Friday, July 31, 2009

Hippocampus Essay

Through the studies of patients with hippocampus injury, it was revealed that the hippocampus helps with the formaton of declarative memories. For example, a patient whose initials are H. M. had severe epilepsy in which treatment consisted of the removal of the hippocampus. After the surgery was performed, it was clear that H. M. had a profound loss of memory for new events following the removal of the hippocampus. Although H. M was able to remember events prior the surgery, he was unable to form new memories and take in new facts into long term memory. One interesting note was that although his declarative memory was severely impaired, his procedural memory remained intact. This was discovered through a series of tasks administered to HM. One task was a mirror drawing task and required HM to draw a picture of an object from its mirror image. It was found that HM showed improvement in his drawing skills upon doing the task over a period of time, although HM denied any recollection of ever having done the task before. Moreover, HM was found to have a normal learning curve regarding the task, and retained his skills, regardless of his inability to remember the events. On another occasion, a psychologist had concealed a drawing pin in his hand and pricked HM as they shook hands. The following day, HM refused to shake the psychologist’s hand, although he denied he ever saw the psychologist before. Such observations are consistent with the associations that the hippocampus is necessary to form declarative, episodic memory. The hippocampus is thought to be associated with short term memory and in consolidating which episodic acts will be stored as long term memories.

Animal studies have shown that damage to the hippocampus hinders the learning process. For example, rats with removed hippocampi were unable to remember where they had or had not been, and hence were effectively hindered from learning a new maze. Such observations suggest that the hippocampus is needed in learning contextual or spatial information. In another study, it was found that monkeys with hippocampus damage were unable to navigate trhough once familiar areas. And in yet another study with monkeys, it was observed that destroying the hippocampus and amygdala, destroyed previous learning and prevented new learning from taking place.

From the observations with patients and animal studies alone, the important role of the hippocampus in memory and learning is quite obvious. However, the hippocampus is not the only area of the brain that accounts for the process of learning and memory storage as it seems that the hippocampus effects certain types of memory and learning more than others, such as declarive memory and spatial, contextual learning versus procedural tasks. The interplays of the hippocampus to other parts of the brain is an important area of study of memory and learning and much is still to researched and consolidated on the subject.

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Hodgkin's Disease Essay

Cancer is a disease that affects millions of people across the U.S. Hodgkin’s disease is one of its rare forms. Hodgkin’s disease is a lymphoma, characterized by an over abundance in the growth of Reed-Sternberg cells. This article will cover the ongoing research to find causes for Hodgkin’s disease in pediatric patients. Also to be discussed are the various stages of the disease and the correlation between its progression and treatment based upon a child’s developmental stage. Living with cancer during one’s youth can have lasting physical as well as psychological effects. In light of this, the frequency of late effects from both the illness itself and its treatment will be examined.

Hodgkin’s disease is responsible for 1% of pediatric cancer cases in the U.S. While cancer among children and adolescents is rare, the three most frequent major childhood cancers diagnosed over the course of a 21-year study conducted by the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) Program were leukemias, CNS cancers and lymphomas with 4.4% being specified as Hodgkin’s disease. (1) Of all the childhood cancers examined in this study, which culminated in 1995, Hodgkin’s disease exhibited a modest, on a grand scale, but statistically significant decline thus allowing it to appear that all childhood lymphomas had decreased in occurrence. (1)

Incidence and Symptoms
There are no known causes for childhood Hodgkin’s. The general age distribution seems to have an early peak around the mid to late 20’s and a second around age 55 and older. Put simply, the potential for Hodgkin’s increases with age. In youths, onset of the disease is extremely rare in children under 5 years old. However it has a higher occurrence in males less than 10 years of age. About one third of cases in the United States have been associated with the presence of Epstein- Barr virus, commonly known as mononucleosis. Though it is not believed to be genetic, brothers and sisters of Hodgkin’s patients have a higher chance of developing the disease themselves. (1,4) During the course of the many years research devoted to Hodgkin’s by various oncology specialists a common challenge arises in terms of setting a concrete set of common risk factors of the disease. Many of the common factors within Hodgkin’s cases are found equally as often in persons without the disease. On the other hand, patients may develop the disease without any of the conditions believed to make one susceptible. Hodgkin’s is by no means communicable; it cannot be caught. The earliest symptoms of Hodgkin’s are much like that of a common cold or flu. The recurrence or persistence of these symptoms should alert the attending physician to test for the possible presence of Hodgkin’s.

There are various methods of locating cancers in the body such as x-rays, a CT scan, or an MRI. However, the diagnosis of Hodgkin’s generally requires a lymph node biopsy to find the excessive Reed-Sternberg cells definitive of Hodgkin’s disease. When a patient’s biopsy is conclusive to Hodgkin’s disease, the process of clinical staging begins. Determination of the stage to which the disease has progressed is critical in choosing the proper method of treatment. In pediatric cases this often presents a challenge due to the highly invasive nature of clinical staging tests. Currently the standard clinical staging methods that include further CT scans of the chest, abdomen and pelvis, x-rays, and laboratory studies, are rarely included in the staging of children. (2) There are usually more false-positives in children than adults thus making the studies more difficult to perform. In the event that the initial biopsy is not conclusive, the steps of diagnosis and identifying the stage of the disease can be simultaneous. Under these circumstances the progression of the illness is still unknown and a patient may be at risk for cardiac arrest if placed under anesthesia, therefore a physician should consider a CT guided core needle biopsy.

Hodgkin’s disease is currently classified into four stages.

“These stages can be sub-classified into A and B categories and subcategory E: A for those patients who are asymptomatic and B for those patients with any of following specific symptoms:
-Unexplained loss of more than 10% of body weight in the 6 months before diagnosis
-Unexplained fever with temperatures above 38 degrees C for more than 3 days drenching night sweats”

The sub-classification E is reserved for confusing problems in staging resultant of extralymphatic disease. The E classification is not meant for widespread cases of Hodgkin’s that would fall under Stage IV.

The staging of Hodgkin’s disease has a stair-step progression of severity. Put simply the stage increases as the cancer increases the number lymph node regions in the body it effects. As the stages move up in severity of the disease not only lymph nodes but extralymphatic adjacent organs, such as the thymus, spleen, tonsils and bone marrow, are effected as well.

When devising a treatment plan for pediatric Hodgkin’s patients a variety of factors must be considered. The age of the patient is among these, of course, but more specifically the developmental stage of the patient is considered. The methods used in treating adult cancers successfully, may have adverse affects upon a growing child. The most common methods include, radiation therapy, chemotherapy and bone marrow transplantation. The choice of which method is best truly depends upon the individual cases. In studies of late, the National Cancer Institute is attempting to limit the use of radiation in childhood cancers due the late effects it tends to have. *give an intro “Adolescents that have reached maximum growth but have localized childhood Hodgkin’s are treated as adults with standard radiation. For patients that have not yet reached their full growth chemotherapy along with involved-field radiation at lower dose is generally used.”(2)

Treatment of pediatric patients can most often result in a cure. However, in the event of relapse or in advanced stages of the disease the combination of chemotherapy along with another regimen has been known to produce prolonged remissions. Even so many survivors of childhood Hodgkin’s are met with late effects resulting from the treatment. Most often these occur in sexually mature male patients and in female patients from about age 10-16. In these incidences the ability to reproduce may be compromised. Male patients are encouraged to investigate storing sperm as treatment may leave them sterile; however this also presents a challenge as many have low sperm counts from the outset.

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Thursday, July 30, 2009

History of Psychology Essay

Psychology on the whole deals with the nature of the mind and mental processes. Questions concerning these factors first came about from ancient Greek philosophers, the most famous being Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, during the forth and fifth centuries B.C. Hippocrates, was a Greek physician, frequently called the “father of medicine.” He was especially interested in the study of the living organism and its parts. He observed how the brain controlled various parts of the body. This gave rise to the biological perspective of psychology. Today, all new physicians reflect upon Hippocrates’s medical ethics for their study.

Following the Greek philosophers, around the 17th century, one of the discussions of human psychology was whether or not human beings are born with knowledge and understanding of reality, or are they acquired through experiences and interactions with the world. The view that we are born with existing knowledge is called the nativist view. The view that knowledge is gained through experiences is called the empiricist view. An English philosopher called John Locke, put forward a theory that at birth, the mind is at a blank slate, or tabula rasa, onto which experiences of what he/she sees, hears, smells, tastes and feels are written. In other words, there is no store of knowledge, but through our senses, our knowledge comes. Today it is still questionable and it is referred to as the nature versus nurture debate in psychology. It centres around the fact that biological processes affect our emotions and behaviour, but also acknowledges that experiences can also affect our behaviour.

In 1879, a man called Wilhelm Wundt (1832-1920) was considered by some to be the founder of modern psychology. Wundt was the leader of the school of structuralism, which contended that psychology is human experiences studied from the point of view of the person doing the experiencing. In other words, it was Wundt’s belief that the mind and behaviour can be subject to scientific analysis. Introspection and self-exploration are stressed. Introspection is referred to as the observations and recording of the nature of one’s own perceptions, thoughts and feelings. Structuralists in general, believed in the separation of mind and body, without interaction, but conceived of in such a way that a parallel structure is formed. For each conscious experience of the mind, a corresponding reaction occurs in the body. It must be remembered that the mind does not cause physical reactions any more than the body alters states of consciousness.

William James (1842-1910) brought about a new approach to psychology called functionalism. This refers to studying how the mind works so that an organism can adapt to and function in its environment. James established the first psychology laboratory in America. In the field of psychology, he is best known for his work, Principles of Psychology (1890), and his “stream-of-consciousness” belief that mentality must be seen as an ongoing process and not fragmented into bits of consciousness. James held that an emotion is evidenced by the internal conflict that arises from a person’s reaction to a particular emotional situation. Out of this theory grew his legendary argument that a man meeting a bear in the woods does not run because he is afraid, but rather is afraid because he runs. It is running itself that initiates the reaction of fear, which produces the emotion.

Watson John Broadus (1878-1958) was an American psychologist in favour of militant behaviourism. He says psychology is the ‘science of behaviour’. He believed human responses could be predicted by
• Observation
• Conditioned reflexes
• Verbal methods
• Testing

His studies of children and animals were innovative because structuralism and functionalists had virtually neglected these two groups. He worked on the conditioning of childhood fears and his advances with animals opened the way to the development of comparative psychology.

Around 1912, while behaviourism was appearing in the United States, Gestalt psychology was appearing in Germany. Gestalt being German for ‘form’ or ‘configuration.’ This approach was favoured by Max Wertheimer and basically contends that the psychological make-up of an individual is based on the unity and wholeness of behaviour, combined with experiences. In other words, Gestalt psychology is based on the concepts of unity and wholeness.

At the turn of the 20th century, psychoanalysis emerged. It originated from Sigmund Freud (1956-1939). His approach was based mainly on the unconscious, that is, the thoughts, attitudes, impulses, wishes, motivations and emotions which we are unaware of. Freud believed that these thoughts and feelings which we are forbidden of, leave our conscious state and enter the unconscious, but still continue to influence our thoughts and feelings. He says that these unconscious impulses are expressed in our dreams and physical mannerisms. Psychoanalysis is a psychological method that seeks the basis for human behaviour and motivation in the unconscious mind.

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Atomic Theory Research Paper

Throughout the ages the study of what we call today chemistry has evolved into a highly developed point of study. One distinct element of chemistry is atomic theory. Throughout the ages atomic theory has been developed and extended by many different men who were all well-known chemists and physicists in their day. They developed the study of atoms from pure conjecture into known facts.

John Dalton originally was a schoolteacher in England. He thought about atoms as particles, which could make up the elements of our universe. Dalton reasoned about the nature of compounds, his theory became known as the “law of multiple proportions: when two elements form a series of compounds, the ratios of the masses of the second element that combine with one gram of the first element can always be reduced to small whole numbers” (43). Dalton created his theory on atoms and their nature. It was made up of four parts. First, “each element is made up of tiny particles called atoms.” Second, “The atoms of a given element are identical; the atoms of different elements are different in some fundamental way or ways.” Third, “chemical compounds are formed when atoms of different elements combine with each other. A given compound always has the same relative numbers and types of atoms.” Fourth, “chemical reactions involve reorganization of the atoms-changes in the way they are bound together. The atoms themselves are not changed in a chemical reaction.” Dalton, using the information that he had deduced and assumptions that he had made, created a table of the atomic masses, also known as atomic weights. Despite the fact that many of the masses on Dalton’s table were proved incorrect the creation of a table was a major step in the field of chemistry. (45)

The ideas and information that Dalton produced and showed to the scientific community was built upon in many ways by his successors. The aspect that was most developed by the scientists that followed Dalton was the periodic laws and the table that is organized based on those laws.

After [. . .] Dalton had developed the idea of atomic weights, chemists sought arithmetic connections between them, partly to see whether there was any likelihood of all elements being composed of a simple, common substance and partly to see whether occasional similarities in their properties pointed to similarities in structure. [. . .] Mendeleyev [. . .] formulated the periodic law, according to which, when all known elements are arranged in order of increasing atomic weight, the resulting table shows a periodicity of properties and allows one to observe the many types of chemical relation hitherto studied only in isolation. (Britannica)

At first, as any other scientific revolution, the scientific community did not accept Mendeleyev’s table when his laws were published in his book Principles of Chemistry (1868-1871). However, his periodic laws stood true to all elements of his time. Another interesting point is that since then many other elements have been discovered or created which all follow the same laws. Mendeleyev even left spaces for elements that were not known at the time foretelling that there were elements that had not been discovered when he died. Mendeleyev went so far as to predict the properties of many of the elements that he expected to be discovered. Today, the Periodic Table of the Elements looks very different and has many more elements on it but it still is based on the same laws, which is quite remarkable when one thinks about it. The periodic table is made up of transition metals, the representative elements, and the noble gases. The representative elements and the noble gases are organized into eight groups. These groups are organized based upon the number of valence electrons in the atom of that element. For example, oxygen has an electron configuration of [O] 1s2, 2s2, 2p4. The outer most orbital is the second, and there are six electrons in that orbital. The eighth group is Helium and the noble gases. The noble gases are very stable elements because they fill their subshells completely. They all end in a s2, p6, which fills the subshells. The other elements, the transition metals are set in the middle and the lanthanide series and actinide series are pulled out from the table for space reasons.

Joseph Gay-Lussac, a French chemist and physicist, used his experiments to decipher the means of determining the absolute formulas of compounds. The experiments that Gay-Lussac performed were mainly with gases. He worked with hydrogen and oxygen specifically. Gay-Lussac discovered that two quantities of hydrogen reacted with one quantity of oxygen, which formed two quantities of water vapor. Avogadro later used Gay-Lussac’s data when Avogadro formed his hypothesis.

Amodeo Avogadro, an Italian, worked towards discovering the means of determining the absolute formulas of compounds, as Gay-Lussac did. He used the data from Gay-Lussac’s experiments to postulate a hypothesis, known as Avogadro’s hypothesis. It read: “at the same temperature and pressure, equal volumes of different gases contain the same number of particles” (46). However, Avogadro’s deductions were ignored for fifty years before the chemistry community accepted his hypotheses.

William Crookes was another British scientist who helped the development of atomic theory. He developed atomic theory further through his cathode ray studies. Crookes’ experiments with cathode-ray tubes led him to show that when high-voltage electric current through the tube the tube glows. He also discovered that the cathode rays travel in straight lines. J.J. Thomson developed Crookes’ studies further a few years later.

J.J. Thomson, yet another Englishman, also worked on atomic theory. Thomson studied Crookes’ experiments and tested them. Thomson went on to discover that because the ray went from the negative cathode in the tube the ray must be negative. He also deduced that the ray was a stream of particles. Combining this deduction and his study that the ray went from negative to positive, he theorized that the stream must be a stream of negatively charged particles, now known as electrons. Thomson’s further studies allowed him to determine the ratio between the charge and mass of an electron, -1.76 X 108 C/g. Also from his experiments, Thomson discovered that all atoms must contain electrons. This must be true, he thought, because the rays occurred with various metals. Thomson is also known for his ‘plum pudding’ model of the atom. He believed that an atom was an amorphous mass in which there was no defined structure.

The New Zealand scientist that is notable for his work on atomic theory is Ernest Rutherford. Just after the turn of the twentieth century Rutherford was working on many experiments expanding on his predecessors. One of Rutherford’s most famous experiments was the one in which he tested Thomson’s ‘plum pudding’ model of the atom. Rutherford set up a device that aimed a particles at a thin metal foil with a screen encircling the metal foil meant to detect the a particles. According to Thomson’s belief the particles would all go right through the foil and hit the screen behind the metal foil. However, in the experiment when Rutherford sent the a particles at the metal foil the particles went in more than one direction. Many of them went right through the foil, however, some also were redirected when they contacted the metal foil. Knowing that electrons were negatively charged, Rutherford was able to hypothesize that there was a positively charged mass in the center of an atom, which he named the nucleus. However, many a particles still went through the foil, which told Rutherford that an atom had a great amount of empty space in its structure. Therefore, the structure was a relatively massive, positively charged center with electrons spread out throughout a large volume containing the extremely small electrons. Based on Thomson and Rutherford’s experimentation today we have developed a great deal of knowledge on the structure of an atom. We know that the atom is made up of negatively charged electrons which have almost no mass, neutral neutrons with a mass of about one atomic mass unit, and positively charged protons with a mass of about one atomic mass unit.

The German scientist, Max Planck, is also known for his advances in atomic theory. Planck studied the radiation given off by solid bodies that were heated to incandescence. Through Planck’s experimentation he discovered that matter could absorb or radiate any amount of energy. Planck explained his observations through an assumption “that energy can be gained or lost only in whole-number multiples” (295). The equation that went along with this assumption was DE=nhv, often used as DE=hv. In this equation DE is the change in energy, n is an integer, h is Planck’s constant (6.626 X 10-34 J-s), and v is the frequency of the electromagnetic radiation that is either absorbed or radiated. Before Planck’s experiments the belief of the scientific community was that the energy of matter did not change. Today based on Planck’s studies, we know that energy can only be found in certain quantities, the hv of Planck’s equation, which are now known as quanta (singular – quantum) which indicates that energy has separate properties from any other substance; this leads to quantum physics.

A notable Danish scientist, Neils Bohr, worked on atomic theory and is known for his model of the atom. Bohr offered a new idea. He stated “that the electron in a hydrogen atom moves around the nucleus only in certain allowed circular orbits” (301). This is known as the quantum model for the hydrogen atom. Through his knowledge of classical physics and its theories and some assumptions of his own he calculated the radii of the ‘allowed’ orbits of the electrons in a hydrogen atom. Bohr developed many ideas, which supported his quantum model. One of which asserts the energy levels available to the electron in the hydrogen atom. This equation is as follows: E=(-2.178 X 10-18J)(Z2/n2); the n is an integer (the larger the integer the larger the radius of the orbit) and Z is the charge of the nucleus.

Werner Heisenberg, a German, Louis de Broglie, a Frenchman, and Erwin Schrodinger, an Austrian, all worked towards a new model of the atom knowing that the Bohr model was not correct. These three men adopted a new path in the study of the atom. It is known as the wave, or quantum, mechanics theory. This resulted in yet another model of the atom. De Broglie discovered that the electron has wave properties. Schrodinger continued in this thought by trying to emphasize the wave properties of an atom. De Broglie and Schrodinger believed that the connection between the nucleus and an electron was comparable to a standing wave. Examples of standing waves include things like string instruments and so they studied standing waves and compared their findings to atomic structure. Schrodinger came up with an atom model that had electrons that behaved as if they were standing waves.

Schrodinger’s equation is: Hy=Ey; where y, called the wave function, is a function of the coordinates (x, y, and z) of the electron’s position in three-dimensional space and H represents a set of mathematical instructions called an operator. In this case, the operator contains mathematical terms that produce the total energy of the atom (the sum of the potential energy due to the attraction between the proton and electron and the kinetic energy of the moving electron). When this equation is analyzed, many solutions are found. Each solution consists of a wave function y that is characterized by a particular value of E. A specific wave function is often known as an orbital. (307)

When Schrodinger’s equation is solved the results show that there are many wave functions, orbitals, that are solutions. Every individual orbital is distinguished by quantum numbers, which can be deciphered so that the properties of the orbital are known. There are three kinds of quantum numbers: principal, angular momentum, and magnetic.

The principal quantum number (n) has integral values: 1, 2, and 3,…. The principal quantum number is related to the size and energy of the orbital. As n increases, the orbital becomes larger and the electron spends more time further from the nucleus. An increase in n also means higher energy, because the electron is less tightly bound to the nucleus and the energy is less negative.

The angular momentum quantum number (l) has integral values from 0 to (n – 1) for each value of n. This quantum number is related to the shape of atomic orbitals. The value of l for a particular orbital is commonly assigned a letter: l = 0 is called s; l = 1 is called p; l = 2 is called d; l = 3 is called f. This system arises from early spectral studies [. . .]. [l is also sometimes known as a subshell.]

The magnetic quantum number (ml) has integral values between l and –l, including 0. The value of ml is related to the orientation of the orbital in space relative to the other orbitals in the atom. (309-310)

Heisenberg’s discoveries added another twist to atomic theory, especially the wave, or quantum mechanics model. He concluded that “there is a fundamental limitation to just how precisely we can know both the position and momentum of a particle at a given time” (307). This is known as the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. Mathematically speaking it is shown as follows: “(Dx)[D(mv)]і[h/(4p)] where Dx is the uncertainty in a particle’s position, D(mv) is the uncertainty in a particle’s momentum, and h is Planck’s constant. Thus the minimum uncertainty in the equation is h/(4p)” (307). The only problem with the equation of the uncertainty principle is that the closer or more accurate a position measurement the more inaccurate the measurement of momentum is. When this principle is exercised in thinking about electrons it is shown that it is impossible for us to know the exact motion of an electron on its path around the nucleus. Therefore, Heisenberg disproves Bohr’s atomic model, a specified orbit, by his uncertainty principle.

The periodic table can be looked in blocks as well. The blocks are called the s-block, p-block, d-block, and f-block. These blocks have to do with the subshells of orbitals. Electrons fill up orbitals in order from 1 up. However, within these orbitals electrons fill up subshells. The subshells fill up in order from s, to p, to d, and then finally to f. The s subshell can hold up to two electrons, the p subshell can hold up to six electrons, the d subshell holds up to ten electrons, and the f subshell holds at maximum fourteen electrons. From left to right the first two vertical columns of elements and Helium are in the s-block because the last subshell in which electrons fall into is a s subshell. The p-block includes the elements in rest of the representative elements and the noble gases. The d-block includes all of the transition metals with exception of the lanthanide series and actinide series. The lanthanide series and actinide series are the elements in the f-block. These subshells fill in an order, which is shown in the aufbau principle.

From the work of the scientists who worked on atomic theory we know that electrons can be moved around between atoms. The atoms that lose an electron or electrons are called ions. Ionization energy is the energy needed to remove an electron from an atom so that the atom is at its considered ground state, forming a positive ion. An atom’s ground state is defined as the lowest possible energy state. There are two types of ionization energy: first and second ionization energy. First ionization energy is the energy need to remove the highest energy electron from an atom. Second ionization energy is much greater than first ionization energy and removes the next highest energy electron from the atom. This is true is because when an atom has a positive charge, after one electron has already been removed; the atom is bounded stronger than before. Therefore, more energy is necessary to remove a second electron from an atom. On the periodic table ionization energy reduces as one goes down a group of elements; for example, Helium has the highest ionization energy in the eighth group while Radon has the lowest. Also, as one moves from left to right ionization energy increases in most cases. For instance, Hydrogen has a lower ionization energy level than Helium. Electron affinity is the energy required for adding an electron to an atom, forming a negative ion. Generally, when going down a group on the periodic table electron affinity decreases, or gets closer to zero or more positive, but the differences are very small.

In conclusion, over many years scientists have developed atomic theory. However, it is all based on the things the early chemists did, including the experiments they performed and the information they passed on. In many respects, the early atomic theorists were the most important because they helped pave the way for the other scientists that continued to develop atomic theory.

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

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Ph.D. Thesis Writing

The process of researching, planning and preparing a thesis paper for a Ph.D. is probably one of the most compliacted academic assignments that you are likely to undertake in your educational life. The process of Ph.D. thesis writing is a great journey of despair and excitement which will definitely test your personal character to the very core.

Academic thesis writing for Ph.D. degree is not as easy as it sounds and at times can become a very lonely space that will leave you doubting your ability and your interest in what you are actually writing about. Nevertheless, finishing a thesis will also be one of the most satisfactory academic moments you can experience.

With this in mind it is absolutely essential that you give yourself the best possible chance of working through your Ph.D. thesis until its completion. This instructional article will talk about some of main considerations that you ought to make to reach the finish line.

The first and one of the most important considerations is planning of your Ph.D. thesis. If you do not start as you mean to go on and properly organize your work then you can expect to become incredibly frustrated by the slow and misorganized writing progress. I suggest that you develop good habits early by developing a simple filing system; this should be done both on the computer and in paper format.

You have to create and arrange folders to each chapter and sub-chapter of your Ph.D. thesis. Remember to make a regular back up of all essential computer files with your Ph.D. thesis chapters. You also have to plan any essential deadlines in your academic schedule so that you are not made to rush any thesis part of your Ph.D. thesis or PhD dissertation in university.

At the planning stage you also have to develop a thesis outline of the whole paper, so that you have a roadmap and a structured path to completing the project for your Ph.D. academic degree. At this stage you should construct thesis chapter headlines and also a brief description of what each chapter targets to address. This is especially helpful in assisting to break the whole thesis paper down so it feels far less daunting. You will finish the thesis project faster by completing smaller parts of it one at a time.

A crucial consideration of the PhD thesis is the style of the work. This is essential because you need to engage with your target audience correctly. So for instance if you are engaged in Ph.D. thesis writing on a scientific subject then you'd be expected to use the relevant scientific or technical language. Conversely, the use of slang language will make it more complicated for the reader to comprehense the meaning of your work. Undoubtedly your work needs to use the correct grammar and spelling.

As you approach the end of the Ph.D. thesis don't become distracted by the need to make the thesis look visually attractive. There are a lot of candidates in the past that have neglected the actual work by focusing only on creating fanciful cover sheets or improving diagrams. At the end of the day your success or otherwise failure will be decided by the words on the page and not by any other aspect-factor.

The final tip on writing a PhD thesis paper relates to completion of your project. As I have already stated Ph.D. thesis writing is an arduous and long academic task and no matter how much time you spend on writing your thesis there will always be something that you could brush up. My suggestion is not to become driven by perfectionism and instead aim to finaish the work strictly before the deadline set. Providing you have covered all of the major expectations for your Ph.D. thesis then you will be fine in succeeding.

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Charles Spencer Chapman Essay

Charles Spencer Chapman was born in Walworth, England on April 19, 1989. He was born into a poor English family and lived a very rough childhood. Both his parents worked in show business. Both of them were music hall artists, his father became very well known. Although, he always idolized his mother, especially when he would see her performances in the back stage area. By the time he was 10, his parents separated leaving Charlie and his brother Sydney to live with their mother. It was a hard time for Charlie, especially when his father died in 1901. Later his mother had a breakdown and was admitted to an asylum in 1903. With his mother gone Charlie and Sydney were forced into an orphanage. Since he sat back stage at his mother's shows, Charlie wanted to pursue a career in film. He persevered through his troubled childhood to fight for his dream.

Charlie Chaplin became one of the most important actors in the history of motion picture. He was sometimes called "the funniest man in the world." He was also called the most versatile in movies. Not only was an outstanding actor, he wrote and directed almost all of his films, and also wrote the music for all his sound pictures. He first began in films in 1903 when he played as a paperboy in Sherlock Holmes. His first glimpse of stardom came in 1914, when he first appeared as "the Tramp." Later in 1919, he formed the United Artist Film Corporation, with a few major actors of this time. He began shooting fewer films, but the films he did produce were longer and much more serious. He still created laughter, but he wanted to make the point that respectability and authority did little for the human soul. It was during this time that he produced some of his most famous films, "The Kid" and "Gold Rush", in which he portrayed the character of the tramp. In 1940, he played two characters in the film, "The Great Dictator." In the film, he played a humble Jewish barber and a tyrant based on the famous dictator, Adolf Hitler. The tragic movie had been long waited for and was a step back from his normal nonsense comedy pictures. People left with mixed emotions, some fans even wondered how he got away without a lynching. He was criticized for many of his films and lifestyle, and was accused of supporting communism. He and his family later moved to Switzerland, after being banned from the United States. He continued directing films into the 1950's, 60's, and 70's. He returned to the United States in 1972, to participate in ceremonies in New York and Los Angelas, in his name. He received an honorary Oscar at the Academy Awards. On Christmas Day in 1977 Charlie Chaplin died at the age of 87.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Custom Personal Statement

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Communication Research Paper

Communication is a complex process that can be viewed in many ways.” (Trenholm 17). We use models to help us understand the process of communication in order to interpret and analyze certain situations. These models help to arrange our thoughts, investigate the situation at hand, and find ways to improve our communication. Both the psychological model and the pragmatic model exemplify good communication and establish development in many interactions among people. Models become useful in order for analysis, when a problematic interaction occurs that may cause the persons involved, misunderstanding, frustration, and or conflict.

Many disagreements and arguments commonly arise between two people living together, such as roommates in college. I have personally experienced a problematic difference with my roommate, Sarah, this year concerning the purchasing of food among other necessities that has caused me much frustration. Every week I find it necessary to purchase food and water. I seem to be the one to go out to the grocery store to purchase the food that is needed for both Sarah and me. Last week, slightly irritated, I kindly asked Sarah what it was she needed to satisfy her for the week. She handed me a list of several items that she wished me to get for her. I took her list, collaborated it with mine, and headed to the grocery store to buy what we both wanted. Everything listed I happily bought, knowing full well that I would be reimbursed. When I returned, I showed Sarah what I had bought and informed her what she owed me. She told me that the next time she would go to the grocery store, purchase what we needed, and we would be equal. I hesitated for a couple of seconds, but then agreed. I trusted that the next time we needed anything I could rely on her to buy the items that we desired not having to worry about paying her back.

By Friday, we seemed to have run out of bottled water and food. For the first time, she offered to go to the grocery store. I made a list of the things we needed and she assured me she would return with them just like I returned with what she wanted. Sadly, however, when Sarah returned, she came in with only a six-pack of Diet Coke and a six-pack of bottled water. She left a note on my bed explaining to me that I owed her half of what she paid for the drinks. None of the items I had listed she bought. Aggravated, I grabbed my bike and pedaled as fast as possible to the grocery store to obtain the things I listed for her to buy originally. When I came back, I angrily stored my food away on the shelf and in the refrigerator, and refused to speak to her the rest of the evening.
Ending an interaction in an irrational manor is not healthy and does not exude good communication. Using the psychological model and the pragmatic model, I can better understand a more effective way to interact with my roommate and solve the problem more maturely. The psychological model is, “a process whereby two or more individuals exchange meanings through the transmission and reception of communication stimuli.” (Trenholm 25). As projected by this model, “an individual is a sender or a receiver who encodes and decodes meanings.” (Trenholm 25). According to the pragmatic model, “communication consists of a system of interlocking, interdependent behaviors that become patterned over time.” (Trenholm 32).

“ Communication is most successful when individuals are of the same mind-when the meanings they assign to messages are similar or identical.” (Trenholm 26). Examining the interaction through the psychological model, I can first discuss both Sarah’s mindset and mine. I believed that it was logical and fair that if I went to the grocery store and purchased items that were needed, Sarah would either reimburse me with exactly half of what I paid or the next time things were needed, she would be the one to pay. On the other hand, Sarah figured if I bought items for us to enjoy out of the goodness of my heart, however, when she purchased food or drinks, it was her understanding that I would pay her half of what she had paid. I encoded my message to Sarah to buy the food I wanted for the week, if she wasn’t going to pay me back for the last set of groceries. This message traveled along a channel until it reached Sarah. It was up to her to decode my message and reply accordingly. Unfortunately, Sarah did not. She chose to take my list of groceries and only buy what she wanted for the week. She encoded to me that she wanted me to pay her back half of what she paid for the drinks she bought. I decoded the message and became very furious with her and decided to ignore her for the rest of the evening. Our communication was clearly unsuccessful because the meaning intended by me differed from that of Sarah’s. Our mental sets were so far apart that there was no shared feelings or thoughts.

The psychological model shows ways that both the sender and receiver can improve communication. It suggests that a sender should try to see things from the receivers’ point of view. It also explains that the sender should make themselves clear when decoding a message to receivers. In my interaction with my roommate, I could have sat down with her and together created some ground rules for the purchasing of food. We could have then made an agreement and signed a piece of paper to make sure that we both fully understood each other and what each other wanted. The receiver too can improve their communication by listening more carefully to the sender and ask questions if necessary to check their understanding. In this case, Sarah could have listened better to what I was asking of her and asked questions if she was confused. With these ways of improvement I would have found myself less aggravated and more satisfied.

“To understand communication, you need to understand the moves people use as they work out their relationship to one another.” (Trenholm 32). It is seen through the pragmatic model that the focus is on the action, what the sender and receiver are actually doing in response to each other’s messages. Sarah handed me a list of items she wanted. I understood that if I bought groceries, upon my return I would be paid back. Instead, Sarah offered to purchase the next set of groceries the following week instead of paying me back. I agreed. I handed Sarah a list of the things I wanted. I understood that she would return with what I requested her to buy. Sarah then went to the store and came back with only drinks, none of which I had wanted. She left me a note asking for money. It was clear to me that she obviously didn’t understand me and for that matter I certainly did not understand her. I then angrily went to the store, purchased what I wanted and ignored Sarah that evening. Every move each of us made affected each other’s actions. The end result of the interaction was upset.

Just like the psychological model has ways of improving communication, so does the pragmatic model. According to the pragmatic model, “the best way to understand and improve communication is to describe the forms or patterns that the communication takes.” (Trenholm 34). Taking a look at the communication patterns in my interaction with Sarah, I can conclude that our responses to one another were ineffective and intensified the problem. Both Sarah and I could have played the communication game better by working out a more effective set of moves that would make us both happy. Instead of focusing on each other’s personalities, the focus should have been on the actions that took place during the interaction. Sarah and I could have sat down and talked about each other’s understanding of the purchasing of food for our dorm and talked about what actions frustrated us. This kind of problem solving would also result in a happier ending, with both of us understanding one another.

While the psychological model deals with mental sets, encoding and decoding messages, and the noise level, the pragmatic model is concerned with what actions took place to cause the person’s involved upset and frustration. Although each has different focuses, both of these models share a common goal of improving communication. They both suggest understanding each other’s messages and figuring out ways to satisfy both persons involved. The psychological model and the pragmatic model both propose strong and useful ways of analyzing and improving interactions, but with this particular interaction, the psychological model does a better job of examining this problem and making improvements more successfully.

The interaction between Sarah and I can best be examined through the psychological model because it analyzed and improved our situation more thoroughly than the pragmatic model did. I thought it was best to purchase food and drinks if I was going to be paid back or promised free of charge on the next set of groceries. Sarah thought she wasn’t obligated to pay me back for groceries and then, charge me half of what she paid for the drinks. Although our messages back and forth seemed to be understood, they were not. We had different mindsets and our messages were perceived by one another differently. The psychological model helps to better understand the messages being sent and received. This model says that by understanding mindsets and messages clearly, one can improve communication. If Sarah and I had a better understanding of each other’s needs and wants and had come to an agreement on the purchasing of groceries, we possibly could have avoided this problematic interaction.

Though the psychological model is the most popular view of communication, it poses some problems. According to Trenholm, the psychological model ignores the social context in which communication occurs, it treats messages as if they were physical objects, and the only way for good communication to occur is if people can agree on ideas eventually. With all models, error is likely to occur and may cause malfunction in certain interactions, however, this model systematically helped me to improve my communication with my roommate by understanding her thoughts and massages. In the future, I plan on using the psychological model if I ever am faced with a problematic interaction that deals with the misunderstanding of messages, in order to demonstrate good communication.


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Nonverbal Communication Essay

The definition of nonverbal communication can be as short or as elaborate and specific as one wants to make it. In general – the nonverbal communication describes any and all communication that occurs outside the realm of written or spoken words and is expressed by generation of either intentional or subconscious cues and their recognition. Commonly, nonverbal communication is divided into subcategories describing individual areas that transmit communication cues. These areas, among others, include kinesics, paralanguage, proxemics, haptics, oculesics, and physical appearance. Understanding and effective application of nonverbal communication skills is becoming increasingly important in the modern world of business for various reasons. The number of studies suggests that nonverbal cues have a significant effect on sales by creating a filter through which the following information is perceived (Leigh 1). Managers must also be efficient not only in understanding the dynamics of nonverbal communication by their employees, but also in determining how customers interpret the employees nonverbal cues (Sundram 2).

Types of Nonverbal Communication
The purpose of this report is to examine the significance of the nonverbal communication in the business setting. The topics discussed include: types of nonverbal communication, the importance of recognition and use of nonverbal communication elements, potential problems with nonverbal communication and solutions for effective nonverbal communication.

Kinesics, meaning - body movements, represents one of the largest areas of “ “leakage” – signals that escape from a deceptive interviewee despite his or her attempts at control.” (Waltman 1). One must realize, however, that “leakage” is not limited to interview subjects, but is natural human behavior (Waltman 1). In turn, torso movements, gestures and facial expressions are commonly viewed as the most important areas of kinesics in terms of generation of nonverbal cues that, when combined with other cues as well as context, suggest a meaning to what is being communicated (Sunduram 4). Ray L. Birdwhistell, in his research, also stresses that kinesic communication must be viewed in terms of “contextual meaning” (Jolly 6). Additional benefit of using “contextual meaning” in interpretation of nonverbal cues is realized when trying to read a skilled communicator (Jolly 6). Experienced presenters can control their facial expressions and eye contact to reduce or, perhaps, prevent altogether the amount of leakage (Waltman 3). Therefore, by analyzing the context as well as the separate cues, one is more likely to perceive the true picture. William Nolen, in his advice to the auditors, suggests that based on previous studies “synchronization of kinesic cues, such as rhythmic hand gesturing and head nods, heightens the perception of credibility. Synchronous displays are perceived as more competent, composed, trustworthy, extroverted, and sociable than dissynchronous displays” (Nollen 2-3).

In addition to general kinesics, oculesics – eye movement and behavior, is widely considered to be “single most powerful and persuasive way to gain attention and win approval” (Raudsepp 3). The behavior of a person’s eyes can either strengthen what is being communicated verbally, or diminish the importance or credibility of the subject. In American culture, a direct eye contact translates into confidence, competence and honesty (Raudsepp 3). On the contrary, in other cultures a direct eye contact with superiors may be considered as daring or disrespectful. Such cultural nuances are incredibly important in the modern global business environment, where many cultures, traditions and customs often existing side by side. Another important factors influencing eye contact are – relative heights of the people involved in the interaction and the distance between the individuals. The height gives the taller person a benefit of position of control or power and requires the shorter person to maintain eye contact because of the lack of power over the interaction. The proximity of interacting parties also tends to enhance the importance and intensity of the eye behavior simply because one is more aware of eye contact at closer range (Abrams 1).

Study of space as a part of nonverbal communication - referred to as proxemics – further analyses physical and psychological space between individuals in the interaction (Abrams 2). Proxemics could be divided into the elements of territory and personal space. Territory refers to the general area in which the interaction occurs, while personal space is just that – a space immediately around a person. (Nolen 5) One of the most important elements of proxemics is the study of haptics or – in more conventional terms - touch. According to various researches, touch “enhances one’s interpersonal involvement, positive affect, social attachment, intimacy, and overall liking” (Sundaram 7). “The persuasive power of touch is further evident in the findings of Patterson et al. (1968) stating that people tend to associate positive characteristics with the individual who touched them” (Sundaram 7). In case of proxemics, the “leakage cues” may or may not be obvious (Waltman 3). In a non-familiar business setting a person cannot do much to change the territory, however, smaller actions, such as shifting a chair or placing a briefcase on his or her lap, can suggest the true feeling or intentions of that person (Waltman 3).

Yet another important aspect of nonverbal communication is voice. Vocal characteristics of one’s speech – the paralanguage – that include volume, rate, pitch and pronunciation are one of the most crucial factors in contributing or reducing the speaker’s credibility. One of the most popular beliefs, which has been confirmed by various studies in communication, suggests that a loud, strong voice transmits confidence (Fatt 2). Combinations of various elements of the paralanguage are attributed to different styles of speech, and, thus, provoke different feelings and perceptions in listeners. According to one of the studies, the conversation style, which includes slower rate, lower pitch and volume and less inflection, presented the speaker as being trustworthy, pleasant and friendly. In the same study the public speaking style, which includes higher pitch, vocal intensity and inflection, was said to portray dominance, dynamism and competence (Sundaram 6).

The last aspect of nonverbal communication discussed in this research is physical appearance. Although, in the greater sense, attractiveness describes characteristics that go beyond the physical appearance alone (Gabbot 4), physically attractive people are perceived as “more persuasive (Chaiken, 1979), successful in changing attitudes (Kahle and Homer, 1985), and are perceived to be warmer, more poised, and more socially skilled than less attractive people (Chaiken, 1979)” (Sundaram 8). The way one dresses is also an important element of physical appearance as a source of nonverbal cues, in big part because a person has much more control over his or her clothes, as opposed to the features of the face or the body size. In the recent decade the business world in US has seen various degrees of acceptance of the business casual dress code either as an alternative or as an addition to the traditional business attire (McPherson 1-2).

The Importance of Recognition and Use of Nonverbal Communication Elements
Importance of effective recognition of the nonverbal cues is difficult to overestimate. According to popular scholarly beliefs, between 60 and 93 percent of the meaning in the interaction may be generated by the nonverbal aspects of communication (Leigh 2). Some break it down even further stating that “people respond to body language 55 percent of the time, tone of voice 38 percent of the time, and actual words a mere 7 percent” (Arthur 2). As business organizations and interactions become more and more complex, the room for error diminishes greatly and the difficulty of obtaining and maintaining the competitive edge become increasingly important. Areas of sales, consulting, auditing, investment banking and many others where primary business revolves around client interaction, information acquisition and analysis, and persuading individuals are the ones that must be extremely effective in nonverbal communication. For example, a sale manager communicating with a new client over the telephone can benefit from skillful utilization of paralanguage, because the initial call creates a base on which the future interaction and is built (Leigh 1). In the service industry, the recognition and acceptance of nonverbal communication can too benefit the employees as well as the business process in general. Customer satisfaction depends on more than just adequate execution of the service, it also includes the nonverbal context of what is being done or said. Managers who realize the significance of the nonverbal aspect of communication and effects it has on the success of the business interaction will be able to seek out individuals with better developed nonverbal communication skills and integrate them in the optimal position of the business process (Gabbot 9).

Potential Problems with Nonverbal Communication
In addition to the benefits of nonverbal communication, some problems exist as well. As the research suggests, little correlation exists between one’s self-rated accuracy of decoding of the nonverbal cues and the actual performance (DePaulo 239). Some individuals also tend to concentrate more on their strongest areas of nonverbal communication while neglecting the other aspects. As in the example presented by Diane Arthur, the kinesic cues, contradictory to other verbal and nonverbal behavior, significantly undermined the credibility and effectiveness of the presenter (Arthur 2). Another problem area within the realm of nonverbal communication is the ambiguity of generated and transmitted cues. Since the appropriate meaning and interpretation of nonverbal cues are highly contextual in nature, the same gestures, facial expressions or posture can and do mean different things in different interaction environment and settings. Often, perceivers tend to venture farther than available context allows and interpret the signals according to their mental map, or to put it in other word - their previous knowledge, experience, stereotypes and others perceptual filters. Problem is further escalated due to the natural tendency of humans to be overly confident of the purely subjective judgments reached according personally-relevant information (Druckman 178). This idea develops into yet another obstacle in the interpretation of body language. Differences in cultural backgrounds of those involved in the interaction may interfere with correct decoding the encoded message. Most common cultural differences would probably be in kinesics. For example, a nod in the United States, as well as in many other cultures, signifies understanding or agreement. However, in the Middle East, a single nod represents disagreement or rejection (Arthur 2). Similarly, other commonly used gestures or other aspects of nonverbal communication may have completely different meanings in various cultures. With this said, one must realize that the term culture does not refer to the various ethnic and geographical groups exclusively. Culture can describe anything from sex to interorganizational culture. Therefore, in order to correctly decode the nonverbal cues one must not only analyze the ones that are relative to the context of what is being communicated, but also to attempt to interpret them in light of the decoder’s cultural background. The task of understanding nonverbal cues clearly is extremely complex and misunderstandings are common.

Solutions for Effective Nonverbal Communication
At least partial solutions to the problems of nonverbal communication can and should be implemented in the business organizations of today through training, analysis and practice. Managers, as the trained professionals and business leaders are responsible for the training and, partially, for analysis aspects of the solution. In addition, each individual is responsible for continuing analysis and practice of his or her nonverbal skills. The managers can aid the employees and coworkers by explaining and ensuring that the employees understand the significance of nonverbal side of communication process. Initially training seminars or classes should be offered to everybody and later readily available for anyone who needs them. Constant feedback is also crucial to ensure continuous learning and analysis process (Sundaram 12). William Nolen cites examples of George Patton and Richard Nixon practicing their facial expressions in order to appear more determined or trustworthy. They realized the importance of nonverbal communication in portraying the desired image. Not unlike U.S. General and U.S. President, today’s business people must portray a number of images depending on the situation and their field (Nolen 1). Therefore, one must not only understand the importance of nonverbal communication and be able to recognize them, but also to be continuously improving one’s own nonverbal behavior.

From the information presented, the importance of the nonverbal communication in modern business is obvious. The fact that a great number of successful CEOs, auditors and sales people refer to psychology of human behavior as one of the most useful non-business skill they posses demonstrates the vitality of using such skill appropriately and effectively. Employees empowered by this analytical tool are more likely to accomplish better results, avoid unnecessary confusion which may result in delays, sell the product or close an important deal simply because they are one step ahead of the game. Companies as a whole can create a corporate structure that conforms to the company’s business model and promotes it via the employees into the markets. Although, some aspects of the nonverbal communication still lack sufficient empirical research to be interpreted conclusively, its benefits obviously can and should be utilized as much as possible on various levels of modern business environment. It could be as beneficial on the micro level – the individual’s self analysis and continuous improvement of his hand gestures during presentations – for example, as it could be on the greater scale, perhaps – the development of corporate image through the marketing campaign.
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Sunday, July 26, 2009

Master's Essay Writing

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Marketing Orientation Research Paper

Market orientation is an organisation's disposition to provide superior value to its customers continuously (Slater and Narver, citied in Han, Kim and Srivastava 1998). Kohli and Jaworski as cited by Avlonitis and Gounaris (1999) suggested that the market orientation framework consists of three components, intelligence gathering, intelligence dissemination and responsiveness. They also proposed that this framework is influenced by a number of antecedent variables, such as top management involvement and interdepartmental conflict, is moderated by environmental variables including market turbulence, and is manifested in a number of outcomes, for example, esprit-de-corps and company performance (Ngai and Ellis 1998). Noble, Sinha and Kumar (2002) states that there is support that by striving to achieve market orientation will have a positive effect on organisational performance.

Intelligence gathering is the first step in the market orientation framework. The major type of information acquired is on customers’ needs and preferences. Although intelligence gathering pertains to these customer needs and preferences, the process also includes an analysis of how these may be affected by factors such as government regulations, technology, competitors and other environmental factors (Deshpande 1999). This is so organisations can understand how their products cater for and satisfy customer needs and wants better (Avlonitis and Gounaris 1999).

Effectively responding to a market need requires the participation of the organisation as a whole from research and development, manufacturing, purchasing right through to the sales and marketing departments. For the organisations to adapt to these needs the intelligence gathered from the previous process needs to be communicated, disseminated and sold to relevant departments and individuals (Deshpande 1999). By disseminating the information it will familiarise and mobilise the organisation towards the objectives and goals required to provide customer value and satisfaction (Avlonitis and Gounaris 1999).

Responsiveness takes the form of selecting target markets, designing and offering products and services for catering to their current and anticipated needs, and producing, distributing, and promoting the products in a manner that elicits favourable end-customer response (Deshpande 1999). It is also adjusting products towards market needs and wants, rather than according to the organisations beliefs and perceptions (Avlonitis and Gounaris 1999).

However, there are antecedent variables that can enhance or impede the implementation of the framework towards market orientation. Avlonitis and Gournaris refer to the Top Management Team (TMT) as an important influencing factor. The reason why the TMT are important is that they are the ones that must ensure that the structure is in place so that the organisation can effectively implement the new strategies to gain market effectiveness. The factors that make them influential is how likely are they to encourage employees to successfully implement these strategies, share market intelligence and be responsive to market needs (Deshpande 1999). It could be said that the greater the encouragement and acceptance of the TMT, the greater the market intelligence generation the intelligence dissemination and the overall responsiveness to market change. Another important factor to consider is that responding to market needs often calls for change within the organisation is some form or another. Change of any kind has elements of risk, how big a risk is determined by the nature and size of the change. For that reason the greater the risk aversion of the TMT, the lower the market intelligence generation, intelligence dissemination and the responsiveness of the organisation.

Deshpande (1999) refers to departmental dynamics. This refers to the formal and informal interactions and relationships among the organisations departments. An important aspect of departmental dynamics is conflicts, this usually arising from departments having incompatible objectives. The greater the interdepartmental conflict, the lower the market intelligence dissemination and the responsiveness of the organisation. Deshpande (1999) also alludes to interdepartmental connectedness. This refers to the degree of direct formal and informal contact among employees across departments. The greater interdepartmental connectedness is, the greater the market intelligence dissemination and the responsiveness of the organisation. On a more structural level Matsuno, Mentzer and Ozsomer (2002) talk about the organisations centralisation and formalisation. Centralisation refers to the amount of responsibility and authority delegated throughout an organisation and the extent of participation by organisational members in decision-making. Formalisation is defined as the emphasis placed within the organisation on following specific rules and procedures. The greater the formalisation of an organisation, the less it will tend to generate, disseminate, and plan a response to market information but the more effective its response implementation. The greater the centralisation of an organisation, the less it will tend to generate, disseminate, and plan a response to market information but the more effective its response implementation Deshpande (1999).

Han, Kim and Srivastava (1998) refer to environmental factors that can effect customer satisfaction. Environmental factors refer to competitive intensity, market turbulence and technological turbulence. These environmental factors help organisations to produce products and services that provide value for customers. Competitive advantage comes from the ability to shape buyer perceptions, preferences, and decision making, in which technology and innovation are critical factors. Technical innovation and knowledge management also contributes to customer satisfaction.

The greater the market orientation, the greater the esprit de corps and organizational commitment of employees. Many executives noted that a market orientation provides a number of psychological and social benefits to employees. In addition, a market orientation leads to a sense of pride in belonging to an organization in which all departments and individuals work toward the common goal of serving customers. These matters result in employees sharing a feeling of worthwhile contribution and stronger feelings of job satisfaction and commitment to the organization

A market orientation is likely to lead to improved performance because it is the organizational culture and climate that most effectively encourages the behaviors necessary for the creation of superior value for buyers and, therefore, continuous superior profit for the business.

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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Market Segmentation Dissertation

1) Market segmentation is the process of dividing a market into direct groups of buyers who might require separate products or market mixes, which is basically the classification of customers into groups with different needs, characteristics or behavior. There are four different types of segmentation variables, consumer markets can be segmented by: Demographics, Geography, Psychographics and Behavioral. These four points cover all the market segments for any product produced and released into a particular market place including the wine industry of Margaret River.

Demographic segmentation occurs when the market is divided into groups based on variables such as: Age e.g. needs & characteristics of teenagers vs. seniors, Gender e.g. Cosmetics, magazines aimed specifically to women, Income e.g. BMW = high income earner, Hyundai = low income earner, Household/family e.g. food products for a single household vs. a household with children, as well as Education, Religion and Nationality.

The demographic segments of the marketplace for the wine industry of Margaret River are as follows:
· Age – due to the law, to consume alcohol hence wine, you must be of 18 years of age.
· Gender – the wine industry does not target either sex, however there is the traditional Australian attitude that men drink beer and women drink wine.
· Income – influences the quality and quantity of wine you may be able to afford.
· Religion – is very much apart of many beliefs where we “drink the blood of Christ”, however some beliefs forbid the consumption of alcohol.
· Nationality – some countries are big on there wines i.e. the Italians love their red wines.

Geographic segmentation is very straight forward through that markets can be segmented based on regions which have different beliefs, cultures, behavioral patterns, etc. Many of the wineries of Margaret River are now “regionalizing” their marketing programs – localizing their products, advertising, promotion and sales efforts to fit the needs of individual regions, cities and even suburbs. A lot of these wines are sold in variety cartons throughout Australia to cover every ones favorites. A lot of red wine for example is exported to Italy to challenge the drops from France, due to the Italian culture and the behavioral drinking patterns of Italian people. However, most wineries are changing the nature of geographic segmentation by using the internet to widen their markets. E.g.

Psychographic segmentation occurs when markets are divided into different groups based on social class: reflection of income, education & occupation. Lifestyle: how consumers spend their time and brands/products used (e.g. Sanitarium vs. McDonalds) or personality characteristics: match product and consumer “personalities” (e.g. clothes we wear) Psychographic segmentation very much so occurs within the wine industry of Margaret River, being a well renowned, prestigious area for the production of wine many of the products like Eaglevale Chardonnay are designed to service a more affluent class of society. However many wines are suitably priced to make it affordable for most of society.

Behavioral segmentation divides buyers into groups based on their knowledge of the product, their attitude towards it, the way they use it and their responses to it. Many people buy products due to the benefits sought from a product (e.g. toothpaste – flavor and appearance, brightness of teeth, decay prevention and low price) Usage patterns: type of brand used (e.g. decaf vs. espresso drinkers), Usage rate: heavy vs. moderate vs. light users (e.g. season tickets to football) Many marketers believe that behavior variables are the best starting point for building market segments. Margaret River wines benefit users through the taste and flavor of the product, generally the produce is consumed in a social or intimate sense rarely on an individual basis. Wine consumers generally use the same vineyard due to there preference to a particular drop. I personally prefer the wine produced by Cape Mentelle winery Margaret River. Depending on ones desire to consume the liquids of the Margaret River region will influence there usage rate.

2) Over the next decade the likelihood of new segments emerging is slim, the wine industry of the Margaret River region is an established, stable industry, which will continue to grow within each market segment but I doubt the emergement of a new segment. The nature of geographical segmentation has really changed through the internet being a major marketing tool for the wineries of Margaret River, but further change may only be brought about through increased technology which may spell change to the emergement of a new market segment.

3) Wineries such as Cape Mentelle, Eaglevale, Evan & Tate, leeuwin Estate etc use the components of behavioral segmentation as the best starting point for building market segments. Behavioral segmentation deals with the knowledge of consumers, attitudes towards the products, uses for the product, user status, usage rate, benefit sought and loyalty status. All of these variables are used as a foundation by the vineyards in order to market there products to there perspective buyers

4) Geographic segment.
The first settlers to Western Australia brought grape vine cuttings collected en-route at Cape Town, South Africa in 1829. Consequently, Western Australians have been practicing the art of wine production since the earliest colonial times. While our wineries contribute a minuscule 2% of the total national production, they are solidly planted at the premium end of the market and have a firm hold on 57% of the national sales of premium wines and around 11% of international premium wine sales. The world seems to agree that we have perfected the formula as local wines continue to collect highly coveted awards and accolades both at home and overseas.
With this said it is easy to determine the customer characteristics, associated with the Margaret River wine industry. The table below shows the customer groups related with Geographic segmentation.

Geographic segmentation
World region or country Europe is where Margaret river has 11% of premium sales.
Country region Mainly Italy, but also France and other wine cultured European countries. Australia however is the predominate market.
Density Not relevant
Climate Doesn’t matter, as wine can be drunk in all climates. Red wine in cooler climates and white in warmer climates.
City or Metro size Not applicable.

Demographic segment
The Margaret River region is renowned as one of Western Australia’s most popular destinations. It is a place of indulgence with stunning scenery and the delights of World Class wineries and the gourmet vineyard restaurants of the Margaret River Region.

Responsible for producing 2% of Australia’s wine as already stated but over 15% of Australia’s premium wine, the 60 or so wineries in the region open for cellar door sales, and tastings offer the visitor an impressive selection. Boutique beer breweries, exquisite cheese product, jams and condiment producers, a marron (freshwater crayfish) farm, olive groves and even chocolate and fudge factories also add to the gourmet experiences. Add this with an immense array of art and craft galleries, the area offers visitors a fabulous opportunity to experience the work of local producers and artists.

The actual wineries themselves market themselves locally within Western Australia, however their produce is marketed nationally and internationally. The table below demonstrates the customer groups associated with the winery Eaglevale estate.

Demographics for Eaglevale
Age The wine: marketed towards the 18+ generations, but more towards the older middle aged people.The winery: marketed towards families and couples on holiday.
Gender The wine: both genders however Australian men tend to drink more beer than wineThe winery: both genders as there are many different activities to engage in.
Family size The wine: N/AThe winery: all family sizes from couples to families with ten children.
Family life cycle The wine: all cycles from young 18+ to older married with childrenThe winery: all cycles from young 18+ to older married with children
Income The wine: there are four wines to choose from at Eaglevale estate, starting at $19.50 and ending at $32. There are wines to cater for most income brackets.The winery: the winery itself is quite expensive to visit, if you come as a family, however single people find it quite affordable. Lower income earners are not targeted by the wineries.
Occupation The wine: not targeted to any segmentThe winery: not targeted to any segment
Education The wine: maybe universities and TAFEs but not really, as beer and spirits hold the main marketThe winery: does employ university graduates such as those completing degrees in viticulture.
Religion The wine: not marketed to non-wine drinking religionsThe winery: doesn’t discriminate between religions
Race The wine: not marketed to non-wine drinking culturesThe winery: caters for all cultures wine drinking or not.
Generation The wine: the baby boomer era and the era after that would purchase the majority of the wines.The winery: older generations generally visit the winery more regularly than any other generation, as retired people have a lot more time to travel and wine is the drink of most older people.
Nationality The wine: The Italians, French and Australians are the biggest consumers of the wines.The winery: mainly Australians visit the winery for tastings etc, however nearly as many tourists visit the winery.

Psychographic segment
Social class The wine: all classes above upper lowers.The winery: as above
Lifestyle The wine: most lifestyles such as achievers, extravagant, and flamboyant The winery: as above
Personality The wine: all personalities except the Australian beer drinkerThe winery: as above.

Behavioral segment
Occasions Wine: There are two segments in this market and they are regulars and occasional. Regulars generally are wealthier and predominantly wine drinkers whereas occasional drinkers are not as wealthy and tend to drink other forms of beverages such as beer.Winery: This also has a similar segment as above, with locals (people within the SW, from Perth to Albany) tending to visit the winery on more numerous occasions than tourists or people further away than the SW.
Benefits Wine: Well priced within the Margaret river market, also caters for most income earners. Winery: Great service, food, wine and general experience.

User status Wine: This brand of wine is very flexible with long-term users, one-time users and potential users generally enjoying the great tastes of Eaglevale wines.Winery: caters for all types of users, as it serves not only wine but beer, food and other services such as tours etc.

Usage rate Wine: an average usage rate for Eaglevale wines is one bottle per user per week. This varies depending on the person’s economic, social and behavioral background. However this wine is generally used lightly as it is quite expensive compared to other wines from the eastern states.Winery: light usage, as the winery is in a semi isolated area in the SW.
Loyalty status Wine: medium loyalty status, as there are so many competitive brands such as Evan & Tate circulating around the market.Winery: low-medium loyalty, as people tend to visit many wineries when traveling throughout the SW. There are the locals however that have a strong loyalty to the brand Eaglevale.
Readiness status Wine: Desirous; people know about the Margaret river wines, and are aware of there prestigious name, However Eaglevale is relatively new in the wine market.Winery: Unaware-Aware; Eaglevale is relatively new in the Margaret river region, so its product is not as well known as its competitors. But as people drive past the winery on the way to Margaret river and the tourist bureau is advertising its name it will soon be a desirous winery.
Attitude towards product Wine: Positive; all reviews of the wines have been very good, nationally/locally and internationally.Winery: Positive also; the wine is excellent as is the service and food.

5) Geographic customer groups.
The benefits the geographic groups receive from using the Eaglevale estate wines is the satisfaction and enjoyment of partaking in the consumption of a prestigious and well renowned wine. The customers in the cooler climates can enjoy a relaxing glass of room temperature red that is award winning and priced well among other prestigious wines, whereas the white wine can be consumed by customers in the warmer climates just as enjoyably. The point is that geographically speaking there are no disadvantages associated with the Eaglevale wines.

Demographic customer groups
The Eaglevale wines are suited for the 18+ bracket, however its predominant market is the older generations. The disadvantage here is that there is a large part of the market being missed, as under 18s are not legally able to drink and 18-mid 20s are more inclined to consume spirits or beer. The benefits however are that wine drinkers tend to be product loyal, or semi loyal as many wines are similar. This means that getting among the market is very important and Eaglevale is almost a major contender in the prestigious wine market. The company exports produce to Europe, which is the biggest wine consuming continent in the world, this inevitably gives the Eaglevale estate an edge in the wine market. As Eaglevale targets the older person, family or no family, the Winery has a broad Demographic range allowing it to try and enter into other market segments, as it is trying to do at its winery with a restaurant and proposed motel.

Psychographic customer groups
The social class segment covered is the working class and above segment, however the lower class segment can’t afford the wines so this is a disadvantage. However the lifestyle and personality segment is well covered by Eaglevale as it caters for a broad range of customers from authoritarians and ambiguous people to achievers and strivers.

Behavioral customer groups
The Wines from Eaglevale tend to have a fluctuating customer market with those that are product loyal, which is a great benefit. Also those which are one time or occasional users, which to a degree is also good as it proves that people are willing to try a new product. The usage rate and readiness of the wines is also pretty good at this stage as it is continually improving every year despite the competitiveness of the market. The overall attitude towards the product is very good, as reviews from various local wineries, as well as international wholesalers is overwhelming.

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