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.

Mathematical modelling of electrokinetic phenomona in soft nanopores

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-04-15
Abstract: 

In and around porous systems with at least one characteristic dimension below 100 nm, solid/liquid interfaces play a key role in surface-charge-governed transport, separation processes and energy storage devices. Nanopores with well-defined geometry and chemical characteristics have emerged as valuable tools to unravel interactions between external and induced electric fields and the underlying transport, in the presence of embedded charges. In this thesis, theoretical and numerical investigations of electrokinetic effects in soft cylindrical nanochannels with uniformly distributed surface charges are carried out within continuum mean-field approximations. The aim is to provide a theoretical framework through which one can access a comprehensive understanding of the coupling between electrokinetic transport, double-layer charging and wall deformations in nanochannels embedded in soft polymeric membranes. In the first part of the thesis, numerical calculations using the coupled continuum mean-field equations are conducted to quantify ion and fluid transport in a finite, cylindrical and rigid nanochannel connected to cylindrical electrolytic reservoirs. Results of these calculations, verified by experiments, serve as a guide for theoretical investigations in later components of the thesis. Subsequently, the transport of protons and water in a long, negatively charged channel is studied from a theoretical point of view. A theoretical model is developed that describes nonlinear coupling between wall deformation and water and proton flows in a charged, eformable nanochannel whose viscoelasticity is governed by the linear Kelvin-Voigt model. In addition to focusing on transport phenomena in an open nanochannel, we direct attention to the equilibrium structure of the electric double layers. This was achieved by considering a physical situation where the charged channel is finite and sealed at both ends by metal electrodes under external voltage bias. Size-modified mean-field equations were used to account for finite ion sizes, subject to a self-consistent electroneutrality condition which demands that the net amount of charge on both electrode surfaces balances. Equilibrium ion distributions and differential capacitance curves are presented and analysed. Motivated by electroactuators, the last part of the thesis added deformations of the channel walls to the closed-channel system modelling.

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

Toward an understanding of dreams as mythological and cultural-political communication

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-04-20
Abstract: 

The central argument of this dissertation is that the significance of both myths and dreams, as framed by cultural politics, is not reducible to polarities of truth or falsehood, or superstition in opposition to science. It is the socio-political webs that myths and dreams often weave that this dissertation explores. Along the way, it addresses an absence of literature that unburdens myths and dreams of the conventional requirement of being true. The dissertation ultimately contributes to a more complete comprehension of the capacity of these phenomena to act as largely unconscious catalysts for cultural political developments. To support my argument, I tell a story about the relationships between dreams and myth as they affect cultural politics. This story can be told in many different ways; in fact I found that multiple iterations were required to demonstrate the connection. The narrative also needs supporting elements to tell it coherently. In this spirit, the introduction and opening chapter sketch historical approaches to the study of dreams and myth, before providing an overview of these phenomena as they affected people living in Berlin during the Nazi seizure of power. Also included are adumbrations of psychological frameworks required to make sense of this process. With the table thus set, the method of telling the story involves several steps. The first is to show a relationship between dreams and cultural politics. Chapter Two does this from the perspectives of Holy Grail literature, shamanism, Nazism, and psychoanalysis. The next step requires demonstrations of cultural political connections to myth; Chapter Three accomplishes this in its examination of the Thousand Year Reich, Voodoo, and digital technology. The diversity of these examples is deliberate, setting the stage for Chapter Four, which shows that, even in the opposing keys of religion and science, dreams have connected to myth and this connection has, in turn, influenced cultural politics. Having established the link between dreams, myth and cultural politics, the last portion of the dissertation details the apparently prognostic dreams of Germans living under Nazi oppression, connecting their visions to Nazi myth and subsequent political developments. I then refer these dreams to the psychological frameworks introduced in the first chapter as a means of analyzing the visions, and of answering the question of the dreams’ ability to prognosticate. The dissertation concludes with a review of evidence and establishes the value of understanding dreams and myths in upholding prevailing culture patterns.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Gary McCarron
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Communication
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Relationship-building on unceded lands: An examination and assessment of the Musqueam–YVR Sustainability and Friendship Agreement

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-04-15
Abstract: 

Musqueam Indian Band and the Vancouver Airport Authority signed a ‘Sustainability and Friendship Agreement’ on June 21, 2017, following decades of Musqueam assertions of rights and title over the airport lands. While not an explicit recognition of Musqueam rights and title, the Agreement implicitly acknowledges that Musqueam community can benefit from its territorial lands and should have a say in how the Airport develops. The Agreement commits the Airport to providing various community benefits, including scholarships, employment, training, contracting, and business partnership opportunities. It commits the parties to engaging with one another on a regular basis about Airport plans and developments. It also commits Musqueam Band to supporting the Airport’s ongoing operations, regardless of title recognition. Two years in, the outcomes are supporting various Musqueam community planning objectives. The relationship now reflects several principles of reconciliation; however, it does not guarantee Musqueam’s right to determine uses of its territorial lands.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Patrick Smith
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Urban Studies Program
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.Urb.

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.

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.

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.

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.