire represents an instrument which can serve managers in the field of fitness to optimize the centers development, raising the quality of services in line with consumers needs and expectations.

Keywords: fitness, hierarchical model, quality perception, factor analysis

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7 Comparison of Power Generation Status of Photovoltaic Systems under Different Weather Conditions

Authors: Zhaojun Wang, Zongdi Sun, Qinqin Cui, Xingwan Ren

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Based on multivariate statistical analysis theory, this paper uses the principal component analysis method, Mahalanobis distance analysis method and fitting method to establish the photovoltaic health model to evaluate the health of photovoltaic panels. First of all, according to weather conditions, the photovoltaic panel variable data are classified into five categories: sunny, cloudy, rainy, foggy, overcast. The health of photovoltaic panels in these five types of weather is studied. Secondly, a scatterplot of the relationship between the amount of electricity produced by each kind of weather and other variables was plotted. It was found that the amount of electricity generated by photovoltaic panels has a significant nonlinear relationship with time. The fitting method was used to fit the relationship between the amount of weather generated and the time, and the nonlinear equation was obtained. Then, using the principal component analysis method to analyze the independent variables under five kinds of weather conditions, according to the Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin test, it was found that three types of weather such as overcast, foggy, and sunny meet the conditions for factor analysis, while cloudy and rainy weather do not satisfy the conditions for factor analysis. Therefore, through the principal component analysis method, the main components of overcast weather are temperature, AQI, and pm2.5. The main component of foggy weather is temperature, and the main components of sunny weather are temperature, AQI, and pm2.5. Cloudy and rainy weather require analysis of all of their variables, namely temperature, AQI, pm2.5, solar radiation intensity and time. Finally, taking the variable values in sunny weather as observed values, taking the main components of cloudy, foggy, overcast and rainy weather as sample data, the Mahalanobis distances between observed value and these sample values are obtained. A comparative analysis was carried out to compare the degree of deviation of the Mahalanobis distance to determine the health of the photovoltaic panels under different weather conditions. It was found that the weather conditions in which the Mahalanobis distance fluctuations ranged from small to large were: foggy, cloudy, overcast and rainy.

Keywords: fitting, principal component analysis, Mahalanobis distance, SPSS, MATLAB

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6 Psychological Factors of Readiness of Defectologists to Professional Development: On the Example of Choosing an Educational Environment

Authors: Inna V. Krotova

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The study pays special attention to the definition of the psychological potential of a specialist-defectologist, which determines his desire to increase the level of his or her professional competence. The group included participants of the educational environment – an additional professional program 'Technologies of psychological and pedagogical assistance for children with complex developmental disabilities' implemented by the department of defectology and clinical psychology of the KFU jointly with the Support Fund for the Deafblind people 'Co-Unity'. The purpose of our study was to identify the psychological aspects of the readiness of the specialist-defectologist to his or her professional development. The study assessed the indicators of psychological preparedness, and its four components were taken into account: motivational, cognitive, emotional and volitional. We used valid and standardized tests during the study. As a result of the factor analysis of data received (from Extraction Method: Principal Component Analysis, Rotation Method: Varimax with Kaiser Normalization, Rotation converged in 12 iterations), there were identified three factors with maximum factor load from 24 indices, and their correlation coefficients with other indicators were taken into account at the level of reliability p ≤ 0.001 and p ≤ 0.01. Thus the system making factor was determined – it’s a 'motivation to achieve success'; it formed a correlation galaxy with two other factors: 'general internality' and 'internality in the field of achievements', as well as with such psychological indicators as 'internality in the field of family relations', 'internality in the field of interpersonal relations 'and 'low self-control-high self-control' (the names of the scales used is the same as names in the analysis methods. In conclusion of the article, we present some proposals to take into account the psychological model of readiness of specialists-defectologists for their professional development, to stimulate the growth of their professional competence. The study has practical value for all providers of special education and organizations that have their own specialists-defectologists, teachers-defectologists, teachers for correctional and ergotherapeutic activities, specialists working in the field of correctional-pedagogical activity (speech therapists) to people with special needs who need true professional support.

Keywords: psychological readiness, defectologist, professional development, psychological factors, special education, professional competence, innovative educational environment

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5 Shades of Violence – Risks of Male Violence Exposure for Mental and Somatic-Disorders and Risk-Taking Behavior: A Prevalence Study

Authors: Dana Cassandra Winkler, Delia Leiding, Rene Bergs, Franziska Kaiser, Ramona Kirchhart, Ute Habel

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Background: Violence is a multidimensional phenomenon, affecting people of every age, socio-economic status and gender. Nevertheless, most studies primarily focus on men perpetrating women. Aim of the present study is to identify the likelihood of mental and somatic disorders and risk-taking behavior in male violence affected. In addition, the relationship between age of violence experience and the risk for health-related problems was analyzed. Method: On the basis of current evidence, a questionnaire was developed focusing on demographic background, health status, risk-taking behavior, and active and passive violence exposure. In total, 5221 males (Mean: 56,1 years, SD: 17,6) were consulted. To account for the time of violence experience in an efficient way, age clusters ‘0-12 years’, ‘13-20 years’, ‘21-35 years’, ‘36-65 years’ and ‘over 65 years’ were defined. A binary logistic regression was calculated to reveal differences in violence-affected and non-violence affected males regarding health and risk-taking factors. Males who experienced violence on a daily/ almost daily basis vs. males who reported violence occurrence once/ several times a month/ year were compared with respect to health factors and risk-taking behavior. Data of males, who indicated active and passive violence exposure, were analyzed by a chi²-analysis, to investigate a possible relation between the age of victimization and violence perpetration. Findings: Results imply that general violence experience, independent of active and passive violence exposure increases the likelihood in favor of somatic-, psychosomatic- and mental disorders as well as risk-taking behavior in males. Experiencing violence on a daily or almost daily basis in childhood and adolescence may serve as a predictor for increased health problems and risk-taking behavior. Furthermore, the violence experience and perpetration occur significantly within the same age cluster. This underlines the importance of a near-term intervention to minimize the risk, that victims become perpetrators later. Conclusion: The present study reveals predictors concerning health risk factors as well as risk-taking behavior in males with violence exposure. The results of this study may underscore the benefit of intervention and regular health care approaches in violence-affected males and underline the importance of acknowledging the overlap of violence experience and perpetration for further research.

Keywords: health disease, male, mental health, prevalence, risk-taking behavior, violence

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4 The Examination of Prospective ICT Teachers’ Attitudes towards Application of Computer Assisted Instruction

Authors: Agâh Tuğrul Korucu, Ismail Fatih Yavuzaslan, Lale Toraman

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Nowadays, thanks to development of technology, integration of technology into teaching and learning activities is spreading. Increasing technological literacy which is one of the expected competencies for individuals of 21st century is associated with the effective use of technology in education. The most important factor in effective use of technology in education institutions is ICT teachers. The concept of computer assisted instruction (CAI) refers to the utilization of information and communication technology as a tool aided teachers in order to make education more efficient and improve its quality in the process of educational. Teachers can use computers in different places and times according to owned hardware and software facilities and characteristics of the subject and student in CAI. Analyzing teachers’ use of computers in education is significant because teachers are the ones who manage the course and they are the most important element in comprehending the topic by students. To accomplish computer-assisted instruction efficiently is possible through having positive attitude of teachers. Determination the level of knowledge, attitude and behavior of teachers who get the professional knowledge from educational faculties and elimination of deficiencies if any are crucial when teachers are at the faculty. Therefore, the aim of this paper is to identify ICT teachers' attitudes toward computer-assisted instruction in terms of different variables. Research group consists of 200 prospective ICT teachers studying at Necmettin Erbakan University Ahmet Keleşoğlu Faculty of Education CEIT department. As data collection tool of the study; “personal information form” developed by the researchers and used to collect demographic data and "the attitude scale related to computer-assisted instruction" are used. The scale consists of 20 items. 10 of these items show positive feature, while 10 of them show negative feature. The Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin (KMO) coefficient of the scale is found 0.88 and Barlett test significance value is found 0.000. The Cronbach’s alpha reliability coefficient of the scale is found 0.93. In order to analyze the data collected by data collection tools computer-based statistical software package used; statistical techniques such as descriptive statistics, t-test, and analysis of variance are utilized. It is determined that the attitudes of prospective instructors towards computers do not differ according to their educational branches. On the other hand, the attitudes of prospective instructors who own computers towards computer-supported education are determined higher than those of the prospective instructors who do not own computers. It is established that the departments of students who previously received computer lessons do not affect this situation so much. The result is that; the computer experience affects the attitude point regarding the computer-supported education positively.

Keywords: computer based instruction, teacher candidate, attitude, technology based instruction, information and communication technologies

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3 Using Convolutional Neural Networks to Distinguish Different Sign Language Alphanumerics

Authors: Stephen L. Green, Alexander N. Gorban, Ivan Y. Tyukin

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Within the past decade, using Convolutional Neural Networks (CNN)’s to create Deep Learning systems capable of translating Sign Language into text has been a breakthrough in breaking the communication barrier for deaf-mute people. Conventional research on this subject has been concerned with training the network to recognize the fingerspelling gestures of a given language and produce their corresponding alphanumerics. One of the problems with the current developing technology is that images are scarce, with little variations in the gestures being presented to the recognition program, often skewed towards single skin tones and hand sizes that makes a percentage of the population’s fingerspelling harder to detect. Along with this, current gesture detection programs are only trained on one finger spelling language despite there being one hundred and forty-two known variants so far. All of this presents a limitation for traditional exploitation for the state of current technologies such as CNN’s, due to their large number of required parameters. This work aims to present a technology that aims to resolve this issue by combining a pretrained legacy AI system for a generic object recognition task with a corrector method to uptrain the legacy network. This is a computationally efficient procedure that does not require large volumes of data even when covering a broad range of sign languages such as American Sign Language, British Sign Language and Chinese Sign Language (Pinyin). Implementing recent results on method concentration, namely the stochastic separation theorem, an AI system is supposed as an operate mapping an input present in the set of images u ∈ U to an output that exists in a set of predicted class labels q ∈ Q of the alphanumeric that q represents and the language it comes from. These inputs and outputs, along with the interval variables z ∈ Z represent the system’s current state which implies a mapping that assigns an element x ∈ ℝⁿ to the triple (u, z, q). As all xi are i.i.d vectors drawn from a product mean distribution, over a period of time the AI generates a large set of measurements xi called S that are grouped into two categories: the correct predictions M and the incorrect predictions Y. Once the network has made its predictions, a corrector can then be applied through centering S and Y by subtracting their means. The data is then regularized by applying the Kaiser rule to the resulting eigenmatrix and then whitened before being split into pairwise, positively correlated clusters. Each of these clusters produces a unique hyperplane and if any element x falls outside the region bounded by these lines then it is reported as an error. As a result of this methodology, a self-correcting recognition process is created that can identify fingerspelling from a variety of sign language and successfully identify the corresponding alphanumeric and what language the gesture originates from which no other neural network has been able to replicate.

Keywords: convolutional neural networks, deep learning, shallow correctors, sign language

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