Abstracts 2018

Mairin Maher

College of Medicine, Nursing, & Health Sciences

The physical functional abilities of older drivers and non-drivers: A comparison

The aim of this research project is to explore whether there is a link between physical functional ability and driving in older adults aged 65 years and older. Driving is a complex task requiring the use of various motor and cognitive skills by the individual. Physical activity has a positive influence on various aspects such as executive functions, information processing, working memory, attention, judgement, physical flexibility and strength. All of these are important for independent driving and safety. One’s continued ability to partake in physical activities has been proved to have positive impact on one’s cognitive as well as physical abilities, including executive functions, information processing, working memory, attention, judgement, physical flexibility and strength all of which are important for independent and safe driving. With this increase in the population of older people it is thought that elderly people will be driving for longer or else relying on public transport for longer. With a lack of public service availability, especially in rural areas, this means that Irish drivers are continuing to drive long into their retirement, simply to retain their functional independence and community mobility. The aim of the study is to determine if a group older adults who are currently driving have increased physical functional abilities than a group of older adults who have recently ceased driving and also to determine whether age or gender influences when an individual ceases driving.

Jason Gorman; Kieran Tuhoy; Owen Coleman; Cian Flaherty

College of Arts, Social Sciences, & Celtic Studies

Investigating Academic Procrastination and the Excessive Use of Smartphones among Irish University Students

Young people today are becoming increasingly dependent on their smartphones. Our study was an attempt to see if this recent obsession was causing academic procrastination. We believed that from some of our own personal experiences and from briefly speaking with fellow students that this research topic could bear some interesting results. Academic procrastination is a problem that is very relevant as almost all of us know someone whose smartphone is more like an extension of their arm than a communication device. With this in mind we began researching this topic as part of one of our final year arts IT projects. We firstly began by conducting much research into the field of procrastination and how it can negatively affect many aspects of work. After this it was imperative that we conduct a survey in order to find out if our fellow student's smartphone habits were resulting in academic procrastination. As technology addiction is a relatively new concept there is we felt as if there was a definite need for literature relating to this topic. This is a project that my colleagues and I have worked extensively on and have much more information and results to discuss should we be accepted. We feel that this research topic would be very suitable to this conference as it directly relates to college students and therefore, we hope that those in attendance will be able to gain meaningful insight into the effects of smartphone over-usage.

Arran Tyson; Shane Dowd; Michael Roddy; Tim Crotty

College of Arts, Social Sciences, & Celtic Studies

Make (A) Way for the Disabled!

A survey of 25 Irish third-level institutions, conducted during the academic year 2015/16 highlighted an increase in the overall number of students with disabilities from 5.1% to 5.2% from the previous year (up 0.4% from the year before that, which was a total of 10733) (Ahead Report, 2017). As of 2017, there are 11,244 students with disabilities in tertiary education in Ireland (Hilliard, 2017). An existing flaw in the research surrounding this topic is that there exists good statistics and numerical data but a lack in resounding solutions to the problem at hand. This study seeks to explore the experience of students with disabilities attending NUI Galway. The authors will focus primarily on students with physical disabilities such as; restricted movement, hearing impairments and visual impairments. Ten students with these disabilities across multiple disciplines will be interviewed, with the aim of recording their perceptions and experiences of the physical, educational and psychological obstacles they encounter on a daily basis within NUI Galway. Furthermore, the authors will capture their suggestions for changes and improvements to better support their educational experience. The results of this study will highlight what is being done in NUI Galway to support students with disabilities and outline what else could and should be done to provide a more efficient and ‘effective’ learning experience for students with physical disabilities. The findings from this study will also provide a basis for recommendations and solutions for resolving issues related to those with disabilities in third-level education and inhibit improvements both structural and emotional for the students involved.

Matthew Ryan; Martin O' Connor; John Maloney; Harry Lewis

College of Arts, Social Sciences, & Celtic Studies

Student Perceptions of a Learning Management System Throughout Third Level Education

A Learning Management System (LMS) is defined as “a systemic infrastructure that manages the learning process of an entire organization” Watson, W., & Watson, S. L. (2007).  As of Spring 2017, the leading solution in the LMS marketplace is Blackboard, holding 38% of the market ("LMS Data – Spring 2017 Updates | edutechnica", 2017). LMS are used, primarily, in third-level education as a tool to further student’s learning experiences. This being said, LMS have a reputation among students for being not much more than “document repositories”, Carvalho, Areal and Silva (2010). Whilst previous studies have focused on the student perceptions of Blackboard vs. other LMS (e.g. Moodle), Machado, M., & Tao, E (2007), this study aims to focus primarily on a comparison of student perceptions of Blackboard, the main LMS in place in NUI Galway. The paper's goal is to examine two distinct groups, 1st year Arts students, and final year Arts students who are both studying IT. The authors will survey 20-30 students from 1st year Arts and 25 students in final year Arts. These surveys will gather data on individual LMS usage, student preferences and perceptions of the advantages and disadvantages of Blackboard. By including both first and final year students, the goal is to compare and contrast ‘experienced’ and ‘inexperienced’ points-of-view regarding Blackboard. An analysis of the data will provide an overall student view of Blackboard and the basis for implementations and innovations on the current system to be suggested and discussed.

Eibhlín Seoighthe

College of Arts, Social Sciences, & Celtic Studies

Heading in the Right Direction? Investigating Galway as  Walkable

As cities and town endeavour to improve quality of life for inhabitants debates centred on mobility and transport are to the fore of policy thinking, urban design and planning. The automobile radically transformed cities and the transport paradigm espoused over previous decades primarly focused on cars largely driven by engineers who exported their approaches, and the forcasting and economic models that justified it, worldwide. This model of increasing automobility is unsustainable. Urban areas across the world are coming to the same conclusion; they are better off with fewer cars and a new vision is required which sees people embracing sustainable transport, sharing public space, information and new services to make cities more attractive and liveable. This awareness focuses on helping people get around using less space than cars through walking, cycling and public transport. Walkability is the measure of how friendly an area is to walking. By promoting and encouraging people to walk more we get the benefit of better personal health, and safer, more convivial neighbourhoods and communities. Making cities more walkable involves incorporating features into the urban landscape that make walking a pleasant experience, and bringing a range of interesting destinations within walking distances of homes and workplaces. Using data from the Mobilities and Liveability in Galway project, this paper seeks a more comprehensive understanding of issues relating to existing practices of walkability and the pressures and barriers that exist with regards to the further development of walking in the city as a legitimate mode of transportation.

David Dowling; Fionnuala O'Malley; Michael McDonald; Brendan Harkin

College of Arts, Social Sciences, & Celtic Studies

Are tablets the best remedy for our education system?

In 2015, the Department of Education and Skills launched a €210 million five-year digital strategy to help pupils develop information and communications technology (ICT) skills. As a part of this programme, the Department of Education expects that ICT will be more deeply integrated into the Irish education system. The large investment into ICT skills iterates the Irish government’s priority to the education system. With open guidelines on improving ICT within education, a number of secondary schools in Co. Galway (such as Coláiste Bhaile Chláir) have implemented tablet technology over the use of traditional textbooks for its students. One of the reasons for the choice of tablet technology is that their use within business is a growing trend “over 80 percent of Fortune 100 companies were using or testing the iPad within the workplace” (Helft, 2011). This study will investigate whether tablet technology correlates to the positive effect of technology being felt by students. In this study, the attitudes of students to technology will be captured through surveys. Two secondary schools will participate; one being a school which has implemented tablet technology in favour of textbooks, and one which has decided to remain using textbooks, whilst improving ICT using different approaches i.e. virtual attendance trackers. Two groups of students will be surveyed in each school. The first group will comprise leaving certificate students with the second group comprising first year students. The authors anticipate that the results of this study will provide insight for secondary schools in future decision-making regarding ICT.

Tara Ippolito

College of Science

What's in the Air? Using Mathematical Models to Predict Boston Air Quality

Exposure to pollutants such as NO2, SO2, and PM2.5 are a significant concern, especially for those living in large cities. However, most major cities have five or fewer active air quality sensors. Various studies have shown that geostatistical models using traffic count, elevation, and land cover as variables can predict pollutant levels with high accuracy. However, collecting training data containing sufficient geospatial variation often involves large scale deployment of sensors over the area of interest. In this study, we trained geospatial and spatio-temproal models for three EPA criteria pollutants - NO2, SO2, and PM2.5 - using data collected from 398 counties across the US and applied the models to produce intra-urban pollution concentration levels for a 107.495 square mile region covering the Greater Boston area. The performance of our geospatial model (Land Use Regression) and spatio-temporal model (Guassian Process) were found to be comparable of similar models in literature. Our study addresses also the public health challenge of effectively and meaningfully communicating scientific findings in environmental science to the general public. Specifically, we designed an interactive web interface for visualizing our Boston air pollution predictions. This interface serves as a proof-of-concept for an accessible, educational, and scientific tool.

Anna Vaughan

College of Business, Public Policy, & Law

The interaction between the law of negligence and the topical issue of concussion in Rugby

There is emerging medical data coming from the USA which is linking mental health conditions to head trauma suffered during high impact sport such as the NFL and Rugby. The concern with concussion is not something that is a recent issue, however, the level of disregard and denial about the effects of concussion has been a very prominent issue. How does negligence interact with the potential legal playing field which rugby may enter? Is there a duty of care owed to rugby players and should rugby unions be held accountable if they do not have sufficient preventive protocols at matches? My research has discussed all of these topical issues. There is no doubt that many millions of people adore the sport of rugby and it would seen very sad if the game was to find itself going down a legal route of multiple litigation cases. So long as the duty of care owed by World Rugby and sport governing bodies discharge their duty of care properly and adequately, hopefully Rugby will remain about the playing and not about the litigating.

Orla Burke

College of Science

Tagging of human ribosomal gene arrays using CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing technology

Nucleolar organiser regions (NORs) are tandem repeats of ribosomal DNA (rDNA) genes, flanked by regulatory sequences. Around NORs forms the nucleolus. The nucleolus is the site of ribosome biogenesis, a critical cell process required to assemble proteins. Perhaps due to this vital role, an unexpected response to DNA damage has been observed in the nucleolus: acrosomal cap formation followed by unscheduled homology-directed repair. We hypothesise that homologous recombination in rDNA can use a neighbouring repeat as a template in place of a sister chromatid when repairing rDNA. Many current anti-cancer therapies target ribosome biogenesis, as it is a marker for rapidly proliferating oncogenic cells, so insight into the repair process of rDNA could help work towards drugs with fewer harmful side-effects. Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) and CRISPR associated system (Cas) genes form a prokaryotic adaptive immune system to combat attacks by viruses and foreign nucleic acids. Invading nucleic acids are first cut up, then integrated into the host genome, flanked by highly conserved inverted repeats. In the event of a recurring attack, this new gene is transcribed into guide RNA used to direct helicases and nucleases to neutralise the attacker. This defence system has been exploited to carry out efficient genome editing using easy-to-design custom guide RNAs. CRISPR and Cas9 were successfully used to insert three restriction sites into human rDNA in A9 hybrid cells. The resulting cell lines will be used in the future to study the response of rDNA to double strand breaks.

Rebecca Moylan

College of Medicine, Nursing, & Health Sciences

The Effects of Exercise on Cancer Related Fatigue in Early Breast Cancer Patients

Background:  Chemotherapy is a leading treatment intervention for early breast cancer.  However, it results in a variety of debilitating symptoms such as cancer-related fatigue (CRF).  CRF is reported by 70-100% of patients, and is the most subjective devastating symptom affecting patients physically, socially and psychologically.  Nurses play a vital role in educating and empowering patients to improve adherence and self-management. Aim: The aim of this literature review was to critically analyse the evidence in relation to exercise intensity, duration and adherence as well as the effect of various physical activities on the management of CRF.  Results: Significant and non-significant findings were found in favour of both aerobic and resistant exercise.  Yoga was found to have no effect on CRF but a positive effect on psychological well-being and quality of life (QoL).  Supervised and home-based interventions had similar adherence rates; however supervised exercise was favoured for adherence and social support.  Barriers to exercise adherence were identified as work, family and travel time. Conclusion: Exercise interventions in early breast cancer patients have a positive effect on fatigue levels with both aerobic and resistance exercise each possessing individual benefits.  The importance of a nurse-patient relationship is evident as women in two studies reported that they were unaware they were permitted to exercise and were never informed of the benefits.

Ciara Glasscott

College of Arts, Social Sciences, & Celtic Studies

From absolution to murder: exploring female approaches to resolving exploitative relationships in Victorian literature

The idealisation of yielding femininity, as articulated by Coventry Patmore in his ubiquitous narrative poem “The Angel in the House”, whose ideal wife declines to “force” the “penitence” of her neglectful husband, was widespread in the Victorian era. In this context, the positioning of a socially transgressive woman as the titular protagonist is a highly distinctive shared feature of Anne Bronte’s "The Tenant of Wildfell Hall", Elizabeth Gaskell’s "Ruth" and Thomas Hardy’s "Tess of the d’Urbervilles". This project focuses on the differing ways in which these three heroines approach and handle re-encounters with their respective anti-heroes, considering this moment to be crucial in understanding the fundamental nature of the message and tone of each novel. This moment is also pivotal in understanding contemporary responses to the texts, as it ultimately determines the fate of each of the women. Two of the novels feature extreme and tragic endings, with Hardy’s ‘Pure Woman’ Tess being hung for her infamous murder of the diabolical Alec, while Gaskell’s Ruth martyrs herself to nurse the man who seduced and abandoned her. While the heroine of Bronte’s novel, the wronged runaway wife Helen Huntingdon, also returns to nurse her abusive husband, she remains morally righteous and in control until the novel’s close, replete with a sober hope of future happiness which is denied to both Ruth and Tess, leaving the novel open to interpretation as an endorsement of female-led divorce in a more radical challenge to the social order of the time than those provided by the other two novels.

Ashley Healy; Sharon Callaghan; Olivia Forde

College of Arts, Social Sciences, & Celtic Studies

An Intergenerational Study of Social Media’s Impact  On Personal Development

In this paper, an intergenerational study compares and contrasts the behaviour and attitudes of different age groups towards social media and the relationships between personal communication and social media usage. With this information, the effects of social media on personal development will be outlined. Issues such as social anxiety, depression and why the use of social media is so addictive will be addressed. The effects these issues may cause on lifelong learning will also be reviewed. As part of this study, an online survey was deployed to 100 participants varying in age from 17 – 50 years, with the goal of understanding the different attitudes to and relationships with social media. Furthermore, a short observational study was conducted on a sample of these participants, observing communication skills, body language and the frequency of social media usage. The results from the latter study will be used to correlate findings from the survey.

Aishling Ní Dhomhnaill

College of Arts, Social Sciences, & Celtic Studies

Sustainable tourism management in an island context: Arranmore Island, County Donegal

The main aims of this research:· understand sustainable island tourism initiatives on a ‘pleasure periphery'.· identify sustainable strategies used by stakeholders and to assess if these strategies are sustainable.· is to elucidate the barriers and facilitators to sustainability within an island context. There is a dearth of research on traditional Irish life within an island context which this research aims to fill. Island inhabitants face many challenges not experienced by their mainland contemporaries. For families, students, the elderly, business owners the struggle to maintain their living standards has become more difficult and this has led to a drop in those living on Irish islands, especially Arranmore, one of the few Gaeltacht islands remaining and whose population is dramatically decreasing at an alarming rate monthly, which means that strategies must be developed to sustain the economy of the island with a view to development helping diaspora move home to work. One key way in which Irish island life can be sustained is through the medium of tourism and the fostering of the Irish language as a route to sustainability. As part of the research for this paper several one-to-one interviews will be conducted with various invested stakeholders - Governmental, local authorities and private business owners, to show their level of involvement, commitment and highlight possible areas for improvements or expansion for sustainable tourism in the area. The struggle in the rural is real it is time it was addressed.

Margaret Stackpoole

College of Medicine, Nursing, & Health Sciences

Are people who are homeless with pets socially excluded from accessing sheltered accommodation?

We are looking at people who are homeless with pets having difficulty accessing sheltered accommodation. We have looked at the benefits of having a pet and the impact being separated from a pet can have on the individual. There is a gap in the Irish literature regarding this topic. The focus of this project was on the immediate Galway area. The aim of this project was looking at developing a sustainability aspect in raising this as an issue and exploring how this issue might be addressed in the local Galway area.

Imelda Kearns; Sara Fuller; Emily O’ Reilly

College of Medicine, Nursing, & Health Sciences

"Are you getting in tonight?" Social exclusion; wheelchair access in Galway City

Wheelchair accessibility is an area of concern in expanding cities. Irish building legislation recommends universal design- to allow access for all in new social environments. However, universal design is not a necessity- and has not been enforced. Irish Building Regulations 2010 in accordance with the Disability Act 2005, insists that public buildings must have wheelchair accessible toilets. We believe that this is not enough- social venues in Galway city are still inaccessible for many individuals using wheelchairs or walking devices. Our research has identified multiple social venues in Galway city; pubs/clubs/restaurants that are not wheelchair accessible- often use wheelchair accessible toilets as storage facilities- and demonstrate a general lack of awareness of the issues experienced by this population. We are collaborating with the Irish Wheelchair Association and have completed an awareness video documenting service users’ perspectives and experiences of social exclusion due to a lack of accessibility in Galway’s social venues. We are appealing to Galway city council with hope to bring awareness and create changes in social venues to increase inclusion and access in our community. There is a gap in legislation regarding wheelchair access in social venues in Galway city. This is an issue which has not been directly addressed in literature. Wheelchair users in Galway face significant social exclusion due to a lack of access. The aim of this project is to collaborate with community partners- Irish wheelchair Association and Galway City Council to make sustainable changes in Galway to create an inclusive environment- accessible to all.

Nina Casciani Comer

Letterkenny Institute of Technology

Online Mediation: Can we protect confidentiality and privacy?

In March 2013 the European Parliament endorsed the directive on alternative dispute resolution (ADR) and the draft regulation setting up an online dispute resolution (ODR) making online mediation of consumer disputes in Europe a reality in the coming years. Helplink is the first service in Ireland to offer online mediation. As this gains in popularity are we able to offer the same guarantee of privacy and confidentiality when using online mediation? There is a need for mediation services to develop and utilize technology that adequately safeguards the privacy of mediation communications. This paper will examine the various methods online mediation is conducted, the benefits and consequences associated with online mediation and how can we introduce safeguard policies.

Aoife O'Connell; Kim Mc Goona; Laura Gill

College of Medicine, Nursing, & Health Sciences

An Exploration of the Blood Donation Criteria for Men Who Have Sex with Men


Our project looks at the blood donation criteria for Men who have Sex with Men (MSM) in Ireland. Up until January 2017 there was a lifetime ban on MSM donating blood. MSM now have to remain celibate (inclusive of both oral and anal sex) for a period of 12 months prior to donation. There was a gap in the literature discussing the various policies in place in other countries and their effects. The aim of our project was to explore the current trends in blood donation deferral periods worldwide for the MSM population, and the efficacy of these. In this poster we critically examined five research articles in detail. We argued that there are more ethical efficient procedures in place in other countries that could be applied to Ireland. Is the blood donation criteria currently in place in Ireland socially exclusive?

Olga Bolbocean; Daniel Bednarczuk; Emer Coyne; Michael Mc Nally; Mike Conroy; Cat Marie; Fiona Hyland

College of Arts, Social Sciences, & Celtic Studies

Investigating Public Transport Satisfaction Levels in Galway


This project focuses on the research practices and activities during a study carried out by undergraduate students from the School of Political Science and Sociology at the National University of Ireland Galway, primarily designed as a student-as-producer project, under the guidance of an academic supervisor/facilitator. Students were placed at the center of deliberations, design, development and implementation of the research and subsequently have become the focus of this particular reflective paper. What were their experiences at various stages of the process, what do they think were worthwhile and valueless in the practice, and what learning principles, if any, were paramount? A series of semi-structured open questions were posed to uncover pressures and barriers to their overall learning experiences resulting in some thoughtful and helpful lessons to enhance such student-centered learning in the future." "MARIE, CAT- c.marie1@nuigalway.ie

Paula Maher; Evanne Fahy; Hannah Murphy

College of Medicine, Nursing, & Health Sciences

‘Whose job is it anyway?' Highlighting the inequality between maternity and paternity leave in Ireland


While research has shown the increasing benefits of father involvement on the mother, baby and themselves, following the birth of a child, Ireland only allows men to take two weeks paternity leave. Limited emphasis is put on paternity leave in Ireland in both society and government, despite its unprecedented importance. This research examines the research on the benefits of increased father involvement, compares Ireland's paternity leave to other countries worldwide. The authors seek to understand why is it that Irish men don't even take the two weeks paternity leave as it is and how to increase the uptake and length of paternity leave in Ireland. Despite the wealth of research on the benefits of increased paternity, Irish law only gives fathers two weeks paternity leave. With equality enshrined in the Irish Constitution, shouldn't fathers and mother's have an equal opportunity at being parents?

Cathal Ó Curraoin

College of Arts, Social Sciences, & Celtic Studies

Somatic complaints, attachment style, childhood trauma, self-compassion and depersonalisation in young Irish adults


Somatic pain symptoms are commonly reported in adults. Research to date has not adequately investigated how common somatic complaints relate to the psychological well-being of young Irish adults. Factors such as childhood abuse/neglect, insecure attachment style, high levels of depersonalisation, and low levels of self-compassion have been found to moderate experiences of pain. The current study examines how these factors relate to an increase in somatic concerns. A cross-sectional design was employed. A large sample of Irish young adults (18 - 25; N=208 who fully completed the survey of which 258 started) responded to an email inviting them to complete an online survey on childhood experiences and psychological and physical well-being. Standardised measures of the variables above were used. A multiple regression was performed to analyse the predictors of somatic symptoms. High levels of somatic pain were reported by the sample in the previous month- including being bothered a little or a lot by back pain (51%), headaches (48%), menstrual pain (48%), stomach pain (44%), pain in joints (43%), GI upset (40%), constipation (31%), and chest pain (16%). The overall regression model was significant, with attachment anxiety and depersonalisation being significant predictors of somatic pain. This study illustrates the prevalence and correlates of somatic complaints in young Irish adults. Recommendations will be made in relation to primary care practice, as well as how to address future research needs for this young adult population- who are learning to independently interact with the medical services available to them.

Tobi Olokesusi

College of Medicine, Nursing, & Health Sciences

Topological Network Organisation of the Male and Female Brain


The role the anatomical organization of the human brain plays in gender-based differences, such as in behavior and cognitive performance may influence vulnerability to certain psychiatric conditions and may inform considerations for personalized medicine. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study employing a subject specific and non-tensor based approach to compare structural brain network organization between genders. Fifty-one healthy participants (16 females:30±9 years, 35 males:35±9 years) underwent structural and diffusion magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Brain networks were defined using brain regions as nodes, established using a semi-automated subject-specific segmentation into 86 cortical and subcortical ‘nodes’ bilaterally (FreeSurfer v5.3.0) and ‘edges’ joining nodes were reconstructed using constrained spherical deconvolution-based tractography to define white matter tracts (ExploreDTI v4.8.3) to derive global measures of topological organisation (Brain Connectivity Toolbox v.1.42). There was no significant difference between male and female inter-hemispheric efficiency (male:0.24±0.03, female:0.236±0.03, U=259, p=0.67) or intra-hemispheric efficiency on the left (male:0.22±0.03, female:0.218±0.03, T=0.33, p=0.74) or right (male:0.24±0.04, female:0.23±0.04, U=272, p=0.87) or the left-to-right balance (U=190, p=0.50). Groups did not differ in age (T=1.66, p=0.10), nor did co-varying for age alter these findings. We detected no significant differences in global integration across or within hemispheres between males and females while previous studies have reported greater intra-hemispheric connectivity in males compared to females and higher inter-hemispheric in females compared to males . It remains possible, however, that such differences are expressed at a local or subnetwork level or evident in a larger or younger sample.


Shannon Doody; Jason Reilly; Howard Quarterman

College of Arts, Social Sciences, & Celtic Studies

The benefits of social media come with a cognitive price, whilst the multitasking paradigm has become more of a problem as the userbase matures


Difficulties arise when attempting to process synchronous streams of information, such as; substantially increased error-rates and general inattention. The inexorable rise to ubiquity of the smartphone has ushered in an entirely new behavioural paradigm. This is characterised by increasing levels of multitasking. This paper attempts to bring together the results of prior research in an effort to ascertain possible correlations between multitasking, psychosocial-dysfunction, and academic performance. The relationship between these variables remains not particularly well-understood. Our research comprises both qualitative and quantitative data. In the former method, we interview counsellors and other pastoral workers to get an anonymised view from the frontline. The content of the questionnaire that formed the basis of our qualitative data was interrogated for statistically significant correlations between several variables – e.g. year of study, actual age, gender, discipline. The survey was targeted at first year arts and engineering students as well as their final year counterparts. The cohorts under examination—students entering first year and those who have experienced several years of study already—may exhibit greater or lesser tendencies to multitask. Our central hypothesis is that the propensity to multitask is closely correlated to wellbeing which is linked to academic performance. Our primary intention is to identify those groups most at risk. Also, we are interested in determining whether the multitasking paradigm has become more, or less of a problem as the userbase matures. This will have future implications if these students decide on future lifelong learning.


Anuj Agarwal

College of Engineering & Informatics

Surface Water Quality Monitoring Using GIS Techniques


Like many other ecosystems, surface water bodies are threatened by the synergistic effects of multiple, co-occurring environmental pressures such as nutrient enrichment and other organic and inorganic pollution, climate change, acidification, the establishment and spread of invasive species, and the diversion or extraction of upstream source waters (Brönmark & Hansson, 2002: Environmental issues in lakes and ponds: Current state and perspectives. Environmental Conservation, 29(3), 290–306). In the light of enormous environmental pressures on surface water environments, monitoring as required by the European Union Water Framework Directive is immensely important. However, conventional monitoring approaches based on in-situ data collection and laboratory analysis can be very expensive and time consuming while limited in terms of spatial coverage and temporal frequency. Additional source of data such as remote sensing data, which allows frequent surveys over large areas, can help to address monitoring problems. Remote sensing has long been recognised as having the potential to complement conventional approaches to surface waters monitoring (Bukata, 2013: Retrospection and introspection on remote sensing of inland water quality. Journal of Great Lakes Research, 39, 2–5) . In this context, the aim of the proposed research is to investigate the potential of using Copernicus space products to directly inform surface water monitoring.


Leah O'Toole

College of Business, Public Policy, & Law

How the Irish Legal System deals with Domestic Violence Victims for Depending Spouses


For my research presentation I will address domestic violence under the current Irish immigration law sector. Although Ireland seems to appropriately deal with cases of domestic violence for its nationals, it appears problematic where the victims do not hold Irish citizenship. The main issue which arises is that non-national victims of domestic violence who depend on their violent partners to remain in Ireland feel like they have no options to stay here if they leave their spouse. Due to this serious issue, many cases get left unreported. During my presentation I am going to address the current law relating to domestic violence for non-nationals whom depend on their partners to remain here in Ireland, explore the options available to these victims, discuss the consequences for the abusers and examine further recommendations which I believe is necessary to be implemented into the Irish Immigration law which coincide with other jurisdictions. It is apparent that many are unaware of this issue and it's legal consequences to victims. Prior to my educational placement during my current academic year I was also unknowing as there is certainly very little literature or attention drawn to such a significant and specific area. Therefore I feel it is important to address this problem for my presentation and potentially give insight and educate others on this matter."