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.

As Seen on Screen: A Virtual Ethnographic Study of Children’s Screen Time

Date created: 
2016-10-26
Abstract: 

Children’s screen time is a cultural construct, a worldwide issue, and a highly controversial subject that separates people in ideological groups over the perceived impact that media and technology have on children. Screen time is a phenomenon, a discourse, an object, and a thing. It is a slippery, flexible, and complex issue that is constantly evolving, which only intensifies the debate over whether children’s screen time is positive or negative. Using virtual ethnography, I examined a number of field sites including academic journals, Twitter, LexisNexis, Reddit and The Bump to uncover the sentiments that scholars, media and parents form about children’s screen time. These sentiments often mirror the media harm debate, which positions children as vulnerable or competent. The media report on academic research, which is then discussed by parents. Groups form around the affective dimension of the debate (emotional ideologies), which only perpetuates the idea that children’s screen time is positive or negative (rather than both). This either-or proposition is unhelpful for the creation of management strategies that assist children in using screen-based devices in a healthy, balanced and productive way that doesn’t create a division in class structures.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Frederik Lesage
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Communication
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Situations

Date created: 
2016-10-14
Abstract: 

Situations is a short film that explores what it means to be human in an increasingly abstract world. The film draws on ideas from the French existentialists’ notion of universal human freedom, and places this freedom in a cold and empty contemporary postmodern world inspired by recent scholarship. Aesthetically, Situations builds on a visual style appropriated from an analysis of the similarities between Japanese and Scandinavian cinema – the film attempts to tell the story through long takes and wide shots, where the characters are observed in their situations rather than followed by narrative decisions.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Patricia Gruben
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School for the Contemporary Arts
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.F.A.

The Role of Chronic Illness in Theory of Mind Performance in Older Adults

Date created: 
2016-12-13
Abstract: 

Theory of Mind (ToM) reflects the ability to reason about mental states in order to understand and predict behavior. Research has identified links between increased pulse pressure, a measure of vascular health, and reduced ToM in older adults. Furthermore, previous findings suggest that cognitive ToM is particularly vulnerable to increased pulse pressure. However, to date, the relationships between other chronic vascular and nonvascular conditions and reduced ToM are unknown. We aimed to investigate the effects of vascular and nonvascular illness burden on cognitive and affective ToM in N = 86 older adults (59 females; 27 males, M = 72 years). While vascular illness burden emerged as a significant predictor of older adults’ ToM, nonvascular illness burden was not significantly associated with ToM. Further, executive functioning and semantic memory mediated the relationship between vascular illness burden and cognitive ToM. Our findings highlight the specific importance of considering vascular health as a risk factor for declines in ToM in later life, beyond pulse pressure. Further elucidation of the associations between health, neurocognition and ToM will be valuable in developing effective interventions for older adults given the high prevalence of vascular illness in later life.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Wendy Loken Thornton
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Psychology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Between Two Rocks

Date created: 
2016-10-28
Abstract: 

Between Two Rocks is a stage performance inspired by the Norse folktale East of the Sun, West of the Moon. A cast of five performers animates scenic space with movement, words, and large piles of sheep fleece as they extract, flip, and spin an ever-expanding horizon. The encounter between traditional handcraft and live performance, written story and oral telling, human and animal merge in a visual, sensory experience that emphasizes the physical and imaginary edges of the proscenium stage space. The work draws ideas from postdramatic theatre and theories of landscape on stage. Between Two Rocks is at times a concert of objects, at others a fleecy dance, occasionally a display of traditional labour, yet ultimately a weaving of theatrical elements in a physical animation of space.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Appendix C: Video Documentation, Between Two Rocks Trailer
Appendix C: Video Documentation, Between Two Rocks Full Show Documentation
Senior supervisor: 
Ker Wells
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School for the Contemporary Arts
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.F.A.

Pricing Defaultable Catastrophe Bonds with Compound Doubly Stochastic Poisson Losses and Liquidity Risk

Date created: 
2016-12-15
Abstract: 

Catastrophe bond (CAT bond) is one of the modern financial instruments to transfer the risk of natural disasters to capital markets. In this project, we provide a structure of payoffs for a zero-coupon CAT bond in which the premature default of the issuer is also considered. The defaultable CAT bond price is computed by Monte Carlo simulations under the Vasicek interest rate model with losses generated from a compound doubly stochastic Poisson process. In the underlying Poisson process, the intensity of occurrence is assumed to follow a geometric Brownian motion. Moreover, the issuer’s daily total asset value is modelled by the approach proposed in Duan et al. (1995), and the liquidity process is incorporated to capture the additional return of investors. Finally, a sensitivity analysis is carried out to explore the effects of key parameters on the CAT bond price.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Cary Chi-Liang Tsai
Department: 
Science: Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.Sc.

A brightness – a signal – a sign (the light explored and questioned everything) ((Tlattic in xochitl in cuicatl))

Date created: 
2016-09-28
Abstract: 

A brightness – a signal – a sign (the light explored and questioned everything) ((tlattic in xochitl in cuicatl)) is a project that begins with a process of walking throughout Vancouver, finding objects, walking with the objects, then constructing sculptures collaboratively with them. This is done while considering the possibility for quantum entanglement between the human and non-human, and forming a bond between the human body, the sites where the objects are found, and the found objects themselves. This labour is driven by the experience of being an immigrant living within a diaspora and is a performative means for creating a dynamic and reciprocal relationship with the Land of Vancouver.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Allyson Clay
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School for the Contemporary Arts
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.F.A.

Associations among teacher-student interpersonal relationships and students’ intrinsic and extrinsic motivation and academic achievement: A cross cultural study

Author: 
Date created: 
2016-12-06
Abstract: 

This cross-cultural study explored associations among teacher-student relationship, students’ intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, and students’ academic achievement in grade 5 and 6 students from Vancouver, Canada (n = 102) and Hong Kong, China (n = 207). Hong Kong students perceived their teachers to be more dissatisfied, strict, admonishing, and uncertain, while Vancouver students perceived their teachers to be more helpful and friendly. Students’ levels of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation did not differ across cultures. Students’ intrinsic motivation positively correlated with positive teacher-student relationship subscales, and negatively correlated with teacher’s perceived dissatisfaction in both Vancouver and Hong Kong. Vancouver students’ extrinsic motivation was not significantly correlated with any teacher-student relationship subscales whereas Hong Kong students’ extrinsic motivation was significantly and positively correlated with positive teacher-student relationship subscales. Students’ academic achievement was positively correlated with positive teacher-student relationship subscales in both Vancouver and Hong Kong, negatively correlated with teacher’s uncertainty in Hong Kong, and positively correlated with student’s intrinsic motivation in both Vancouver and Hong Kong. Academic achievement was not significantly correlated with extrinsic motivation in either sample. Culture did not moderate the association between i) teacher-student relationships and academic achievement, ii) intrinsic motivation and academic achievement, iii) extrinsic motivation and academic achievement, iv) teacher-student relationships and extrinsic motivation, or v) teacher-student relationships and intrinsic motivation.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Lucy Le Mare
Department: 
Education: Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Sparse Multivariate Reduced-Rank Regression with Covariance Estimation

Author: 
Date created: 
2016-12-14
Abstract: 

Multivariate multiple linear regression is multiple linear regression, but with multiple responses. Standard approaches assume that observations from different subjects are uncorrelated and so estimates of the regression parameters can be obtained through separate univariate regressions, regardless of whether the responses are correlated within subjects. There are three main extensions to the simplest model. The first assumes a low rank structure on the coefficient matrix that arises from a latent factor model linking predictors to responses. The second reduces the number of parameters through variable selection. The third allows for correlations between response variables in the low rank model. Chen and Huang propose a new model that falls under the reduced-rank regression framework, employs variable selection, and estimates correlations among error terms. This project reviews their model, describes its implementation, and reports the results of a simulation study evaluating its performance. The project concludes with ideas for further research.

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

Mechanical Studies of Single Collagen Molecules Using Imaging and Force Spectroscopy

Author: 
Date created: 
2016-12-07
Abstract: 

Collagen is a key component of the extracellular matrix and is the most abundant protein in vertebrates. Collagen is found in almost every connective tissue of the body including skin, bone, tendon, cartilage, arteries and cornea, where it plays a crucial role in providing structural support. Collagen molecules self-assemble to form hierarchical structures, from single molecules to fibrils to fibers and tissues. Structural and mechanical changes at the molecular level may affect self-assembly of the molecules and the resulting tissue. Despite its significance, the mechanics of collagen and its flexibility at the molecular level remain contentious, and collagen has been variously described as a flexible polymer to a semi-rigid rod. In this thesis, I present my work developing and utilizing experimental and analytical tools to study the mechanical proprieties of molecular collagen. I carefully designed and controlled a wide variety of experimental conditions, such as different collagen types and sources, solution pH and salt concentrations, and analysed the results in search of potential reasons for inconsistency in reported results of collagen flexibility at the basic molecular level. Atomic force microscopy (AFM) imaging is used to study effect of environmental factors such as ionic strength and pH on molecular conformations and flexibility of single collagen molecules. In addition, molecular conformations of different types of collagen from different sources are compared using AFM imaging. I measure persistence length of collagen molecules, a measure of flexibility, arising due to the conformational sampling of collagen. My results link the bending energy of collagen molecules to how tightly the helix is wound. In order to analyse AFM images of collagen, I developed an image and statistical analysis algorithm, SmarTrace, optimized for my images of collagen. The program was validated using images of DNA with known persistence length, then applied to collagen molecules. Analysis of different types of collagen in two different solutions and type I collagen in solutions of different ionic strength and pH show that collagen's flexibility depends strongly on ionic strength and pH. In addition, it shows that different types of collagen show similar average conformational characteristics in a given solution environment. In addition, mechanical properties and force-response of single collagen and procollagen molecules are studied using optical tweezers. I discuss the challenges of stretching single collagen proteins, whose length is much less than the size of the microspheres used as manipulation handles, and show how instrumental design and biochemistry can be used to overcome these challenges. The result of this work is an improved understanding of the sensitivity of molecular flexibility, stability and response of collagen to environmental factors. This can shed light on identifying underlying mechanisms of collagen-related diseases as well as designing and producing improved engineered biomaterials with tunable properties.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Nancy Forde
Department: 
Science: Department of Physics
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Design and Fabrication of Nanoscale Bismuth Hall Probes

Author: 
Date created: 
2016-12-09
Abstract: 

Scanning Hall probe microscopy is a quantitative magnetic imaging technique with high magnetic flux sensitivity and high spatial resolution. Hall sensors have untapped potential to match the sensitivity of superconducting quantum interference devices (SQUIDs), which are well-known in magnetic microscopy for their flux sensitivity. Furthermore, Hall probes can do so with better spatial resolution. My thesis supports this conclusion with a theoretical calculation while comparing the Hall probe technique to other kinds of magnetic imaging. I have explored further improvements in the overall design and materials of Hall probes. I have obtained and analyzed magnetotransport data for various concentrations of lead in bismuth films and Hall probes. Bismuth, a compensated metal, is a good alternative to semiconductor Hall probes. The presence of electron and hole carriers, though, reduces the Hall effect, and bismuth would be even better for Hall sensors if one kind of carrier were compensated. A doping between 0 and 0.1% lead in bismuth appears to be best for lead-doped bismuth Hall probe operation. I have also made significant progress in the design and fabrication of a more durable Hall probe shape, inspired by hard drive read heads. The novel design should enable operation closer to the sample surface, improving spatial resolution and making it easier to detect flux.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
David Broun
Department: 
Science: Department of Physics
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.