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.

Transcoding place through digital media

Date created: 
2016-12-16
Abstract: 

Over the past decade, non-profit organizations have used alternate reality games (ARG) to raise awareness on the risks of climate change. This new form of content creation leverages the mass adoption of mobility and real-time access to social networks, tools and resources that have previously been unavailable to technologists, designers, and artists who produce ARGs. This dissertation explores how advances in Human Computer Interaction can be applied to the design of these ARGs. Focusing on the narrative structure, this multiple case study asks, what are the considerations alternate reality game designers have (if any), when designing the games, they make? The validity and utility of this research is presented through three cases: Future Coast (2014) explores the future of climate change, supported by the National Science Foundation; The Disaster Resilience Journal (2014) catalogued forty-two days of journal entries emphasising emergency preparedness, supported by the European Commission’s Department for Humanitarian Aid & Civil Protection; and Techno Medicine Wheel (2009) teaches aboriginal values as living history, supported by The Aboriginal Media Lab in Cyber Space. Within each case I analyze two units of data 1) the designers’ interviews and 2) the game’s trajectory. Previous research on mixed reality experiences (Benford et al. 2011) focused primarily on the trajectory of plot points through the duration of the game. This study contributes a unique focus, addressing characteristics such as plot points that engage fans in and out of collective problem solving activities. The study also includes a clear description of the benefits of working under the guiding influence of a non-profit organizations. Finally, this study provides methodological strategies to collect and analyze ARG design, post-mortem. Thus, findings provide certain substantial characteristics that demonstrate how the practices of designers are transcoding place through their creative use of digital media.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Dr. Ron Wakkary
Dr. Carman Neustaedter
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Dissertation) Ph.D.

Where Home Meets Hotel: Regulating tourist accommodations in the age of Airbnb

Date created: 
2017-03-10
Abstract: 

Short-term rentals are not new, but companies like Airbnb, VRBO and HomeAway have facilitated their proliferation at unprecedented levels.  For Vancouver, this has meant a yearly doubling in listings between 2013 and 2015. While rapid, this growth has been largely illegal and unregulated, raising concerns over short-term rentals’ effect on long-term rental supply and neighbours’ quality of life. This study explores both the impact of short-term rentals in Vancouver and provides an analysis of policy options for regulating the short-term rental industry. In doing so, a case study analysis of regulations in Austin, Portland, Denver and San Francisco is used to identify best practices and regulatory concerns. Ultimately a primary residence requirement, combined with special attention to implementation strategies that will increase compliance, is recommended.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Maureen Maloney
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Public Policy
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.P.P.

Investigation of mesoscopic degradation phenomena in fuel cells

Date created: 
2017-03-16
Abstract: 

Commercialization of fuel cell technology for heavy-duty bus application relies on the durability of the components used in fuel cell stack. The durability of polymer electrolyte fuel cell (PEFC) is affected mainly by degradation of catalyst coated membrane (CCM). CCM consist of Pt/C based catalyst layers coated on both sides of PFSA ionomer membrane. In an operating fuel cell, PFSA ionomer membrane degrades under the action of combined chemical/mechanical stresses and Pt/C electrocatalyst degrades due to high voltage excursions. In this thesis, the most relevant approach to understand PEFC degradation during its operation is carried out by employing in situ stressors. The mesoscale morphology and affected physico-chemical properties of fuel cells are investigated with the commonly encountered stressors. Firstly, the mesoscale morphology and its relation to physico-chemical properties of the ionomer membrane under the influence of an accelerated stress test (AST) featuring in situ coupled chemical/mechanical stresses are investigated. The role of combined chemical/mechanical stresses on the ionomer membrane mesoscale morphology and structure is studied using transmission electron microscope (TEM) and thermogravimetric analysis. It is determined that the microstructure of PFSA ionomer membrane is strongly influenced by the degradation history of PEFC. The mesoscale morphological degradation is found to precisely influence the water uptake of the ionomer membrane. The effects realized through chemical and mechanical stressors in coupled and decoupled forms are evaluated through the mesoscale morphology and physico-chemical property studies. Secondly, cathode catalyst layer (CCL) subjected to a voltage cycling AST to mimic the high voltage excursions is studied. It is found that the CCL degradation led to the inhomogeneous distribution of solid and pore phases. The change in the CCL structure accompanied by the platinum agglomeration, carbon corrosion and spatial redistribution of ionomer with voltage cycling is investigated using TEM micrographs with phase sensitive mapping. The observed degradation effects of CCL through the agglomerated and dissolved platinum, corroded carbon, spatially redistributed ionomer, and compacted solids revealed the underlying mechanisms of activation and mass transport losses. Overall, a fundamental understanding of degradation mechanisms in CCM components at mesoscale is achieved from in situ fuel cell testing, which is of particular interest in commercializing and developing durable fuel cells.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
3-D reconstructed structure of pristine PFSA membrane
3-D reconstructed structure of degraded PFSA membrane
Senior supervisor: 
Erik Kjeang
Steven Holdcroft
Department: 
Applied Sciences: School of Mechatronic Systems Engineering
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Thermal perception and physiological responses in males and females during mild cold exposures in different clothing ensembles

Author: 
Date created: 
2016-06-13
Abstract: 

In the first study of this thesis 10 males and 10 females walked on a treadmill with a ~10 km/h wind and an ambient temperature of -8°C. The hypotheses tested included: 1) females will have lower skin temperature and surface heat flux while all other physiological responses are similar when compared to male, 2) within each sex, an elasticized (E) coat versus a non-elasticized (NE) coat would give a diminished physiological strain and 3) that within each sex, the E coat versus the NE coat would give a better thermal comfort. Results in this first study showed some differences in physiological responses between the sexes, that males had higher thermal comfort ratings in an E versus a NE coat during exercise (p<0.05). In the second study, it was hypothesized that females would have greater sensitivity to skin temperature changes than males on the hand, back and chest. The results showed females versus males were less sensitive to temperature changes only on the chest (p <0.05). In conclusion, in the first study some physiological responses differed between the sexes, the E compared to the NE coat provided no beneficial physiological responses within each sex and finally the E versus the NE coat provided greater thermal comfort in males. In the second study females were less sensitive to cold stimuli on the chest compared to males.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Matthew White
Department: 
Science: Department of Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

Perspectives of Canadian student volunteers in a university “Conversation Partners Program” for international students

Date created: 
2017-04-06
Abstract: 

The experiences of Canadian-born students in university programs aimed at intercultural relationships as well as language exchange is lacking in the literature. This study asked, “How does the experience of communicating with international students in a university sponsored Conversation Partners Program shape the identities of the Canadian conversation partners?” Narrative inquiry was used to determine the most common and relevant themes through out the interviews with the participants. These common themes were identified as: “reflecting on cultural norms and values”, “emerging openness to diverse perspectives”, and “expanding social and cultural network identities.” Implications for these intercultural exchanges are that both parties (Canadian and International students) gain in perspective taking, in learning about other cultures while being encouraged to question their own cultural values, and in learning to navigate the world by gaining personal and cultural assets due to becoming more open to the values and beliefs of diverse cultures.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Maureen Hoskyn
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Unsociable Poetry: Antagonism and Abstraction in Contemporary Feminized Poetics

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-03-28
Abstract: 

Unsociable Poetry: Antagonism and Abstraction in Contemporary Feminized Poetics argues that feminized poetry aesthetically theorizes non-conceptual and otherwise hidden dimensions of gendered and racialized experience, in order to show how such experience is form-determined by late capitalist modes of value production and the socially-binding forces of real abstractions. This “unsociable poetry” mobilizes two key dynamics—abstraction and antagonism—both of which can be thought of as concepts, categories, and processes, sometimes all at once. Theorizing the relation between aesthetic abstractions and capitalist abstractions, I demonstrate how feminized poets articulate and critique the effects of deindustrialization, and the forms of positive representation advanced by the liberal politics of recognition that serve to reproduce colonial structures of domination. I document a variety of antagonisms in their work, showing how these arise from the contradictions of social life as it is dominated—that is, form-determined—by value. To this end, I read Bernadette Mayer’s and Catherine Wagner’s work as antagonistic poetics of social reproduction, tracking forms of recalcitrance in their poetry through systematic dialectics; Marie Annharte Baker’s and Dawn Lundy Martin’s poems as modes of transformative antagonism which refuse the very ground upon which racial representation is staged; Claudia Rankine’s use of tone as an aesthetic mode uniquely suited to critique the systematic reinscription of blackness as a real abstraction; Bhanu Kapil’s mobilization of a counter-(re)productive negativity that is able to aesthetically trace the negative dialectics of the value-form itself; and Alli Warren’s poetry as an attempt to collapse the distance between essence and appearance, to abolish capitalist mediation, even if it knows the inadequacy of poetry to this task. Throughout this dissertation, I argue that dialectical reading—and specifically, systematic dialectics—is key to understanding the apparently isolated moments of an integrated totality, one in which gendered and racialized states of precarity often appear formally disconnected from the economic relations out of which they emerge. In this way, reading feminized poetry dialectically leads us to a meaningful understanding of value as the ultimate abstraction, the one that propels capital in its moving contradiction, and consequently as the real abstraction that shapes all others.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Stephen Collis
Jeff Derksen
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of English
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

A role for insect availability in limiting populations of a threatened nightjar Antrostomus vociferous

Date created: 
2017-04-13
Abstract: 

Aerial insectivore birds, those that capture prey while in flight themselves, are the avian guild experiencing the steepest population declines in Canada. Although we lack long-term data on insect abundances, one potential cause of these declines could be a change in prey availability. Furthermore, some nocturnal insectivores, like nightjars, face the additional challenge of only foraging during twilight periods, or when adequate moonlight is available. In this thesis, I take a variety of approaches to test and inform predictions associated with possible drivers of population decline in a threatened nightjar, Eastern Whip-poor-will (Antrostomus vociferous). Whip-poor-will prefer open-canopy, or fragmented, forests that allow moonlight to penetrate the canopy, so I first tested whether an increase in forest area appeared to explain their population decline. In contrast to expectation, whip-poor-will presence was positively associated with forest area at a regional scale, and only a delayed effect of urban area explained disappearances. At a more local scale, however, whip-poor-will abundance was positively related to both presence of open-canopy forests, and insect abundance. At this local scale, insect abundance also influenced daily survival rates of chicks, and productivity was higher when hatching coincided with peaks in insect abundance. Next, I tracked migration using light-logging geolocation tags to identify the wintering range of individuals from across the northern portion of the breeding range. I found evidence of migratory stopover in the southeastern United States and wintering locations in Mexico and Central America, suggesting that both regions are potentially important for this population. Finally, I tested for diet change over the past century using nitrogen isotope ratios of museum specimen tissues. Whip-poor-will isotope profiles were consistent with a gradual shift to feeding on lower trophic-level prey for both breeding season grown feathers and winter grown claws. All of these results are consistent with the hypothesis that whip-poor-will populations are declining due to changes in prey abundance, but I caution that habitat and climatic conditions at locations used throughout the annual cycle could also be contributing to these population declines.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
David Green
Joseph Nocera
Department: 
Science: Biological Sciences Department
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Getting to WL: A Look at the Visual Evolution and 2015 Redesign of Western Living Magazine

Abstract: 

This report examines the visual evolution of Western Living magazine and its predecessor, Western Homes and Living, between 1950 and 2015. It analyzes each of the major redesigns, characterized by the introduction of a new logo, which took place throughout the magazine’s publishing history. A detailed overview of the latest redesign of the magazine’s print edition in 2015, which introduced the WL acronym logo, makes up most of the report. It provides a case study that exemplifies how to plan, execute, and launch a magazine redesign. Although major redesigns are often regarded as a risky undertaking, the execution of the 2015 Western Living redesign shows that careful consideration of goals and timing, as well as a thoughtful design and effective promotion, can help ensure a positive outcome.

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

An examination of sadism in sexual homicide: Are investigative awareness and the severity of sadistic behaviour distinctive features?

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-03-09
Abstract: 

The current study investigates whether investigative awareness is a distinctive feature of sadism and examines if it is possible to identify different types of sadistic offenders based on the severity of an offender’s sadistic behaviour. The study addressed these two research questions through a series of binary logistic regressions and two-step hierarchical cluster analysis utilizing a sample of 350 cases of sexual homicide from Canada. Results from the logistic regression indicate that sadistic offenders are more likely to use forensic awareness strategies at the crime scene, pre-select deserted locations to commit their offense and have an unsolved case in comparison to non-sadists. The cluster analysis show that three groups emerge: 1) a non-sadistic group, 2) a mixed group that show some evidence of sadistic behaviour, and 3) a sadistic group that have high levels of sadistic behaviour. Implications for both clinical and investigative purposes are discussed.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Eric Beauregard
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Criminology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

The Ambiguity of Resistance: Civil Society Engagements with Neoliberalism

Date created: 
2017-02-24
Abstract: 

Resistances to neoliberal capitalism primarily occur within the realm of civil society today. There are varying theories that speak to the ability of such resistances. On the one hand, a theory of neoliberal ontology posits an inescapable structure that delimits our capacity to effectively resist. On the other hand, a theory of intentional economy asserts an ability to contest and transform dominant structures. Through a qualitative semi-ethnographic extended-case study conducted with two para-capitalist organizations operating within southern British Columbia, this thesis examines and nuances notions of resistance via a Polanyian and Marxist theoretical framework, and advances an argument for a theory of the ‘politics of ambiguity’. This captures the simultaneous positionings of resistance groups within a neoliberal ontology and intentional economy form. As determined, these groups necessarily demonstrate ambiguity to varying degrees, on the one hand reproducing neoliberal paradigms and structures, while concurrently working to forge emancipatory realities and understandings.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Yıldız Atasoy
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.