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.

Defending the established order and the welfare of French Canadians from two different perspectives: The Quebec Gazette and the Gazette de Québec, 1836-1840.

Author: 
Date created: 
2016-11-08
Abstract: 

In the late 1830s, colonial newspapers such as the Quebec Gazette and the Gazette de Québec, assiduously reported on the tumultuous events that shook the political foundations of Lower Canada. Contrary to what historians have assumed, however, the Gazette de Québec was not a translation of the Quebec Gazette. If both defended the established order and promoted the welfare of French Canadians from 1836 to 1840, they did so from different perspectives. At the Quebec Gazette, John Neilson articulated a political rhetoric based on individual rights of liberty, property, and security, influenced by the ideas of British constitutionalism. Conversely, Ronald Macdonald of the Gazette de Québec used the religious rhetoric of French traditionalism, which defended the rights of social and political groups. By comparing their distinct ideological positioning this thesis highlights the diversity of arguments used to argue for greater political stability in a time of rebellion and uncertainty.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Nicolas Kenny
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of History
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Person-Centered Care Practices and Organizational Issues in Long-Term Care Facilities: A review and synthesis of the literature

Author: 
Abstract: 

Care practices in long-term care facilities have typically been guided by the biomedical approach to care. In the past two decades, there has been a growing movement in transforming care for residents from a medical model to a person-centered model in long-term care. This capstone project reviews and synthesizes current literature on person-centered care, with a focus on care practices and organizational issues. An extensive literature review was conducted using databases such as Ageline, PsychINFO, Medline, Google Scholar, CINAHL and the Simon Fraser University library catalogue. A total of 69 articles that addressed the research questions were identified and incorporated in this review. Empirical evidence indicates that implementing person-centered care practices that honor the dignity and choice of residents, strengthen resident and care staff relationships and utilize nonpharmacological care to preserve the personhood of residents can improve the caring experience. In addition, there is evidence that person-centered care can improve the well-being and quality of life of residents and improve job satisfaction for care providers. This paper also examines the organizational facilitators such as culture change, staff training and management’s role, and environmental design as well as the organizational barriers in implementing person-centered care.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Dr. Habib Chaudhury
Dr. Deb O'Connor
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Gerontology
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.A.

Exploiting side information and scalability in compressed sensing and deep learning

Author: 
Date created: 
2016-11-02
Abstract: 

There is a tremendous demand for increasingly efficient ways of both capturing and processing high-dimensional datasets of large size. When capturing such datasets, a promising recent trend has developed based on the recognition that, many high-dimensional datasets have low-dimensional structures. For example, the notion of sparsity is a requisite in the compressed sensing (CS) field, which allows for accurate signal reconstruction from sub-Nyquist sampled measurements given certain conditions. When processing such datasets, the recently developed deep learning is a powerful tool, able to extract high-level and complex abstractions from massive amounts of data. CS has a wide range of applications that include imaging, radar and many more. Much effort has been put on developing more accurate and efficient reconstruction algorithms. In this thesis, first, we are interested in how to incorporate the side information into CS reconstruction when there is an initial estimation of the sparse signal available from other sources. Rigorous theoretical analysis was proposed for the first time in this field. Sufficient number of measurements is required for accurate CS reconstruction. We may have to wait for a long time to do the reconstruction until we receive enough measurements, which could incur undesired delays. Moreover, state-of-the-art CS reconstruction algorithms are still inefficient for signals of large size, e.g., images. Inspired by the multi-resolution or scalable reconstruction in multimedia transmission, such as JPEG 2000 and H.264/SVC, in the second part of this thesis, we analyzed scalable CS reconstruction problem and proposed to reconstruct a low-resolution signal if the number of measurements is too small. Deep learning or deep neural networks (DNNs) has evolved into the state-of-the-art technique for many artificial intelligence tasks including computer vision, speech recognition and natural language processing. However, DNNs generally involve many layers with millions of parameters, making them difficult to be deployed and updated on devices with limited resources such as mobile phones and other smart embedded systems. Moreover, if the DNN needs to be updated, usually via wireless communications, downloading the large amount of network parameters will cause excessive delay. In the final part of this thesis, we propose a scalable representation of the network parameters, so that different applications can select the most suitable bit rate of the network based on their own storage constraints.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Jie Liang
Department: 
Applied Sciences: School of Engineering Science
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Temporary Foreign Workers in British Columbia: Unfree Labour and the Rise of Unscrupulous Recruitment Practices

Date created: 
2016-10-25
Abstract: 

The political and economic processes of neoliberalization have led to the intensification of worker exploitation. In Canada, Temporary Foreign Workers (TFWs) who enter through the Low-waged Streams of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) are amongst the most vulnerable to abuse and exploitation. This thesis uses theories on unfree labour, state transformation, and anti-racism, along with data generated through qualitative research, to examine the state legislated exploitation of TFWs in British Columbia. I argue that the unscrupulous recruitment of TFWs into British Columbia is the functional process through which labour flexibility and unfreedom is achieved within the larger project of neoliberalization. I conclude by considering how regulatory reform of labour markets can be used in conjunction with anti-racist and anti-imperialist political demands that aim to challenge the functional processes of neoliberalization.

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

Non-uniform Knowledge in the Situation Calculus

Date created: 
2016-09-26
Abstract: 

Knowledge Representation and Reasoning is the field of AI concerned with storing information in a way which can be actioned upon by an agent. The situation calculus is a popular logical language for reasoning about action. A prior work by Scherl and Levesque demonstrates how the situation calculus can be used to model knowledge and knowledge-producing actions while solving the frame problem. This approach is limited in that it can only represent knowledge pertaining to the same situation in which it is held. Shapiro et al. have demonstrated how retrospection can be represented, but not so for prospection. We present an extension of Scherl and Levesque’s approach which allows for prospection and reasoning hypothetically about the outcomes of actions before they are taken.

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

Genomic identification and functional characterization of essential genes in Caenorhabditis elegans

Author: 
Date created: 
2016-10-18
Abstract: 

For over 30 years, researchers have taken advantage of genetic balancers and forward genetic screens to isolate lethal mutations, which have been studied to identify essential genes in C. elegans. Using traditional genetic methods, such as genetic mapping, complementation tests, and transgenic rescue assays, many essential genes have been successfully identified. However, to pinpoint a specific essential gene the involved experiments are usually labor intensive and time consuming. Nowadays, genetic methods combined with whole genome sequencing (WGS) and bioinformatics analysis provide an effective approach for the molecular identification of essential genes. In my thesis I successfully identified 64 new essential genes with 107 lethal mutations in genomic regions of C. elegans of around 14 Mb from Chromosome III(mid) and Chromosome V(left), by combining genetic mapping, Illumina sequencing, bioinformatics analyses, and experimental validation. Most of these genes have multiple recovered mutant alleles. Of these 64 genes 5 have new alleles identified, which had not been previously studied by RNA interference depletion. Furthermore, by investigating the locations of lethal missense mutations in essential genes, I have identified five novel protein functional domains. Functional characterization of the identified essential genes shows that most of them are enzymes, including helicases, tRNA synthetase, and kinases. There are also ribosomal proteins. Gene Ontology functional annotation also indicates that essential genes tend to execute enzyme and nucleic acid binding activities during fundamental processes, such as intracellular protein synthesis. Essential gene analysis shows that compared to non-essential genes, essential genes have fewer paralogs, and encode proteins that are in protein interaction hubs. Essential genes are also more abundantly and consistently expressed over all developmental stages than non-essential genes. All these essential genes traits in C. elegans are consistent with those of human disease genes. Unsurprisingly, most (90%) human orthologs of essential genes in this study are related to human diseases. Therefore, functional characterization of essential genes underlines their importance as proxies for understanding the biological functions of human disease genes.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Nansheng Chen
Department: 
Science: Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Synthetic design and development of sterically-protected hydroxide-conducting polymers for energy conversion devices

Date created: 
2016-10-06
Abstract: 

The production of renewable energy conversion devices is crucial in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and sustaining the energy required for future generations. However, most energy conversion devices currently available have high costs, which greatly slow down any transition from non-renewable combustion devices. The most promising low-cost, renewable energy conversion devices are based on anion-conducting membranes, such as those found in hydrogen fuel cells, water electrolyzers, redox flow batteries, and electrodialysis. Unfortunately, the current lifetime of such devices is too short for wide-spread adoption. The main issue is the instability of the alkaline anion exchange membrane towards caustic hydroxide. While a significant amount of research has been on demonstrating materials that have longer lifetimes, little work has been concentrated on investigating the degradation pathways on small molecule model compounds. By understanding the chemistry behind their weakness, materials can be specifically designed to counter such pathways. This then leads towards specifically designed polymers with high endurance. The development towards permanently-stable, alkaline anion exchange membranes is the focus of this thesis. Throughout this thesis, new model compounds are developed and extensively characterized. Using new stability tests, the degradation pathways are identified and the stability is quantitatively compared. Novel polymers are then prepared, which are designed to mimic the highest stability small molecule compounds. Steric hindrance is found to be the most promising method towards durable cationic polymers. From Chapter 2 to Chapter 5, the prepared materials become more and more resistant to hydroxide, demonstrating development in the correct direction.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Steven Holdcroft
Department: 
Science: Department of Chemistry
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

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.