Theses, Dissertations, and other Required Graduate Degree Essays

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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.

Who is Hussain? Exploring the lived experiences shaping the identity of an unaccompanied, undocumented, Afghan minor refugee

Date created: 
2022-04-21
Abstract: 

This study investigates the lived experiences of one unaccompanied and undocumented Afghan refugee now living in Iran, who, through parental loss, displacement, and the conditions of war, was compelled to function as an independent human being since the age of 6, and who experienced further trauma and hardships on into his adolescence and young adulthood. This research documents significant "turning points" that occurred for this participant during his pre-, mid-, and post-refuge journeys and which have contributed to shaping his identity. Nine major themes emerged in conjunction with these turning points, highlighting that a person can develop quite fully while not having opportunities for "formal education". He though learned deeply through "non-formal" and "informal" means, that is, by learning through experience. The researcher, who is from Iran, with a similar culture and background to Afghanistan, emigrated to Canada under very different circumstances. She utilized a method of thematic analysis to distinguish the dimensions and depth of the participant’s lived experiences. These themes include: 1) Loss of a Parent; 2) Independence; 3) Ethnic Discrimination; 4) Distrust; 5) Zoor (external forces exerted on one's sense of identity and character); 6) Collectivity; 7) Silence and Distractions; 8) Hardship and Traumatic experiences in Childhood and Adolescence; and 9) Bazigooshihaye Koodakane (Childhood Playfulness). The commonalities and differences between participant and researcher served to compel the researcher to reflect on these themes in light of her own experiences, and to rethink and re-examine notions of " refugeeness” and "education” in particular. The theoretical and practical contributions of this research emphasize that small-scale and localized action such as this form of research, can help understand and address the existential challenges that young refugees face. Additionally, this research offers guidance to others who may seek to engage with people who have the experience of being refugees. To conduct research in this area is to attempt to grasp a deep understanding of refugees’ lived experiences by taking a shared journey of seeking meaning through their stories.

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

Online stalking on Instagram

Author: 
Date created: 
2022-04-19
Abstract: 

Social media influencers may be a particularly vulnerable population when it comes to online stalking. This study is the first to investigate how prevalent stalking victimization is in this population and what patterns of stalking behavior they may experience. I recruited Instagram influencers to complete an online survey of their experiences related to stalking. The social media influencers reported a higher prevalence of stalking than was reported in stalking prevalence surveys of community residents. Reported stalking rates in the social media influencers were similar to those experienced by other public figures such as media personalities and politicians. The results detail the diversity of stalking behaviors experienced by this population and how these behaviors manifest online and offline.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Stephen Hart
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Psychology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Price check on food waste: Mobilising Metro Vancouver grocers in the fight against food waste

Author: 
Date created: 
2022-04-06
Abstract: 

Food waste continues to be a major contributor of greenhouse gas emissions globally, yet public policies to address food waste at retail, particularly small and medium-sized food retailers, remain understudied. Two case studies on small Metro Vancouver grocers and a jurisdictional scan of four foreign countries were conducted to understand the current state of food waste mitigation by small grocers; and to identify potential food waste policy interventions appropriate for the sector. The analysis suggests that policy interventions must focus on lowering the barriers that small and medium-sized grocers face, such as a lack of financial resources, awareness, and expertise to prioritize and implement food waste mitigation practices, in a manner according to the food waste solutions hierarchy. Based on these findings, the author offers a variety of policy instruments – regulatory, fiscal, and voluntary agreements – to mitigate food waste in the retail sector.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Yushu Zhu
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Public Policy
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.P.P.

A collaborative governance process: The City of Vancouver’s 2014-2017 healthy city for all leadership table

Author: 
Date created: 
2022-04-14
Abstract: 

Collaborative governance is an emerging form of public administration; it can be defined as formal consensus-driven arrangements between government and non-government actors in order to tackle systemic urban challenges. Municipal governments may embark upon a network governance initiative for a variety of reasons such as recruiting expertise, increasing inclusion, or securing public buy-in. How a municipality understands an issue is necessarily tied to the method it selects to address it with. In choosing a collaborative method, the process convener will make preliminary decisions which will have effects on the ensuing proceedings. This research is focused on the City of Vancouver’s 2014-2017 35-member collaborative leadership table for its Healthy City Strategy & Action Plan (the municipality’s social sustainability plan). It examines the City’s reasons for choosing to initiate a participatory process, and the ways in which those strategic aims influenced the configuration and therefore the unfolding of the process. The research conducted as part of this case study was qualitative, multi-method, and involved three sources of data collection: online participant surveys, semi-structured participant interviews, and a document analysis.

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

What drives fleets? Organizations' perceptions of barriers and motivators for alternative-fuel vehicle adoption in British Columbia, Canada

Date created: 
2022-04-20
Abstract: 

Although it is important to transition all vehicles to zero-emission vehicles to meet net-zero climate targets, there is a relative dearth of research on adoption in fleets. Through semi-structured interviews with participants from 24 organizations in British Columbia (mostly adopters), I identify the barriers and motivators of alternative-fuel fleet vehicle adoption, including electric, hydrogen, and natural gas vehicles. Overall, participants mentioned more motivators than barriers. The most commonly mentioned motivators included: internal support for environmental sustainability, operations and maintenance savings, positive impact on reputation, vehicle purchase incentives, and a positive history of alternative fuel vehicle use. The most commonly mentioned barriers included: the high capital cost of vehicles, the limited market availability of AFVs, vehicle range concerns, and a lack of charging or fueling infrastructure. Results also suggest that the mentioned barriers and motivators tend to vary by fleet size, and organization type, namely private versus public.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Jonn Axsen
Department: 
Environment: School of Resource and Environmental Management
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.R.M. (Planning)

Youth engagement: Strategic recommendations for the Vancouver writers fest

Author: 
Date created: 
2022-04-19
Abstract: 

The Vancouver Writers Fest (VWF) has been a staple in Vancouver's literary community producing literary events since 1988. Recognizing that the profile of the Festival attendees is skewed older, in 2021, the organization embarked on building a strategy to attract younger audience members by developing the range and depth of the young audience, building a stronger base, and adding to its financial sustainability. The VWF’s overall strategy is meant to be inclusive and engage young audiences from diverse communities in Vancouver. This report analyzes the VWF’s audiences, members, and volunteers and explores the challenges and barriers for young people to participate in events. The case study explores strategies to overcome these barriers.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Leanne Johnson
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: Publishing Program
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.Pub.

A community engaged approach to examining quality of life and service navigation in Korean families of autistic children in BC, Canada

Author: 
Date created: 
2022-04-25
Abstract: 

Few studies to date have explored the experiences of racialized and ethno-cultural families raising autistic children in multicultural contexts such as Canada. Research conducted in the US and Canada have identified strengths and difficulties related to family functioning and coping strategies used by immigrant parents. Additionally, this research has also identified barriers and facilitators to accessing diagnostic and other autism services across the lifespan. However, the majority of these studies have broadly categorized immigrant populations, potentially masking important differences within pan-ethnic populations. In Canada, and British Columbia (BC) specifically, one of the largest and fastest growing visible minority groups are Koreans (Statistics Canada, 2017). Yet despite this, no studies to date have examined the experiences and perceptions of Korean immigrant parents of autistic children living in BC. This gap in the research has become increasingly urgent given the growing prevalence rates of autism and the highly complex service system in Canada, which varies considerably across provinces. This research utilized a community engaged approach and qualitative methodology to explore quality of life, service navigation, and coping strategies among 25 Korean parents of autistic children (5-33 years) living in BC. This study addressed three aims. First, parents’ conceptualizations and descriptions of family quality of life (FQOL) were explored. Analyses revealed three themes that were central to their definitions of FQOL: family cohesiveness, value orientation, and acceptance from society. Second, parents’ perceptions of barriers and facilitators to accessing autism services were examined. Barriers at the system (e.g., ineffective school policies), provider (e.g., negative attitudes, lack of service navigation support), and family level (e.g., stigma) were identified. Facilitators included family-centered care (system level), culturally competent and bilingual professionals (provider level), and connections to cultural community organizations (family level). Third, a subset of caregivers (n=12) representing both high and low levels of FQOL shared their coping strategies on how they came to terms with their child’s diagnosis and manage stress. The results are discussed linking previous research to current findings and considered in terms of practice and policy implications with future areas of research identified.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Grace Iarocci
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Psychology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Exploring the role of the outdoor built environment for aging in place: A look into the False Creek South neighbourhood

Author: 
Date created: 
2022-03-09
Abstract: 

Population aging and urbanization calls for urban planners to take a closer look at age-friendly plans and policies to support aging in place. Research shows that most older adults prefer to “age in place”, continuing to live in their own home or neighbourhood for as long as possible. This study explores the outdoor built environment of an urban neighbourhood in the City of Vancouver, identifying aspects perceived as barriers and facilitators for aging in place. Data were collected using semi-structured interviews with 11 older adults and four key informants, supplemented by photographs and journal entries from the older adults. Data were analyzed using inductive and deductive thematic analysis. Findings show that older adults and key informants agree objective features such as smooth sidewalks, curb ramps, the proximity of green spaces, availability of benches, public washrooms, and street lighting facilitate aging in place. Key informants reported distance to amenities and poor transportation service as barriers. Older adults positively reported on the therapeutic and social aspects of the built environment such as forest walks and meeting places for social interaction as important facilitators for aging in place. To address the issues of population aging and urbanization, this thesis suggests that urban planners need to prioritize age-friendly policies that promote mobility and well-being in neighbourhood planning programs, and further develop age-friendly built environments for aging in place.

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

“For king and fatherland”: Collaboration and genocide in wartime Yugoslavia

Author: 
Date created: 
2022-03-25
Abstract: 

This thesis interrogates the motives, worldviews, and culture of the Yugoslav Army in the Fatherland (Jugoslovenska vojska u otadžbini, JVuO), popularly known as the Chetniks. I argue that the JVuO’s ideological foundation was predicated on genocidal intentions which were acted upon, mostly against Bosnian Muslim (Bosniak) peoples but also against ethnic Albanians, Croats, and other non-Serbian peoples. I view the JVuO as a political entity, as well as a military one, which contradicts existing studies of the Chetniks which tend to focus almost solely on the group’s military character. To do this, the thesis divides the JVuO into three constituent units: the main group centred around the Ravna Gora Movement of eastern Bosnia and western Serbia and led by General Dragoljub “Draža” Mihailović, the Lim-Sandžak Chetnik Detachments located in Montenegro and commanded by Major Pavle Ðurišić, and the Dinara Chetnik Division in the Dalmatia-Hercegovina borderland and commanded by the priest Vojvoda Momčilo Ðujić. What emerges is the regional characteristics of each unit, each motivated by local circumstances and nuances, but remaining attuned to their own understandings of what the JVuO was and coloured by the varying degrees to which each unit collaborated with the Axis forces in their regions, either the Nazi German, Italian, or both. While the Ravna Gora Movement needed to maintain some semblance of a professional army given its prominence in the Allied imagination as an anti-Axis resistance movement, the Lim-Sandžak Chetniks could act with impunity against Bosnian Muslim and Albanian peoples. Massacres and killings in Montenegro emerged because of the Lim-Sandžak Chetniks’ monopoly on violence in the region and agreements with the Italian authorities. In contrast, the Dinara Chetnik Division was in a position of relative weakness to the Italian occupation authorities, the Independent State of Croatia’s (Nezavisna država hrvatska, NDH) forces, and the communist-led Partisan resistance. Massacres in Dalmatia and Hercegovina emerged first as reprisal killings for the NDH’s own massacres against Serbs, but later escalated to include pre-emptive killings. This thesis will be of particular interest to scholars of paramilitarism, mass violence and genocide, and the cultural aspects of warring groups; however, this thesis also makes an original contribution to the scholarship by redefining the way in which a well-studied paramilitary group is understood, and indeed guerrilla warfare more generally. The JVuO were at once opportunistic and pragmatic, Serbian nationalist and Yugoslav-oriented, collaborators and Allies.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Thomas Kuehn
John Paul Newman
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of History
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Conformational dynamics and self-assembly of discotic dimers

Author: 
Date created: 
2022-05-26
Abstract: 

Disc-shaped (discotic) liquid crystals (DLCs) predominantly form columnar phases, which have been utilized as organic semiconductors in opto-electronic devices; yet these materials have been hampered by their thermal stability, often exhibiting liquid crystallinity at high and narrow temperature ranges. Discotic dimers, where two discotic moieties are tethered, overcome this hinderance through their unique ability to supercool and retain liquid crystallinity at device operating temperatures; however, the flexible linker that helps promote supercooling also makes dimers difficult to study – the dimer can adopt multiple conformations in equilibrium, including folded and extended structures. The effect these conformational dynamics have on the liquid crystal (LC) properties is still poorly understood. A series of dibenzo[a,c]phenazine diesters with subtle changes to the linking group were prepared and their conformational dynamics and self-assembly were probed. We observed a strong sensitivity between linker stereochemistry and supramolecular self-assembly. For a pair of 2,3-butyl dimers, the meso isomer, which extends more than its diastereomer, formed a substantially more thermally stable and ordered columnar phase. The different properties arose from differences in their conformational equilibria, as self-assembly from extended shapes was shown to stabilize and increase the order of the columnar hexagonal phase. In addition to the conformational equilibrium, the geometries had a significant impact on the supramolecular self-assembly. For a pair of 1,2-cyclohexyl diastereomers, one isomer was liquid crystalline, and the other was amorphous. The disparate phase behaviour stemmed from their unfolded shapes, as the mesogenic isomer formed an extended and fairly planar structure while the amorphous isomer could only adopt non-planar unfolded geometries. We also investigated the effect adjacent groups have on the conformational dynamics and self-assembly, as the majority of discotic dimers contain an ether group ortho to the linker. In discotic monomers, adjacent ether groups broadened and lowered the columnar thermal range through depression of the melting temperature and elevation of the clearing temperature. In dimers, the additional ether group deterred folding. While we anticipated this would enhance the columnar thermal stability, the opposite was observed. We discovered the adjacent ether group destabilizes the columnar phase from extended geometries. The ether group likely perturbs planarity in the columnar hexagonal array to some extent, highlighting again the importance of planarity for columnar self-assembly from extended shapes. Finally, the lessons learned from discotic dimer self-assembly was utilized to design discotic nematic materials. To promote the rarely observed phase, discotic dimers with a short direct ester bridge and an adjacent ether group were synthesized. The key was the non-planar, extended geometry, which allowed promotion of nematic ordering over columnar hexagonal assembly.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Vance Williams
Department: 
Science: Department of Chemistry
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.