Higher Degree Theses

University of Waikato digital theses deposited since 2006. Prior to 2006, digitisation for open access was not mandatory. To identify older hard-copy theses please check Library Search.

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Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 5 of 1881
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    Educational engagement practices of Tongan parents in relation to their children's learning
    (Thesis, The University of Waikato, 2024-04-09) Naufahu, Mefileisenita
    This study explores the parental engagement of Tongan parents in relation to their children’s learning and designs an engagement framework to enhance this engagement. Bronfenbrenner’s (1979) ecological systems theory framework was employed to conceptualise and inform the analysis of parental engagement of Tongan parents in this research. Talaloto, a new Pacific research methodology which I developed for use in this study, was utilised for data collection from Tongan parents, as a way of capturing their authentic voices, grounded within their culture. Talaloto provides a space for personal lived experiences to be told. Focus group interviews were used for gathering data from teachers and students. Initial data collection motivated me to develop and implement an intervention to enhance parental engagement practices, for a sample of Tongan parents, students, and teachers, associated with a local primary school. The findings showed that parental engagement is an holistic process, requiring collaboration between home, school, and the wider community to enable both participation and interaction. Recognition of and valuing home funds of knowledge as well as the implementation of home visits by teachers, were found to be significant contributors to transforming relationships and lifting student achievement. The intentional creation of an Engagement Broker role for the purposes of the intervention demonstrated the importance of such a role in providing guidance to all participants as they navigated differing contexts and new roles and relationships. A key outcome of this study was the development of the ‘Kato Alu ‘framework, where a cultural metaphor is used to conceptualise and contextualise the understanding and use of parental engagement practices by Tongan parents in their children’s learning. I used the four stages of crafting the Kato Alu: Tokonaki (preparation), Lalanga (weaving), Teuteu’i (decoration) and Foaki (presentation), to symbolise the four steps for guiding the parental engagement process. The hope is that this framework may be applied in other Pacific settings and can be adapted for broader use.
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    Fijian students’ perceptions of their science learning environment in New Zealand secondary schools
    (Thesis, The University of Waikato, 2024-04-06) Chand, Alvin Vikash
    Pacific students in Aotearoa, New Zealand, come from a range of cultural and ethnic backgrounds. This heterogeneous cultural and ethnic mix of students presents opportunities and challenges for teachers. Results from the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) show that Pacific students are underperforming in science compared to the general cohort in secondary education. To help meet the needs of Pacific students, many New Zealand educators are undertaking research to explore the perceptions of students learning. Little research has been done on Fijian students to address this. The purpose of this study is to examine Fijian students' perceptions of their current and preferred learning environment and how it can be improved to suit the learning needs of Fijian students. Talanoa, a Pacific research methodology, informed and guided this study. It is based on Pacific cultures and is primarily used to study Pacific peoples. A mixed-method approach was adopted to respond to the research questions. Talanoa method with a survey called the Constructivist Learning Environment Survey-Fijian students (CLES-FS) was used to collect the data. A total of 305 students participated in this study. A thematic approach was used to analyse the data obtained from the talanoa method. The CLES-FS data was analysed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS), and comparisons were made between the students’ perceptions of their actual and preferred learning environments. Variations between gender, ethnic differences (Fijian Indian and iTaukei) and between different year levels were also analysed. Key findings show that positive student-teacher relationships, a sense of belonging to the class, and teachers’ understanding of students’ cultural experiences played a vital role in engaging students in their learning. The findings also highlighted that the Fijian students enjoyed working in groups. However, they indicated that excessive use of group work without defined learning intentions had a negative impact on learning. In addition, the study found that the students were reluctant to respond to or ask questions in front of the whole class. Students also identified that, at times, cultural values of respect for elders discouraged them from expressing their views to the teacher. Many students preferred to communicate with the teacher one-on-one about how they would like to learn and have more control over their classroom learning activities. There was a statistically significant difference in the perceptions of iTaukei and Fijian Indian students regarding building relationships with their teachers and collaborative learning. iTaukei students perceived that they had fewer opportunities to build relationships with their teachers but had more opportunities to engage in collaborative learning than Fijian Indian students. In addition, there was a statistically significant difference in the perceptions of male and female students when it came to learning in a familiar context scale. Female students perceived they were given more opportunities to learn in a familiar context than their male counterparts. This study has contributed to the understanding of Fijian students' perceptions of the current and preferred learning environments in New Zealand secondary schools. The research also demonstrates that CLES-FS and Talanoa methods can be used effectively for data triangulation. The findings of this study provide new insights into the knowledge gap in the literature about the learning needs of Fijian students studying in New Zealand classrooms. It is envisaged that the findings will help to inform the teachers and leaders of secondary schools who teach Fijian students.
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    Enhancing Clinical Decision Support Systems through Hospital Information System Integration and Machine Learning in a Context of the Emergency Department
    (The University of Waikato, 2024) Jiang, Hongwei
    This study conducts design science research (DSR) aimed at addressing the challenge of improving clinical decision support (CDS) in Emergency Departments (EDs). Making timely decisions by physicians to meet the diverse demands within hospital EDs is a challenge as the inadequacies of current Hospital Information Systems (HIS) can host fragmented Electronic Health Record (EHR) data across multiple sub-systems. The advancement of Information Technology (IT), notably machine learning (ML), brings new initiatives for addressing this issue. To tackle this complexity, this research deploys DSR to design a novel system integration architecture. This architecture provides a comprehensive framework that orchestrates HIS integration across multiple strata, encompassing the business, application, and technology layers, to facilitate the integration of ML-based Clinical Decision Support Systems (CDSS) within the ED setting. Two design artefacts are developed as outcomes of DSR: firstly, the development of the system integration architecture, and secondly, the creation of the ML-based CDSS. The former serves as a meticulously designed blueprint for HIS integration, ensuring the effective functioning of ML-based CDSS at the point of care. The latter represents a pioneering CDSS system, harnessing the power of ML algorithms to furnish real-time, context-aware decision support. The impact of the ML-based CDSS on ED efficiency is subjected to rigorous evaluation. This evaluation is conducted by leveraging historical Electronic Health Record (EHR) data within a simulated ED environment. The simulation, calibrated with parameters drawn from a real-world hospital ED setting, yields promising results. These findings underscore the feasibility and the manifold benefits of integrating ML-based CDSS to augment ED efficiency. Furthermore, this research makes a noteworthy contribution to the theoretical underpinnings of information system design. It achieves this by pioneering the development of a novel system integration architecture. This architecture serves as a bridge, alleviating the knowledge gap that traditionally separates HIS integration from ML-based CDSS. The study advances the understanding of strategic design and integration of hospital information systems to support ML and CDSS. Ultimately, this advancement holds the potential to catalyse substantial improvements in patient care and outcomes, especially within the intricate and high-stakes environment of the Emergency Department.
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    Teacher identity, activism, and empowerment: Entanglements with climate in Aotearoa, New Zealand
    (Thesis, The University of Waikato, 2024) Everth, Thomas
    Propelled by energy from fossil fuels, human population and agency have grown exponentially over the last century, resulting in rapidly increasing and potentially catastrophic anthropogenic impacts on the coupled systems of climate, ocean chemistry, ecology, and society. Education could bring about the fundamental change in human behaviour required to avert the potential dystopian futures predicted by climate scientists. By applying a DeleuzoGuattarian analytical and methodological framework, this thesis researched the perceptions and desires of seventeen climate activist secondary school teachers in Aotearoa, New Zealand, as they try to make sense of the diffractions between their ambition to be changemakers for a sustainable future and the milieu of territorialising institutional, social, and economic assemblages resisting this change. The analysis of the participant narratives generated specific insights into opportunities to deterritorialise and decode educational institutions in order to promote a meaningful engagement with the fundamental questions of human relations with the more-than-human world. This thesis promotes a critical-realist ontology for education to navigate the complex entanglements between social and material assemblages. The theoretical preparations for this research included a critical discussion of the epistemic relativism in constructivist philosophy and a critique of the ontological indeterminism in quantum mechanics-inspired agential realism.
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    Fathers' Help Seeking and Support: The Importance of Relationships for Mental Wellbeing
    (Thesis, The University of Waikato, 2024) Ghaleiha, Amin
    Becoming a father is a major transition for men, and may be a source of happiness and fulfilment, as well as distress. Perinatal mental health research has traditionally focused on mothers, with paternal mental health receiving limited attention. Men are adopting more caregiving roles and increasing their parental involvement, while maintaining their traditional role as a key provider for the family. Balancing these roles may lead to experiences of psychological distress, and help-seeking can be important in alleviating the impacts of paternal distress. However, research on fathers’ help-seeking and mental health needs remains scarce. Therefore, this thesis sought to better understand fathers’ experiences of help-seeking, and facilitators and challenges of paternal help-seeking to support mental health. Study 1 involved in-depth semi-structured interviews with 11 fathers about their experiences regarding transition to fatherhood and seeking support and advice in early years of parenthood. Fathers reported experiencing distress and uncertainty during the transition to parenthood; however, most did not believe their distress required seeking professional help. Fathers also used a variety of individual and interpersonal coping strategies. Partners were the most important source of emotional support for fathers, but some fathers felt it was inappropriate to seek their partner’s support while she was coping with the stress of pregnancy and new parenting. This study revealed that fathers viewed themselves in a rather traditional role of provider and as a source of emotional and financial stability for their family. This led to work-life balance stress and, for some, created a dilemma where they felt unable to seek emotional support from their most trusted person—their partner. In study 2 the role of social support, particularly partner support, was explored in relation to paternal mental health and parenting. Data from fathers participating in Growing Up in New Zealand (N = 2601) were used, focusing on data waves during pregnancy and at child ages 9 months and 2 years. Concurrent partner support, and to a lesser degree, other informal support (friends and family) was related to lower paternal distress during pregnancy and at child age 9 months. Although significant, the magnitude of the association was small. There was no evidence of social support in infancy buffering a negative association between distress and parenting outcomes at child age 2 years. Study 1 found that most fathers did not feel that their distress warranted a professional intervention. Following from this, study 3 investigated the relationships among mental health literacy (MHL), emotional distress, and fathers’ perceptions of barriers and modes of mental health help-seeking. Data were collected from a community sample of New Zealand and Australian fathers (N = 129). The study involved completing an online vignette survey, the Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale 21 Items (DASS-21), and two open ended questions. Those with a high DASS-21 stress score were more likely to report the individual in the vignette as needing help or having a mental health problem. regardless of the accuracy of this choice. Additionally, more fathers were able to correctly recognise clear symptoms of depression (typical depression) compared to masked depression. Fathers described several informal and formal sources for support and internal and external barriers (e.g., stigma and time/cost) to help-seeking. This thesis adds to the growing knowledge on fathers’ mental wellbeing by examining paternal help-seeking and distress as well the role of social support. Overall, the findings of this research are consistent with the limited amount of existing research suggesting that partner support has a unique role in paternal mental health. The findings also suggest greater emphasis on the role of relationships and social support in fathers’ mental health and help-seeking. The main implications of this thesis for health professionals who interact with young families are that paternal mental health requires greater clinical and social attention, and fathers with low levels of social support, poor work-life balance and mental health literacy, and traditional masculine beliefs on help-seeking may be at high risk of experiencing mental health difficulties.

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