Theses, Dissertations, and other Required Graduate Degree Essays

Receive updates for this collection

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.

Connecting family members across time through asynchronous audio stories

Date created: 
2020-04-06
Abstract: 

This dissertation studies the exploration of asynchronous audio technologies and the design, creation, and evaluation of a system created for connecting family members in different time zones. The related literature on domestic technology for families in different time zones is mainly focused on synchronous usage of different mediums for connecting family members or using video for asynchronous communication. In this doctoral work, my goal was to explore and gain insights on design factors which are important in designing systems for connecting family members across time and over distance through shared audio-based media. This dissertation consists of two studies that I conducted during my doctoral work which is presented in a cumulative format. For my doctoral research, I first conducted a qualitative study which explored the usage of a successful asynchronous audio technology called Podcasts through semi-structured interviews. Results pointed to the characteristics that made podcasts suitable for supporting people’s ability to be alone yet still feel like they were connected to others. Second, I designed and built an asynchronous media sharing web application called Mimo that allowed family members to capture and share moments with each other using audio narratives as a way to connect together. I conducted a study of Mimo and found value of connecting family members in a one-to-one, private fashion and how personalization was necessary in such system. Third, I conducted an iterative design process for a system called FamilyStories that contained three different computational artifacts which allowed family members to share activities and experiences over distance in different time zones. The three technology probes connected family members through sharing asynchronous audio messages with different playback features specific to each of the devices. I evaluated the usage of FamilyStories with a five-week field deployment with four participants. The methods used includes semi-structured interviews, diaries, and data logs for data collection. Results showed the value of slow, flexible, and non-suggestive interfaces for asynchronous audio communication. Overall, my work illustrates the importance of delayed communication; ephemerality being helpful in expressing emotions; the specialness of dedicated in-home devices; and, how time delayed messages can ‘synchronize’ time zones in asynchronous audio communication. This work holds value in exploring design features that have potential to be beneficial for family communication across different time zones.

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

Adapting international freshwater agreements for fish conservation

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-12-06
Abstract: 

International freshwater treaties govern the cooperative use of waters in the world’s major shared river basins but have a poor track record when it comes to species protection. Covering over forty percent of the earth’s land surface, shared basins are highly relevant to biodiversity conservation efforts with most water treaties directly affecting species and their habitats in some way. Using the Columbia River Treaty and the river basin it governs as a case study, I focus on understanding barriers to the inclusion of species conservation in the formulation and implementation of these agreements. An opening chapter illustrates the absence of, or ambiguity regarding, species conservation in the formal texts of the global collection of agreements and describes four contributing barriers: a) complexity avoidance, b) undervalued species, c) poorly understood trade-offs, and d) institutional norms. In the second chapter, I focus on b) using a welfare economics approach to assess the capacity of the Columbia River to provide four ecosystem services derived from salmon. The approach illustrates how non-zero estimates of economic value for a species can be developed in a transboundary river basin. In Chapter 3, I focus on c) by applying multi-attribute utility optimization across salmon conservation, hydropower production, and agricultural irrigation to forecast optimal flows in the Hanford Reach segment of the Columbia River. This chapter shows how, in a simulated environment, optimization can be used to explore alternative transboundary water sharing strategies that balance trade-offs across multiple values. In Chapter 4, I focus on d) using a method called incident analysis to examine a prior conflict between Canada and the US over US efforts to conserve an endangered species of sturgeon. This study provides insights regarding the Columbia River Treaty’s adaptive capacity to respond to evolving species conservation needs.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Murray Rutherford
Department: 
Environment: School of Resource and Environmental Management
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Battle of the Sexes? How the riding-level gender context shapes toxic campaigning

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-04-14
Abstract: 

The 2019 Canadian Federal Election saw no shortage of toxic and attack-style campaign communications. Much of this took place on Twitter, which has grown in popularity amongst both candidates and the public since 2015. Examining the tweets of every candidate in the election from the LPC, CPC, NDP, GPC, and PPC, this study seeks to understand which candidates are most likely to send out toxic tweets. I find that within parties, women are almost always more likely than men to send out toxic tweets. Most importantly, I find that the representation of women within ridings is key to understanding candidate toxicity online. On the one hand, women are more likely to be toxic than men in ridings dominated by men while on the other hand, the opposite is true for men: they are more likely to send out a toxic tweet than women in ridings where women constitute the majority.

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

Witnessing a mosaic emerge: The phenomenon of transformative learning within a professional master's degree program

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-04-08
Abstract: 

Personal and professional growth experienced by adult learners has been explored by education researchers for decades. Now in a second wave of theory development, transformational learning research has broadened from its earlier focus on cognitive and rational processes, to explore methods that promote and acknowledge a more holistic view of learning processes and an enhanced range of expressed and demonstrated outcomes that reflect multi-dimensions of transformative growth. What is not currently well documented in the research literature is evidence of sustained changes to personal and/or professional ways of being in the world arising from graduate level professional education programs. Unstructured phenomenological interviews were conducted with 20 alumni of a Master of Education in Educational Practice program (M.Ed. EP) 16-20 months post-graduation. Conversations focused on what the M.Ed. meant to them personally and professionally, experiences of sustained growth, as well as meaningful processes that facilitated and supported their expressed changes. Through phenomenological reduction, a common essence of the experience emerged which highlighted the role of the learning community and a variety of learning activities that were meaningful for the alumni’s change processes. A range of personal and professional outcomes were expressed as either transformative in nature, or professionally grounding, validating, and affirming in terms of professional identity and praxis. In this thesis, the phenomenon of the M.Ed. EP experience is presented as a narrative utilizing phenomenological reductions as exemplars to the nuanced experiences. Potentially adding to the second wave of transformative learning research, it is proposed that these varied accounts may all be expressions of transformative learning when applying a broader interpretive lens that includes professional praxis and professional identity changes as evidence of transformation. Collectively these 20 individual experiences, interpreted as nuanced accounts, act as pieces of a mosaic converging to provide a contextualized vision of transformative learning in the professional practice master’s degree. Findings may support faculty and educational designers who wish to facilitate transformative outcomes for their students.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Cher Hill
David Kaufan
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

The understated power of reading contemporary Indigenous literature in Canada, a white supremacist nation

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-04-23
Abstract: 

This thesis offers a textual analysis of three contemporary novels by Indigenous writers in Canada – Tracey Lindberg’s (2015) Birdie, Katherena Vermette’s (2016a) The Break, and Eden Robinson’s (2017a) Son of a Trickster. Informed by critical Whiteness studies, scholarship on settler colonialism, and reader response theory, I argue how contemporary Indigenous literature facilitates the social and political transformation decolonization requires. When approached with prior knowledge about past and ongoing colonialism, the stories written by today’s Indigenous authors disrupt the settler national myths that normalizes White supremacy in Canada, and demands introspection on how settlers perpetuate colonial violence against First Peoples. Their stories extend possibilities for transformative learning by re-centering Indigenous epistemologies and ontologies, and by reframing kindness, reciprocity, and kinship as human obligations. In creating space for us to imagine existing beyond the limitations set by the racial settler state, these stories can instigate shifts in cultural perceptions and power relations in real ways. These stories also hold implications for meaningful and constructive human rights-based social justice practices, by reshaping knowledge on antiracism and decolonization outside dominant frameworks that assume the colonial state’s legitimacy and permanence.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Dolores van der Wey
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Community participation in protected areas in Iran, Afghanistan, and India

Date created: 
2020-04-22
Abstract: 

Community participation has become an essential part of protected area (PA) management worldwide. This thesis contributes suggestions for improving conservation effectiveness and efficiency by boosting responsible local community participation in PA management. I studied Sabzkouh PA in Iran, Shah Foladi PA in Afghanistan, and Bhitarkanika National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary in India to examine: (1) what factors affect community participation in PAs in developing countries? (2) what roles can state governments and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) play to support community participation? (3) how can application of equity criteria improve PA management? My studies, conducted between 2009 and 2018, combined document reviews with personal observations, participatory rural appraisal workshops, and open-ended interviews with local community members, state government staff, NGO representatives, and researchers. The result is a suite of recommendations and cautions for conservation practitioners seeking to improve PA management through collaborations with local communities. Respecting local communities’ knowledge, norms, and livelihoods surfaced as important components for building relationships and trust between the local communities and the state governments. Building trust and capacities is contingent on satisfying essential community needs and on transparent, fair, and collaborative PA management planning and implementation. Community based natural resources management projects can share the benefits and reduce the burdens of conservation for the communities while building the capacity of local communities to participate in PA management. Senses of equity and justice arise from deliberate collaboration and information sharing between the state government and local communities. Promoting shared governance, including the use of multi-stakeholder management committees, is an apt tool for decision-making that represents the full range of local community constituents, interests, and preferences. National and international NGOs can facilitate relationships between the state and local communities, provide funding, and fill gaps in management and technical capacities. Community participation in PA management and governance is a process that requires ongoing dialogue and trust among the stakeholders.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
John R. Welch
Department: 
Environment: School of Resource and Environmental Management
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Valleytronics of quantum dots of topological materials

Date created: 
2020-04-08
Abstract: 

The local minima (maxima) in the conduction (valence) band of crystalline materials are referred to as valleys. Similar to the role of spin in spintronics, the manipulation of the electron's valley degree of freedom may lead to technological applications of the new field of research called valleytronics. Those crystalline solids that have two or more degenerate but well separated valleys in their band structure are considered to be potential valleytronic systems. This thesis presents a theoretical investigation of the valley degree of freedom of electrons in quantum dots of two-dimensional topological materials such as monolayer and bilayer graphene and monolayer bismuthene on SiC. To this end, a method for the calculation of the valley polarization of electrons induced by the electric current flowing through nanostructures was developed in this thesis. The method is based on a projection technique applied to states calculated by solving the Lippmann-Schwinger equation within Landauer-Büttiker theory. Applying the proposed method, this thesis addresses several valleytronic problems of current interest, including: the valley currents, valley polarization, and non-local resistances of four-terminal bilayer graphene quantum dots in the insulating regime, a valley filtering mechanism in monolayer graphene quantum dots decorated by double lines of hydrogen atoms, and the valley polarization of the edge and bulk states in quantum dots of monolayer bismuthene on SiC, a candidate for a high-temperature two-dimensional topological insulator.

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

Edgelands

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-11-14
Abstract: 

In a time of ecological collapse, Edgelands (2019) considers the potentialities of making, speaking, mourning, caring, and growing with beings and forces that are other-than-human. Moving between soil communities on the Northwestern coasts of Scotland and Canada, my research focuses on the life-ways of plants and the vegetative microorganism mycelium indigenous to these regions to ground my interdisciplinary and collaborative enquiries. This research has been concerned with the ways in which practices of human and nonhuman making and care might meet. Combining human-nonhuman weavings, a soundscape and series of care-taking gestures, Edgelands is a performative installation that asks, how can multispecies alliances engage an ethics of care? As rhythms of human and nonhuman construction enfold, so too do landscapes, weaving together care practices within and across species, lands and timescapes.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Edgelands - Songs for the Edges by Amy Wilson
Senior supervisor: 
Claudette Lauzon
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School for the Contemporary Arts
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.F.A.

Thermal performance of heat and water recovery systems: Role of condensing heat exchanger material

Date created: 
2019-09-11
Abstract: 

There is enormous potential for recovering a significant amount of latent heat at temperatures below 100°C from flue gas of combustion-based heating systems due to the presence of water vapor in their exhaust streams. However, condensation of acids along with water vapor in heat and water recovery systems makes a highly corrosive environment, which is a major challenge and a determining factor in selecting suitable materials for condensing heat exchangers. Despite the low cost and great corrosion-resistant properties of plastics, their relatively low thermal conductivities are not ideal for thermal management systems. it is still uncertain how significantly increasing thermal conductivity of the heat exchanger’s material affects thermal performance of the heat recovery systems. The present study aims to shed light on the effect of the thermal conductivity of a condensing heat exchanger’s material on the thermal performance of the unit. For this purpose, an analytical model is developed to predict the thermal performance of condensing heat exchangers, designed for recovering heat and water from wet flue gas. Further, to validate the model, a custom-designed condensing heat exchanger with replaceable tubes is designed in our lab and tested with 304 stainless-steel tubes and FEP plastic tubes under different inlet conditions. For the range of inlet conditions considered in this study, results show that there is a threshold for the thermal conductivity of the material, at which increasing the conductivity any further does not affect the condensation efficiency notably. It is worthy of note that this threshold, with respect to thermal conductivity of commonly used materials for such heat exchangers, has relatively low magnitude (e.g.~10-15 W"∙" m-1"∙" K-1 for stainless steel). This finding is significantly important as it unlocks the potential of using materials such as plastics and polymers with thermally conductive additives for latent heat recovery from flue gas.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Majid Bahrami
Department: 
Applied Sciences: School of Mechatronic Systems Engineering
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.Sc.

Choosing “Hell”: Family migrants from Shandong and Manchukuo’s food rationing system in Harbin, 1942-1944

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-04-17
Abstract: 

This study examines the relationship between migrations from Shandong between 1942 and 1944 and Manchukuo’s food rationing system and the impact of rationing on the everyday life of migrants after their settlement in Harbin, the regional centre of North Manchukuo. Although Manchukuo’s food rationing policies discriminated against Chinese residents by providing them with inferior grains in insufficient quantities, they were nonetheless an impetus rather than an obstacle to migration from Shandong, especially to those who had family and relatives living in Manchukuo. After settling in Harbin, migrants still faced issues related to food because the Manchukuo government revised its food policies and reduced quotas. Moreover, they also faced urban population evacuations and vagrant sweeping campaigns designed to serve the needs of the Japanese empire. Therefore, migrants living in Harbin either purchased grain illegally or left the city as strategies for coping with Manchukuo policies that were unfavourable to them. Employing such theoretical frameworks as “extraordinary everydayness” and a grassroots approach and drawing from oral interviews conducted in Harbin, this project emphasizes the interaction between the state (Manchukuo) and commoners (Shandong migrants). It also emphasizes how Shandong migrants perceived and reacted to Japanese dominion in Manchuria, with a particular focus on the coping strategies they employed to maximize their chances of survival. This thesis argues that although Shandong migrants faced ethnically discriminatory wartime food policies in Manchukuo, they developed different strategies to ensure their survival after settlement, and many migrated voluntarily rather than as a result of Japan’s forced labour policy.

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