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 Collection: UNT Theses and Dissertations
Evaluating the Cultural Plan of Austin, Texas

Evaluating the Cultural Plan of Austin, Texas

Date: December 2013
Creator: Smith, Rachel May
Description: This is a concurrent, mixed methods study of the impacts of Austin, Texas’s cultural plan, CreateAustin. In the study, trend analysis and a t-test were used to examine variables before and after the cultural plan was in place. At the same time, interviews with cultural planners were used to uncover other effects. My research addresses a gap in the literature between understanding the desired and actual outcomes of a cultural plan. Cultural plans are being developed by many communities in an effort to attract creative workers but they are rarely evaluated. Evaluation using a mixed methods approach is necessary to capture all the outcomes of a cultural plan, rather than the limited scope of impacts that are captured by qualitative or quantitative analyses alone. My analysis of the quantitative variables showed some significant differences between when the plan was in place and the years prior to its creation. Interviews with key stakeholders revealed the formation of new networks as a powerful outcome of the planning process. The results allowed me to gauge the overall impact of CreateAustin and make some observations about the cultural planning process in general, as well as uncover new directions for future research.
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Web Information Behaviors of Users Interacting with a Metadata Navigator

Web Information Behaviors of Users Interacting with a Metadata Navigator

Date: December 2013
Creator: McMillan, Tyson DeShaun
Description: The web information behaviors of users as they interacted with a metadata navigator, the Personal Information (PI) Agent, and reflected upon their interaction experiences were studied. The process included studying the complete iterative (repeated) cycle of information needs, information seeking, and information use of users interacting with an internet-based prototype metadata PI Agent tool. Detlor’s theory of web information behaviors of organizational users was utilized as a theoretical foundation for studying human-information interactions via the PI Agent tool. The qualitative research design allowed for the use of triangulation within the context of a one-group pretest-posttest design. Triangulation occurred in three phases: (a) observe, (b) collect, and (c) reflect. Observations were made as participants solved three problem situations. Participants’ computer log and print screen data were collected, and follow-up interviews were conducted once all posttest sessions ended to enable users to reflect on their experiences. The three triangulation phases ensured saturation of data and greater depth regarding the participants’ information behaviors. Content analysis occurred via exploratory pattern analysis using the posttest Problem Steps Recorder (PSR) log data and on the six interviewees’ follow-up interview data. Users engaged in iterative cycles of information needs, information seeking, and information use to resolve the ...
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Facebook Brand Page: an Exploratory Study of Facebook Brand Page Attributes and Their Influence on Purchase Intentions

Facebook Brand Page: an Exploratory Study of Facebook Brand Page Attributes and Their Influence on Purchase Intentions

Date: December 2013
Creator: Karam, Marian T.
Description: This study explored attributes of a Facebook brand page (FBP). Seven variables were derived from the framework and applied to FBPs. The goals of this research were to discover which attributes contribute to a successful FBP, determine which attributes increase purchase intentions, and help marketers determine where to focus their efforts. A total of 421 surveys were gathered from men and women ages 18 and older. The methods of this research included factor analysis and multiple regression analysis. Results yielded two loading factors for the trustworthiness variable and supported hypotheses of trustworthiness increasing purchase intentions. It was also discovered that participation positively influences purchase intentions. It is advised that information content be monitored to avoid information overload.
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Rickshaw Man

Rickshaw Man

Date: December 2013
Creator: Thomas, Denny G.
Description: This documentary film tells the story of Mohammad in India, and Mike in the United States, who are separated by social, economic, cultural, linguistic and religious differences, and yet there is an inanimate object that connects them-the rickshaw. The film examines how rickshaw men are viewed and treated by the society they live in and also illuminates the threads of commonality between these two men to show that they are not so different from each other after all.
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Social Innovation in Venture Capital Firms: Strategy, Structure, and Performance

Social Innovation in Venture Capital Firms: Strategy, Structure, and Performance

Date: December 2013
Creator: Jones III, Raymond J.
Description: Social innovations are solutions related to humanistic needs and the betterment of mankind with the intent of creating social value and eventual societal level changes. Social innovation therefore broadens traditional views of innovation to include processes of societal transformations and human behaviors. These social innovations are becoming more commonplace across all sectors, including capital markets. Private equity and venture capital firms in the capital markets sector engage in social innovation by investing capital with the goal of delivering both economic and social value. Despite the critical importance of venture capital (VC) in the success of social innovations through socially responsible investing, there is a paucity of research in understanding the factors that affect the performance of these social VC firms. This research gap is addressed by asking the following primary research question: What is the role of strategic and structural factors in the performance of socially innovative venture capital firms? The firm level research is theoretically based on the well-established design school. This framework highlights the overarching importance of strategy and structure in the accomplishment of firm goals. In the context of the venture capital industry, it was hypothesized that certain unique strategic and structural factors (i.e., stage of investment, ...
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Assessing Local Governments’ Debt Financing Strategies

Assessing Local Governments’ Debt Financing Strategies

Date: December 2013
Creator: Lung, Wei-Liang
Description: This dissertation assesses the importance of a specific debt instrument, the Certifi- cate of Obligation in the state of Texas. It conceptualizes the Certificate of Obligation as a type of contractual debt that enables local governments to finance their capital projects. This dissertation is guided by three research questions: (1) What are the various types of debt instruments employed by local governments and what are their relative advantages? (2) How prevalent is the use of a specific debt instrument such as Certificates of Obligation? And why would some local governments prefer to issue them while others do not? (3) To what extent does the local institutional environment, e.g., the executive authority of city managers in the council-manager form of government, affect debt financing behaviors of local governments? To examine the first research question, we created a typology to represent four ideal types of borrowing methods: (1) Contractual Debt, (2) Voter Approval/Special Tax Debt, (3) Guaranteed, and (4) Non-Guaranteed Debts. The typology examines whether or not the state mandates the referendum requirement for the use of each of these debt instruments, and at the same time determines whether each debt instrument is secured by multiple or single revenue sources. Using data ...
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Churches, Social Service Access and Korean-american Elders: an Exploratory Study

Churches, Social Service Access and Korean-american Elders: an Exploratory Study

Date: December 2013
Creator: Kim, Eunkyung
Description: This study examined how Korean co-ethnic churches serve as connections between Korean seniors and the agencies that offer social and health care services. The study developed from a pilot outreach program funded by the North Central Texas Council of Governments’ Area Agency on Aging (NCTAAA) to inform Korean seniors about Medicare-related programs between February and May of 2011. The results of the pilot program suggested that the Korean-American church can be an effective place for program outreach. The dissertation project, working in partnership with the NCTAAA and 2-1-1 services, further explored the use of Korean churches as a vehicle to connect Korean seniors to Extra Help (EH) and Medicare Saving Programs (MSP) and 2-1-1 services, a toll-free number for information about non-emergency health and social services. Fifty-three pastors were contacted to participate in a telephone survey and a face-to-face, in-depth semi-structured interview. Thirty telephone surveys and 11 face-to-face interviews were conducted. Five of the 30 pastors agreed to host program outreach presentations for the EH, MSP, and 2-1-1 services in their churches. Host churches tended to be more likely highly structured, regularly scheduled programs (e.g., Senior College) for seniors already in place. A total of 405 Korean seniors participated in ...
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Integrated Computational and Experimental Approach to Control Physical Texture During Laser Machining of Structural Ceramics

Integrated Computational and Experimental Approach to Control Physical Texture During Laser Machining of Structural Ceramics

Date: December 2013
Creator: Vora, Hitesh D.
Description: The high energy lasers are emerging as an innovative material processing tool to effectively fabricate complex shapes on the hard and brittle structural ceramics, which previously had been near impossible to be machined effectively using various conventional machining techniques. In addition, the in-situ measurement of the thermo-physical properties in the severe laser machining conditions (high temperature, short time duration, and small interaction volume) is an extremely difficult task. As a consequence, it is extremely challenging to investigate the evolution of surface topography through experimental analyses. To address this issue, an integrated experimental and computational (multistep and multiphysics based finite-element modeling) approach was employed to understand the influence of laser processing parameters to effectively control the various thermo-physical effects (recoil pressure, Marangoni convection, and surface tension) during transient physical processes (melting, vaporization) for controlled surface topography (surface finish). The results indicated that the material lost due to evaporation causes an increase in crater depth of machined cavity, whereas liquid expulsion created by the recoil pressure increases the material pileup height around the lip of machined cavity, the major attributes of surface topography (roughness). Also, it was found that the surface roughness increased with increase in laser energy density and pulse rate ...
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Social Support As a Moderating Factor Between Mental Health Disruption and College Adjustment in Student Veterans

Social Support As a Moderating Factor Between Mental Health Disruption and College Adjustment in Student Veterans

Date: December 2013
Creator: Campbell, Robyn
Description: Research has indicated that OEF/OIF veterans are experiencing mental health concerns following deployment. While there are increasing numbers of veterans returning to higher education institutions after discharging from the military, there is a scarcity of empirical research investigating student veterans’ experiences as they transition into college. The purpose of the current study was to examine whether social support moderates the effects of psychological distress on college adjustment among a sample of student veterans. Participants were administered a Background Information Questionnaire, measures of psychological distress (i.e., GAD-7, PHQ-9, IES-R), Multidimensional Scales of Perceived Social Support, and the Student Adjustment to College Questionnaire. Multiple regressions revealed significant main effects for the variables of interest, but analyses failed to support the hypothesis that perceived social support would moderate the effects of psychological distress on college adjustment.
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An Examination of Mathematics Teachers’ Use of Student Data in Relationship to Student Academic Performance

An Examination of Mathematics Teachers’ Use of Student Data in Relationship to Student Academic Performance

Date: December 2013
Creator: Hartmann, Lillian Ann
Description: Among educational researchers, important questions are being asked about how to improve mathematics instruction for elementary students. This study, conducted in a north Texas public school with 294 third- through fifth-grade students, ten teachers and three coaches, examined the relationship between students’ achievement in mathematics and the mathematics teaching and coaching instruction they received. Student achievement was measured by the Computer Adaptive Instrument (CAT), which is administered three times a year in the district and is the main criterion for students’ performance/movement in the district’s response to intervention program for mathematics. The response to intervention model employs student data to guide instruction and learning in the classroom and in supplemental sessions. The theoretical framework of the concerns based adoption model (CBAM) was the basis to investigate the concerns that mathematics teachers and coaches had in using the CAT student data to inform their instruction. The CAT data, based on item response theory, was the innovation. Unique in this study was the paralleling of teachers’ and coaches’ concerns and profiles for their use of the data with student scores using an empirical approach. Data were collected at three intervals through the Stages of Concerns Questionnaire, the Levels of Use interviews, and ...
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