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Michael Thomas

This chapter focuses on qualitative research on professional education and explores the ways in which knowledge, skills and behavioural norms are established, maintained and developed. Drawing on examples from a number of countries and across a range of professional domains including law, medicine, education, nursing and social work, the chapter explores changing definitions of what constitutes a profession, and investigates the complexities of professional education from pre-qualifying level through to advanced practice. This arc calls to mind boundaries and blurring of theory and practice as well as an awareness of the role of identities, power and social dynamics in professional education. In this vein, the chapter acknowledges research literature on what motivates candidates to enter their chosen profession, as well as the identity work that aspiring and more established members of a profession are required to perform. Research on candidates who do not make it into their chosen profession suggests that the field of professional education is, for some at least, a matter of survival. For those who succeed, entry into a profession reveals a further set of developmental hurdles which must be cleared to remain or progress in their field. Whether or not current preoccupations with resilience and mindfulness in education and the workplace are a passing fad, research illustrating the links between personal identities, professional education and working life appear more meaningful in shedding light on the inequalities that are evident in education and the professions themselves.

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Thomas Kuhn and Michael Pickhardt

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Melissa Conley Tyler and Michael Thomas

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Michael F. Thomas and Asfawossen Asrat

Although broad-based tourism is well established in the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea and to some extent in South Africa, across the rest of the continent there is an emphasis on wildlife and cultural tourism. Sustainability concerns focus mainly on habitat loss and support for rural communities. The single UNESCO Geopark in Morocco reflects the wider lack of development of geotourism in Africa. Yet there are limitless opportunities to experience and explain the distinctive landscapes of this mainly tropical and partly arid continent. The geological categories of African landscapes are illustrated as geotourism ‘targets’ and the cultural significance of geological and geomorphological features and landscapes are acknowledged. Resource issues are considered in terms of information sources, access and infrastructure development, community involvement and management. The potential for geoparks and important heritage issues are considered in the context of fresh ideas including the ‘Africa Alive Corridors’ initiative.

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Michael Mintrom and Madeline Thomas

Public policies and programs are intended to improve the lives of citizens and considerable efforts are being made to increase the likelihood that they will generate intended effects. We explore the neglected connection between design thinking and the effective commissioning of public services. First, we discuss the potential benefits of collaboration and factors that may hinder effective collaboration in the provision of public services. Second, we explore evidence of how differences in the implementation and management of public services can generate strikingly different local outcomes. Third, we contend that design thinking can contribute to more effective commissioning and improve the returns from public investments. Fourth, we use charter schooling to show how acquiring and sharing knowledge of local contexts can improve commissioning. Overall, improvements in the analytical capability of governance systems through the application of design thinking promises to improve commissioning and will generate valued social and economic outcomes.

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Thomas E. Lambert and Michael Bewley

There are times when due to a lack of data or the impossibility of random assignment of cases, a researcher is limited in the use of the usual statistical and experimental methods to assess a particular intervention or ‘treatment’ given to subjects or to a target group or region. An assessment technique often used is quasi-experimental design, whereby although random assignment does not occur, threats to validity are reduced by comparing cases which are as similar as possible. One group becomes a quasi-experimental group which has received some form of ‘treatment’ whereas another is a comparison group which has not received the treatment. Such a research design is necessary when certain economic events occur or when economic development projects or new policies are undertaken in urban and regional economies, and there exist no two subregions which are exactly the same for the purposes of evaluating the effect of the events, projects or policies. Quasi-experimental design offers a solution for assessing the impacts of different urban and regional phenomena.

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Thomas Laitila, Marie Lundgren and Michael Olsson

This chapter studies individual commuting behaviour by considering the spatial variation of the economic milieu. The model employed relates the relative commuting probabilities to the relative labour demand and relative worker competition. The authors work with aggregated data separated into categories defined by gender and education level. The dependent variables in the model are heteroskedastic and dependent. Moreover, the variables are logarithmic ratios, which is an additional statistical challenge. In order to estimate the model in this situation, the authors use Feasible generalized least squares. The model is estimated using the whole data set, but also for the categories. Overall, the estimated model fits the data well. An individual loses utility when commuting from the home municipality. The loss is greater if the commute is to another region. The individual utility is positively related to labour demand and negatively related to worker competition. This is the case for all categories, with one minor exception.

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Edited by Thomas Eger, Michael Faure and Zhang Naigen

This content is available to you

Edited by Thomas Eger, Michael Faure and Zhang Naigen