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.

How people green the port: Sustainability in Canadian ports

Date created: 
2017-04-04
Abstract: 

Canadian Port Authorities (CPAs) annually move $162 billion in international trade and in recent years have been faced with significant pressures to become environmentally sustainable. In response, CPAs have introduced numerous greening strategies with important implications for the dock labour force. This thesis focuses on the greening strategies undertaken by CPAs and their interplay with dockworkers; it identifies these greening strategies and assesses their implications for dockworkers. The thesis adopts a two-part methodology. First, greening measures undertaken by CPAs are categorized and compared. Second, a case study of Vancouver’s port is undertaken through interviews with a broad set of port actors in order to examine the links between labour and sustainability in the port. It is concluded that greening strategies have been an important, albeit uneven trend across CPAs and that dockworkers play an influential role in the greening of the port.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Peter Hall
Department: 
Environment: Department of Geography
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Racialized migrant women: Experiences of community organizers

Date created: 
2017-03-22
Abstract: 

This research explores the experiences and identities of self-identified racialized migrant women working in community advocacy sectors. Using feminist critical race theories and approaches, I conducted three community conversations and three interviews where participants explored an array of topics including Indigeniety, self-care, sexism, homophobia and settler – migrant relationships. This research includes two themes: 1) the implication of migrant bodies in the systemic dispossession of Indigenous Nations by exploring the ways in which we (as migrants working in advocacy sectors) contribute to the solidification of colonial and neo-colonial narratives; and 2) offers a model of participatory feminist methods and approaches described in this work as a means to provide alternative ways of engaging migrant communities in research.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Jennifer Marchbank
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Development of tools and methods for studying glycan processing proteins in living systems

Date created: 
2016-05-12
Abstract: 

Carbohydrates are a class of biomolecules present in all domains of life that provide energy for cellular processes, afford structural support, and take part in molecular recognition and signalling. Given the ubiquity of carbohydrates in living systems, gaining an improved understanding of the proteins that process them – glycosyl transferases, glycoside hydrolases, lectins, and sugar transporters – is of key interest. Compared to in vitro assays, few live-cell or in vivo assays of carbohydrate-processing proteins have been developed, despite the wealth of knowledge that they provide. This discrepancy is largely due to the difficulties associated with live-cell and in vivo examination of protein function, namely issues of substrate selectivity, sensitivity, reactivity, and cell permeability. This thesis aims to develop substrates and methods to study two carbohydrate-processing proteins: human O-GlcNAcase, a glycoside hydrolase involved in Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, and the stabilization of nascent proteins; and bacterial AmpG, a sugar transporter implicated in β-lactam antibiotic resistance. In doing so, I hope to not only provide insight into the function of these proteins, but to also lay a foundation for live-cell or in vivo study of these and related proteins in the years to come.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
David Vocadlo
Department: 
Science: Department of Chemistry
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

Abduction, Rebellion and Reprieve: The Narratives of Former Members of the Lord's Resistance Army

Date created: 
2015-01-14
Abstract: 

A prominent feature of rebel insurgencies in Africa is the use of abduction to recruit fighters. This research investigates forced recruits who embrace the role of rebel within the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). The study seeks to understand the motivations for abductees to stay and gain rank within the group that abducted them and by doing so illuminates the role that forced recruits play in the endurance and survival of armed groups that rely on abduction as a means of recruitment. The research was conducted through twenty interviews with former LRA soldiers during four months of fieldwork in northern Uganda. All participants had been recruited through abduction and have now taken up the Government amnesty and returned home. The results demonstrate that the LRA retains its recruits through finely tuned internal control mechanisms. It uses the threat of violence and manipulates a cultural belief in spirits, which both prevent people from trying to escape. Contrary to the findings in previous research, the LRA does not terrorise their recruits into staying. The LRA gives rank when recruits demonstrate compliance and commitment. In turn, rank reaffirms commitment to the group. A recruit has to demonstrate ability, initiative, courage, and the ability to kill on the battlefield; in short, they have to show they are a good soldier. Those that are not good soldiers die during the fighting, or are killed by their own side. The benefits of rank are largely non-material: rank gives a recruit respect and power within the group, and the ability to ‘marry,’ all cultural conceptions of masculinity. Overall, forced recruits stay with the LRA because gaining rank offers them status that civilian life cannot, while internal control mechanisms in the group make leaving undesirable. This research demonstrates that forced recruits are not traumatized into staying with armed groups, but rather are effectively initiated into becoming soldiers through processes that promote compliance and allegiance to the group. In conclusion, this project, by closely examining the phenomena of forced recruitment, sheds new light on the neglected issue of the role that forced recruits play in the endurance of illicit groups.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Curt Griffiths
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences:
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Modelling the climate response to anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions: time-dependent processes, commitment, and reversibility

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-04-13
Abstract: 

This thesis gives insight into key aspects of the climate system response to anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. One characteristic is an approximately constant global mean surface air temperature (GMSAT) after cessation of emissions, but also changes in GMSAT to second order. Here it is shown that these second-order GMSAT changes are positive, i.e. there is a small committed warming from previous emissions, because the warming effect from declining ocean heat uptake dominates over the cooling effect from declining atmospheric CO2. The timing of zeroing emissions or the time horizon over which the warming commitment is calculated have minor effects on this warming commitment compared to the effect of the scenario prior to cessation of emissions. Another characteristic explored is the approximately constant ratio between GMSAT change and cumulative CO2 emissions (CE), referred to as Transient Climate Response to cumulative CO2 emissions (TCRE). It is shown that the TCRE diverges more strongly over time from a constant value under increasing atmospheric CO2 concentration than previously suggested. But it is approximately constant over time under constant CO2 concentration due to cancelling effects of changes in ocean heat and carbon uptake. Applying a wide range of sub-grid ocean mixing parameterizations does not change the temporal evolution of the TCRE significantly but leads to a wide range in the TCRE value. A third characteristic explored is irreversibility of sea level rise from thermal expansion (TSLR). It is shown here that TSLR under negative emissions does not return to pre-industrial levels for centuries after atmospheric CO2 has returned to pre-industrial concentrations. This result is robust against the choice of mixing parameter, although, generally an increased parameter leads to higher TSL rise and decline rates. The results presented in this thesis suggest that setting cumulative CO2 emission budgets in order to not exceed a certain warming target needs to be done with caution as the TCRE varies more strongly over time than previously shown and additional committed warming may lower allowable carbon budgets. Furthermore, TSLR is not linearly related to cumulative CO2 emissions and is slow to be reversed if net negative emissions are applied.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Kirsten Zickfeld
Department: 
Environment: Department of Geography
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Determining threat status for data-limited fisheries based on catch-only stock assessment models

Date created: 
2017-02-09
Abstract: 

Catch-only stock assessment methods have been developed to manage data-limited fisheries where only catch data is available. This research evaluated the ability of four catch-only stock assessment methods to correctly classify a stock of concern based on population trends. To accomplish this, true trends from simulated stocks and the trends produced by the models were used to classify stocks into threat categories based on percent change. ROC curves and PR curves were then used to test the effectiveness of the four models as classifiers. ROC curves indicated that the models performed well under most scenarios. However, the confusion matrices and PR curves revealed low precision values for all models. The high number of stocks falsely classified as threatened were masked in the ROC analysis by the imbalance of few threatened stocks compared to numerous non-threatened stocks. This is an important caveat, as it could lead to inappropriate threshold selection.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Andrew Cooper
Department: 
Environment: School of Resource and Environmental Management
Thesis type: 
(Research Project) M.R.M.

Self-Explanation and Self-Questioning Prompts in Online Medical Health Learning

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-04-13
Abstract: 

Online instruction in medical education is beneficial due to moves toward competency-based curricula, continuing education, serving professionals in remote locations, and knowledge updates as research advances. Those who study content online may require support to use effective methods that transform passive, less-engaged learning into active comprehension and purposeful application. This study compared two learning tactics: self-questioning and self-explanation that have not been compared in prior research. Health professionals and students across Canada studied a chapter in the Canadian Fundamentals of Fetal Health Surveillance (FHS) Self-Learning Online Manual, presented on an online learning management system. Participants used nStudy learning software to open note templates and type in either self-explanations or choose one among several question stems then fill in blank space(s) to create a question. Participants who created self-explanations performed better on the achievement posttest than those who generated self-questions. Further analyses disaggregated posttest items into intentional learning (relating to information in the text about which participants were prompted to generate an annotation) and incidental learning (relating to information in the text not directly prompted for annotation). Within the self-explanation condition, there was no statistically detectable difference in recall on intentional (prompted) content compared to incidental (non-prompted) content. In the self-questioning condition, incidental content was recalled similarly to the self-explanation group. However, there was a marked and statistically detectable decrease in recall of content about which participants were prompted to generate self-questions. Possible reasons for this effect based on past research and participant comments are discussed along with limitations of the study and opportunities for further research.

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

Modeling Canadian Federal Electoral Reforms

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-04-10
Abstract: 

This research project is focused on developing an exploratory model that can help explain the factors that affect the political desire for electoral reform. The model, premised on institutional and rational actor theories, develops a set of “endogenous” and “exogenous” factors that allow for evaluation of electoral reform discourse. While some attention is paid to the major reforms that the electoral system has undergone since Confederation, detailed analysis is reserved to the post-1980 period. Data was collected from party manifestos and Speeches from the Throne. Because the federal government has not made any structural changes to its electoral system, provincial and international electoral reforms are considered for the potential influence by “contagion”. Institutional barriers to reform are also factored into the model. Lastly, the model introduces the element of developing web-based technologies such as social media that are changing how the electorate is exerting its influence on the federal parties. From 1980 to 2015, what factors and influences, both endogenous and exogenous to Canada’s national political framework, have affected parliamentary debates on electoral reform?

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
David Laycock
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Political Science
Thesis type: 
(Research Project) M.A.

Myosin Light Chain Phosphatase regulates the transcription of Wingless target genes in Drosophila

Date created: 
2017-03-28
Abstract: 

Canonical Wnt, or Wingless (Wg) in Drosophila, is an evolutionarily well-conserved signalling pathway that is important for a wide range of processes, including cell fate determination, axis formation and stem cell renewal. Wg signalling primarily functions to regulate the cytosolic stability of the key effector β-catenin (Armadillo, Arm, in Drosophila). Arm promotes the transcription of Wg target genes but also is required for the formation of stable adherens junctions. Previously, the Verheyen lab identified the non-muscle myosin II regulator Myosin Light Chain Phosphatase (MLCP) as a putative regulator of Wg signalling. Here we find that reducing the expression MLCP components leads to the attenuation of Wg target gene expression. I present our evidence that MLCP knock down directly regulates Wg signal transduction and that this regulation is through Arm localization. Thus, our work supports mounting evidence of a regulatory relationship between the adherens junctions and the Wg signalling pathway.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Esther Verheyen
Department: 
Science: Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

Relationships between STEM self-efficacy, same-sex role models and academic behaviour

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-04-11
Abstract: 

Although women make up approximately half of undergraduate enrolments in postsecondary educational institutions, women continue to be significantly underrepresented in many areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). In this study, survey responses from 249 undergraduate students enrolled in at least one STEM course were analyzed to further investigate possible relationships among sex, academic course choices, same-sex role models and STEM self-efficacy. Results show that female students were less likely than male students to declare a STEM major. Among female students there was a correlation between the number of same-sex instructors and being a STEM major as well as the number of STEM courses taken, and further investigation revealed that self-efficacy was a significant predictor of female undergraduate’s major. Implications, future directions and study limitations are discussed.

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