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.

Natural asset management and market-based conservation in Indigenous contexts

Date created: 
2021-04-20
Abstract: 

This research consists of two parts. The first part provides an extended critique of market-based conservation as exemplary of neo-liberal ideology. Natural asset management, an example of market-based conservation, is described as a form of "progressive neo-liberalism," a political formation that consists of a neo-liberal economic practice and a progressive politics of recognition. Market-based conservation is shown to conflict with Indigenous ways of knowing and Indigenous life practices, posing a potential challenge to the capacity of Indigenous and Settler communities to imagine non-capitalist futures and to realize what Leanne Betasamosake Simpson calls "Indigenous resurgence." The second part of the thesis addresses the challenges faced by the Municipal Natural Asset Initiative in engaging with Indigenous Knowledge in their future work and puts forth multiple recommendations for doing so respectfully, effectively, and ethically.

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

Explaining inference queries with Bayesian optimization

Author: 
Date created: 
2021-04-08
Abstract: 

Obtaining an explanation for an SQL query result can enrich the analysis experience, reveal data errors, and provide deeper insight into the data. Inference query explanation seeks to explain unexpected aggregate query results on inference data; such queries are challenging to explain because an explanation may need to be derived from the source, training, or inference data in an ML pipeline. In this work, we model an objective function as a black-box function and propose BOExplain, a novel framework for explaining inference queries using Bayesian optimization (BO). An explanation is a predicate defining the input tuples that should be removed so that the query result of interest is significantly affected. BO - a technique for finding the global optimum of a black-box function - is used to find the best predicate. We develop two new techniques (individual contribution encoding and warm start) to handle categorical variables. We perform experiments showing that the predicates found by BOExplain have a higher degree of explanation compared to those found by the state-of-the-art query explanation engines. We also show that BOExplain is effective at deriving explanations for inference queries from source and training data on three real-world datasets.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Jiannan Wang
Department: 
Applied Sciences: School of Computing Science
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

Comrades share time: A study of participation in a Chinese village

Author: 
Date created: 
2021-03-04
Abstract: 

Has China’s countryside left socialism behind? Is the rise of digital connectivity an indication of, as Jodi Dean argues, the foreclosure of opportunities to participate in society towards collective empowerment? This dissertation addresses these questions via a case study of Heyang Village in Zhejiang’s mountainous Jinyun county. Taking advantage of the village’s sustained material culture I develop a historical review of the media used to organize village life over time informing values and providing opportunities for political, economic, and cultural participation as members of the village. This review is used to inform an analysis of the current dynamics of village life in Heyang today. Six months of fieldwork over a period of four years between 2015 and 2019 comprises the majority of this research. Focus group interviews help to provide local interpretation of events. Participant observation research, in particular with working aged men and seniors, provides deeper insights on the values, actions and positive trajectories identified in the focus group interviews. Barbara Adam’s timescape perspective is employed to bring the multiple elements of the case study together. This perspective helps to draw out how communication technologies that are used to keep time enable opportunities for specific forms of political belonging. While a postsocialist discourse on individual’s qualities (suzhi) is predominate, socialist values of comradeship persist. This comradery is particularly evident in seniors’ use of mobile phones to keep the time via hourly announcements recalling the temporality previously provided by the Chinese Communist Party’s mass line inspired use of wired-radio loudspeakers. This temporality is premised on bringing the people and leaders together to share time in order to affect mutually transformative experiences and unite the collective towards shared political goals premised on sustaining basic wellbeing. I identify “shared time” as a socialist temporality that is still maintained and can be used to recognize positive actions and recommend ways forward to fan the embers of socialism into a revitalized commitment to communism.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Yuezhi Zhao
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Communication
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Integration of GIS and soft computing for suitability evaluation of high-density urban development: The logic scoring of preference method

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-07-05
Abstract: 

The Logic Scoring of Preference (LSP) method is based on soft computing principles for complex spatial decision-making that integrates large number of criteria and capture human logic reasoning. The main objective of this study is to develop, implement and apply the LSP method in the Geographic Information System (GIS) environment for the land suitability evaluation for high-density urban development. Two different stakeholders, urban developer and urban planner, were considered. The geospatial datasets of Metro Vancouver Region, Canada, were used to implement the GIS-based LSP method. Several LSP aggregator groups have been compared and the results indicate that there are differences between the two stakeholder’s perspectives on suitable locations for high-rise urban development. The GIS-LSP method provides an effective way for identifying the best location for high density urban developments and thus contribute to more sustainable urban practices that can minimize the impact of the urban sprawl.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Suzana Dragićević
Department: 
Environment: Department of Geography
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

Carrying others: A feminist materialist approach to research-creation

Author: 
Date created: 
2021-01-14
Abstract: 

Everyone is connected and operates with or alongside a maternal structure. As psychologist Bracha L. Ettinger states, we all hold within us an imprint or memory of being carried — carried across landscapes, across time, into destinations unknown (Ettinger, 2006). This doctoral dissertation takes up these poetics through an interdisciplinary investigation of Feminist Materialist Research-Creation practices and strategies. Referencing recent traditions of Art Intervention, Performance Art, Land Art, and the canon of feminist art history, this research mirrors, connects with, and critiques digital imaginaries and considers how the maternal body responds to the agency of things in the world. This research makes a unique contribution to the humanities, feminist scholarship, and Research-Creation practices by exploring strategies and subjectivities, new positions of theorization, and analyses that unsettle contemporary approaches to artistic research. This includes a series of theoretical texts, experimental framing, and a portfolio of eight artworks that were individually and collaboratively created and produced between 2016–2019: Traces of Motherhood; Domestic Cupboards; Magical Beast: The Space Within, Out and In-Between, Hunting Self; Mothering Bacteria: The Body as an Interface; Floating in the In-Between; Carrying Others; and Nostalgic Geography: Mama and Papa have Trains, Orchards and Mountains in their Backyard. Showcased with the artwork are digital and technological ephemera, including curatorial conversations, exhibition and submission text, process documentation, links, posters, and other preparatory information. This document also introduces a series of interludes and refections that construct and demonstrate alternative ways of approaching the central ideas, themes, and methodological and theoretical ideas explored in the thesis. Cumulatively, these creative articulations foreground the complexities, process, and nuances of Feminist Materialist approaches to Research-Creation. This document also presents the three main themes which include: 1) Materiality; 2) the Optical Unconscious; and 3) the Technological Unconscious; and, take up the three salient concepts and theories: 1) Carriance; 2) Feminist Materialism; and, 3) Research-Creation. In particular, I argue that Carriance aligns with ideas of care, co-production and becomes a creative way of thinking about connection. Each of the eight artworks demonstrate aspects of Carriance, collaboration, and connection and present emergent ways to consider creative methods, methodologies, and expanded feminist expressions. By discussing a variety of projects and creative forms, this dissertation is a speculative art-making investigation that foregrounds human and non-human relationships, ecofeminist perspectives, and mothering, opening up the term Carriance in a variety of ways to show how it can be more than one method, form, or approach with much potential to challenge, encourage and elicit embodied ways of knowing.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Kate Hennessy
Thecla Schiphorst
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Applications of terrestrial LiDAR, infrared thermography, and photogrammetry for mapping volcanic rocks in southern BC

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-08-14
Abstract: 

Remote sensing methods are widely used in geological applications today, as many outcrops are difficult to access. Terrestrial LiDAR, infrared thermography, and photogrammetry are used at two field sites in BC: the Cheakamus Valley Basalts (CVB) and Chilcotin Group basalts (CG). The physical properties of the rock at each field site such as composition, texture and structure were studied through remote sensing, and compared to analyses completed in the laboratory as well as traditional contact mapping. The CVB site consists of two outcrops of isolated lava flows approximately 10 km southwest of Whistler, BC, and the CG basalts are observed at the Chasm, a 7 km-long canyon approximately 20 km northeast of Clinton, BC. A virtual field site of the Chasm site was constructed from the remote sensing data, and in conjunction with these analyses, this research clearly shows that it is possible to remotely map otherwise inaccessible volcanic rock masses.

Document type: 
Thesis
Supervisor(s): 
Doug Stead
Glyn Williams-Jones
Department: 
Science: Department of Earth Sciences
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

A micromorphological approach to inferring paleo-lake system phases: The case study of the Earlier Stone Age at Wonderwerk Cave, South Africa

Author: 
Date created: 
2021-04-13
Abstract: 

Playa lakes are arid region ephemeral bodies of water that have been found in association with important archaeological sites. These lakes produce distinct sediments in response to changing hydrological and environmental conditions. To provide the means to more effectively study playa lake sediments, I developed an analytical protocol and a model that utilizes micromorphology and grain size distribution analysis of thin sections to identify and interpret paleo-playa lake phases preserved in intact archaeological deposits. To assess the potential of the analytical procedure, I applied it to thin sections collected from Earlier Stone Age deposits at Wonderwerk Cave, South Africa, where a playa lake system existed in proximity to the cave. The results of the study show that sediments produced during different playa lake phases can be distinguished according to a specific set of criteria identifiable through micromorphology and grain size distribution analysis.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Francesco Berna
Department: 
Environment: Department of Archaeology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Exploring health care and personal care decision-making under representation agreements: The lived experience of ‘representatives’ of older adults with dementia

Author: 
Date created: 
2021-04-13
Abstract: 

The representation agreement (RA), a legal planning document in British Columbia, allows an adult to appoint a person—i.e., a representative—to assist them with decisions or make decisions on their behalf for health care and personal care matters. This qualitative study explores the lived experiences of representatives of older adults living with dementia during health and personal care decision-making. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with ten current and past representatives. Interviews were analyzed through conceptualizations of the individual, social, and political bodies, articulated in Scheper-Hughes and Lock’s (1987) three bodies approach. The findings reveal six themes that representatives considered meaningful in their decision-making experiences: (1) motivations behind the creation of the RA, (2) the context in which decisions occurred, (3) the decision-making process, (4) facilitators and (5) barriers to decision-making, (6) and representatives’ reflections on their experiences. Bio-medicalized discourse and knowledge of dementia—dominant in Western societies—informs representatives’ experiences. Furthermore, this study illuminates how a dominant medicalized discourse and knowledge of dementia, rooted in Cartesian Dualism, informs representatives’ decision-making approaches.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Sharon Koehn
Habib Chaudhury
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Gerontology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Patterns of health service use among people experiencing homelessness and mental illness in British Columbia

Author: 
Date created: 
2021-04-16
Abstract: 

Background: The burden of illness faced by people experiencing both homelessness and mental illness is staggering. When the needs of this population go unmet, it is often the healthcare system that is criticized. The aim of this thesis was to examine patterns of medical service use among people experiencing homelessness and mental illness, and to identify factors associated with high-levels of use, health outcomes and opportunities for intervention. It was hypothesized that people with the highest objective needs would access more medical services and that those who access care in a timely and continuous fashion would have better outcomes, including lower risk of hospitalization. Methods: Data were drawn from both the baseline interviews of Vancouver At Home (VAH) study participants and the Inter-Ministry Research Initiative database. All analyses were retrospective using both self-report and administrative data to examine factors associated with low vs. high health service use, continuity of care following hospitalization, and timeliness of community-based medical service use following detention in provincial custody. Results: Among VAH participants, we found that those with lower assessed need were accessing more health services that those with higher needs (i.e., schizophrenia). When continuity of care was examined, we found that our sample was accessing community-based outpatient services in both a timely and ongoing manner, however, it was not conferring a protective benefit against rehospitalization. Finally, when studying the impact of timely community medical service use following release from provincial custody, we found that those who accessed services in both a timely and continuous manner were more likely to be hospitalized than those not using services in this manner. Discussion: These findings highlighted the overwhelming burden of illness among people experiencing homelessness and mental illness. Contrary to our hypotheses, those with the greatest needs were not accessing the most health services, and for those who did access services frequently, these contacts did not offer protection against further negative health outcomes including hospitalization. Collectively these findings suggest looking beyond the healthcare system and underscore the importance of structural and systemic failings within our social, justice and healthcare systems as perpetuating the morbidity within this population.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Julian Somers
Department: 
Health Sciences: Faculty of Health Sciences
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

On the volume of the Birkhoff polytope

Date created: 
2021-04-15
Abstract: 

The Birkhoff polytope was introduced in 1946 to facilitate the study of doubly stochastic matrices. The volume of the n-th Birkhoff polytope is an essential characteristic but methods to compute this are computationally complex and the volume is only known up to n = 10. In this thesis, we apply a novel automated method to calculate the relative volume using analytic combinatorics in several variables. An implementation using Maple and Sage computes this volume up to n = 6 and we compare to existing methods including interpolation, Euler’s generating function, complex analytic techniques, and Barvinok’s Algorithm (LattE). The key advantage of this method is its robustness and adaptability to variants of the initial problem.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Marni Mishna
Department: 
Science: Department of Mathematics
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.