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.

A Qualitative GIS for Social Media and Big Data

Date created: 
2017-12-11
Abstract: 

Since the 1990's geographers have called for a qualitative GIScience. While several attempts have been made to achieve a qualitative GIS, limiting factors such as data volume and methods have held the realization of such a system back. However, important changes in the last decade have made it possible to achieve this goal. Social media datasets are available for download that contain coordinate metadata and qualitative data about the experiences of individuals. Big data infrastructures make it possible to harvest, store, and find data expressed on specific phenomena researchers wish to study. Natural language processing methods make it possible to understand the context in which a post or group of posts are authored and extract the geospatial insights therein. GIScience has taken notice of these synergies and is beginning to engage with the data and is producing new insights from social media landscapes. In this dissertation, three articles are presented: 1) a method for producing area based topic models from social media; 2) a methodology for geospatial social media exploration and research, and; 3) a software that implements the methods and methodologies of geospatial social media. These three papers make up a body of research that presents a qualitative GIS from data to analysis to output. In the process, the research reflects critically on the ways in which geospatial social media and big data methods in GIScience are created.

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

Fostering personal growth for counsellors through transformative pedagogy and the learning of an experiential play-based therapy

Date created: 
2017-11-15
Abstract: 

The impact of learning a new experiential play-based therapy on the personal growth of counselling students and qualified counsellors is explored in this study. Extensive research exists on personal growth opportunities for practicing counsellors within the context of group work, personal therapy, supervision and ongoing professional development. However, few studies focus on the integration of personal growth opportunities afforded through the learning of counselling strategies and approaches in counsellor education programs at the graduate level. Addressing this gap, the study draws on transformative pedagogy theory and practice as a way of understanding and fostering personal growth opportunities among both practicing and student counsellors. A qualitative action research methodology was used which draws upon the researcher’s own experience as both counsellor and counsellor educator. Participants, aged 22 to over 65 years, included three students in a full-time master’s counsellor education program, one in a full-time master’s in art therapy program, three students in a part-time master’s counsellor education program, and 10 qualified counsellors at master’s or diploma level working with children and youth in the field. The workshop component of the research, which was based on the principles of transformative pedagogy, involved a training course in Neuroscience and Satir in the Sand Tray (NSST). The interview component consisted of individual in-depth interviews with participants using NSST to elicit responses plus a follow-up questionnaire after the course was completed. The process and the emergent outcomes of the participants' experiences were examined using an interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA). Each interview was video-taped and photographs were taken to document the participants’ process of engaging with NSST. IPA provided insights into how personal growth was experienced and how this in turn emerged as personal growth opportunities, which were both fostered and interpreted through a transformative pedagogical approach. There were two main findings. Most participants reported experiencing personal growth opportunities and these were manifested in a variety of ways. Further, the majority of participants reported experiencing one or more of the many aspects of the transformative pedagogy which foregrounded and afforded their personal growth. Implications for counsellor education are discussed.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Susan O'Neal
Susan O’Neill
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Bayesian Integration for Assessing the Quality of the Laplace Approximation

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-11-24
Abstract: 

Nuisance parameters increase in number with additional data collected. In dynamic models, this typically results in more parameters than observations making direct estimation intractable. The Laplace Approximation is the standard tool for approximating the high dimensional integral required to marginalize over the nuisance parameters. However the Laplace Approximation relies on asymptotic arguments that are unobtainable for nuisance parameters. The way to assess the quality of the Laplace Approximation relies on much slower MCMC based methods. In this work, a probabilistic integration approach is used to develop a diagnostic for the quality of the Laplace Approximation.

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

"We used to be kings of the road": Negotiations of ethics, embodiment, and subjectivity in the BC-based long haul trucking industry

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-10-26
Abstract: 

This dissertation provides a locally specific exploration of how normative gender dynamics and local occupational cultures interact with neoliberal regimes to (re)produce industrial hierarchies of inequality, exploitation, and blame. I extend research linking the neoliberalisation of the trucking industry to declining wages and working conditions to consider how these changes interact with the historically and culturally specific ethical formations, subjectivity negotiations, and everyday work practices of British Columbia-based long haul truckers. I argue that a locally and historically specific manifestation of normative masculinity – and the racialising processes it presupposes and (re)produces – plays a crucial role in these interactions. This ‘old school’ white working class masculinity is complexly articulated in relation to the neoliberalisation of the industry, and especially in regards to gendered and racialised politics of skills, stigma, and blame. I found that these articulations bolster white supremacist tendencies, particularly with regard to South Asian truckers, and have complex implications for gender inequality. I further contend that these dynamics emerge out of and are imbricated in the power dynamics of Canadian (neo)colonial automobility. The differential politics of skills, stigma, and blame evident in my research encounters contribute to the denial and invisibilisation of road carnage and industrial risk that has been entrenched through neoliberal shifts in automobility and the trucking industry. This research is based on my ethnography of the British Columbia-based long haul trucking industry. Data were generated through qualitative interviews with current and former truck drivers; participant observation and observant participation at truck stops, weigh scales, and industry-associated sites; recording VHF radio communications; and ride-alongs with truckers. Truckers in my study placed especial moral weight on practices of skilled and safe driving, on maintaining civilised practices of cleanliness and excretion, and on stopping to assist other truckers and motorists in need of help – which often meant engaging in collision and carnage labour at crash scenes. In this study, I examine how deregulation and the neoliberalisation of the industry have impacted truckers’ capacities to engage in each of these work practices, and the implications of those shifts for truckers’ gendered, classed, and racialised ethical alignments and subjectivity negotiations.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Jane Pulkingham
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Self-compassion and emotional responses to interpersonal rejection in individuals with borderline personality features

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-11-08
Abstract: 

The primary aim of this study was to determine whether a self-compassion manipulation has promise in addressing a core interpersonal vulnerability (sensitivity to social rejection) in borderline personality disorder (BPD). Forty-nine participants with high BP features were randomly assigned to complete a state self-compassion writing induction or a neutral control writing task. Participants then experienced self-relevant interpersonal rejection through receiving feedback on personal profile questions from another (fictional) participant. Emotional state was assessed at baseline, pre-manipulation, and post-rejection. Participants in both conditions demonstrated heightened negative affect, hostility, and irritability and reduced positive affect following the rejection. Contrary to hypotheses, participants in the self-compassion group did not demonstrate significantly different changes in positive affect, negative affect, shame, hostility, or irritability compared to participants in the control group. These results suggest that more intensive self-compassion interventions may be critical in future research on BPD and interpersonal difficulties.

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

A Planning-Based Approach for Generating Narrative Events in Video Games

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-10-11
Abstract: 

This project is an attempt to find a solution for the replayability problem in video games from a narrative perspective. The project's goal is to improve replayability in narrative-focused video games by providing variations in the narrative experience. The outcome of this project is a game prototype that takes the form of a detective adventure game, in which the player needs to find the murderer. This game prototype uses a combination of scripted narrative and generative narrative with computational approaches. The generative narrative part uses a probability-based random event scheduler combined with STRIPS planning to generate narrative components in order to provide variety in narrative. The outcome of this project is a first step to revealing the possibilities of building narrative-focused games with some generative narrative aspects to enhance variety in narrative and thus enhance replayability.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Jim Bizzocchi
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

Reducing textile waste in Metro Vancouver landfills

Date created: 
2017-11-20
Abstract: 

This study examines public policy approaches to increase the recovery of residentially generated textile waste materials in Metro Vancouver Regional District. It reports findings from a survey, conducted in Greater Vancouver in summer 2017, of consumer preferences and motivations with respect to textile waste disposal. The study also reviews the literature on factors that impact household behaviour in disposing textile waste material. Policy elements are determined from an analysis of the generalized supply chain for textile waste recovery and policy features implemented in other jurisdictions. Four policy elements are considered: disposal ban, education campaign, additional collection points, and curbside collection. The policy elements are analyzed and assessed on key criteria, with discussions informed by conclusions drawn from the literature review and survey findings. I recommend the implementation of an education campaign in the short term and further consideration of increasing collection points and curbside collection in the longer term. I also conclude that a disposal ban for textile waste in MVRD, as currently configured, should not be pursued.

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

A Walk for 09.09.17

Date created: 
2017-10-12
Abstract: 

A Walk for 09.09.17 was a walking practice that invited engagement of the senses through the geography of Vancouver and focused on being present. Traversing through Vancouver’s Chinatown and Strathcona neighbourhoods, the work explored site as a composition and invited the audience into the role of performer/composer. The audience was lead through a preconceived path of which they were unaware and were encouraged to listen, breathe, walk, and practice being in the present moment together. Throughout the walk, performers were encountered in specific locations where they were musically improvising. The work explored methods of listening, invitation, and sharing (listening) experiences with others.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
A Walk for 09.09.17.mp3
Senior supervisor: 
Arne Eigenfeldt
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School for the Contemporary Arts
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.F.A.

Computational study on a branch decomposition based exact distance oracle for planar graphs

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-10-19
Abstract: 

We present a simple exact distance oracle for the point-to-point shortest distance problem in planar graphs. Given an edge weighted planar graph G of n vertices, we decompose G into subgraphs by a branch-decomposition of G, compute the shortest distances between each vertex in a subgraph and the vertices in the boundary of the subgraph, and keep the shortest distances in the oracle. Let bw(G) be the branchwidth of G. Our oracle has O(bw(G)) query time, O(bw(G)n log(n)) size and O(n^2 log(n)) pre-processing time. Computational studies show that our oracle is much faster than Dijkstra’s algorithm for answering point-to-point shortest distance queries for several classes of planar graphs.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Qianping Gu
Department: 
Applied Sciences: School of Computing Science
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

Computational exploration of transmission and acquisition of drug-resistant tuberculosis

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-09-07
Abstract: 

Causing the deaths of millions of people annually, tuberculosis is now a universally shared threat. The emergence and spread of drug-resistant tuberculosis strains make effective treatment and control of tuberculosis complicated. Drug-resistance can arise from two sources: acquisition and transmission. Whole genome sequencing now plays an important role in bioinformatics and the research on infectious diseases. Based on the whole genome sequencing data of 110 tuberculosis isolates, a phylogenetic tree was built and the ancestral sequence was reconstructed. A simulation model was then designed to explore the development of drug-resistant tuberculosis in a population and resulted in about 300,000 tuberculosis patients. The tuberculosis patient clustering algorithm, which achieved desirable performance, was then proposed to cluster these tuberculosis patients into epidemiologically related groups. This research explored the transmission and acquisition of drug-resistant tuberculosis, and used modeling and algorithms in support of treatment and control of tuberculosis.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Leonid Chindelevitch
Department: 
Applied Sciences: School of Computing Science
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.