Theses, Dissertations, and other Required Graduate Degree Essays

Receive updates for this collection

This collection contains digitized SFU theses except for those theses submitted within the last 12 months. If you cannot find the thesis you are looking for please search Recently Submitted Theses as it may be a recently submitted thesis and thus not yet available in Summit.

Learning in public space: The design process behind Science World’s Environmental Trail

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2020-06-19
Abstract: 

Urban designers and landscape architects have begun to devote more of their practice to the creation of learning opportunities in public spaces. Very little research has been conducted, however, into how these public “learning environments” have been designed. This thesis focuses on a case study of Creekside Park’s TD Environmental Trail (TDET) which surrounds Vancouver, Canada’s Science World. It offers interactive exhibits and interpretative posters that explore a number of sustainability-related themes. The research here reconstructs TDET’s design process through interviews with key participants as well as content analysis of planning and design documentation such as the City of Vancouver’s development permits. The evidence compiled reveals how the TDET became a part of a larger urban design process undertaken between 1999 and 2013, negotiating the boundaries between the site’s public and private spaces. It reduced Creekside Park’s public space through creation of the gated fare-paying “Ken Spencer Science Park”, and in exchange, provided improvements to the remaining space, including pedestrian and bicycle pathways, landscaping, and the TDET. This thesis studies the original and evolving intentions behind the TDET, shining light on the multiple images, forces, actors and decisions that led to the creation of its interactive exhibits and interpretative posters. In so doing, it provides first steps in evaluating Vancouver’s public interactive space.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Anthony Perl
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Urban Studies Program
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.Urb.

The effect of seasonal and geographic variation on early carcass colonization by forensically important blow flies (Calliphoridae) in British Columbia.

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-08-11
Abstract: 

Using a terrestrial-based field study, the abundance and diversity of necrophagous insects were monitored over a nine-month period within distinct environments in the Metro Vancouver region of BC, Canada. Acting as body proxies, small baited bottle traps (n=9) were deployed weekly for 12-hour intervals in three different environments, accumulating a total of 1334 specimens. Collected specimens were analyzed microscopically to determine species ID, sex, and gravidity. Ambient temperature and precipitation data for each site was obtained from the nearest government weather station. Following the same procedures, a second component of the study analyzed the influence of light intensity on carcass colonization by placing bottle traps (n=9) in shaded areas at each site. Bivariate analyses revealed significant relationships between species, geographic location, and month of collection, suggesting that necrophagous species composition is influenced by habitat type and seasonal shifts in temperature. Sex ratios, reproductive ranges, and light preferences of Calliphoridae were examined.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Gail Anderson
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Criminology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Quarterback evaluation in the National Football League

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-08-20
Abstract: 

This project evaluates quarterback performance in the National Football League. With the availability of player tracking data, there exists the capability to assess various options that are available to quarterbacks and the expected points resulting from each option. The quarterback’s execution is then measured against the optimal available option. Since decision making does not rely on the quality of teammates, a quarterback metric is introduced that provides a novel perspective on an understudied aspect of quarterback assessment.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Tim Swartz
Department: 
Science: Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.Sc.

Curating and combining big data from genetic studies

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-08-19
Abstract: 

Big data curation is often underappreciated by users of processed data. With the development of high-throughput genotyping technology, large-scale genome-wide data are available for genetic association analysis with disease. In this project, we describe a data-curation protocol to deal with the genotyping errors and missing values in genetic data. We obtain publicly-available genetic data from three studies in the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI), and with the aid of the freely-available HapMap3 reference panel, we improve the quality and size of the ADNI genetic data. We use the software PLINK to manage data format, SHAPEIT to check DNA strand alignment and perform phasing of the genetic markers that have been inherited from the same parent, IMPUTE2 to impute missing SNP genotypes, and GTOOL to merge files and convert file formats. After merging the genetic data across these studies, we also use the reference panel to investigate the population structure of the processed data. ADNI's participants are collected in the U.S, where the majority of the population are descendants of relatively recent immigrants. We use principal component analysis to understand the population structure of the participants, and model-based clustering to investigate the genetic composition of each participant and compare it with self-reported ethnicity information. This project is intended to serve as a guide to future users of the processed data.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Jinko Graham
Department: 
Science: Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.Sc.

The NBA as a platform for political rhetoric: The case of Daryl Morey, Hong Kong and the Chinese government

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-08-31
Abstract: 

This essay introduces additional insights to literature which examines a social media post by Daryl Morey; a general manger of a National Basketball Association (NBA) franchise who on October 4, 2019 published a graphic which professed support for a protest movement occurring in Hong Kong and has sparked retaliation from Chinese business and government entities against the NBA. I first evaluate the NBA as a sports league which permits its actors to speak about political issues to contextualize and highlight Morey’s action of publishing this graphic. I then examine the NBA’s history in China to reveal potential ideological incongruities between the American-based NBA and Chinese government. Finally, I detail the polarizing convictions about the Chinese government’s jurisdiction over Hong Kong and the visceral discourse surrounding the severity of Morey’s tweet to scrutinize the contentious opinions about his action domestically (United States) and internationally.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Courtney Szto
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Communication
Thesis type: 
(Extended Essay) M.A.

Exploring the presence of pathological demand avoidance in school aged children

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-08-11
Abstract: 

This research studied the presence of PDA (an obsessional avoidance of life’s ordinary demands along with high skills of social manipulation) in typically developing children and those diagnosed with autism, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and/or anxiety disorders. Children with autism were hypothesized to have higher incidence of PDA than children without autism. Purposive sampling was used in participant recruitment. Findings should be understood within the indicated limitations. A sample of 78 participants responded to an on-line questionnaire that collected information on the presence of PDA. There was a statistically significant difference in the PDA scores for children with and without a clinical diagnosis (autism, ADHD, anxiety). Children diagnosed with autism had significantly different (higher) PDA scores than children without autism. No other comparisons were significant. The results support the hypothesis that children who have autism have more intense symptoms of PDA than those without autism.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Robert Williamson
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Mixed reality interfaces in flood risk management

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-08-18
Abstract: 

Visualizations play a key role in analysing, understanding, and communicating risks of flooding and possible mitigation options. In particular, 3D visualizations are becoming increasingly prominent for risk communication. At the same time, there is a growing ecosystem of mixed reality interfaces that have potential to transform our interaction with 3D data and visualizations. This thesis outlines the potential of these tools and develops a set of mixed reality flood visualization prototypes that utilize capabilities of the state-of-the-art HoloLens 2 mixed reality system. By leveraging the representational and interactive capabilities provided by hand and eye-tracking, 3D displays, spatial mapping of user environment and positional tracking, these tools provide distinct and compelling experiences of 3D flood visualizations. To illuminate the potential of these tools to support meaningful practice, this thesis reflects on the user experience, hardware performance and usability of MR visualizations.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Nick Hedley
Department: 
Environment: Department of Geography
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

TagFlip: Active mobile music discovery with social tags

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-06-23
Abstract: 

Recently, there has been a substantial surge in the availability of digital music through online subscription services. While these have given the user access to an almost endless variety of content, the sheer size of this choice space can also turn the user's selection process into a burden. While the purely algorithmic approach of recommending items with minimal user control has been the most popular method in commercial systems, several studies have shown that it can suffer from issues such as lack of transparency, limited user control, and pigeonholing the users. On the academic front, novel interfaces have been proposed that strive to alleviate the above issues. However, most such tools target large screens and often depend on complex user interactions. This is in discrepancy with the usual circumstances in which we listen to music, such as during commuting and work, and increasingly on our phones. We report on the design and evaluation of TagFlip. A mobile app featuring a novel interaction framework designed to fit within typical music listening scenarios, organically transforming them into more interactive music discovery experiences. Acknowledging the fleeting nature of music listening in the age of streaming and the smartphone, TagFlip was designed to require little effort from the users, while still granting them a high degree of control over the recommended music. This is done by describing each played song to the user through its most popular social tags and allowing the user to easily specify which of the tags should be considered for upcoming songs. To understand the merits of tag-based music discovery and especially our unique design, we compared TagFlip to Spotify's mobile app, both in a controlled lab experiment, and in the field. In these evaluations, TagFlip came out on top in both subjective user experience (control, transparency, and interaction) and our objective measure of number of interactions per liked song. Our field study participants found it fun and engaging to discover new tags and styles of music they had not heard of or liked before, and our logs indicated that they ended up actively seeking music within these new styles for significant portions of their time with the app. Our users found TagFlip to be an important complementary experience to that of Spotify, enabling more active and directed music discovery with minimal effort. Furthermore, we found that current mainstream approaches to music discovery may be incapable of exploiting the full potential of massive online music libraries.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
The supplementary video file briefly demonstrates various screens and functions of the TagFlip Android app
Supervisor(s): 
Hao (Richard) Zhang
Department: 
Applied Sciences: School of Computing Science
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Modification of amyloid-beta peptide aggregation via photoactivation of Ru(II) polypyridyl complexes

Date created: 
2020-07-28
Abstract: 

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a chronic neurodegenerative disease characterized by progressive and irreversible damage to the brain. One of the hallmarks of the disease is the presence of both soluble and insoluble aggregates of the amyloid beta (Ab) peptide in the brain. In this work we investigate how photoactivation of three Ru(II) polypyridyl complexes [Ru(6,6’-dimethyl-2,2’-dipyridyl)2(2-thiophen-2-yl-1H-imidazo(4,5-f) (1,10)phenanthroline)] (Ru1), [Ru(6,6’-dimethyl-2,2’-dipyridyl)2(2-phenyl-1H-imidazo (4,5-f)(1,10)phenanthroline)] (Ru2), and [Ru(6,6’-dimethyl-2,2’-dipyridyl)2(2,2’-bipyridine)] (Ru3), alters the aggregation profile of the Ab peptide. Both Ru1 and Ru2 contain an extended planar (4,5-f)(1,10)phenanthroline ligand, as compared to a 2,2’-bipyridine ligand for Ru3, and we show that the presence of the phenanthroline ligand leads to a greater effect on peptide aggregation. The ability of photoactivated Ru1-3 to bind to the Ab peptide was evaluated by Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) which indicated the loss of the 6,6’-dimethyl-2,2’-bipyridyl (6,6’-dmb) ligand for all three complexes and the formation of a covalent bond with the Ab peptide via His residue shifts for Ru1 and Ru2. By comparison, no shift in His residues was observed for Ru3, or for the unactivated Ru1-3 samples. The influence of Ru1-3 on peptide aggregation was investigated using gel electrophoresis / Western blot, Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and a Bicinchoninic acid assay (BCA assay). Upon photoactivation, the Ab aggregation was greatly enhanced in the presence of Ru1 and Ru2 relative to Ru3, in agreement with initial binding studies by 1H NMR. However, the three complexes resulted in a similar aggregate size distribution at 24 h, forming mostly insoluble amorphous aggregates. Excitingly, the complexes also changed Ab1-42 fibrils to amorphous aggregates upon photoactivation. The unactivated Ru1 and Ru2 complexes exhibited a much stronger binding affinity for Ab (via Tyr10 fluorescence) in comparison to Ru3, further indicating the important role of hydrophobic interactions between the Ru complexes and the insoluble fibrillar peptide aggregates. Overall, our results show that upon photoactivation the extended planar ligand of Ru1 and Ru2 promotes immediate covalent binding and formation of soluble high molecular weight Ab aggregates in comparison to Ru3, however similar aggregate size and morphology is observed after 24 h for all three Ru complexes.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Tim Storr
Department: 
Science: Department of Chemistry
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

Mathematics professors' views on written and oral assessment in mathematics

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-08-12
Abstract: 

One of the most striking differences between the Canadian educational system and the European educational systems is the importance given to oral assessment, particularly in mathematics courses. This thesis studies the views on oral assessment in post-secondary education from mathematics professors’ perspectives. Seven mathematics professors and instructors are interviewed, being asked to explain how they perceive the oral examination, and how they compare the oral exam to the written exam. Four out of seven mathematics professors and instructors were educated in Poland, Romania, Bosnia, and Ukraine, and they are currently teaching mathematics at a university in Canada. The other three professors were educated in Canada, Germany, and the United States, and they are currently teaching at a university in Germany. Five participants had previously experienced oral examination in mathematics while the other two had never been exposed to oral examination in mathematics throughout their schooling. The results show that similar beliefs about mathematics result in different beliefs about mathematics assessment. They suggest that the mathematics professors’ views on oral assessment in mathematics are influenced by their schooling and teaching experiences with mathematics assessment, as well as the socio-cultural and the institutionalized mathematics assessment norms that exist within the teaching institution.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Peter Liljedahl
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.