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Design and Manufacture of Molding Compounds for High Reliability Microelectronics in Extreme Conditions

Description: The widespread use of electronics in more avenues of consumer use is increasing. Applications range from medical instrumentation that directly can affect someone's life, down hole sensors for oil and gas, aerospace, aeronautics, and automotive electronics. The increased power density and harsh environment makes the reliability of the packaging a vital part of the reliability of the device. The increased importance of analog devices in these applications, their high voltage and high temperature resilience is resulting in challenges that have not been dealt with before. In particular packaging where insulative properties are vital use polymer resins modified by ceramic fillers. The distinct dielectric properties of the resin and the filler result in charge storage and release of the polarization currents in the composite that have had unpredictable consequences on reliability. The objective of this effort is therefore to investigate a technique that can be used to measure the polarization in filled polymer resins and evaluate reliable molding compounds. A valuable approach to measure polarization in polymers where charge release is tied to the glass transition in the polymer is referred to as thermally stimulated depolarization current (TSDC) technique. In this dissertation a new TSDC measurement system was designed and fabricated. The instrument is an assembly of several components that are automated via a LabVIEW program that gives the user flexibility to test different dielectric compounds at high temperatures and high voltage. The temperature control is enabled through the use of dry air convection heating at a very slow rate enabling controlled heating and cooling. Charge trapping and de-trapping processes were investigated in order to obtain information on insulating polymeric composites and how to optimize it. A number of material properties were investigated. First, polarization due to charges on the filer were investigated using composites containing charged and uncharged particles using ...
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Date: December 2016
Creator: Garcia, Andres

Determinants of Women's Autonomy in Nepal

Description: Nepal in recent times has witnessed a proliferation of community-based organization (CBOs). Established by local residents, CBOs are small level organizations that promote and defend the rights and interests of people especially that of minorities and the disadvantaged. One such minority group that CBOs greatly focus on are women. Despite dramatic increase in the number of CBOs in Nepal its impact on women is understudied. The purpose of this dissertation is to analyze the relationship between Nepalese women's participation in CBOs and their autonomy. Autonomy comprises of four different dimensions; physical mobility, financial autonomy, household decision-making, and reproductive autonomy. Modifying the conceptual framework used by Mahmud, Shah, and Becker in 2012, I hypothesize that women who participate in CBOs experience greater autonomy. Data from the 2008 Chitwan Valley Family Study is used for analysis. Using SPSS, separate logistic regressions are run to analyze the relationship between CBO membership and the dimensions of autonomy. The results support three of the four proposed major hypotheses. Nepalese women who participate in CBOs have greater autonomy in terms of physical mobility, financial autonomy, and household decision-making. No evidence was found to establish link between CBO membership and reproductive autonomy. The variables that are controlled for in the study include age, caste, religion, education, marital status, exposure to television, exposure to radio, and relationship with one's mother-in-law.
Date: December 2016
Creator: Neupane, Diptee

Dissimilar Friction Stir Welding Between Magnesium and Aluminum Alloys

Description: Joining two dissimilar metals, specifically Mg and Al alloys, using conventional welding techniques is extraordinarily challenging. Even when these alloys are able to be joined, the weld is littered with defects such as cracks, cavities, and wormholes. The focus of this project was to use friction stir welding to create a defect-free joint between Al 2139 and Mg WE43. The stir tool used in this project, made of H13 tool steel, is of fixed design. The design included an 11 mm scrolled and concave shoulder in addition to a 6 mm length pin comprised of two tapering, threaded re-entrant flutes that promoted and amplified material flow. Upon completion of this project an improved experimental setup process was created as well as successful welds between the two alloys. These successful joints, albeit containing defects, lead to the conclusion that the tool used in project was ill fit to join the Al and Mg alloy plates. This was primarily due to its conical shaped pin instead of the more traditional cylindrical shaped pins. As a result of this aggressive pin design, there was a lack of heat generation towards the bottom of the pin even at higher (800-1000 rpm) rotation speeds. This lack of heat generation prohibited the material from reaching plastic deformation thus preventing the needed material flow to form the defect free joint.
Date: December 2016
Creator: Reese, Gregory A

Dissimilar Joining of Al (AA2139) – Mg (WE43) Alloys Using Friction Stir Welding

Description: This research demonstrates the use of friction stir welding (FSW) to join dissimilar (Al-Mg) metal alloys. The main challenges in joining different, dissimilar metal alloys is the formation of brittle intermetallic compounds (IMCs) in the stir zone affecting mechanical properties of joint significantly. In this present study, FSW joining process is used to join aluminum alloy AA2139 and magnesium alloy WE43. The 9.5 mm thick plates of AA2139 and WE43 were friction stir butt welded. Different processing parameters were used to optimize processing parameters. Also, various weldings showed a crack at interface due to formation of IMCs caused by liquation during FSW. A good strength sound weld was obtained using processing parameter of 1200 rev/min rotational speed; 76.2 mm/min traverse speed; 1.5 degree tilt and 0.13 mm offsets towards aluminum. The crack faded away as the tool was offset towards advancing side aluminum. Mostly, the research was focused on developing high strength joint through microstructural control to reduce IMCs thickness in Al-Mg dissimilar weld joint with optimized processing parameter and appropriate tool offset.
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Date: December 2016
Creator: Poudel, Amir

District Leadership Supporting PLC Implementation in a Rapid Growth District

Description: A growing body of work has emerged regarding the responsibilities required of district leaders in establishing plans that initiate and create conditions for sustainability of continuous improvement achieved through a systemic reform structure such as professional learning communities. However, limited research exists in respect to sustaining cultures of continuous improvement in rapid growth districts. Rapid growth districts can be described as school systems, which construct and open multiple campuses annually. The underlying premise of this study considered how humans interact with one another within a rapidly changing professional organization. Change theory, professional capital, organizational learning theory, and system reform emerge as the conceptual framework in this study of district support of professional learning communities. Data collection for this qualitative descriptive case study included interviewing six K-12 principals, administering the PLCA-DS survey to 247 K-12 staff members, and document review. Recognition of the importance of the PLC framework, building capacity, development of collaborative culture, and issues resulting from constant change due to rapid growth were the four themes generated by the participants to support continuous improvement in a rapid growth district. The four themes combined with the components of the conceptual framework outline how district leaders in a rapidly changing environment cultivate a process leading to system-wide improvement.
Date: December 2016
Creator: Tinsley, Laurie Huffman

Drought: Construction of a Social Problem

Description: Drought is a complex subject that has varied definitions and perspectives. Although drought has historically been characterized as an environmental problem from both the meteorological and agricultural communities, it is not considered a sociological disaster despite its severe societal impacts. Utilizing the framework developed by Spector and Kitsuse (2011) and Stallings (1995), this research examines the process through which drought is defined as a social problem. An analysis of the data revealed drought was well covered in Africa, India, China, Australia, and New Zealand, yet very little coverage focused on the United States. There were less than 10 articles discussing drought and drought impacts in the United States. The workshops/meetings examined also were lacking in the attention to drought, although their overall theme was focused on hazards and resilience. Six sessions in over 16 years of meetings/workshops focused on the topic of drought, and one session was focused on the condition in Canada. The interviews uncovered five thematic areas demonstrating drought understanding and awareness: Use of outreach to get the message out; agricultures familiarity with drought; the role of drought in media; the variability of what drought is; and water conservation. Drought's claims-makers who are dedicated to providing outreach and education to impacted communities. Drought is often overlooked due to its slow onset and evolving development makes it difficult to determine when to engage in recovery efforts. Drought defined as a social problem also expands theoretical conversations regarding what events or issues should be included within the sociological disaster list of topics.
Date: December 2016
Creator: Parham, Antoinette D

The Duality of the Hitler Youth: Ideological Indoctrination and Premilitary Education

Description: This thesis examines the National Socialists' ultimate designs for Germany's youth, conveniently organized within the Hitlerjugend. Prevailing scholarship portrays the Hitler Youth as a place for ideological indoctrination and activities akin to the modern Boy Scouts. Furthermore, it often implies that the Hitler Youth was paramilitary but always lacks support for this claim. These claims are not incorrect, but in regard to the paramilitary nature of the organization, they do not delve nearly deeply enough. The National Socialists ultimately desired to consolidate their control over the nation and to prepare the nation for a future war. Therefore, they needed to simultaneously indoctrinate German youth, securing the future existence of National Socialism but also ensuring that German youth carry out their orders and defend Germany, and train the youth in premilitary skills, deliberately attempting to increase the quality of the Wehrmacht and furnish it with a massive, trained reserve in case of war. This paper relies on published training manuals, translated propaganda, memoirs of former Hitler Youth members and secondary literature to examine the form and extent of the ideological indoctrination and premilitary training--which included the general Hitler Youth, special Hitler Youth subdivisions, military preparedness camps akin to boot camp, and elaborate war games which tested the youths' military knowledge. This thesis clearly demonstrates that the National Socialists desired to train the youth in skills that assisted them later in the Wehrmacht and reveals the process implemented by the National Socialists to instill these abilities in Germany's impressionable youth.
Date: December 2016
Creator: Miller, Aaron Michael

Effect of Makerspace Professional Development Activities on Elementary and Middle School Educator Perceptions of Integrating Technologies with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics)

Description: This study investigated a Makerspace professional development program, the Makers' Guild, provided to teachers within north Texas over the course of a semester. The research employed a constructionist approach delivered via 2D and 3D technologies during STEM instructional activities within a creative space. Participants reported statistically significant increases in self-reported competence in technology integration, confidence levels toward integrating World Wide Web, Emerging Technologies for Student Learning, Teacher Professional Development, and attitudes toward math, technology, science, and STEM careers.
Date: December 2016
Creator: Miller, Jennifer R

Effects of Brain Brain Injury on Primary Cilia of Glial Cells and Pericytes

Description: Glial cells maintain homeostasis that is essential to neuronal function. Injury to the nervous system leads to the activation and proliferation of glial cells and pericytes, which helps to wall off the damaged region and restore homeostatic conditions. Sonic hedgehog is a mitogen which is implicated in injury-induced proliferation of glial cells and pericytes. The mitogenic effects of sonic hedgehog require primary cilia, but the few reports on glial or pericyte primary cilia do not agree about their abundance and did not address effects of injury on these cilia. Primary cilia are microtubule-based organelles that arise from the centrosome and are retracted before cells divide. Depending on cell type, proteins concentrated in cilia can transduce several mitotic, chemosensory, or mechanosensory stimuli. The present study investigated effects of stab wound injury on the incidence and length of glial and pericyte primary cilia in the area adjacent to the injury core. Astrocytes, polydendrocytes and pericytes were classified by immunohistochemistry based on cell-type markers. In normal adult mice, Arl13b immunoreactive primary cilia were present in a majority of each cell type examined: astrocytes, 98±2%; polydendrocytes, 87±6%; and pericytes, 79±13% (mean ± SEM). Three days post-injury, cilium incidence decreased by 24% in astrocytes (p< 0.008) and 41% in polydendrocytes (p< 0.002), but there was no significant effect in pericytes. Polydendrocytes labeled with the cell cycle marker Ki67 were less likely to have cilia compared to resting, Ki67- polydendrocytes. Considering post-injury rates of proliferation for astrocytes and polydendrocytes, it appears that resorption of cilia due to cell cycle entry may account for much of the loss of cilia in polydendrocytes but was not sufficient to account for the loss of cilia in astrocytes. Under normal conditions, astrocytes rarely divide, and they maintain non-overlapping territories. However, three days after injury, there was a 7-fold increase in ...
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Date: December 2016
Creator: Coronel, Marco Vinicio

The Effects of Feedback Timing when Teaching a New Task to Children with Autism

Description: The purpose of this experiment was to investigate Tosti's proposal about the timing of feedback. The study examined whether it is better to correct immediately after the error occurs or whether it is better to wait until immediately before the next opportunity to respond. In addition, it aimed to determine whether corrections delivered at different times produced different learner affects. Four children with autism were taught to label two sets of pictures under the two different conditions. Results showed that the timing of the feedback yields similar results in regards to number of correct responses and total trial count. However, in regards to time spent in teaching and learner affect, correcting errors before the next opportunity to respond showed to be the more efficient procedure and produced more favorable affect.
Date: December 2016
Creator: Cochrane, Angela

The Effects of Student-Perceived Instructor Demotivating Behaviors on Doctoral Students' Information Seeking Behaviors

Description: In their studies on student motivation in th4e 1990s, Gorham & Christophel and Christophel & Gorham found that students perceived their own demotivation to be caused by instructor behaviors. While there are studies that explore the topic of student demotivation and other studies that illustrate the great influence instructors have on student information seeking behaviors, research focusing on the connection between these two concepts is almost nonexistent. Using Gorham & Christophel's concept of instructor-owned student demotivation, this mixed-methods study sought to identify which instructor behaviors doctoral computer science and information science students found demotivating and to what extent their perceptions of these demotivating instructor behaviors influenced their information seeking behaviors in a face-to-face classroom. Demographic and student-perceived demotivating instructor behavior surveys along with semi-structured interviews and follow-up questions were used to collect data. The surveys will be analyzed using descriptive statistics in Excel, and the semi-structured interviews and follow up questions were analyzed using content analysis and Colaizzi's method of phenomenological enquiry in NVivo. The findings showed that instructor demotivating behaviors not only influence student information seeking behaviors in the classroom, but they also can lead to lasting effects on the student. In addition, the participants have expectations of instructor behaviors, which come from their own experiences. These expectations also influence the level of demotivation they feel in a face-to-face classroom.
Date: December 2016
Creator: Cantu, Brenda Ann

Enhanced Coarse-Graining for Multiscale Modeling of Elastomers

Description: One of the major goal of the researchers is to reduce energy loss including nanoscale to the structural level. For instance, around 65% of fuel energy is lost during the propulsion of the automobiles, where 11% of the loss happens at tires due to rolling friction. Out of that tire loss, 90 to 95% loss happens due to hysteresis of tire materials. This dissertation focuses on multiscale modeling techniques in order to facilitate the discovery new rubber materials. Enhanced coarse-grained models of elastomers (thermoplastic polyurethane elastomer and natural rubber) are constructed from full-atomic models with reasonable repeat units/beads associated with pressure-correction for non-bonded interactions of the beads using inverse Boltzmann method (IBM). Equivalent continuum modeling is performed with volumetric/isochoric loading to predict macroscopic mechanical properties using molecular mechanics (MM) and molecular dynamics (MD). Glass-transition and rate-dependent mechanical properties along with hysteresis loss under uniaxial deformation is predicted with varying composition of the material. A statistical non-Gaussian treatment of a rubber chain is performed and linked with molecular dynamics in order predict hyperelastic material constants without fitting with any experimental data.
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Date: December 2016
Creator: Uddin, Md Salah

Ethiopian Coffee Stories: Applied Research with Sidama Coffee Farmers Combining Visual and Ethnographic Methods

Description: The purpose of this study is to demonstrate the value of visual research methods to applied anthropology in the context of exploratory research with farmers in Ethiopia. The three methods of photo-elicitation, participatory photography, and ethnographic film, enrich and expand ethnographic methods to support the client's objective of supporting farmers. The applied project constructs a narrative from the local perspective to help consumers learn more about farmers' lives. The research focuses on specific farmers, and their experiences with direct fair trade and coffee farming. The client sees the application of research produced by ethnographic and visual methods as a good direction not only for his company, but the Fair Trade Industry as a whole.
Date: December 2016
Creator: Suter, Paula Jean

Evaluation of Agreement among Respondents to Anecdotal Assessments and Correspondence between Anecdotal and Experimental Analysis Outcomes

Description: Study 1 evaluated agreement among five respondents using the Functional Analysis Screening Tool (FAST), the Motivation Assessment Scale (MAS) and Questions About Behavioral Function (QABF). Respondents provided ratings for 20 target behaviors exhibited by 10 individuals. At least 4/5 raters agreed on the primary maintaining variable in 80% of cases with the FAST, 70% of cases with the MAS, and 55% of cases with the QABF. Study 2 evaluated correspondence between results of anecdotal assessments and experimental functional analysis for 10 target behaviors selected from Study 1. Correspondence between the experimental functional analyses was 60% with the FAST and the MAS, 50% with the QABF.
Date: December 2016
Creator: Frusha, Caroline J.

An Evaluation of Correspondence between Preference and Performance under a Progressive Ration Schedule with College Students

Description: Preference assessments are used in clinical settings to identify stimuli with reinforcing potential. The progressive-ratio schedule has shown to be useful in clinical assessments in identifying stimuli with stronger reinforcer efficacy that corresponds to formalized assessments.The current study utilized a progressive-ratio schedule to compare videos of high and low preference assessed by verbal reports of preference with college students. Results indicated breakpoints were higher for high preferred videos than low preferred videos for three out of five participants, but preference was not indicative of performance.
Date: December 2016
Creator: Johnson, Jamarious

An Evaluation of Interactive Computer Training to Teach Discrete Trial and Naturalistic Instruction to Novice Therapists

Description: Effective and efficient training strategies are needed to provide training to novel therapists whom provide early intensive behavioral intervention (EIBI) services to young children with autism. We evaluated the effects of interactive computer-based training (ICT) on novice therapists' implementation of two, common EIBI instructional techniques: discrete-trial instruction (DTI) and naturalistic instruction. Results demonstrated that ICT improved trainees' instructional fidelity during role-plays with a confederate for DTI instruction and also with a child with autism for both DTI and naturalistic instruction. As a result, the requirement for supervisor feedback on performance was minimized. In addition, results suggest that child language improved as a result of improved therapist performance.
Date: December 2016
Creator: Nielsen, Olivia

An Evaluation of the Effects of Effort on Resistance to Change

Description: Behavioral momentum theory (BMT) has become a prominent method of studying the effects of reinforcement on operant behavior. BMT represents a departure from the Skinnerian tradition in that it identifies the strength of responding with its resistance to change. Like in many other operant research paradigms, however, responses are considered to be momentary phenomena and so little attention has been paid to non-rate dimensions of responding. The current study takes up the question of whether or not the degree of effort defining a discriminated operant class has any meaningful effect on its resistance to change. Using a force transducer, rats responded on a two-component multiple VI 60-s VI 60-s schedule where each component was correlated with a different force requirement. Resistance to change was tested through prefeeding and extinction. Proportional declines in response rate were equal across components during all disruption tests. Differentiated response classes remained intact throughout. The negative result suggests several future research directions.
Date: December 2016
Creator: Foss, Erica K

Evolving Curricular Models in Culinary Arts: An Instrumental Case Study of a Technical Field

Description: The purpose of this research study was to examine how chefs and other individuals in the food industry understood the field of culinary arts. This study used an instrumental case study with purposeful sampling of multiple cases. Through a series of open-ended interviews using snowball-sampling strategy that concluded with 45 participants sharing their experiences in culinary education and employment, several themes emerged across all of the interviews: (1) Disempowerment of those who have been successful in the culinary arts; (2) Conflict in the field; and, (3) Needs of employers not being met. Following the analysis of the data, two research questions were inductively formed: (1) How do the participants' understandings vary based upon the three models (apprenticeship, associate degree, and baccalaureate degree) of culinary education? (2) How do these themes vary depending upon the three models of culinary education? What resulted was thick description of the impact of the three models of formal chef education has had on the field of culinary arts, followed by the potential in the development of the baccalaureate degree model as it represented an opportunity for field redefinition in culinary arts. This study produced a set of data revealing that current culinary education has become one that has bred disempowerment, continued conflict in the field of culinary arts, and left needs unfullfilled related to technical skills required for successful employment. The shift from the time-consuming and expensive model of apprenticeship to the development of the associate degree has necessitated a reconsideration of culinary education. What has been offered in this research is the potential for a transformation facilitated within a baccalaureate degree that could intertwine both technical skills and academic knowledge.
Date: December 2016
Creator: Cossio, Allison

Examining the Impact of the Community of Inquiry and Student Learning Process on Participants' Academic Achievement

Description: This dissertation presents an empirical investigation of learning from online courses. The current dissertation examined student participation, using Arbaugh et al.'s Community of Inquiry (CoI) survey instrument and Biggs et al.'s revised version of the Study Process Questionnaire (R-SPQ-2F) to determine CoI influences on learning from the students' perspective. This study is in response to Rourke and Kanuka's call to provide further empirical evidence about CoI conceptual framework connections to deep and meaningful learning. The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of the elements of CoI, cognitive, social, and teaching presences and students' learning approaches to students' perceived learning. Students enrolled in traditional, online, and, blended courses during the 2016 spring semester at a southwestern university participated in a web-based survey. Structural equation modeling was used to test the indirect effects between the elements of CoI, learning approaches, and perceived learning. Student's deep approach to learning was found to have an indirect effect between cognitive presence and perceived learning. However, this study's findings, when the CoI framework was viewed in its entirety, failed to provide evidence to simulate deep and meaningful learning.
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Date: December 2016
Creator: Pacleb, Selverio V.

Exploratory User Research for a Website that Provides Resources for Educators of American Indian Students in Higher Education

Description: Several studies have indicated that American Indian students in the United States higher education system confront unique challenges that derive from a legacy of colonialism and assimilationist policies (Huff 1997). Several scholars, American Indian and non-Native alike, have explored the effects of this history upon students in higher education (Brayboy 2004; Guillory and Wolverton 2008; Waterman and Lindley 2013). Very few, however, have explored the role of the educators of American Indian students, and most of the literature focuses on K-12 educational settings (McCarty and Lee 2014; Yong and Hoffman 2014). This thesis examines exploratory user research conducted to generate a foundational understanding of educators of American Indian students in higher education. Utilizing methods from design anthropology and user experience, semi-structured interviews and think-aloud sessions were conducted, almost exclusively virtually, for 17 participants. This research was conducted for a client, Fire & Associates, as part of the applied thesis process. Findings revealed a complex web of needs for educators of American Indian students in higher education related to teaching diverse students, the use of media and technology in the classroom, and the process of networking among other educators. The research culminated in content and design implications for the Fire & Associates website as well as suggestions for further research based on best practices in the field of user experience.
Date: December 2016
Creator: Roth, Heather S.

Exploring Ahope Client Satisfaction and Attitudes

Description: I led a participatory action research (PAR) project with the staff and homeless clients of Ahope Day Center in Asheville, North Carolina, which was meant to evaluate client satisfaction with services and attitudes about certain issues. Project is led by an inquiry group consisting of members of Ahope staff and Ahope clients. The project is a co-designed, co-implemented, and co-interpreted mixed-method evaluation of Ahope's services, client attitudes about education and the environment, client adaptive strategies, optimism levels, and a mapping of client daily routines. The data was collected through participant observation, document analysis, surveys, a listing activity, and informal interviews. Documents were coded using grounded theory and themes emerged related to the value of the intangibles of security, community, and ‘being seen' at Ahope while some suggestions were also made. Findings included client attitudes indicating the importance of the environment and education to clients, high optimism levels among clients, and a number of suggestions for the improvement of Ahope's services.
Date: December 2016
Creator: Johnston, Josiah Ramsay

Family and Cultural Influences on Latino Emerging Adults' Career Development

Description: There is an extensive amount of research on career development, but most of the constructs studied have focused on content-oriented variables rather than process-oriented variables. While some of the studies have examined samples from ethnic minority populations, the majority of studies use ethnic minority populations as comparison groups, studying between-group differences as opposed to within-group differences. The literature is especially deficient in the are of Latino career development. The current study will examine how family and culture influence the career development of Latino emerging adults. This study will explore the influence of socioeconomic status and acculturation on the career salience and career maturity of Latino emerging adults. The quality of the parent-emerging adult relationship will also be explored for its influence on career development outcomes in this population. One hundred fifty Latino undergraduate students ages 18-24 will be recruited for participation in this study. The participants will complete questionnaires regarding demographic information, acculturation, the quality of the parent-emerging adult relationship, career salience, and career maturity.
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Date: December 2016
Creator: Rodriguez, Kristina

Framework to Evaluate Entropy Based Data Fusion Methods in Supply Chain Management

Description: This dissertation explores data fusion methodology to deduce an overall inference from the data gathered from multiple heterogeneous sources. Typically, if there existed a data source in which the data were reliable and unbiased, then data fusion would not be necessary. Data fusion methodology combines data form multiple diverse sources so that the desired information - such as the population mean - is improved despite redundancies, inaccuracies, biases, and inflated variability in the data. Examples of data fusion include estimating average demand from similar sources, and integrating fatality counts from different media sources after a catastrophe. The approach in this study combines "inputs" from distinct sources so that the information is "fused." Another way of describing this process is "data integration." Important assumptions are 1. Several sources provide "inputs" for information used to estimate parameters of a probability distribution. 2. Since distributions for the data from the sources are heterogeneous, some sources are less reliable. 3. Distortions, bias, censorship, and systematic errors may be more prominent in data from certain sources. 4. The sample size of sources data, number of "inputs," may be very small. Examples of information from multiple sources are abundant: traffic information from sensors at intersections, multiple economic indicators from various sources, demand data for product using similar retail stores as sources, polling data from various sources, and disaster count of fatalities from different media sources after a catastrophic event. This dissertation seeks to address a gap in the operations literature by addressing three research questions regarding entropy base data fusion (EBDF) approaches to estimation. Three separate, but unifying, essays address the research questions for this dissertation. Essay 1 provides an overview of supporting literature for the research questions. A numerical analysis of airline maximum wait time data illustrates the underlying issues involved in EBDF methods. This ...
Date: December 2016
Creator: Tran, Huong Thi

Friends of the State Courts: Organized Interests and State Courts of Last Resort

Description: Why do interest groups participate in state courts of last resort by filing amicus curiae briefs? Are they influential when they do? This dissertation examines these questions using an original survey of organized interests that routinely participate in state supreme courts, as well as data on all amicus curiae briefs and majority opinions in over 14,000 cases decided in all fifty-two state supreme courts for a four year period. I argue that interest groups turn to state judiciaries to achieve the dual goals of influencing policy and organizational maintenance, as amicus briefs can help organized interests achieve both outcomes. Furthermore, I contend that amicus briefs are influential in shaping judicial policy-making through the provision of legally persuasive arguments. The results suggest that interest groups do file amicus briefs to both lobby for their preferred policies and to support their organization's long-term viability. Additionally, the results indicate that organized interests also participate in counteractive lobbying in state courts of last resort by filing amicus briefs to ensure their side is represented and to dull the effect of oppositional amici. The findings also demonstrate support for the influence of amicus briefs on judicial policy-making on state high courts, as amicus briefs can influence the ideological direction of the court's majority opinions. Overall, this research extends our understanding of interest group lobbing in the judiciary and in state policy venues, and provides insight into judicial politics and policy-making on state courts of last resort.
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Date: December 2016
Creator: Perkins, Jared David