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.

Casting Pebbles in a Pond: A Study of Opinion Leader Training to Reduce Carbon Footprints in Social Networks

Date created: 
2018-01-25
Abstract: 

Although we know what actions are required to reduce our fossil fuel dependency, climate change campaigns have generally been unable to narrow the value-action gap between knowledge and political efficacy. The literature indicates that social justice organizations are well positioned to train opinion leaders to deliver climate change messaging to their social networks, however, little research has been conducted on whether this two-step model of communication is effective in climate change campaigns. I sought to address this gap through a case study of the pilot Climate Leadership Project run by the social justice organization Next Up. I explored and assessed the project's training of climate change ambassadors based on interviews with the project's director and participants. Among my conclusions is that such a movement may well be grounded in the most prosaic of actions: People talking with one another through their social networks, either one-on-one or in small groups; the realization of the paramount importance that emotions play in climate change campaigns; the significance of social norms as they relate to our response on climate change; how the two-step model of communication could improve the uptake of political efficacy; and the value of reframing climate change as a social justice issue.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Shane Gunster
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Communication
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Learning foreign languages at school: Experiences and representations of teenage plurilingual learners of ethnic Korean heritage in Northeast China

Date created: 
2018-01-29
Abstract: 

‘Plurilingualism’ is a common phenomenon and an essential part in the lives of many people, while increased globalization makes the learning of languages more important than ever. However, the integration of learners’ multi-/plurilingual resources into the formal education system is still frequently questioned. Addressing this gap, this study aimed to explore strategies for better supporting increased learner diversity in today’s dynamic classrooms characterized by an influx of highly ‘mobile’ learners. From an educational sociolinguistic perspective especially based on plurilingualism and plurilingual competence as the main conceptual lens, it examined the complex relations between learners’ languages, identities and sense of agency, looking into how a new generation of secondary school students in a minority interlink language learning, academic success and career advancement while navigating various geographical and symbolic transitions. Employing a qualitative ethnographic visual research methodology, this four-year longitudinal study documented experiences and perspectives of twenty-two plurilingual youths learning Japanese or English as their foreign language (and L3) in a public ethnic Korean minority nationality school in Northeast China. Data collection methods included participant observation, field notes, screenshots of virtual communication records, photographs of written artifacts, and interview excerpts. With an emphasis on the essential role of the ‘multi’ (-lingual, cultural, and literacy resources) on the participants’ learning experiences, this study argues that learning foreign language(s) at school is a process of experiencing multiple identities. The study showed the very sophisticated competence and complex plurilingual practices that participants engage in their daily practices in and out the classroom. Key findings of this research suggest that student participants were actively learning, navigating, and transforming. Learning foreign/multiple languages strongly affected their life trajectories in three main areas: (i) contributed to enhance their understanding of languages as assets in learning and navigating life transitions; (ii) helped their development of a more nuanced (plurilingual) competence, along with an increased level of ‘mobility’ between multiple (linguistic, cultural, physical and virtual) spaces; and (iii) motivated their active engagement in multiple identity practices. This study highlights the need for action to actively develop educational strategies that capitalize on the ‘multi’ so as to empower all students.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Danièle Moore
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Who wants zero-emissions vehicles and why? Assessing the Mainstream market potential in Canada using stated response methods

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-01-26
Abstract: 

Extensive deployment of zero-emissions vehicles (ZEVs) is likely essential for Canada to achieve its greenhouse gas reduction targets, including plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (HFCVs). To effectively promote ZEVs, it is critical to understand the factors that influence consumer interest in ZEVs. In this study, I surveyed 2,123 Canadians that intend to buy new vehicles to develop insights into “latent demand” among consumers, (that is, what demand would be if the ZEVs were fully available in the market), including ZEV-related preferences and possible underlying motivations for interest. Specifically, I analyze results from two stated response methods: design exercises and a stated choice experiment. First, the design exercises reveal that 21% of respondents are interested in ZEVs (a proxy for latent demand), where interest is primarily in PHEVs, followed by BEVs and HFCVs. ZEV-interested respondents tend to be younger and have higher education and income levels, and are also unique in measures of lifestyle engagement, values, and environmental concern. The design exercises also revealed that HFCV-interested respondents are distinct from PHEV- and BEV-interested respondents in their values and possible underlying motivations. Using data from the stated choice experiment, I estimated a latent class discrete choice model, and identified five unique respondent segments. Thirty-six percent of respondents fall probabilistically into segments which have strong preferences for ZEVs, 20% of respondents are undecided about ZEVs but remain open to them, and 44% of respondents prefer conventionally fueled vehicles. The latent class model indicates that respondents who prefer ZEVs are younger and have higher education levels, and have greater environmental concern, more environmental-oriented lifestyles, and stronger pro-social values. Results from this study indicate that financial subsidies and home recharging could be effective in increasing latent demand. Policy makers would be wise to consider the range of preferences and possible motives for ZEV interest when designing ZEV-supportive policy.

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

"They don't have a platform here": Exploring police perceptions of the Black Lives Matter movement in Canada

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-01-17
Abstract: 

Recent high-profile lethal use of force incidents in the United States involving White police officers and Black males have cast unfavorable international attention on the policing profession. Research indicates that Black people are disproportionately represented at all levels of the criminal justice system within Canada and the United States; their relationship with the police in particular has been adverse throughout history (Warde, 2012; Kahn & Martin, 2016). The current qualitative analysis explored the thoughts, perceptions and experiences of municipal police officers in the GVR and examined the following research questions: (1) To what degree, if any, has the recent BLM movement affected municipal policing in the GVR? and; (2) What can municipal policing agencies in the Vancouver area do to distance themselves from the BLM movement and anti-police rhetoric that is occurring in many parts of the United States? The BLM movement is present in Canada, but the anti-police rhetoric currently spreading throughout the United States is not. Officers described a positive relationship with community members in the GVR further stating that interactions between themselves and the community have not changed since the emergence of the BLM movement. These findings indicate that the BLM movement is not a “one-size fits all” movement. The overall positive nature of community-police relations in this region exist regardless of the community’s exposure to an increase in controversial police behaviour.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Rick Parent
Curt Griffiths
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Criminology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Crude Crime: An analysis of energy prices and crime in Alberta

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-01-10
Abstract: 

The relationship between energy prices and levels of crime in Canada is under-researched, despite Canada’s dependency on its natural resources. There have been numerous media reports on the high level of crime and revenue from resource-based communities, such as Fort McMurray. However, these conclusions have not been substantiated by research. In this thesis, social disorganization theory and routine activity theory are used to examine crime patterns in Alberta. The current study explores the relationship between fluctuations in energy prices and crime rates in Alberta between the years 1998 to 2006. A fixed effects linear regression analysis is used to determine the association between crime rates and changes in both oil and natural gas prices while accounting for a number of variables. A statistically significant negative relationship was found between energy prices and break and enter, as well as theft from auto. In light of these findings, implications for future research and theoretical development are discussed.

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

The Case of "Molar City", Mexico: An Ethical Examination of Medical Tourism Industry Practices

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-12-06
Abstract: 

“Molar city” or Los Algodones, Mexico is characteristic of other medical border towns whose proximity to the Mexico-United States border enables American and Canadian patients to access desired health care. Patients can take advantage of economic asymmetries on either side of the border to purchase desired health care in an easily accessible location. Los Algodones is an exceptional industry site in northern Mexico, however, due to its focus on the provision of dental care and claims by local residents that it has the highest concentration of dentists per capita in the world. In this dissertation, I use a case study of Los Algodones’ dental tourism industry to provide an examination of ethical concerns for medical tourism industry practices. Drawing on findings from qualitative research exploring the perspectives and experiences of diverse industry stakeholders, this study contributes insight into ethical examinations for medical tourism informed by structural exploitation and structural injustice frameworks. By employing these ethical frameworks to examine one particular industry site, this research outlines how structural factors such as competition in the global industry and economic asymmetries between the global north and global south inform unfair localized industry practices. I highlight in this dissertation how industry practices are taken up by various industry stakeholders to maintain the flow of dental tourists to Los Algodones; however, efforts to promote and protect the success of the industry according to the interests of elite industry stakeholders inform practices characterized by the irresponsible use of health resources and degrading interactions. Overall, this research suggests that medical tourism industry development raises health equity concerns for the industry if exploitative practices in different industry sites produce poor labour conditions and access to care barriers for marginalized populations. Further research is needed to explore the utility of these ethical frameworks when examining other industry sites and possible policy implications for mitigating exploitative practices within different contexts of industry development.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Jeremy Snyder
Department: 
Health Sciences: Faculty of Health Sciences
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Public school principals’ perceptions of innovation

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-01-15
Abstract: 

Public education has long been reputed to be a system that is outdated. However, public education, like any organization has seen its share of change and innovation. This mixed-method study explored the perceptions of public school principals’ toward individual and organizational innovativeness.The quantitative phase of the study consisted of a purposeful sample of 23 school principals. It was a partial replication of two previous studies conducted by Mitchell 2008 and Williams 2013, who examined school superintendents’ perceptions of individual and organizational innovativeness. Individual and organizational characteristics were analyzed for statistical significance. In addition, principals’ survey responses were calculated to determine their adopter category according to Rogers’ 2003 classifications. Findings were similar to the replicated studies. Principals, like superintendents, viewed themselves to be more innovative than their schools. Significant, but weak differences were found for the tested professional practices, professional capacity, and gender. There were no significant differences found with the remaining characteristics. The qualitative phase of this study consisted of a purposeful sample of 13 principals who volunteered to participate in interviews from the survey phase. This phase explored principals’ views, perceptions, and challenges they faced in fostering innovation in their schools. Findings from this phase further elaborated on principals’ perceptions regarding individual and organizational innovativeness from the quantitative phase. Both phases of this study were conducted and analyzed separately. Findings from each phase were then synthesized to further clarify principals’ perceptions, and common understanding toward fostering innovation. Although some of the variables tested indicated statistically significant differences, principals did not view them as critical to fostering innovation during interviews. The findings from this study indicated that principals’ perceived their own and their school’s innovativeness as essential to providing students with a meaningful education. It became clear through interviews that factors such as financial resources, student socioeconomic status, and enrolment were not as critical to the innovation process in comparison to the human element of fostering relationships. Importantly, principals perceived their role as leaders as being fraught with complexity in terms of setting the right conditions for innovation to blossom.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Dan Laitsch
Sharon Cohen
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ed.D.

Evaluation of school principals: Responses from education leaders in Saudi Arabia

Date created: 
2018-01-18
Abstract: 

The Saudi Arabian education system has experienced several significant restructurings since its creation in 1953. The 2011, administrative reform increased school principals’ responsibilities and their roles became more complex. These changes have increased the need for understanding the principal evaluation process in order to ensure long-term success for all in education. The aim of this study was to identify and examine the current evaluation process as experienced by Saudi high school principals and to present their opinions about how to improve the current criteria and methods used by the Ministry of Education. Two questions were used: What are high school principals’ perceptions of the process and criteria for their evaluation? and What are principals’ opinions about how to improve the criteria and methods used in evaluation compared with the recommendations advocated in the literature? A comparison of principals’ opinions and ideas and the recommendations advocated in the literature was completed. A qualitative research design was used to gather data from 14 high school principals working for the General Department of Education in the Eastern Region within the Ministry of Education in Saudi Arabia. Using a priori themes from the literature related to the research questions, this study presents the processes and procedures used in current principal evaluation. Results show that respondents believe the current principal evaluation processes and methods in Saudi Arabia are ineffective and of little value. Further findings provide suggestions regarding improving the evaluation criteria and procedures to support principals’ development. Study results support the need for change to the principal evaluation system in Saudi Arabia and highlight improving evaluation quality, ensuring purposeful professional development, and including clear performance expectations. Results further suggest the MoE must focus on building a new evaluation by taking into account the opinions of stakeholders, the characteristics of schools, and the need for a sufficient number of qualified evaluators. If education in Saudi Arabia is going to continue moving forward, and if principals are to become the strongest tools for education advancement, then accurate and meaningful evaluation is necessary.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Daniel Laitsch
Rebecca D. Cox
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ed.D.

Reduction of mathematics anxiety through use of vertical non-permanent surfaces and group discussion

Date created: 
2018-01-16
Abstract: 

Mathematics anxiety is a highly relevant issue in mathematics education. Research into pre-service teachers’ mathematics anxiety has indicated a number of worthwhile strategies to help minimize its effect on the nervous learner. Of particular interest is the Thinking Classroom model. However, while the research is comprehensive on pre-service teachers, it is sparse when concerning middle-school aged children. I have implemented a number of these strategies into a middle-school program designed for anxious youth. The current study is an exploration into how the Thinking Classroom model helps students lower their anxiety surrounding mathematics. During the study, students were asked to create a written reflection piece called a Math Autobiography, given a MARS-R several times and then interviewed. While not all students exhibited a decrease in anxiety, most students reported at the end of the study that they felt their abilities had increased in mathematics and felt more positive about the subject.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Peter Liljedahl
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis (Education) ) M.Sc.

Late pre-contact era Taíno subsistence economy and diet: Zooarchaeological perspectives from Maima

Date created: 
2018-01-02
Abstract: 

Taíno peoples, the indigenous population of Jamaica, were all but eradicated by Spanish colonization through the first half of the 16th century, with few historical accounts to document their culture and lifeways. Taíno subsistence economy in Jamaica has been studied intermittently by archaeologists/zooarchaeologists over the past four decades. Archaeological excavations at the Taíno village of Maima on the north coast of Jamaica in 2014 and 2015 provide additional data to expand this endeavor. Beyond a context for Maima and Taíno research across the Caribbean more generally, this dissertation presents the results of the faunal analysis first for invertebrates, and then the vertebrate remains recovered from excavations. These data are examined for spatial differences between households, temporal variation in archaeological deposits, and the variety of habitats represented in Taíno exploitation patterns. This dissertation subsequently undertakes a Caribbean-wide comparative analysis of the Maima invertebrate fauna employing data from 22 other sites dating to the temporal interval 200 to 1500 A.D. This meta-analysis explores differences in Taíno subsistence strategies related to landscape, island location, and culture group variation; the latter including the Classic, Western, and Lucayan Taíno. Variation in subsistence pursuits, with one exception, relate only to a site’s distance from the coast and locally available resources. The results of this analysis contribute to the contemporary knowledge of the Jamaican Taíno with implications for understanding variation or lack thereof across the Caribbean.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
David Burley
Department: 
Environment: Department of Archaeology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.