Scotland, United Kingdom

Queen Margaret University
Scotland, United Kingdom

Queen Margaret University is a modern university located in Musselburgh, East Lothian near Edinburgh in Scotland. It is named after Saint Margaret, wife of King Malcolm III of Scotland. Wikipedia.

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Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: SSH.2012.1.3-2 | Award Amount: 3.09M | Year: 2013

The INSPIRES project aims to contribute to resilient and inclusive labour markets in Europe. It comparatively assesses the resilience and inclusiveness of labour markets in European countries, it identifies innovative policies that have contributed to resilience and inclusiveness and it analyzes strategies of policy learning that facilitate the development and transfer of these innovations within and across European nation states. In order to do so, it analyzes in-depth the evolution of labour markets policies, employment policies and social policies. Moreover, it qualitatively and quantitatively assesses the labour market position of vulnerable groups from 2000 onwards. INSPIRES covers eleven countries from all European welfare traditions: Mediterranean, Eastern-European, Anglo-Saxon, Scandinavian and the continental regimes. The consortium consists of a multidisciplinary team of leading European scholars that focus on the labour market, employment issues and social policies. The INSPIRES project aims to accumulate practice-oriented knowledge on the factors that positively and negatively affect resilience and inclusiveness. It seeks to explain differences within and between countries, and within and between the labour market positions of different vulnerable groups on the labour market. INSPIRES intends to isolate the impact of national policies from the structural demographic, social and economic characteristics on labour market resilience. Building upon this analysis, it tries to identify processes of policy learning and innovation that occur in the interactions between policy makers, politicians, non-profit organizations, trade unions, business associations and other stakeholders at the European, national and regional level. The outcomes of INSPIRES contribute to facilitating policy learning and innovation processes across territorial and sectoral boundaries and to the creation of inclusive and resilient labour markets in European countries.

Kelly H.,Queen Margaret University
Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online) | Year: 2010

BACKGROUND: Aphasia is an acquired language impairment following brain damage which affects some or all language modalities: expression and understanding of speech, reading and writing. Approximately one-third of people who have a stroke experience aphasia. OBJECTIVES: To assess the effectiveness of speech and language therapy (SLT) for aphasia following stroke. SEARCH STRATEGY: We searched the Cochrane Stroke Group Trials Register (last searched April 2009), MEDLINE (1966 to April 2009) and CINAHL (1982 to April 2009). In an effort to identify further published, unpublished and ongoing trials we handsearched the International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders, searched reference lists of relevant articles and contacted other researchers and authors. SELECTION CRITERIA: Randomised controlled trials comparing SLT versus no SLT, SLT versus social support or stimulation, and one SLT intervention versus another SLT intervention. SLT refers to a formal speech and language therapy intervention that aims to improve language and communication abilities and in turn levels of communicative activity and participation. Social support and stimulation refers to an intervention which provides social support or communication stimulation but does not include targeted therapeutic interventions. Direct comparisons of different SLT interventions refers to SLT interventions that differ in terms of duration, intensity, frequency or method of intervention or in the theoretical basis for the SLT approach. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Two review authors independently extracted the data and assessed the quality of included trials. We sought missing data from study investigators if necessary. MAIN RESULTS: We included 30 trials (41 paired comparisons) in the review: 14 subcomparisons (1064 participants) compared SLT with no SLT; six subcomparisons (279 participants) compared SLT with social support and stimulation; and 21 subcomparisons (732 participants) compared two approaches to SLT. In general, the trials randomised small numbers of participants across a range of characteristics (age, time since stroke and severity profiles), interventions and outcomes. Suitable statistical data were unavailable for several measures. AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: This review shows some indication of the effectiveness of SLT for people with aphasia following stroke. We also observed a consistency in the direction of results which favoured intensive SLT over conventional SLT, though significantly more people withdrew from intensive SLT than conventional SLT. SLT facilitated by a therapist-trained and supervised volunteer appears to be as effective as the provision of SLT by a professional. There was insufficient evidence to draw any conclusions in relation to the effectiveness of one SLT approach over another.

Buchan J.,Queen Margaret University
Human Resources for Health | Year: 2010

This paper examines the issue of workforce stability and turnover in the context of policy attempts to improve retention of health workers. The paper argues that there are significant benefits to supporting policy makers and managers to develop a broader perspective of workforce stability and methods of monitoring it. The objective of the paper is to contribute to developing a better understanding of workforce stability as a major aspect of the overall policy goal of improved retention of health workers. The paper examines some of the limited research on the complex interaction between staff turnover and organisational performance or quality of care in the health sector, provides details and examples of the measurement of staff turnover and stability, and illustrates an approach to costing staff turnover. The paper concludes by advocating that these types of assessment can be valuable to managers and policy makers as they examine which policies may be effective in improving stability and retention, by reducing turnover. They can also be used as part of advocacy for the use of new retention measures. The very action of setting up a local working group to assess the costs of turnover can in itself give managers and staff a greater insight into the negative impacts of turnover, and can encourage them to work together to identify and implement stability measures. © 2010 Buchan; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

Zharkova N.,Queen Margaret University
Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Journal | Year: 2013

Objective: Previous experimental studies have demonstrated abnormal lingual articulatory patterns characterizing cleft palate speech. Most articulatory information to date has been collected using electropalatography, which records the location and size of tongue-palate contact but not the tongue shape. The latter type of data can be provided by ultrasound. The present paper aims to describe ultrasound tongue imaging as a potential tool for quantitative analysis of tongue function in speakers with cleft palate. A description of the ultrasound technique as applied to analyzing tongue movements is given, followed by the requirements for quantitative analysis. Several measures are described, and example calculations are provided. Measures: Two measures aim to quantify overuse of tongue dorsum in cleft palate articulations. Crucially for potential clinical applications, these measures do not require head-to-transducer stabilization because both are based on a single tongue curve. The other three measures compare sets of tongue curves, with the aim to quantify the dynamics of tongue displacement, token-to-token variability in tongue position, and the extent of separation between tongue curves for different speech sounds. Conclusions: All measures can be used to compare tongue function in speakers with cleft palate before and after therapy, as well as to assess their performance against that in typical speakers and to help in selecting more effective treatments. © Copyright 2013 American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association.

Agency: GTR | Branch: ESRC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 197.10K | Year: 2016

The speech sounds L and R are often grouped together as a class (called liquid consonants), because they are similar in a number of ways. For example, although they function as consonants in speech, they have a vowel-like phonetic quality. The are also among the most complex speech sounds to produce (and may be late acquired by children or hard for adult learners to master). They vary widely in different accents of the same language. Finally, their production can involve the tongue forming multiple constrictions in the vocal tract and they sometimes involve specific movements of the lips as well. Although speakers are not always aware of it, the L sounds at the beginning and end of a word like level do not sound exactly the same. Likewise the R sounds at the beginning and end of a word like roar (for those so-called rhotic speakers who pronounce an R at the end of roar at all!) do not sound exactly the same. Behind the difference in sound quality is complex variation in (i) the way the articulatory organs synchronise their movements (ii) the strength of the production of the speech sound and (iii) the shape of the tongue when the speech sound is produced. When an L or R at the beginning of a word is pronounced, the speech organ movements involved tend to be more tightly synchronised than for an L or R at the end of a word. Also, L and r at the beginning of words are produced with more effort than they are at the ends of words. Finally, the tongue shapes involved in the production of L and R at the beginning and ends of words can be radically different from one another. These remarkable differences are very hard to measure, but research over many decades has addressed and raised a number of theoretical questions. Variation in these three parameters can cause very noticeable changes in the way L and R sound, explaining why, at the end of words, they seem less like consonants and more like vowels, e.g. making foal and foe sound very similar. The consonant might even disappear altogether, as occurred 200 years ago to R at the end of the words in the RP accent of English. Thus, subtle variation in speech production can result in big changes in the long term. However, not all accents of English show the same patterns, or change at the same rate. While American and Irish English mostly have strong R sounds at the end of words, word-final R is starting to sound very weak and even be lost in some Scottish accents. This project will use a vocal-tract imaging technique, ultrasound tongue imaging (UTI), to directly study the way the tongue moves inside the mouth when it is producing L and R, informing theories of speech articulation. The movement of the lips will also be recorded, as they play an important part in the production of English L and R too. We will record differences in the timing of movements of different parts of the tongue and the lips, how extreme the movements are and how different the shape the tongue is when it is producing L and R in different positions within the word. We will also look at what happens to L and R across longer domains too, as it has been shown that the greatest changes in the way these sounds are produced are found when L and R occur at the beginning and end of speech utterances longer than single words. We will study how changes in the movements of the vocal organs correlate with changes in the acoustic speech signal and we will identify which kinds of variation in vocal organ movement are most likely to make L and R sound weak, vowel-like or missing. Our research will focus on three key varieties of a single language in which R is pronounced at the beginnings and ends of words, i.e. Scottish, Irish and American English. We will thus be able to address regional and historical variation within an otherwise well-understood language using novel methods to address theoretical questions relevant to all languages.

Agency: GTR | Branch: MRC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 101.39K | Year: 2016

As a result of social and economic change over the past few decades, a number of low- and middle-income countries have rapidly ageing populations who are more vulnerable to long-term health conditions. To date, there has been little exploration of how the experiences of high-income countries that have developed models of integrated health and social care might inform strategies in low- and middle-income countries with growing numbers of older adults. This development grant seeks to build evidence towards development of a stroke care system for older adults in Guangdong Province, China. Chinas population is rapidly ageing, and approximately half of adults over 60 are living with chronic diseases. High blood pressure is the main risk factor for stroke which is leading cause of death and disability in the country. Family structures, levels of social support, and access to health insurance for older adults have changed due to the one-child policy, internal migration, and health reforms since the late 90s. Older adults in rural and urban settings have different levels of health awareness and support and seek health care differently, but overall, the care they receive is inconsistent and patchy. This project focuses on stroke care to explore how health and social systems are working to enable or hinder continuity of care for older adults with chronic disease conditions. First, we aim to distil the lessons learned from the international literature on stroke systems of care for older adults and examine their applicability in the Chinese health systems context. Second, we will conduct field research involving data collection with older adults, lay caregivers, and professional health and social care providers in an urban and a rural prefecture of Guangdong Province (Guangzhou and Meizhou respectively) to document experiences, patterns of care-seeking, and perceived needs for chronic disease management. A specific focus on stroke patients journeys through recovery and rehabilitation will allow us to identify how the systems currently work, and to what extent they hinder or facilitate integrated care. Third, we will examine and summarise the data collected in the form of a model that illustrates how health and social care systems currently respond and interact to meet the needs of older patients who are recovering from a stroke. Finally, we will disseminate results through a participatory workshop that includes key individuals from health and social care institutions in order to discuss and make recommendations regarding the potential strategies that can integrate elements of current health and social care systems to improve the care of older stroke patients. This work will inform the development of a larger proposal that can implement and evaluate one or more of the strategies identified to support development of a stroke care system in China.

Agency: GTR | Branch: ESRC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 303.76K | Year: 2012

When children learn to speak, by the age of three years old they typically produce most vowels and consonants correctly. However many details, particularly those concerned with complex variations of speech sound production in words and sentences (or coarticulation), continue to develop during childhood. Previous research by the team has suggested that subtle developmental changes are likely to be found into preadolescence.

This study will focus on these subtle changes, aiming to provide articulatory and acoustic data on the maturation of lingual coarticulatory patterns and tongue differentiation from three years old, when the phonological system of the native language has been mostly acquired, to early adolescence, when adult-like extent of tongue differentiation is present. There will be ten speakers in each of the six age groups, with two years between successive groups. For the first time, the ability to differentiate between parts of the tongue will be systematically studied in tightly spaced age groups throughout childhood, using ultrasound imaging data on tongue position and shape in speech. In addition to established analytical techniques, a new method of comparing tongue curves will be used, which does not require head-to-transducer stabilisation, making it possible to analyse data from three- and five-year-olds.

Agency: GTR | Branch: ESRC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 185.06K | Year: 2011

When you speak, what social information is transmitted? How? Phonetically, is the shape of the tongue inside the speaker’s vocal tract perceptible?

This project brings these questions together, to investigate how dialect, speech production and speech perception are related. It had previously been thought (on the basis of US English) that differing tongue shapes can be used by different people to articulate the consonant /r/ in a random way, with no sociolinguistic function. Either the tongue tip curls upwards, or points downwards to create a broad bunched shape, a difference apparently impossible to hear.

This project looks at these articulatory shapes of /r/, which our previous ESRC work found to vary socially in  Scottish English. If this difference can’t be heard, how can  the speaker-hearer chain  create and transmit this social variation in tongue shape? What does get transmitted?

The project will directly measure speakers’ tongue shapes, play just the acoustic recordings of /r/ types to listeners, who will mimic what they hear, then measure their tongue shape. This will uncover whether listeners can perceive and reproduce the differences in shape, or whether other differences we will measure such as the timing of the articulation matter more.

Agency: GTR | Branch: Innovate UK | Program: | Phase: Knowledge Transfer Partnership | Award Amount: 102.51K | Year: 2011

To implement evidence based service redesign for patients who are resistant to rehabilitative intervention in order to release resource intensive acute care beds.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-IEF | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2013-IEF | Award Amount: 221.61K | Year: 2014

The aims of the project are to analyze: 1) the extent and nature of external sandhi and of glottalization of word-initial vowels in English-accented German as compared to native English productions, in relationship to prosodic boundaries and adjacent segments, 2) the influence of external sandhi and of glottalization on word recognition by English and German listeners, 3) the influence of external sandhi and of glottalization on the perception of phrase boundaries by English and German listeners. External sandhi consists in the modification of sounds at word boundaries in connected speech, and it is reported in English and German. Glottalization ceases or modifies phonation by compressing the vocal folds. In German, an abrupt glottalized onset to phonation is frequent in front of word-initial vowels. In English this is less frequent and more likely to occur at phrase boundaries. The interplay between external-sandhi and glottalization is not clear: glottalizations are supposed to take place in absence of external sandhi, but articulatory gestures related to both phenomena can co-occur. I will build on my previous work on glottalizations, which showed the extent to which word boundary glottalization is transferred in language learning and actively used in perception. External sandhi, which is more common in English, can be blocked by glottalization: so English-accented German will be compared to English. Acoustic analysis will be accompanied by articulatory analysis in order to detect a possible co-occurrence of both phenomena. Perception experiments with manipulated speech will be carried out with native English and German listeners, to test the influence of glottalization and of external sandhi on word recognition and on the perception of phrase boundaries. This is the first extensive investigation of the interplay between external sandhi and glottalization in relationship with prosodic boundaries by means of articulatory, acoustic and perceptual analysis.

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