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.

Effectiveness of mobile virtual reality as a means for pain distraction

Date created: 
2016-12-06
Abstract: 

Immersive Virtual Reality (VR) has been shown to work as a non-pharmacological analgesic by enabling cognitive distraction in acute pain patients, including burn patients, dental patients, and chemotherapy patients. However, little research literature exists on the effectiveness of VR for chronic pain patients who suffer from longer-term pain. This thesis aims at contributing to this research gap regarding VR and chronic pain by examining the viability of Cardboard VR– a Mobile VR device. We have conducted two research studies to understand the effectiveness of Cardboard VR in the management of pain. First, we studied how Cardboard affords immersion and its underlying factors compared to a high-end traditional head-mounted display (HMD) – the Oculus Rift DK2, and, the results showed a lot of promise because the difference between the two HMDs was not significant. Next, we conducted a randomized crossover study in a clinical setting with thirty chronic pain patients to understand Cardboard’s effectiveness in pain distraction. We asked the patients to play a VR game on both Cardboard and Oculus Rift. The study results showed that Cardboard VR, coupled with a smartphone, is capable of reducing the patients’ perceived pain intensity significantly compared to the control (pre-VR) condition. However, despite the early findings from the previous studies, Oculus Rift was found to be considerably more effective with pain patients than both the Cardboard and the control condition. The results of this study encourage future research inquiries of Mobile VR in the management of chronic pain. Mobile VR, because of its affordability and ease of use, shows the potential to become an effective tool for pain management for the patients.

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

Growth and Characterization of Lead Zirconate-Titanate (PbZr1-xTixO3)-Based Novel Piezo-/Ferroelectric Single Crystals

Author: 
Date created: 
2016-04-18
Abstract: 

Piezo-/ferroelectric materials form an important class of functional materials that can transduce mechanical energy to electrical energy and vice versa. PbZr1-xTixO3 (PZT) ceramics are the most extensively used piezoelectric materials owing to their good piezoelectric and electromechanical properties near the morphotropic phase boundary (MPB). However, the microstructures of this class of materials and the atomistic phenomena that cause the outstanding performance have not been thoroughly understood yet. Therefore, it is of particular interest to grow single crystals of PZT, which are not only necessary for thorough characterization of the anisotropic properties of this system, but also are expected to exhibit superior piezo-/ferroelectric performance over their ceramic counterparts. In this work, PZT single crystals with compositions of x = 0.54 and 0.45 were grown successfully by a top-seeded solution growth (TSSG) method, and characterized by X-ray diffraction, polarized light microscopy (PLM), piezoresponse force microscopy (PFM), and dielectric, ferroelectric, and piezoelectric measurements. On the other hand, given that PZT ceramics used in industry are always chemically modified to obtain desired and enhanced properties for specific applications, we extended our work to grow donor (La3+ and Bi3+)- and acceptor (Mg2+ and Mn2+)-doped PZT single crystals and to investigate the effects of the doping on the structure and properties. The compositions and homogeneity of the as-grown doped PZT single crystals were investigated by laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) and energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS). The dielectric, ferroelectric and piezoelectric properties of these single crystals were investigated. These very first set of data on doped PZT single crystals not only provide a better understanding of structure-property relationship of PZT-based single crystals and their doping mechanisms, but also points to the possible applications of doped PZT single crystals as a new high-TC, high-performance piezo-/ferroelectric material. Moreover, there have been pressing demands for lead-free or lead-reduced replacement materials because of the environment concerns arising from the potential toxicity of the lead in high-performance piezo-/ferroelectric material such as PZT. In our search for high-temperature, lead-reduced piezoelectric materials, novel ferroelectric single crystals of complex perovskite ternary solid solution Bi(Zn0.5Ti0.5)O3-PbZrO3-PbTiO3 (BZT-PZ-PT) have been grown for the first time. The structure and properties of these crytals suggest that the BZT-PZ-PT ternary single crystals constitute a new family of high-TC ferroelectric materials, which are promising for various applications such as high-power electromechanical transducers that can operate in a wide temperature range.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Zuo-Guang Ye
Department: 
Science: Department of Chemistry
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

20 Year Media’s reel change: Building a startup’s content strategy from social data intelligence

Date created: 
2017-03-14
Abstract: 

The film distribution chain has changed drastically in the past ten years. With the meteoric rise of home streaming services like Netflix, HBO Go and Amazon Prime, people are changing the ways they engage with movies. They prefer to consume films at home (at a reduced or no cost) through personal devices rather than regularly patronizing theatres and enjoying the cinema experience. Vancouver startup 20 Year Media aimed to address this pressing issue by developing technologies that could aggregate film demand and deliver these insights to theatres so that they could program their screens and market their events more effectively. The idea is that this demand-driven model would resuscitate ticket sales and “make movies social again.” This report outlines my contributions to 20 Year Media as their Marketing Intern and later on, Content Specialist, from May 2014 to April 2015. It will present how I was able to establish and engage both moviegoer and exhibitor audiences for the innovative company with my flexible promotional content strategy. It will describe how I was able to consolidate marketing, public relations and community management roles with a focused and resourceful content plan and ongoing audience research.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
John Maxwell
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: Publishing Program
Thesis type: 
(Project Report) M.Pub.

The sexual violence against marginalized victims: An offender-based approach

Date created: 
2017-03-08
Abstract: 

Research shows that sex trade workers and homeless populations are at a high risk of severe violence and homicide. Based on a sample of 229 violent sex offenders, the first study investigates differences between sexual crimes committed against marginalized (N = 73) and non-marginalized victims (N = 156). Findings from logistic regression analyses show that offenders who target marginalized victims are more likely to degrade their victim and use a variety of torture methods. Secondly, prior literature has focused on these offenders as constituting a homogeneous group. Based on a sample of 213 sex offenders who targeted marginalized individuals, we investigate the different pathways that these offenders take both prior to and during the commission of their crimes. Results of two-step cluster analysis regarding the offender’s development, criminal history, crime context and modus operandi revealed three distinct pathways of the offending process. Implications for future research are discussed.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Eric Beauregard
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Criminology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Vancouver’s renewable city strategy: Economic and policy analysis

Date created: 
2017-02-22
Abstract: 

Vancouver’s Renewable City Strategy aims for 100% renewable energy and lower greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. To see if Vancouver’s policies will achieve this, I used the CIMS energy-economy model to evaluate the impact of potential policies. I simulated Vancouver’s energy use and greenhouse gas emissions under different policy scenarios: (1) current policy, (2) renewable city scenario-specific policies Vancouver has proposed, and (3) additional policies focusing on fuel switching. My results show that fossil fuel use and emissions increase relative to 2015 under current policy by about 10%. The renewable city scenario policies decrease fossil fuel use and emissions by 30% and 25% respectively, but fail to meet Vancouver’s targets. Only additional stringent policies reduce fossil fuel use and emissions to near zero, thereby meeting the targets. These result show that to meet its targets, Vancouver must implement policies that specifically focus on fuel switching in buildings and vehicles.

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

White Euro-Canadian women in transracial/cultural families: Lived experiences of race and difference

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

How do we come to know difference? How do we transform our conceptualizations of difference? This qualitative research study explores the experiences and practices of white Euro-Canadian women in transracial/cultural families with black African new immigrant partners in the Canadian socio-political context. Drawing on critical race feminisms, critical whiteness studies, and antiracism theory, I analyze the interlocking subjectivities of these women in relation to histories of colonialism and nation-building (Carter, 1997; Razack, 2002; Thobani, 2010; Ware, 1992). I examine how the women conceptualize, negotiate, reproduce, and resist dominant ideologies of difference in their lives. I complicate the construct of white femininity, and posit that white women have a distinct responsibility to resist and disrupt white supremacy, and that they can play a key role in doing so (Deliovsky, 2003; Moon, 1999; Najmi & Srikanth, 2002). I consider how white women in transracial/cultural families can be imagined as agentive actors, who can be part of broader social and political change through literacy practices they perform in the everyday learning spaces of their lives (Collins, 2000; Frankenberg, 1993; hooks, 1990, 1992; Twine, 2010). Throughout the study, I problematize the nature of multiculturalism, the notion of ‘culture,’ the construct of whiteness, and dominant conceptions of ‘Africa’ and ‘Africans’ in Canadian and postcolonial African contexts (Dei, 1996; Fleras, 2014; Frankenberg, 1993; Mayer, 2002; Walcott, 1997). I posit that through their transgressions across multiple forms of difference, transracial/cultural families come to occupy spaces of ‘inbetweenness,’ in which new ways of knowing and being in the world are possible (Brah, 1996; Luke & Luke, 1998). I assess how these women and their families can help us reimagine constructions of difference, which I argue is imperative for the future of diverse western societies, as tensions increase regarding how to "manage diversity" (Essed, 2007; Steyn, 2015; Vertovec, 2015). I seek to contribute to the limited scholarship on white women in multiracial families, and to add to antiracism theory and critical whiteness studies by shedding light on issues of race and antiracism in the home and community.

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

The impact of viral infections on neurocognitive functioning in the context of multiple risk factors: Associations with health care utilization

Date created: 
2017-01-30
Abstract: 

Marginally housed persons experience several risk factors for neurocognitive impairment, including viral infections, psychiatric illness, and substance use. Although interventions exist, marginalized persons often obtain inadequate health services, based upon personal and structural barriers. In study one, we employed structural equation modeling to assess determinants of neurocognition (i.e., viral infections, psychiatric symptoms), predicting that any impairment would impede healthcare access. Our findings revealed that greater exposure to viral infections and more severe psychiatric symptoms were similarly associated with poorer neurocognition. Additionally, more frequent opioid use/less frequent alcohol and marijuana use was associated with better neurocognition. Only viral infections directly predicted healthcare use, an association that was positive despite the negative impact viral infections held with neurocognition. In study two, we assessed whether spontaneous clearance of Hepatitis C (HCV) is associated with reversal of neurocognitive impairments by comparing three groups: cleared-HCV, active-HCV, and no exposure to HCV. Our findings did not confirm improved neurocognition with HCV clearance, nor did we find any differences between groups exposed to HCV versus those never exposed to the virus after controlling for the effects of Hepatitis B (HBV). Nevertheless, our findings revealed that HCV conveys adverse health in marginalized persons (i.e., HCV exposure is associated with increased rates of HIV, liver dysfunction, etc.). Overall, these findings confirm the detrimental impact of viral infections on neurocognition in marginalized persons. Moreover, although neurocognition did not emerge as a personal barrier to accessing care in marginalized settings, structural level barriers may be operating. Specifically, our results point to a system where health care is selectively utilized and may not be targeted towards all persons, such as those experiencing elevated psychiatric symptoms.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Allen Thornton
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Psychology
Thesis type: 
(Dissertation) Ph.D.

An alternative social imaginary for internationalization in universities

Date created: 
2017-01-09
Abstract: 

The purpose of this study is to make recommendations for the practice of internationalization at public research institutions. Responding to the calls to challenge the meaning and intentions of internationalization in higher education, this is a conceptual inquiry into internationalization, relying upon public documents revealing the history, practices, and policies as well as the literature, to investigate how a public research institution in Canada has understood and experienced internationalization and to imagine an ethical and educative implementation of internationalization in the future. This inquiry found a disconnect between some of the practical policies of the institution and government, and the voice of the institutional leader and the students. This difference was reflective of the social imaginary operating behind the policies and actions. The voices of the leader and the students almost exclusively operated from the more collaborative and communicative imaginary. This exploration into the discourse of internationalization has led me to believe that rather than being a mechanism for coping with globalization, internationalization offers individuals and institutions the opportunity for required growth and development. Internationalization is a policy position that can result in practices that inspire an ethic of interconnected problem solving, individual identity development, and an ethos of care in institutions. I argue that without an approach to internationalization that promotes a social imaginary of collaboration and networked institutions, characterized by global citizenship and intercultural learning, universities are at risk of succumbing to the forces of neoliberal policy directions, marketplace politics, and the tradition of status and rankings. This alternative social imaginary for internationalization––valuing a network of people and institutions in order to create conditions that serve, support, and inspire collaboration for learning, research, and change across the globe—will yield a new way of being for universities, one that results from our history and resonates with our contemporary purpose.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Peter Grimmett
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ed.D.

Reverberations of moral reform: The impact of the racialized construction of Vancouver’s Chinatown on the Vancouver Police Department, 1886-1907

Author: 
Date created: 
2016-12-15
Abstract: 

The quick succession of Vancouver’s first seven police chiefs between 1886-1907 is a unique example of how the construction of Vancouver’s Chinatown as a racial place had an effect on the Vancouver Police Department. Although claims of a purportedly vice ridden Chinatown were central to the turn of the twentieth century politicians and moral reformers’ desires to prevent inter-racial socialization, these claims had no immediate effect on Vancouver. Not until the reformers alleged the police department was corrupt and responsible for the apparently rampant gambling in Chinatown did they influence the department’s operation in Chinatown. This thesis looks at the process by which this rhetoric reinforced ideas about gambling in Chinatown and influenced the police department’s response to this problem. This process allowed moral reformers on Vancouver’s city council to consolidate their power over the VPD and force the VPD to rigorously police Chinatown. Although the reformers' influence on the VPD’s operations in Chinatown was not permanent, their efforts to characterize gambling as a distinctively "Chinese" vice facilitated their efforts to police social interaction between Chinese and non-Chinese people, and aided in the construction of Chinatown as a racialized space.

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

Sialic acid metabolism in the opportunistic fungal pathogen, Aspergillus fumigatus

Author: 
Date created: 
2015-11-23
Abstract: 

My research investigated sialic acid metabolism in the opportunistic fungal pathogen, Aspergillus fumigatus. The sialic acid, N-acetylneuraminic acid (Neu5Ac), is a sugar found on fungal spore cell surface that mediates adhesion to host proteins and phagocytes. The aims of the thesis were to characterize a novel A. fumigatus exo-sialidase (AfS), and to clone and characterize putative A. fumigatus nucleotide sugar transporters (AfNSTs) to identify CMP-Neu5Ac or UDP-galactose transporters. The A. fumigatus sialidase gene was expressed in E. coli and crystallized; the crystal structure and Michaelis – Menten kinetic analysis revealed that the glycoside of another sialic acid, 2-keto-3-deoxynononic acid (KDN), was a better substrate for the enzyme than glycosides of Neu5Ac. This enzyme represents the first sialidase characterized from the Kingdom Fungi. To better understand why KDN is a better substrate for AfS than Neu5Ac, using the enzyme structure as a guide in conjunction with known sialidase structures, a point-mutation (R151L) was introduced in the substrate binding pocket to better accommodate glycans with terminal Neu5Ac. Activity of the R151L mutant was slightly enhanced toward Neu5Ac. Moreover, amino acid sequence comparisons revealed that this amino acid may be a hallmark of KDNases. In addition, I attempted to identify a CMP-sialic acid transporter in A. fumigatus, a type of nucleotide sugar transporter (NST). NSTs mediate nucleotide sugar transport into the endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi complex for subsequent addition to glycoproteins and glycolipids. STD-NMR analysis and 14C-transport assays were conducted to examine the substrate specificity of four putative A. fumigatus NSTs expressed in yeast. Two transporters (AfNST1 and AfNST5) bound UDP-glucose and UDP-galactose, and transported 14C-UDP-galactose. Epitope maps showed that the UDP-moiety anchored the nucleotide sugar and that sugar structure conferred specificity because not all UDP-sugars bound to the NSTs. No CMP-sialic acid transport was detected. Despite similarities in substrate preference between AfNST1 and AfNST5, growth and morphology of the corresponding knock-out mutants differed; only the Af∆NST5KO was compromised when grown on media containing cell wall stressors. Using lectins and flow cytometry, I found that the level of cell surface galactose was significantly reduced in both knockout strains as compared to the wild type; however, sialic acid density on conidia was significantly reduced only in the Af∆NST5KO mutant. This research demonstrates for the first time that NSTs are important for the integrity of the fungal cell and may represent novel targets for antifungal agents.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Margo Moore
Department: 
Science: Biological Sciences Department
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.