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.

Indigenous community preferences for food and ceremonial fishery outcomes: Quantifying the importance of harvestable biomass and spatial distribution via a discrete choice experiment

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-12-17
Abstract: 

Fisheries are inherently complex, with important interactions among biological dynamics, the environment, and the socio-economic systems in which they are embedded. Managing fisheries for both short- and long-term sustainability requires taking a management-oriented paradigm focused on meeting goals and objectives that are important and acceptable to all fisheries participants. Indigenous communities regularly feel that they are under-represented in fisheries decision-making, and that their cultural and livelihood objectives are ignored. Governments want to integrate Indigenous criteria into their definition of fisheries management success, but to date there is a lack of tools and processes to help Indigenous communities quantify their objectives in a way that can effectively inform the DFO process. Using a case study on the West Coast of Vancouver Island (WCVI), this project examines how a simple survey with a discrete choice experiment (DCE) can be used to help quantify Indigenous objectives. I worked with the Nuu-chah-nulth Indigenous community to design and implement a DCE to determine their preferences for the outcomes of a food and ceremonial fishery. The DCE provided quantitative information to show positive preferences for increased layers of spawn on bough and quality of spawning area, and negative preferences for increasing number of spawning areas and increasing travel time. Additionally, we found evidence of a shifting preference baseline in the Nuu-chah-nulth community, highlighting a loss of traditional Nuu-chah-nulth knowledge caused by low herring abundances along the WCVI. DCE results are supported by qualitative comments from the Nuu-chah-nulth community, making us confident that the DCE was able to effectively represent community preferences. Overall, we found that DCE’s can help Indigenous communities translate their general fishery goals into specific measureable objectives, allowing their goals and values to be better represented and included in fisheries management decision-making.

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

Learning and its discontents: Three theories of study and the figure of the studier

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-12-14
Abstract: 

This thesis discusses alternatives to educational discourses that promote educational growth, self-actualization and the accumulation of knowledge that is observable and measurable. These learning discourses are evident in talking about the people we teach as learners, to schools as places of learning, to teachers as facilitators and to the curriculum as learning outcomes. The logic of learning has permeated educational discourses and placed emphasis on treating education as the means for students to develop skills in order to compete in the global market, which has led to impoverished perspectives on both education and the people we teach. In this thesis, I will argue that it is necessary to re-think the learning discourses and to discuss alternative educational experiences. I will refer to this kind of educational experience as study that unfolds without predetermined outcomes. It is necessary to make space and time for study in education because study is an educational experience that needs to be supported for its own sake. First, I will describe study as the experience of the human subject’s (im)potentiality whose function is to suspend the neoliberal logic in education that insists on the actualization of one’s potential in the name of generating more capital. Second, I will argue that the literature on study in education so far has not properly acknowledged study as a form of practice. So I will highlight another function of study as a practice of thinking. Next, I will develop a new theory of study as an educational experience that can shift the way we perceive the world and open new possibilities for being in the world. I will conclude this chapter with a call for a ‘new universality’ in education that acknowledges study as a legitimate form of education rather than as a waste of time and potential. Finally, I will discuss what can be done under the assumption that the people we teach are neither learners nor students but are rather studiers. Studiers are the human subjects of education who resist any classification and suspend the notion that we are willful human subjects always oriented towards action and the production of speech.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Charles Bingham
Roumiana Ilieva
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Weather Pattern #6 The Funeral Pageant

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-10-02
Abstract: 

Weather Pattern #6: The Funeral Pageant was an outdoor, public procession that considered community and ecology as collaborators while contemplating themes of mortality and transformation. Taking place over a distance of 10.5 kilometres across Vancouver and Burnaby, the project was a carnivalesque procession that included large-scale puppets, kites, aeolian harps, and lanterns. Travelling through residential, industrial and forested areas, the procession involved a series of participatory events, all based around the journey of a ten foot tall puppet of a human figure as it walked into night. The procession ended in the dark of night with the puppet, whose body was disintegrating from the rain, being destroyed in a feast of noise, red wine and revelry.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
etd20005--ian-mcfarlane-Weather_pattern6_final_cuth264.mp4
Senior supervisor: 
Nicole Lewis
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School for the Contemporary Arts
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.F.A.

Essays on occupation-specific human capital investment and occupational mobility

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-12-05
Abstract: 

My thesis focuses on occupation-specific human capital investment and occupational mobility. The first chapter of my thesis investigates gender disparities in early-career wage returns to firm tenure, occupational tenure, industry tenure, and general labor market experience. I show that the relative importance of various types of tenure differs across genders: occupational tenure matters more than industry tenure in men’s wages, while industry tenure matters more than occupational tenure for women. Averaging across all occupations, early-career wage growth associated with occupational tenure is substantially higher for men than women. I then explore the underlying reasons for gender disparities in wage growth with occupational tenure. I show that gender differences in hours of work and occupational choice partially explain the gender gap in tenure returns, but I find no evidence that gender differences in human capital investment in education prior to labor market entry contribute to the gap. Given the evidence that occupational changes tend to improve occupational match quality, the observed higher occupational mobility of men relative to women may also explain the gender gap in wage growth with occupational tenure. The second chapter examines whether negative housing equity affects homeowners’ occupational mobility. Homeowners with negative equity face stricter constraints and relatively higher occupational mobility cost than renters and homeowners who are not “underwater" which might potentially limit their ability to change occupations. I don’t find any strong evidence that negative equity affects homeowners’ occupational mobility in either recourse or non-recourse states. The third chapter examines the extent to which shifts in occupational structure explain the upward trend in occupational mobility during the period of 1968-1997. I find that shifts in occupational composition can partially explain the rising occupational mobility trend for less educated young workers and more educated workers. An approximate 10-20% reduction in the estimated mobility trend when occupation is controlled for implies that occupational composition generally shifted to less stable occupations. In addition, when negative occupational employment shocks are controlled for, workers in most age-education subgroups exhibit higher increases in occupational mobility.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Simon Woodcock
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Economics
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Global health crises and international cooperation: A comparative framing analysis of narratives told during cholera outbreaks in 1851 and 2017

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-12-10
Abstract: 

This thesis explores the following questions: can global health crises provide effective opportunities for international cooperation? More specifically, what is the relationship between how a crisis is framed, and policy responses? To answer these questions, this thesis conducted a comparative case study and framing analysis of narratives told during two cholera outbreaks: the 1829 second cholera pandemic; and 2017 cholera outbreak in Yemen. This entailed analyzing proceedings of the 1851 International Sanitary Conference, 2017 Security Council meeting records, and Global Task Force for Cholera Control documents. Documents were analysed using two techniques: (1) narrative analysis to identify narratives constructed around the two cases; and (2) framing analysis to identify which global health frames actors used in narratives. This thesis argues that health crises can provide opportunities for cooperation, if cooperation is framed as a global public good and if actors refer to existing norms and laws governing state behaviour.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Nicole Berry
Department: 
Arts and Social Sciences: School for International Studies
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Interacting with design alternatives: Towards new tasks and tools

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-11-28
Abstract: 

Designers work with and through multiple design alternatives. Despite this well-known fact, current computer-aided systems force designers to work with one design at a time, in what has come to be known as the single-state paradigm. Consequently, designers employ various ad hoc and limited workarounds to support their normal and preferred practice. In recent years several research projects have developed concepts and systems to support working with multiple design alternatives. I conducted a user study with an existing alternatives-enabled system, namely the “Design Gallery System” (Mohiuddin et al., 2017), which revealed patterns of use, barriers and usability issues of the system. This helped me to improve the structure of the Gallery System, designing new interactions to support users’ needs and barriers presented by the existing system. Based on the first study and a basic object design comprising alternatives and collections, I designed and led the implementation of a new alternatives enabled system: Design Gallery II. A qualitative study of the new system reveals several patterns of use that show ways designers use and might use an alternatives-enabled system. These patterns of use help us: (a) understand design guidelines and principles for building and evaluating an alternatives-enabled system; (b) find the features an alternatives-enabled system needs for supporting design tasks; (c) extract and compare design patterns and designers’ search behaviour using such systems. A no-comparison creativity support index evaluation (score 89.26/100 (SD=10.43)) provides additional ideas for future system design.

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

Acoustic cues used by learners of English

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-12-03
Abstract: 

Second language learners must acquire the ability to use word boundary cues to segment continuous speech into meaningful words. Previous studies have used two types of s+stop clusters to test second language English speakers on their ability to segment fluent English speech: cross-boundary clusters (this table) where allophonic aspiration is present and word-initial clusters (this stable) where allophonic aspiration is absent. These studies suggested that first language segmentation strategies influence second language segmentation. The goal of this study was to test real-time processing of these cluster types by second language learners from one language where cue adaptation was possible (Mandarin Chinese) and one where a new cue would have to be learned (French). Results did not support the idea that first language segmentation strategies influence second language segmentation, but found that both language groups had high accuracy of identification despite showing uncertainty in real-time processing.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Ashley Farris-Trimble
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Linguistics
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Public willingness to pay for improvements in ecosystem services and landowner willingness to accept for wetlands conservation: An assessment of benefit transfer validity and reliability using choice experiments in several Canadian watersheds

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-12-07
Abstract: 

Benefit-cost analyses are often used to evaluate the economic efficiency of proposed policies or projects. Such analyses require analysts to estimate the benefits and costs in monetary terms of any changes related to the policy being analyzed, including to the environment (e.g., changes in water or air quality). However, estimating these monetary values can be difficult since prices are often not available due to market failure. As such, several non-market valuation techniques have been developed for use in assessing these monetary values, including original research techniques, such as choice experiments, and benefit transfer which applies existing non-market values estimated using original research techniques to other contexts (e.g., locations). Several studies have evaluated the validity and reliability of benefit transfer in a variety of contexts. In this thesis, I contribute to this literature by assessing transfers in contexts not yet evaluated. In doing so, I use choice experiments to investigate landowner preferences for wetlands conservation in two Ontario watersheds and elicit the general public’s willingness to pay values for changes in ecosystem services in four Canadian watersheds. This research resulted in four papers. The first paper, motivated by the loss of wetlands in Southern Ontario, involves assessing the preferences and willingness to accept (WTA) of farm and non-farm landowners for enrolling their land in wetlands conservation programs. Though preferences and values are heterogeneous, many landowners are willing to enrol and at moderate cost. Using data from this paper, in the second and third papers I evaluate the validity and reliability of transfers of WTA and predicted program participation market shares, respectively. Results suggest that transfers of WTA are similarly valid and reliable to transfers of willingness to pay, while transfers of predicted participation market shares are considerably more valid and reliable than a parallel assessment of transfers of WTA. Finally, using data from the general public survey I evaluate alternatives for reconciling quantitative choice experiment attributes with differing levels for benefit transfer. A key finding of this research is that transfers rooted in “relative” preferences are more valid and reliable than transfers rooted in “absolute” preferences.

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

Cooperation in target benefit plans: A game theoretical perspective

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-12-12
Abstract: 

Many occupational pension plans rely on intergenerational cooperation to deliver stable retirement benefits; however, this cooperation has natural limits and exceeding these limits can threaten the sustainability of the plan. In this project, we cast the problem of intergenerational cooperation within funded pension plans in a game theoretic framework that incorporates overlapping generations and uncertainty in the cost of cooperation. Employing the concept of a subgame perfect equilibrium, we determine the threshold above which cooperation should not be enforced. Using two different processes for the stochastic cost of cooperation, we illustrate the combination of parameters that allow for the existence of a reasonable threshold, and study how the level of prefunding and the stochastic process parameters affect both the threshold and the probability of sanctioned non-cooperation.

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

Alignment-free clustering and error correction of UMI tagged DNA molecules

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-12-07
Abstract: 

The use of circulating tumour DNA (ctDNA) in cancer oncogenomics has the potential for rapid and non-invasive monitoring of patient-specific tumour progression. However, detection of low allele frequency variations in ctDNA raises many challenges, including the handling of sequencing errors. Tagging of DNA molecules with Unique Molecular Identifiers (UMI) attempts to mitigate sequencing errors; UMI tagged molecules are PCR amplified then sequenced independently. Analyzing UMI tagged sequencing data requires clustering reads originating from the same molecule then error-correcting sequencing errors in these clusters. Sizes of the current datasets require this process to be resource-efficient. To address this problem, we introduce Calib, a computational tool that clusters and error-corrects UMI tagged sequencing data. Calib is efficient and its parameters have been optimized to different dataset setups. On simulated datasets, Calib is highly accurate. On a real dataset, Calib results in significantly reduced false positive rates in downstream variation calling.

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