• Near-death experience in Indian religions: Encountering Yama

      Stockton, Shona (University of Chester, 2017-09)
      Visions and possessions are closely linked to one another. They can be either negative or positive experiences. They are also known to derive from a variety of circumstances, which include: illness (temporary or life threatening), the side-effects of drugs (i.e. anaesthetic or soma), and states of unconsciousness (i.e. dreams or visitations). However, when they involve an encounter with Yama (the Hindu Lord of the Dead), I propose they should be considered the equivalent of near-death experience (NDE). To investigate this, I will examine a variety of textual sources from a historical point of view. The selected material is from three different periods and will be discussed in a chronological order to appreciate the changing of religious beliefs in South Asia. The first collection of literature belongs to the Vedic period and consists of mythological narratives from Rgveda, Atharvaveda, and the Upanisads. The second include the Mahabharata and Puranas (Post-Vedic period), and the third assortment are contemporary ethnographic accounts. A comparative analysis of these sources permits to acknowledge how near-death experiences in India have changed from a sacrificial culture into one primarily concerned with the concept of karma (action) and its social and otherworldly outcomes, that is reward and punishment.
    • A New Predictor-Corrector Method for Solving Nonlinear Fractional Differential Equations with Graded Meshes

      Yan, Yubin; Leedle, Natasha (University of Chester, 2017-10-09)
      In this dissertation we consider the numerical methods for solving non-linear fractional differential equations. We first review the predictor-corrector methods for solving the nonlinear fractional differential equation with uniform meshes and discussed in detail how to prove the error estimates. The convergence orders of the predictorcorrector methods for solving nonlinear fractional differential equations available in the literature are only O(h1+α ), where α ∈ (0, 1) denotes the fractional order and h is the step size. It will take a long time to obtain the good approximate solutions by using such method. Therefore it is necessary to construct some higher order numerical methods to solve the nonlinear fractional differential equations. We construct a higher order numerical method with the convergence order O(h1+2α) by approximating the Riemann-Liouville fractional integral with the quadratic interpolation polynomials. The graded meshes can be used in the numerical methods to capture the singularity of the problem. Numerical examples are given to show that the numerical results are consistent with the theoretical results.
    • New technology and the Help Desk: Research into how new technology could be used to improve the efficiency of the Customer Services Help Desk at Cheshire County Council

      Southall, Garfield; Thomas, Shirley (University of Liverpool (Chester College of Higher Education)Cheshire County Council, 1998-10)
      This research identifies different technologies used to assist with the management of help desks, including Call Management Software, Problem Resolution Systems and Computer Telephony Integration, showing how they can improve efficiency. The requirements of the help desk at Cheshire County Council are identified by analysing the current system and by sending a survey to the customers. The survey also attempts to establish whether the use of new technology would be acceptable to the customers. A pilot study, giving staff in Social Services access to a list of FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) was set up to gauge the effectiveness of a simple problem resolution system, however because of the pressures of other work on support staff this has not yet been completed. The research showed that the new technologies would not be beneficial unless the information held (particularly the contact database) is accurate. The failure to implement the FAQ in Social Services highlighted the problems of allocating the resources needed to achieve this in an organisation where staff are under pressure solving current problems. Providing the contact database is maintained and a knowledge base set up, with procedures in place to ensure the information is correct and relevant, then replacing the problem management system and introducing a problem resolution system could potentially improve the efficiency of the help desk. This would be achieved by giving management access to the relevant information to enable them to make decisions, increasing the spot rate (calls answered on first call) and by reducing the time to log calls. Recommendations are made for introducing changes and for further research.
    • "New ways of working": An assessment of the effectiveness of the management of change in Liverpool's community libraries

      Page, Steve; Stoker, David (University of Chester, 2009-06)
      Change is required almost constantly for organisations to survive, adapt to their internal and external environments, and improve if possible. The effective management of change is therefore of crucial importance. However, there are many competing and sometimes conflicting proposed theories and models, but often little assessment of change itself in practice, not least as perceived and experienced by the recipients of change. The key research problem to be addressed here is how change can be managed effectively and what are the key aspects to consider when trying to implement or stimulate change. This dissertation involves the detailed assessment of a practical example of change management in Liverpool's Community Libraries from 2005 onwards. This begins with a planned change in the form of a partial restructure followed by subsequent changes, including those accompanying refurbished libraries, with the aim of creating further continuous, emergent change. Libraries documentation and training programmes associated with this refer to "new ways of working." A conceptual model is developed based on a literature review. This attempts to set out key aspects to consider in the cyclical process of change and relates to change awareness and readiness, change design, and change evaluation. The model is used to inform a questionnaire sent to all of the change recipients. The results of the survey are analysed and presented along with the results of semi-structured interviews conducted with the change director, principal change agent, and five change recipients. It is found that there are mixed results from and perspectives on the changes. All aspects of the model have been paid attention to during the changes to a greater or lesser extent, but mostly with less emphasis than recommended hi the theory. In particular, it is found that less attention has been paid in practice to selling the vision, encouraging authentic participation, and evaluating the changes. Nevertheless, just over half of the staff believe that they have changed their ways of working with perceived benefits to the service to customers. It is recognised that no one model will be universally applicable but that certain key aspects of change always deserve as much consideration as possible.
    • “No pain, no gain”: Former elite female gymnasts’ engagement with pain and injury discourses

      McEvilly, Nollaig; Tynan, Ruby (University of Chester, 2014-10)
      This research investigates the discourses influential in former elite female artistic gymnasts' engagement with pain and injury. The purpose of this study was to examine participants' engagement with pain and injury discourses and interrogate the ways in which certain discourses became dominant. Despite extensive sociological research providing exposure to the ways in which athletes experience pain and injury, there is little research into gymnasts' experiences. Therefore, this research not only contributes to the sociological literature on pain and injury, but also provides a complimentary addition to the efforts towards injury prevention from the medical, epidemiological and psychological perspectives. A poststructural, Foucauldian theoretical framework underpins this study, which makes overt use of Foucault's work on discourses, techniques of power and technologies of the self. Data were generated through semi-structured interviews with seven former elite female artistic gymnasts, who were asked to reflect on their experiences with pain and injury. By analysing participants’ talk through poststructural discourse analysis, three main discourses were evident. Firstly, participants' persistence through pain and injury was due to the desire to compete. Secondly, participants were able to differentiate between "good pain" and "bad pain". Thirdly, participants had a higher tolerance for pain than for injury. Participants engaged with these discourses in multiple and sometimes conflicting ways. Ultimately however, these discourses were normalised through a combination of disciplinary techniques and technologies of the self. Therefore, this research raises serious questions about the ways in which gymnasts may develop an uncritical acceptance of the 'truths' surrounding pain and injury.
    • Northern Europe versus Rome: The use of the body in warfare

      Doran, John; Pinfold, Tom (University of Chester, 2012)
      Throughout time military commanders have relied on a combination of ‘shock and awe’ to win battles, whether they were the massed cavalry charges of the early Medieval period, the huge columns of men used by Napoleon to punch through enemy formations with drums beating and chants of ‘Vive l’Empereur’, through to the German Blitzkrieg against Poland or France, even today many counter-terrorist units such as the British SAS equip themselves in black body armour and gas masks giving them an otherworldly appearance. However, long before any of these, the Roman Legions and their Ancient British and Gallic adversaries were practicing body alteration on a grand scale, relying not only on physical strength but also ‘shock and awe’ to win battles. This dissertation is an investigation and a discussion of the techniques adopted and the motivations behind their adoption.
    • Numerical Methods for Solving Nonlinear Fractional Differential Equations with Non-Uniform Meshes

      Yan, Yubin; Broadbent, Emma (University of Chester, 2017-10)
      In this dissertation, we consider numerical methods for solving fractional differential equations with non-uniform meshes. We first introduce some basic definitions and theories for fractional differential equations and then we consider the numerical methods fro solving fractional differential equation. In the literature, the popular numerical methods for solving fractional differential equation include the rectangle method, trapezoid method and predictor-corrector methods. We reviewed such methods and the ways to prove the stability and the error estimates for these methods. Since the fractional differential equation is a nonlocal problem, the computation cost is very long compared with the local problem. Therefore it is very important to design some higher order numerical methods for solving fractional differential equation. In this dissertation, we introduce a new higher order numerical method for solving fractional differential equation which is based on the quadratic interpolation polynomial approximation to the fractional integral. To capture the singularity near the origin we also introduce the non-uniform meshes. The numerical results show that the optimal convergence order can be recovered by using non-uniform meshes even if the data are not sufficiently smooth.
    • Numerical methods for space-fractional partial differential equations

      Yan, Yubin; Mukta, Hasna K. (University of Chester, 2014-09)
      In this dissertation, we consider numerical methods for solving space-fractional PDEs. We first consider finite difference method then we consider finite element methods for solving space-fractional PDEs. The error estimates are obtained. Finally we consider the matrix transform technique (MTT) for solving space-fractional PDEs which include finite difference and finite element method. Numerical examples are given.
    • Nutrition and Golf performance

      Robinson, Michael (University of Chester, 2018-09-28)
      Nutrition in Golf is a relatively new area of research with only a small amount of published studies. Golf nutrition is distinct from other sports primarily due to the variable conditions faced by players over an extended period of time. Despite that only a low to moderate exercise intensity is maintained, players are required to make multiple maximal velocity swings requiring high level motor skill whilst cognitive functioning is challenged through decision making on every shot, often under intense pressure. Caffeine supplementation has been the most investigated topic with findings of improved performance in certain areas of the game such as driving and putting whilst fatigue appeared to be attenuated towards the end of a round. Dehydration has been shown to be prevalent even in the elite amateur game with a significant decline in a range of performance variables found with only mild-dehydration. Carbohydrate consumption has been shown to prevent the decline in blood glucose experienced over a round, however an optimal consumption protocol has not been established. Future research should further investigate nutritional techniques to offset the physical and mental challenges arising over a round of golf.
    • Nutrition knowledge and dietary behaviour of members of commercial slimming clubs in Greater Manchester

      Bray, Barbara (University of Chester, 2014-09)
      Objective: To establish whether there is a relationship between nutrition knowledge and dietary behaviour in members of commercial slimming clubs. Design: A self-completed questionnaire on nutrition knowledge, dietary behaviour and factors associated with weight-loss management. Setting: Members of slimming clubs in their home environment. Subjects: The targeted sample comprised of 56 members of slimming clubs in the Greater Manchester area recruited through social media and the local Rosemary Conley slimming club leader. Results: The level of nutrition knowledge in the study population was high, however this was not significantly correlated with dietary behaviour which was poor (r=0.054; p=.694). Similarly, nutrition knowledge and dietary behaviour were not significantly correlated with education levels, age or alcohol consumption (p>.05). However, a significant inverse relationship was found between educational attainment and BMI (r=-0.392, p=.005). Barriers to weight loss were not reported to be major factors by this study group; the greatest benefits of membership were support and encouragement from other members and the club leader. The proportion of returning members was >70%. Conclusions: Dietary behaviour in members of commercial slimming clubs is not significantly influenced by nutrition knowledge. Although healthy eating recommendations can be valuable, other factors are more important for achieving weight loss, particularly support and fellowship from other members. Slimming club members regain the weight lost after leaving the clubs and inevitably re-join.
    • Nutrition knowledge and food intake

      Stroud, Joshua R. (University of Chester, 2013-09)
      The rates of many diet related diseases are increasing; obesity most notably. Adverse shifts in dietary behaviours have contributed to the rise in non-communicable diseases. In the UK fat and sugar intakes are above recommended levels and fruit, vegetable and oily fish intakes are below recommended levels. Increasing nutrition knowledge may be a means of bringing intake in-line with the recommendations. It was the aim of this review to assess the evidence for and against a relationship between nutrition knowledge and food intake. Intervention studies suggest that improving nutrition knowledge correlates with improvements in food intake. However, cross-sectional evidence of a correlation is much less clear although a low correlation does appear to exist. A mediatory effect of nutrition knowledge on the influence of demographic variables may also exist. Further research into the correlation with regard to specific nutrients and demographic variables is required as is exploration of the long-term benefits of nutrition education interventions.
    • Nutrition knowledge of professional football players aged 16-18 years old

      Fallows, Stephen; Evans, Lauren (University of Chester, 2009)
      Nutrition knowledge in general has an important role in determining an individual’s health and fitness. Sports nutrition is an essential part of an athlete’s program as without the right nutrition, fitness and performance may be hindered. There is a shortage of studies on nutritional knowledge on football players and no studies were found with participants under 18 years old. The importance of nutrition and hydration in young football players cannot be stressed enough. Despite these facts, it is not evident that any particular nutrition education provisions are currently in place to target this vulnerable group. For this reason, it was hypothesised that nutrition knowledge amongst this group would be poor. The study aimed to assess the nutrition knowledge and attitudes of professional football players aged 16-18 years old and to identify any areas of weakness. A nutrition knowledge questionnaire was administered to 48 professional male football players aged 16-18 years old. Three professional clubs participated in the study. 19 players from a Premier League club, 15 from a League Two club and 14 from a League One club. The mean overall nutrition knowledge score for the football players was 63%. There was no significant difference in nutrition knowledge found between clubs. No significant difference in mean scores for subsections of the questionnaire; general nutrition, sports nutrition, supplements and hydration were found. Nutrition attitudes of the players were positive overall, with 100% of players aware of the importance of nutrition for performance. 94% of players believed they would benefit from more nutritional advice. Nutrition scores reflect a good overall knowledge of nutrition for football however, players still believe that they would benefit from more nutritional information emphasising the need for nutrition education in team sports.
    • Nutritional comparison of cooked fresh and frozen vegetables

      Simpson, Anna (University of Chester, 2013-09)
      Dietary antioxidants (AO) are believed to contribute to the overall health benefits seen from fruit and vegetables. Despite increased public awareness of the health benefits of fruit and vegetables through campaigns such as 5 A DAY, consumption remains low. Freezing is usually regarded as destructive to AO and ascorbic acid (AA) and this has fostered a belief that fresh vegetables are nutritionally superior to frozen. In this study, AO and AA activity in commercially bought fresh and frozen vegetables were investigated and compared after a typical home cooking practice (boiling). Five different vegetables were examined: carrots, broccoli, green beans, peas and spinach. Each vegetable was bought four times from a selection of local supermarkets and green grocers in the Wirral, United Kingdom to account for variation. The oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) assay and 2, 6-dichlorophenolindophenol (DCPIP) assay were utilised to measure total antioxidant capacity (TAC) and AA content respectively. The results showed both fresh and frozen vegetables to contain AO and AA after cooking. Cooked fresh spinach and peas contained significantly (p<.05) higher levels of total AO than cooked frozen spinach and peas. However the remaining fresh and frozen vegetables (broccoli, carrots and green beans) did not appear to differ in AO content after cooking. Furthermore there was no difference between AA content in fresh and frozen cooked vegetables. The current study provides evidence against the misconception that fresh is always nutritionally superior to frozen at the point of consumption. Frozen vegetable promotion may be the way forward to increase fruit and vegetable consumption as they are generally nutritionally comparable to fresh but, cheaper, result in less waste, are more convenient and, if packaged correctly, taste the same as fresh. Further work, on a larger scale, is needed, to measure AO and AA content of fresh and frozen vegetables bought and cooked by the consumer.
    • Nutritional education for doctors and nurses: What is the impact?

      Almiron-Roig, Eva; Ellahi, Basma; Johnson, Vicky (University of Chester, 2010-07)
      The under-recognition and under-treatment of malnutrition in the UK, which costs the NHS an estimated £13 billion each year, has been linked to poor provision of nutritional education in medical and nursing academic programmes. The present study aimed to investigate whether the introduction of a mandatory nutritional education programme for doctors and nurses at a district general hospital would influence knowledge and attitudes related to the recognition and treatment of malnutrition and whether subsequent changes in clinical practice would be observed. It was hypothesised that knowledge, attitudes and clinical practice would all improve following training. A repeated measures design was used to assess knowledge and attitudes among junior doctors and registered nurses before and after an educational intervention using a quantitative questionnaire. A clinical audit of compliance with national clinical standards, in the form of the inpatient nutritional screening policy, was used to assess clinical practice and was a repeat of an audit conducted 12 months before. Both audits were compared for analysis. Baseline knowledge scores were below 55% for both doctors and nurses. Baseline attitude scores reflected an overall positive attitude towards nutritional screening for both groups. The results showed that both knowledge and attitudes improved significantly following training for both occupational groups. The audit identified that national clinical standards were not complied with. However, following training, statistically significant improvements were observed in compliance with the nutritional screening policy between 2008 and 2009. Specifically, the audit found that an additional 8.2% of patients were screened on admission to hospital and an additional 50.1% of patients were screened weekly during admission. Figures of prevalence of malnutrition also increased from 15.79% in 2008 to 19.21% in 2009 but were still lower than national statistics. It is recommended that all NHS Trusts implement mandatory nutritional education programmes for doctors and nurses to support clinical governance. Limitations and considerations for future research are discussed.
    • Nutritional knowledge and dietary habits of professional and semi-professional football players

      Alford, Simon (University of Liverpool (Chester College of Higher Education), 2004-03)
      Nutritional knowledge, sports nutrition and dietary habits were investigated using a questionnaire completed by 21 professional and 24 semi-professional football players, aged 18 to over 35 years. A number of misconceptions were discovered. Areas where improvements in understanding are required include: fluids and how dehydration can affect performance and be avoided; protein sources, the required intake and how it plays a role in the diet; and use of nutritional supplements, including creatine, and how they \ play a role within the diet and can affect performance. Such misconceptions were in line with previous findings in the literature. Areas of good understanding were found to include fats, pre-match meals, weight control and carbohydrates. Correlations were evident between nutritional scores and age (r = 0.36, p < 0.05) and highest levels of education (r = 0.36, p < 0.05). Those players sourcing information from magazines were also found to score significantly (r = 0.30, p <0.05) higher. Once again, such correlations were similar to previous athletic groups studied by others. No correlation was found between total scores and the levels of playing, the time players last received nutritional training or any other sources of nutritional information. Between playing levels, players were found to have no significant (p > 0.05) difference with regards to habits of eating and drinking before matches and training. Both professional and semi-professional players consumed similar levels of fluid, including sports drinks. Meals were also eaten at the same time between professional and semi-professional players, in line with recommended practice, to maximise performance. The knowledge of the semi-professional players compared similarly to that of the professional players, with no significant (p > 0.05) difference found in total score regarding questions on nutritional knowledge.
    • The nutritional knowledge of 16-18 year olds in full time education in Chester, England

      Ellahi, Basma; Williamson, Jillian (University of ChesterUniversity of Chester, 2008-10)
      Objective The aim of the study was to assess whether 16-18 year olds in full time education are aware of current nutritional recommendations and whether they can apply them to prevent disease. Additional aims were to compare the results by gender, involvement in a sports team, and whether participants studied Food Technology GCSE. Method Students were recruited from two schools in Chester, England. 44 male and 57 female student participants completed a nutritional knowledge questionnaire. The questionnaire was split into 6 sections – expert recommendations, nutrients, healthy choices, diet-disease relationships, portion sizes and alcohol. Results Overall mean nutritional knowledge score was 52% (n= 101) [SD 9.7]. Students’ greatest knowledge was of current expert recommendations (64.4% [SD 11.5]) and weakest knowledge of kcal in alcohol (28% [SD15.3]). Knowledge of composition of foods and portion sizes was poor. Knowledge of diet-disease relationships for fats, sugar and alcohol was good. Unexpectedly there was no significant difference in gender, involvement in sports teams or completion of Food Technology GCSE. Conclusion Ten years of students will leave school without benefiting from the Governments new ‘Learn to Cook’ initiatives. Practical sessions teaching students to cook and eat healthily should be an integral part of the sixth form curriculum. Nutrition needs to be a core part of every subject with cross-curricular links. Consistent messages must be presented to students by teachers, parents, PCTs, the food industry and the media!
    • Nutritional knowledge of mental health nurses working in the Irish Forensic Mental Health Service

      Fallows, Stephen; McCrarren, Peter (University of Chester, 2013-09)
      This cross-sectional design study investigated the nutrition knowledge of Irish Forensic Mental Health Nurses (IFMHN). It was primarily hypothesised that IFMHN have a good level of nutrition knowledge. Following the application of various inclusion and exclusion criteria, all remaining nurses employed in the Irish Forensic Mental Health Service were invited to complete a validated nutrition knowledge questionnaire designed by Parmenter and Wardle (1999). The original questionnaire was slightly modified to suit an Irish population. The data obtained was analysed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) Software, Version 20.0 and significance was set at the 0.05 level. A response rate of 85.7% (n= 96) was achieved, comprising of 52 females (54.7%) and 43 males (45.3%). This study found that the mean nutritional knowledge score of all participants was 76 ±12.7 (69.1%). The original hypothesis was therefore accepted. It was noted that female staff had a significantly greater knowledge of nutrition than male staff (p = 0.048) and the deputy ward-manager grade (CNM1) had a significantly lower level of knowledge than the ward-manager grade. The present study has revealed that IFMHN have a good level of nutrition knowledge. However, their relatively poor score in the diet–disease relationships section requires further analysis and may suggest that increased education may be required for mental health nurses in the area of health problems and diseases associated with diet.
    • Nutritional knowledge of parents and the packed lunch they provide their children

      Fallows, Stephen; Healy, Yvonne (University of Chester, 2009-09)
      This dissertation aims to investigate if the level of Irish parents’/guardians’ nutritional knowledge reflects the foods they provide in their children’s packed lunch. Another aim of the study was to determine if parents’/guardians’ level of education reflects their level of nutritional knowledge. A final aim of the study was to determine whether boys or girls had healthier lunchboxes. To have the children complete a lunchbox questionnaire, and for the parents/guardians to complete a General Nutrition Knowledge Questionnaire for Adults. The study population consisted of 35 8-9 year old children from a South Dublin primary school and their parents/guardians formed the study population. A lunchbox questionnaire was completed by the children and a General Nutrition Knowledge Questionnaire for Adults was completed by the parents/guardians. SPSS was undertaken to determine whether any correlations existed between the level of nutritional knowledge and the foods provided; the level of nutritional knowledge and the level of education; and to determine any differences between the boys’ and the girls’ lunchboxes. The results from this study show that level of parental nutritional knowledge does not reflect the foods they provide in their child’s lunchbox (p>0.05). There was no relationship found between level of nutritional knowledge and level of education (p>0.05), nor was there any significant difference (p>0.05) between the health status of the boys and girls lunchboxes. The standard of lunches was low, as was the level of nutritional awareness of the parents/guardians. This study attempts to fill a gap in the literature, investigating whether the level of parental nutritional knowledge reflects the lunches they provide in their children’s packed lunch. The results from this study found that level of nutritional knowledge does not reflect the foods parents/guardians provide in packed lunches. Health promotion strategies are needed to target new areas in order to broaden nutritional awareness in the Irish adult population. Healthy lunchbox strategies are recommended to be employed by parents and/or schools in order to improve the nutritional quality of these meals.
    • Office cake consumption in the UK: an exploration of its characteristics and associated attitudes among office workers

      Flannery, Orla; Fallows, Stephen; Walker, Louise (University of Chester, 2017-08)
      Objective: The present study explored the characteristics of office cake (OC) consumption and the attitudes of UK-based office workers towards it, to gain insight into the effects of OC consumption on workplace health promotion programmes (WHPPs). Design: A cross-sectional, self-administered online survey based on the Theory of Planned Behaviour. Setting: The UK, between 1st and 31st May 2017. Subjects: Office workers (n=940), n=368 (39.3%) male, aged ≥18yrs Results: Two thirds of respondents ate OC at least once/week and OC was available in most workplaces up to five times/week. Respondents reported both positive, morale-boosting and negative, weight- and diet-related consequences of OC consumption and identified aspects of OC availability and display that increased consumption. Nearly all (94.8%) respondents thought the ideal OC frequency was once/week or less but only 36.1% said they would support an initiative to reduce OC consumption. Gender and age significantly affected attitudes and behaviour but not the amount eaten. Conclusion: OC consumption has characteristics which influence the workplace eating environment and eating behaviour. Attitudes towards OC vary widely and are significantly affected by gender and AG. WHPP designers should recognise the existing gender and age profile. Use of choice architectural techniques to effect environmental change might be useful in reducing OC consumption.
    • 'Official' recognition and effective lay Ministry in the Diocese of Chelmsford

      Lloyd, Shelia (University of Liverpool (Chester College of Higher Education), 1999-10)
      The dissertation aims to explore the value lay people in the Church of England today attach to "official" recognition in encouraging them to exercise a ministry. The author's own experience both of parish ministry and tutoring a diocesan course of Christian education convinced her that there was a wealth of gifts amongst lay people which was in danger of being unrecognised or at least seriously undervalued. Three factors appeared particularly significant: firstly the lack of any universal recognition for lay ministry apart from Readers; secondly the perception of a lay/clerical divide. Despite the biblical picture of the church as a body with many equal but different parts, clergy have been seen as the paid professionals and laity as the amateur volunteers. Yet at parochial level the laity, mostly unlicensed, have taken a significant role in the running of the local church and its outreach to the community; Thirdly the rapid changes in contemporary postmodern society. Most lay people are now used to role definition, recognition, and job specification in secular employment. Moreover changing patterns in both family life and the employment field have started a revolution, in consequence of which a vast army of lay women is rapidly disappearing from 'active service1 in the church. This dissertation relies heavily on unstructured interviews with a number of past students from the Chelmsford Diocesan Course in Christian Studies for which the author was a senior tutor. To balance these the author also interviewed lay people from her own church who had not undertaken this course. The aim was to focus on the perceptions of lay people themselves. The dissertation also draws on research material from a follow-up survey of CCS students and information about a range of current diocesan schemes of lay training as well as studying current literature and thinking on this subject. The research found that certain common issues arose from my interviews. Lay people valued highly both the "official" recognition of a formal diocesan scheme and the informal affirmation of their role and gifts by clergy within their local church. They also viewed lay education as foundational to any ministry, both stimulating it and giving confidence to exercise it. In considering this lay perspective and also taking into account Scriptural tradition, the contemporary cultural context, and the current diversity of diocesan practices, the dissertation makes a case for: appropriate training and commissioning of all confirmed church members as disciples called to Christian service; national recognition of lay pastoral ministry in the local church; a reformed permanent diaconate incorporating many who currently exercise a ministry as Readers, Non-Stipendiary Ministers and Ordained Local Ministers.