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.

Mushroom for improvement: a model for the circulation of fanfiction sub-genres

Date created: 
2021-06-28
Abstract: 

This thesis explores the circulation of fanfiction sub-genres across fan communities as starting point for further inquiries into fan object movement among fans. Fan studies has long been interested in the circulation of fan objects, but lacks a broad understanding of how these objects move through space and time (Hills 2014). In applying Mikhail Bakhtin’s concept of heteroglossia to describe fan communities, objects and circulatory behaviours, I analyze two case studies to propose a new model. The first tracks the circulation of a trope on Tumblr, while the second explores the movement of a fanfiction sub-genre across platforms, post types and fandoms. My proposed model is based on the radiating structure of mycelium (the vegetative part of a fungus). Mycelium’s branching and agile nature provides a more accurate framework for ever-evolving fannish circulatory practice.

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

The applications of interaction between light and chemical reactivity in molecular systems

Author: 
Date created: 
2021-06-30
Abstract: 

This thesis presents a series of scientific examples that provide further insight into the connection of light and chemical reactivity for applications in catalysis, targeted drug delivery, and detection. Small organic molecules based on 1,2-dithienylethenes (DTEs) and noble metal-based nano-assemblies were incorporated into the system to impart control over their physical and chemical properties, and activity. The light was used as an external stimulus to initiate chemical reactions by causing either a structural, electronic, or chemical change in the chromophore or energy transformation (such as heat) in the system. In the first example (Chapter 2), light is employed to generate the variation in the activity of Karstedt’s catalyst by introducing a DTE-based inhibitor. It is demonstrated that the electronic changes that occur during the light-assisted isomerization of dithienylethene lead to changes in the binding strength of the inhibitor to the catalyst’s metal centre. This, in turn, leads to changes in the reaction progression of simple hydrosilylation reactions. In the second example (Chapter 3), a novel dual-mode (colourimetric and fluorescent) optical probe based on photoresponsive dithienylethene is developed for fast and user-friendly detection and consumption of hydrazine in the vapour and solution phase. The molecule reacts with hydrazine to induce an irreversible structural change in the 1,3,5-hexatriene system leading to deactivation of photochromic activity by quenching effects and simultaneously generating an emissive response. In the third example (Chapter 4), light is used as an external stimulus to indirectly gate the chemical reactivity for an on-demand release of therapeutics in aqueous environments by creating nanoassemblies based on gold nanoparticle core. The constructed nanoassemblies consist of the thermoresponsive Diels-Alder adducts of the molecules to be released close to gold nanoparticles enclosed in an amphiphilic polymer shell. The system uses the photothermal effect of gold nanoparticles to trigger thermo-responsive retro Diels-Alder reactions in the vicinity of nanoparticles to release therapeutic molecules in aqueous solutions.

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

Protecting privacy of semantic trajectory

Author: 
Date created: 
2021-06-29
Abstract: 

The growing ubiquity of GPS-enabled devices in everyday life has made large-scale collection of trajectories feasible, providing ever-growing opportunities for human movement analysis. However, publishing this vulnerable data is accompanied by increasing concerns about individuals’ geoprivacy. This thesis has two objectives: (1) propose a privacy protection framework for semantic trajectories and (2) develop a Python toolbox in ArcGIS Pro environment for non-expert users to enable them to anonymize trajectory data. The former aims to prevent users’ re-identification when knowing the important locations or any random spatiotemporal points of users by swapping their important locations to new locations with the same semantics and unlinking the users from their trajectories. This is accomplished by converting GPS points into sequences of visited meaningful locations and moves and integrating several anonymization techniques. The second component of this thesis implements privacy protection in a way that even users without deep knowledge of anonymization and coding skills can anonymize their data by offering an all-in-one toolbox. By proposing and implementing this framework and toolbox, we hope that trajectory privacy is better protected in research.

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

The web publication development process for engaging small communities

Author: 
Date created: 
2021-04-27
Abstract: 

This report outlines the process used for creating the Master of Publishing 25th anniversary web publication and discusses the design and editorial practices implemented to engage the main audience, the program’s alumni. The report also explores the application of Lean manufacturing, a process improvement methodology, to the publication development process and suggests Lean practices and tools that can be used to improve and maintain the publication in the future. Best practices for the management of the publication and increasing community engagement are also discussed.

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

Essays in economic prehistory

Author: 
Date created: 
2021-04-16
Abstract: 

This thesis consists of three papers that explore early human organization. In the first paper I argue that the economic and social structure of early humans would have resulted in an especially difficult consanguinity problem. In particular, adverse selection in the exogamous marriage market would have resulted in high levels of consanguinity and resulting fitness depression. A partial solution to this problem was the evolution of aversion to endogamy, known as the Westermarck effect, and was essential for the survival of our species. The second paper (joint with Haiyun Chen) develops a model that explains linguistic diversity as the cumulative result of strategic incentives faced by linguistic groups. In this model, autonomous groups interact periodically in games that represent either cooperation, competition, or a lack of interaction. Common language facilitates cooperation such as trade, whereas language unique to one group affords that group an advantage in competitive interactions. The relative frequency of cooperation and conflict in a region provides incentives for each group to modify their own language, and therefore leads to changes in linguistic diversity over time. Our model predicts that higher frequency of conflict relative to cooperation will increase a region's linguistic diversity. The third paper (joint with Gregory K. Dow and Clyde G. Reed) investigates the incidence of early warfare among foragers and farmers in prehistory. Our focus is specifically on conflict over land. Food is produced using inputs of labor and land, and the probability of victory in a conflict depends on relative group sizes. The group sizes are determined by individual migration and Malthusian population dynamics. Both factors result in larger populations at better sites, which deters attack. There are two necessary conditions for warfare: high enough individual mobility costs and large enough shocks to the relative productivities of the sites. Together, these conditions are sufficient. In particular, technological or environmental shocks that alter the productivities of sites can trigger warfare, but only if individual agents do not change sites in response. These results are consistent with evidence from archaeology and anthropology.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Arthur Robson
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Economics
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Post-selection inference

Author: 
Date created: 
2021-04-21
Abstract: 

Forward Stepwise Selection is a widely used model selection algorithm. It is, however, hard to do inference for a model that is already cherry-picked. A post-selection inference method called selective inference is investigated. Beginning with very simple examples and working towards more complex ones, we evaluate the method's performance in terms of its power and coverage probability though a simulation study. The target of inference is investigated and the impact of the amount of information used to construct conditional conference intervals is investigated. To achieve the same level of coverage probability, the more conditions we use, the wider the Confidence Interval is -- the effect can be extreme. Moreover, we investigate the impact of multiple conditioning, as well as the importance of the normality assumption on which the underlying theory is based. For models with not very many parameters (p << n), we find normality is not crucial in terms of the test coverage probability.

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

Design and in pandemic validation of correlation visualisation for sleep data analytics

Author: 
Date created: 
2021-06-17
Abstract: 

Sleep plays an important role in the overall health and well-being of a child. The relationship between sleep and daytime behaviours of children with sleep disorders is understood poorly; different aspects of a child’s routine may interact with each other to contribute to sleep disorders. To diagnose, monitor and successfully treat many medical conditions pertaining to sleep, it becomes imperative to analyse the many aspects of a child’s daytime and sleep behaviours. We built a visual analytic tool for studying the correlation between different variables pertaining to the daily life of the child. The tool allows clinicians to explore how the different aspects of a child’s behaviour and activities affect their sleep and overall well-being. This tool is developed as an extension of an existing tool SWAPP, which allows caregivers and clinicians to log and monitor the child’s everyday data. Later, we performed a remote usability study on the tool to demonstrate the efficacy of the tool. Finally, we generated actionable guidelines for improving the tool from the results of the study.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Chris Shaw
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

Blanket Creek Provincial Park weedy field restoration plan

Author: 
Date created: 
2021-05-21
Abstract: 

A key management concern for provincial parks is the establishment of invasive species due to their impacts on native biodiversity. Within Blanket Creek Provincial Park there is a 0.24 ha heavily invaded field dominated by hawkweed species and spotted knapweed which developed after a series of natural and anthropogenic disturbances. Restoration actions are required to renew the ecological process of natural succession and shift the vegetation community from its current state to one dominated by native species. The aim of this project was to determine the current site conditions which will inform a restoration plan for the site and act as baseline conditions for future monitoring. This site assessment focused on the characterization of the vegetation and soil conditions. Restoration recommendations focus on promoting the development of a deciduous forest characteristic of the Interior Cedar-Hemlock biogeoclimatic ecosystem classification zone. The restoration recommendations include invasive species management, decompaction, fertilization, mulching, and the planting of native trees and shrubs.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Ruth Joy
Department: 
Environment: Ecological Restoration
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.Sc.

United States bank migrations and deposit dollar concentrations

Author: 
Date created: 
2021-06-21
Abstract: 

This thesis incorporates four studies of the geography of bank offices and deposits in the United States (US). The research examines changes in retail bank branch proximity in neighborhoods, state banking law's role in motivating banks to relocate home offices, and the significance of tax avoidance driving deposits’ relocations. Chapter 1 introduces the framework and research questions that emerged from visually exploring geo-spatial banking data. Chapter 2 considers retail bank proximity changes in neighborhoods, classified by income, in urban Florida. It compares three pre- and post-financial crisis bank branch distributions: those merged with government assistance, those that merged unassisted, and those that did not merge. Did the branching decisions made by any of these bank groups disproportionately affect neighborhoods’ proximity to banks? Kruskal–Wallis and post hoc tests suggest that merged banks, which reduced total branches, did not disproportionately impact any neighborhood group. Statistically significant evidence suggests that unmerged banks, which increased total branches, disproportionately improved proximity to high-income areas, filling a spatial void created by closed offices of merged banks. The results suggest that banking regulators indirectly financed the rearrangement of banking offices, conflicting with federal policies aimed at maintaining bank offices near low-income neighborhoods. Chapter 3 examines the forces that drove a massive accumulation of deposits in Delaware and South Dakota, illuminating changes in banking regulation that lured banks from faraway places. Delaware and South Dakota broke longstanding public policy norms by creating bank-friendly regulation of three banking businesses: credit, insurance, and trusts, becoming a preferred legal “home office” for banks seeking regulatory relief. Chapter 4 traces the laws that helped induce Wall Street banks and other commercial firms to migrate to Utah. Utah expanded the scope of a historical anomaly in US banking regulation, the Industrial Loan Bank, which is exempt from longstanding regulatory norms separating banking from a non-banking business. The final chapter considers the lopsided share of deposits in Delaware, Nevada, South Dakota, and Utah after the flight of deposits from high-tax states. This research contributes to and suggests research possibilities on the oft-neglected subject of fiscal geography.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Geoff Mann
Department: 
Environment: Department of Geography
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Towards a better future: How Engage Books creates books that make a difference

Author: 
Date created: 
2021-04-27
Abstract: 

This report looks at the changing landscape of Engage Books as they switch their focus from publishing classic titles to publishing children’s books under the mandate ‘books that make a difference,’ and the tactics they are implementing to push boundaries within the children’s publishing industry. To provide context as to where Engage Books stands as an independent children’s publisher, the report gives a brief overview of the history of the acceptability of sensitive topics in children's literature and the relationship between censorship and small presses. Engage Books has adopted the philosophy that it is easier to shape the minds of children than it is to change the minds of those who are already set in their ways, and thus, has begun introducing previously censored information and major world crises to children in an attempt to help the next generation become informed and engaged citizens who can help create a better society.

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