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Current students

 warc students kivaMs Vuyokazi Miranda Kiva

Currently registered for an MTech: BIS at CPUT
Thesis title: Accessibility of CPUT’s Institutional Repository through search engines
Supervisor: Prof Melius Weideman

Background

Vuyokazi Miranda Kiva has registered in May 2013 as a Masters student at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. Her research focuses on the accessibility of CPUT’s Digital Knowledge via search engines and intends to graduate in March 2015. She has been employed at the CPUT Library since 2007 and has worked in other academic institutions before joining CPUT. She enjoys going to art exhibitions, movies and visiting educational places such as the astronomical observatory in Sutherland.

Thesis abstract

The challenge with institutional repositories in its current form is that academics often do not make use of them. A variety of reasons exists for this: academics do not like being told how to do things, they particularly do not like being told what to do by their institutions and the user interfaces are often difficult to navigate. Nonetheless these repositories form an important part of the route towards making research results available. Institutions sometimes refer to ‘putting things in the repository’ rather than ‘making them available on the Web’.

Few researchers at CPUT have put their academic work in the institutional repository. SlideShare is a third party product, it may not have long term stability, and it may not be as secure as some people would like. But it provides much more of the functionality that one wants from a service for making presentations available on the Web. It does not serve the purpose of an archive – and maybe a repository is better for that purpose. Most researchers will host for example a video that relates to their research on YouTube, Bioscreencast or JoVE, as opposed to the institutional repository. This research sets out to determine the accessibility of CPUT’s Digital Knowledge on search engines, and to improve its service outside CPUT’s environment.


img current matheMs Zanele Mathe

Currently registered for an M.Tech (BIS) at CPUT
Thesis title: Factors influencing the management of research data in a University of Technology in South Africa
Supervisor: Prof M Weideman

Background

Zanele Mathe is a Senior Librarian at CPUT Libraries responsible for Faculty and Research Support Services. She has been working in academic libraries for 12 years. She is currently the coordinator of the eResearch initiative at CPUT Libraries and is currently registered for a Masters’ Degree in Business Information Systems in the Faculty of Business.  The research focus is on investigating research data management practices at a Technology University in South Africa. This will be a first step towards the development of an infrastructure for research data management.

Thesis abstract

The growth in conducting scientific research has influenced the generation and sharing of large volumes of data amongst global researchers in collaborative projects using diverse tools. The need for sharing of this data is driven by the principle of making publicly funded research open, and funding agencies increasingly require researchers to include data management plans in new grant proposals and ensure that data is archived in data repositories to enable sharing and re-use. In order for research institutions like universities to comply and inculcate good research practice, there must first be an awareness of the type, location, condition and value of research data assets held. The purpose of the study is to understand current research data management practices employed by researchers at the Universities of Technology in South Africa. The findings will raise awareness of collection strengths and data issues to improve overall university research strategy. The findings will also contribute significantly in specifying the requirements for a new university infrastructure.


 warc students ntlangulaMr Brian Malakhiwe Ntlangula

Currently registered for an M.Tech (BIS) at CPUT
Thesis title: Relationship between website Usability and Web metrics in South African e-commerce businesses
Supervisor: Prof M Weideman
Co-supervisor: Dr EB Visser

Background

Brian Malakhiwe Ntlangula is a Masters student at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. He is currently enrolled in his second year of Business Information Systems and intends to graduate in 2014. His is research focus is on Website usability and Web metrics. He is also studying to gain expertise on Google Analytics (GA). He is currently working for CPUT as a lecturer for business computer applications with the Faculty of Business. During his free time he likes going out exploring different places and a keen traveller within the country. His favourite sport is soccer and cricket, you will find him to be a keen spectator of those two on weekends.

Thesis abstract

The use of the Internet has had a dramatic effect on business operations and has affected the way business is conducted. Many companies are making large investments in e-commerce applications, but are hard pressed to evaluate the success of these systems. For companies to be successful, their websites should be usable and enable users to access information and purchase products without impediments. Web metrics can be used to indicate how online customers are using websites and help to improve usability.

Website users want to spend time on websites that are generally appealing and user-friendly. Website owners in the e-commerce industry find themselves having to consider usability as one of the most important components when they design their websites in order to attract users and retain them as their customers.Google Analytics will be used to determine some of the metrics that will be found on different websites.

Web metrics are often seen as indicators of website success, and are relatively easy to measure. Website usability, being more subjective, is more difficult to measure, but has a profound effect on website success. This research sets out to determine if Web metrics can be used as a predictor of website success, making it easier to determine the chances of success.


 img phiriMr Phillip Phiri

Currently registered for an M.Tech (Information Technology) at CPUT
Thesis title: Modelling the Relationship between the Usability and Utility of Cloud-based Mobile Business Applications

Background

Phillip Phiri is a Master’s degree student at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology in Cape Town. The focus of his study is on Human Computer Interaction for smartphones and tablet computers with special interest in the usability and utility of cloud-connected mobile business applications. He is currently employed at SAP as a researcher and software developer of mobile business applications. He is also involved in developing mobile business applications that connect to SAP cloud services. For his Master’s degree research, Phillip plans to explore and possibly model the relationship between the usability and utility of mobile business applications – specifically cloud based business applications.

Thesis abstract

Smartphones and tablets are rapidly becoming the primary computing device of choice by consumers. The increased usage of mobile devices has seen a corresponding proliferation of software applications (commonly known as apps) being developed to cater of the variety of tasks users need to accomplish.

Usability studies on mobile apps is an area of growth in research. Mobile app usability studies typically build on studies done for desktop computer applications. Using traditional usability studies for mobile business apps fails to address certain issues that are unique to mobile business apps.

To make mobile business apps more usable, the complexity of the app needs to be reduced. This raises an interesting question. With task complexity reduced in order to improve mobile application usability, to what extent can a mobile application be simplified so as to maintain its usability whilst maintaining its utility, i.e. remaining useful to its users? How can the utility (usefulness) of an app in relation to the usability be measured? This study aims to explore these questions and provide a model for measuring the usability and utility of mobile business apps.


img jacquesMr Jacques Roux

Currently registered for a DTech (IT) at CPUT
Thesis title: Effect of the Hummingbird algorithm on mobile search results through Google
Supervisor: Prof M Weideman

Background

Jacques Roux is a Doctoral student at Cape Peninsula University of Technology in Cape Town. He has been lecturing in the field of dynamic Web application and content management system development for the past 20 years. He specialises in various Web languages which include HTML5, CSS, JavaScript, jQuery, DOM, AJAX, SQL and PHP. His further areas of speciality include SEO, mobile Web architecture, relational database design, Web server administration and Web security.

Jacques graduated with a BA Soc Sc degree at the University of Stellenbosch, a BA Hons (Industrial Relations) and a MA Soc Sc (Clinical) both at the University of Johannesburg.

Thesis abstract

The Hummingbird update was the first major update to Google's search algorithm since 2010. This update was limited primarily to improving the indexing of information rather than the sorting of information.

Conversational search leverages natural language, semantic search, and more to improve the way search queries are parsed. Unlike previous search algorithms which would focus on each individual word in the search query, Hummingbird considers each word but also how each word makes up the entirety of the query. The whole sentence or conversation or meaning is taken into account, rather than only particular words. The goal is that pages matching the meaning do better, rather than pages matching just a few words. Hummingbird is aimed at making interactions more human, capable of understanding the concepts and relationships between keywords.

Hummingbird places greater emphasis on page content making search results more relevant and pertinent and ensuring that Google delivers users to the most appropriate page of a website, rather than to a home page or top level page.

While keywords within the query still continue to be important, Hummingbird adds more strength to long-tailed keywords - effectively catering to the optimisation of content rather than just keywords. Web developers will now have to cater for queries that are asked naturally. With the growing number of conversational queries, namely those using voice search, targeting phrases that start with "Who, Why, Where, and How" will prove beneficial towards SEO. The use of keyword synonyms have also been optimized with Hummingbird; instead of listing results with exact phrases or keywords, Google shows more theme-related results.

In 2015 Google will be expanding their use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This will affect mobile searches and will have a significant impact on search results. Users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.

With Hummingbird adding more strength to long-tailed keywords, placing greater emphasis on page content, mobile-friendliness as a ranking factor and an increase in conversational search, SEO strategies need to be reviewed.

This research sets out to discover how long-tailed keywords, page content, mobile-friendliness and conversational search affect page ranking on search engine results pages.


img warc students zuzeMr Herbert Zuze

Currently registered for a D.Tech (BIS) at CPUT
Thesis title: Effect of link wheels on search engine ranking of websites
Supervisor: Prof M Weideman

Background

Herbert Zuze is a Zimbabwean born but living in Cape Town. His obtained a BSc Honours degree in Computer Science in 2007 in Zimbabwe. His current research focused on search engine optimization, keyword density and spamdexing.

Thesis abstract

The exponential growth of websites has converted the World Wide Web (WWW) into a massive hub of interconnected web-accessible documents. The degree of interlinking between webpages with a similar focus plays a large role in how search engines perceive them. As a result, link building has become a popular technique in search engine optimisation (SEO) as it provides an analysis of inter-document connections and quantitative analysis of the link structure. Search engines’ crawlers visit webpages in order to evaluate their respective value in terms of quality, uniqueness and content richness, thereby listing them in accordance to their ranking on a search engine result page (SERP). In the SEO industry link wheels are identified as one method of significantly improving website ranking. However, some SEO practitioners maintain that link wheels should not be implemented, since the effort required to create them does not justify the rewards. This raises several fundamental questions which form the basis of this research.

current-students

 warc students kritzingerMr Wouter Thomas Kritzinger

Graduated with a D.Tech (Informatics) from CPUT in 2017
Dissertation title: Development of a search engine marketing model using the application of a dual strategy
Supervisor: Prof M Weideman

Background

Wouter Thomas Kritzinger was a Doctoral student at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology in Cape Town. He is keen on search engine optimisation (SEO), and his Master's dissertation focussed on the role webpage keywords play in website visibility. He is currently employed as a Senior SEO Specialist at Takealot.com and his responsibilities include applying SEO to improve the visibility of customer websites. With his in-depth understanding and knowledge of the principles of SEO; he has solved various customer problems.

Dissertation abstract 

Firstly, an empirical experiment was done, involving fat head and long tail key-phrase searches. The top 10 websites of the sponsored section were recorded and investigated to see if they also had an SEO ranking within the top 100 results. It was found that website owners seldom invest in SEO as part of a SEM (search engine marketing) campaign.
Secondly, the digital marketing campaign of a small company was monitored. The PPC (pay per click) system was running and produced results, but required regular monthly payments. It was de-commissioned at a given point, and an SEO campaign was started. Traffic and expenses were recorded. The results indicated that the expenses on the two systems crossed over after about six months, with SEO becoming an increasingly better investment from that point onwards.

Finally, various successful e-commerce websites were evaluated on their CPA (cost per acquisition). SEO and PPC costs, as well as the CPA were calculated over a set period. It was found that the CPA for SEO, for each of the websites, was significantly lower than that of the CPA for the PPC campaigns.
In conclusion, a model was produced to summarise this complex interplay of determinants, showing that prevailing conditions and requirements from owners prescribe whether only one or both SEO and PPC should be the focus of a marketing budget. This kind of research has not been done before, and is considered to be ground-breaking in the field of e-commerce marketing visibility.