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Theses and Dissertations

This collection contains theses and dissertations of graduate students of the University of Alberta. The collection contains a very large number of theses electronically available that were granted from 1947's to 2009, 90% of theses granted from 2009-2014, and 100% of theses granted from April 2014 to the present (as long as the theses are not under temporary embargo by agreement with the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research). IMPORTANT NOTE: To conduct a comprehensive search of all UofA theses granted and in University of Alberta Libraries collections, search the library catalogue at - you may search by Author, Title, Keyword, or search by Department. To retrieve all theses and dissertations associated with a specific department from the library catalogue, choose 'Advanced' and keyword search "university of alberta dept of english" OR "university of alberta department of english" (for example). Past graduates who wish to have their thesis or dissertation added to this collection can contact the ERA Mediated HelpDesk at

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  1. Media Representations of State-Level Health Care Reforms in the United States (2002-2011): Policy Narratives, Media Frames, and Legislative Outcomes in the Massachusetts and Utah Cases [Download]

    Title: Media Representations of State-Level Health Care Reforms in the United States (2002-2011): Policy Narratives, Media Frames, and Legislative Outcomes in the Massachusetts and Utah Cases
    Creator: Epperson, Brent L
    Description: This doctoral dissertation examines the relationship between newspaper media representations, health care reform efforts, and legislative outcomes in the United States. Offering valuable insights into media representations for researchers, decision-makers and activists, this research focuses on the editorials, opinion columns, and news stories from daily newspapers of the political right, left, and centre that helped structure public support for, and opposition to, two American state-level health care reforms: the Massachusetts Health Reform Law (Romneycare) (2002-2006) and the Utah Health System Reform (UHSR) (2004-2011). Insights gathered through this research may serve to inform future media communication strategies in health care and other policy reform campaigns. More than a decade after the failure of the Clinton administration’s Health Security Act (HSA), between 2002 and 2012, a number of state-level health reform efforts paralleled the federal Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) debates. Collectively, these reforms revealed greater political openness to health care policy change. My dissertation examines newspaper media coverage of the Massachusetts and Utah health reform efforts at three critical junctures: the preceding state election campaigns, the legislative debates surrounding the reforms, and the period following legislative passage. This study critically examines the movement of neoliberal language framing metaphors and narratives of health care within the state-based and national newspapers, as well as challenging narratives of the political left and the political right that offered alternatives to the meso-narrative of neoliberalism. This study reveals coalescence of health care reform narratives between national and local print media, between Democratic-leaning and Republican-leaning newspapers, and between the Massachusetts and Utah health reforms. This dissertation concludes by demonstrating that, although the Democratic-leaning national and state-level newspapers were somewhat more favourable to health care reform than Republican-leaning newspapers, both Republican-leaning and Democratic-leaning newspapers were largely favourable to reform in their coverage. Newspapers emphasized rising costs and inadequate access to health insurance as the central challenges of the health care system that served as the impetus for change. Interpreting the health care narratives of these two state reforms is particularly important in light of the ongoing federal reform efforts. The debates between libertarian, conservative, and moderate factions within and beyond the Republican Party in the efforts to “repeal and replace” Obamacare have been largely recycled from the Utah Health System Reform debates and the fringes of Republican resistance to Romneycare in Massachusetts.
    Subjects: Health care reform in American states, policy narratives, United States health care reform, media representations, media narratives, media framing
  2. Magnetically-Forced Axisymmetric Zonal Accelerations in Earth's Outer Core [Download]

    Title: Magnetically-Forced Axisymmetric Zonal Accelerations in Earth's Outer Core
    Creator: More, Colin E.
    Description: Azimuthal accelerations of cylindrical surfaces co-axial with the rotation axis have been inferred to exist in Earth's fluid core on the basis of magnetic field observations and changes in the length-of-day. These accelerations have a typical timescale of decades. However, the physical mechanism causing the accelerations is not well understood. Scaling arguments suggest that the leading order torque averaged over cylindrical surfaces should arise from the Lorentz force. Decadal fluctuations in the magnetic field inside the core, driven by convective flows, could then force decadal changes in the Lorentz torque and generate zonal accelerations. This hypothesis is tested by constructing a quasi-geostrophic model of magnetoconvection, with thermally-driven flows perturbing a steady, imposed background magnetic field. It is found that when the Alfvén number is similar to that estimated for Earth's fluid core, temporal fluctuations in the torque balance are dominated by the Lorentz torque, with the latter generating mean zonal accelerations. The model reproduces both fast, free Alfvén waves and slow, forced accelerations, with ratios of relative strength and relative timescale similar to those inferred for the Earth's core. The temporal changes in the magnetic field which drive the time-varying Lorentz torque are produced by the underlying convective flows, which shear and advect the magnetic field on timescales associated with convective eddies. These results support the hypothesis that temporal changes in the magnetic field deep inside Earth's fluid core drive the observed decadal zonal accelerations of cylindrical surfaces through the Lorentz torque.
    Subjects: magnetohydrodynamics, zonal accelerations, quasi-geostrophic, core
  3. Geostatistics and Clustering for Geochemical Data Analysis [Download]

    Title: Geostatistics and Clustering for Geochemical Data Analysis
    Creator: Prades, Carlos
    Description: This thesis addresses challenges in geostatistical analyses of multivariate geochemical data that commonly contain complexities that have a significant influence on geostatistical modeling and cluster analysis. For geostatistical modeling, the effect of the most common despiking methods is investigated and their problems documented. It is shown that both local average despiking and random despiking lead to bias in the observed variogram and predicted uncertainty. A new despiking method is proposed and implemented to improve variography when the variable has a significant spike. The developed approach combines a random despiking component and a local average despiking component. Cluster analysis can be applied for mineral exploration purposes. It can be used to find large structures in the data and also to detect multivariate anomalous samples. Data transformations are shown to have a significant impact on clustering results. Guidance and recommendations on appropriate data transformations for improving cluster analysis performance are provided. Three different methods are developed for identifying multivariate anomalies with cluster and spatial analysis. The first method uses different combinations of clustering and data transformations for finding small anomalous clusters. The second uses different clustering outputs for identifying samples that do not clearly belong to any cluster. The third recognizes samples that are spatially anomalous. Each of these multivariate methods detects anomalies from a different point of view. A combination of these detection methods is recommended. The goal is to obtain more stable and reliable results. Its application in stream silt samples from the Northwest Territories shows that the proposed multivariate anomaly detection methods are capable of identifying several showings (known mineral deposits). Some of these showings are not detected from the histograms of different elements; this supports and motivates the use of multivariate anomaly detection methods for mineral deposit exploration.
    Subjects: clustering, geostatistics, geochemical analysis
  4. Community-Driven Research in the Canadian Arctic: Investigating the Effect of Dietary Exposure to Methylmercury on the Severity of Chronic Inflammation and Gastric Neoplasia in Populations with an Elevated Risk of Gastric Cancer [Download]

    Title: Community-Driven Research in the Canadian Arctic: Investigating the Effect of Dietary Exposure to Methylmercury on the Severity of Chronic Inflammation and Gastric Neoplasia in Populations with an Elevated Risk of Gastric Cancer
    Creator: Walker, Emily V
    Description: Introduction While gastric cancer has been declining in incidence for decades globally, it remains a major cause of death. Evidence suggests that Indigenous populations worldwide experience a higher burden of gastric cancer relative to non-Indigenous populations residing in the same geographic areas. Within Canada, community-driven research conducted by the Canadian North Helicobacter pylori (CANHelp) Working Group in western Arctic communities demonstrates a higher burden of gastric disease relative to multi-ethnic populations in southern regions. CANHelp community projects use community input to guide research aiming to address this disparity. In particular, participants have conveyed concern that the environmental contaminant mercury could be causing gastric cancer. Among the small participating communities, there were too few gastric cancer cases to investigate risk factors for cancer directly. Instead, intermediate endpoints provided a more efficient alternative; a widely accepted model of gastric carcinogenesis shows deleterious changes in the gastric mucosa are initiated by chronic gastritis, followed by gastric atrophy and intestinal metaplasia. This dissertation investigates the hypothesis that low doses of mercury ingested through fish and marine mammal consumption increases the risk of severe chronic gastritis, atrophy, and intestinal metaplasia among residents of Canadian Arctic communities. Methods Systematic literature review identified published articles presenting human tissue concentrations of mercury stratified by fish consumption frequency for meta-analyses that assessed sources of variation across studies in the relationship between mercury intake and mercury concentrations in hair. Two analyses were conducted: multivariate random-effects meta-regression of summary data reported in the literature; multivariable random-effects regression of pooled raw data provided by authors of identified reports. In fall 2016, a fish/whale-focused food-frequency questionnaire was administered to residents of participating communities. Hair samples were collected for biochemical measurement of methylmercury concentration. Methylmercury was measured in the full-length of each hair sample using gas chromatography inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry. Multivariable random-effects linear regression estimated beta-coefficients and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for the effect of fish/whale consumption frequency on hair-methylmercury concentrations. Pathological assessment was facilitated by endoscopy with gastric biopsy offered in Aklavik (2008) and Fort McPherson (2012), Northwest Territories and Old Crow (2011), Yukon. A pathologist graded the severity of gastric pathologies using the updated Sydney System. Multivariable logistic regression estimated log odds, odds ratios and 95%CIs for the effect of hair-methylmercury concentration on the prevalence of severe chronic gastritis, gastric atrophy, and intestinal metaplasia. Results The systematic review identified 87 eligible articles. The analysis of summary data showed that hair mercury concentrations increase with increasing fish consumption to a degree that varies greatly across studies. Specifically, while the direction of this relationship was consistent across studies, the strength of the trend varied. The magnitude of between-study variation was not reduced by adjustment for distributions of age or sex. Analysis of pooled datasets showed similar results, with a high degree of between-study variation for all exposure contrasts, after adjusting for age and sex. In fall 2016, 101 participants provided hair samples and diet data. The mean number of different species eaten by participants was 3.50 (SD:1.90). The mean hair-methylmercury concentration was 0.60μg/g (SD:0.47). There was a positive association between consumption of fish and marine mammals in each season and hair-MeHg concentration, after adjusting for sex, hair length and use of permanent hair treatments. Among 80 participants with complete data, the proportions with severe chronic gastritis, atrophy and intestinal metaplasia were 38%, 29% and 17%, respectively. The adjusted log odds of severe chronic gastritis and atrophy were highest among those with hair-methylmercury ≥1μg/g when estimated selenium intake was 0 μg/kg body weight/week. As estimated selenium intake increased, the adjusted log odds of each outcome approached 0 for all mercury exposure levels. Conclusions Meta-analysis of summary and pooled data demonstrated that accurate assessment of exposure to mercury through diet requires consideration of factors beyond age and sex. Among participants from Canadian Arctic communities, hair-methylmercury concentrations were below the 6.0μg/g threshold for safe exposure levels defined by Health Canada, suggesting that their fish/whale consumption practices are not placing them at elevated risk of known serious health outcomes associated with exposure. However, this research yielded evidence of a relationship between higher hair-methylmercury concentrations and increased odds of severe chronic gastritis and gastric atrophy, which may be mediated and modified by selenium intake.
    Subjects: Environmental Contaminants, Indigenous Health, Severe Gastritis, Gastric Cancer, Methylmercury
  5. Patient-reported outcome measures for adverse events: A systematic review and COSMIN evaluation study [Download]

    Title: Patient-reported outcome measures for adverse events: A systematic review and COSMIN evaluation study
    Creator: Hancock, Myles T
    Description: ABSTRACT Background: Health care requires constant improvement. Harms in health care are becoming a priority, as is incorporating the patient’s voice in both clinical research and clinical care. Patients have been found to provide a more subjective, detailed perspective of their treatment experiences compared with health care providers; this is especially true of potential harms they have experienced. Measurement instruments must be valid and reliable; a new field of Patient Reported Outcome Measures (PROM) has emerged to capture the patient’s perspective and experience. Methods: A systematic review was conducted to identify all patient-reported outcome measures for adverse events (PROM-AE) currently published in the health literature databases. These measures were compared to establish similarities and differences, and to determine if any core characteristics existed. Results: The most commonly used PROM AE in clinical research and clinical practice were evaluated further with regards to their measurement properties. Conclusion: Important gaps, such as minimal harms reporting in clinical research and practice, were identified that could help advance the field of PROM AE and thereby enhance patient safety in both research and clinical settings.
    Subjects: Validation, Harms, COSMIN, Adverse Events, Measurement Properties, Systematic Review
  6. Cooperative Borderlands: Trafficking Values and Waste Across Nesting Boundaries in Russian Karelia [Download]

    Title: Cooperative Borderlands: Trafficking Values and Waste Across Nesting Boundaries in Russian Karelia
    Creator: Pashkovska, Kateryna
    Description: In my dissertation, I explore the sense of place and the local identity in Petrozavodsk, the capital city of the Republic of Karelia, Russian Federation. We are aware of the geographical and political borders, of those visible dividing lines on the map that insulate ethnic groups and nation states. At the same time, the social and cultural boundaries are harder to notice – they emerge through the sense of discomfort of conflict which signals that an invisible boundary has been crossed. In my research, I address the instances of such boundary crossings in a larger context of local urban life through the ethnographic approach of flânerie as well as through a case study of a joint Russian-Finnish project supported by the Nordic Council of Ministers, W.A.S.T.E.: Waste Awareness, Treatment, Education that was realized in Petrozavodsk from 2011 to 2013. I build a dialogue between social spaces divided by ‘nesting’ (Russian doll-like) borders that are in/congruent with territorial/political borderlines. I attempt to bring together the two approaches to the study of contemporary borders: the more traditional geographical and political approach to borders and an anthropological perspective that stresses the dynamic nature of the border.
    Subjects: Karelia, Barents Euro Arctic Region, consumption, postsocialist, mothering, flaneur, waste, international cooperation, Russia
  7. Multi-Level Knowledge Extraction and Modeling to Support Job Hazard Analysis Process for Oil and Gas Pipeline Projects [Download]

    Title: Multi-Level Knowledge Extraction and Modeling to Support Job Hazard Analysis Process for Oil and Gas Pipeline Projects
    Creator: Altawil, Shadi N A
    Description: Construction projects are impacted negatively by construction safety incidents. Job hazard analysis (JHA) process is a critical process component of safety management system in the construction industry. The JHA process is a planning process that aims to address potential hazards associated with execution of construction activities. It involves collecting knowledge from several safety knowledge resources. Explicit resources such as safety manuals, safety codes and regulation, and safety best practices are the primary input knowledge. In addition, tacit safety knowledge that is related to the experience of construction professionals is a critical knowledge component that feeds into the JHA process. JHA documents is the output of each JHA process for each construction activity. The construction industry is a very dynamic and complex environment. Collecting knowledge to perform JHA process requires time and significant efforts. Construction personnel do not have the same experience and ability in identifying construction hazards. In addition, new construction manpower is continually joining the workforce and they lack sufficient experience and knowledge required for hazard identification. Previous JHA documents, which were prepared in previous projects, contain valuable knowledge related to construction hazards. Currently, documents are scattered and not reused for future JHA processes. Oil and Gas Pipeline Projects consist of risky construction activities that involve dynamic interaction between humans, heavy construction equipment, heavy material, and the complex surrounding environment. Currently, safety research related to nonbuilding construction projects is not sufficient. Nonbuilding projects such as pipeline construction and complex infrastructure need research focus due to their execution complexity and high potential risks. This research aims to introduce a method for hazard knowledge extraction and modeling to assist and make the JHA process more consistent and systematic. To reuse the hazards knowledge embedded in JHA forms, multi- levels of knowledge extraction are performed. Text mining is used to organize documents in classes by adopting two stages of machine learning algorithms, clustering and classification. Moreover, JHA forms’ contents were analyzed to extract hazards’ concepts and relationships to build a hazard dictionary and knowledge schema. Text mining for concept extraction is used along with qualitative approach to build hazard dictionary. Ontology modeling is used to model the extracted knowledge schema. The model aims to represent the knowledge concepts, taxonomies, and semantic relationships. The knowledge model will support the JHA process by enabling retrieval and communication of hazards knowledge in future projects.
    Subjects: Pipeline projects, Job Hazard Analysis, Text Mining, Machine Learning
  8. Spontaneous Imbibition and Imbibition Oil Recovery in Tight Rocks [Download]

    Title: Spontaneous Imbibition and Imbibition Oil Recovery in Tight Rocks
    Creator: Javaheri, Ali
    Description: Advances in the development of unconventional resources have led to a surge in North American oil production. For example, tight oil production has pushed the U.S. crude supply to over 9% of world total production. Therefore, petrophysical characterization of such low-permeability rocks, has become increasingly important for petroleum engineers. Properties such as porosity, permeability, pore throat size, and wettability are of high importance for evaluating production from tight oil formations. This study has two parts. In first part, we measure and analyze spontaneous imbibition of water and oil into five twin core plugs drilled from the cores of a well drilled in the Montney Formation, an unconventional oil and gas play in Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin (WCSB). We characterize the samples by measuring the mineralogy using XRD (x-ray diffraction), total organic carbon content, porosity, and permeability. In order to quantify wettability of the core plugs, we define two wettability indices for the oil phase based on the slope and equilibrium values of water and oil imbibition curves. We observe that the two indices decrease by increasing neutron porosity and gamma ray parameters measured by wireline logging tools. Our results demonstrate that porosity is a key parameter controlling the fluid uptake of tight rock core samples from the Montney formation. Furthermore, we propose a decoupling scheme for pore-network characterization of core plugs based on their porosity and permeability.
    Subjects: Oil Recovery, Spontaneous imbibition, Tight Rocks
  9. Optimizing Oat Yield, Quality and Stand-ability in Central Alberta [Download]

    Title: Optimizing Oat Yield, Quality and Stand-ability in Central Alberta
    Creator: Aidoo, Joseph Paapa
    Description: The value of oat (Avena sativa L.) for the producer is a function of both grain yield and quality. Therefore, managing nitrogen fertilizer rates to optimize yield while meeting expected grain quality standards is essential in guaranteeing profitable production. To determine the effect of nitrogen fertilization on grain yield and quality, field studies were conducted at Barrhead and St. Albert, AB over a three-year period (2014–2016) to determine responses to four nitrogen fertilizer rates (5, 50, 100, 150 kg ha-1) on five oat cultivars differing widely in agronomic traits. Grain yield, grain quality and β-glucan content of oat were measured. Application of nitrogen fertilizer resulted in a significant increase in grain yield, plant height and lodging score. Grain quality such as test weight and plump kernel decreased with greater nitrogen fertilizer rates. Average β-glucan content differed between cultivars. Optimizing oat yield and quality for high-value markets may be achieved by selecting well adapted cultivars and N fertility rates. The use of the plant growth regulator (PGR) trinexapac-ethyl has been shown to reduce lodging in cereal crops. Plant growth regulators of interest in Canadian cereal cropping systems are intended to restrict plant height and thereby reduce lodging susceptibility. Experiments were conducted over a three-year period (2014–2016) to determine the effect of trinexapac-ethyl application and nitrogen fertilization on yield, lodging and related agronomic responses of oat. The experiment was arranged in a randomized complete block with four replicates. The treatments consisted of four trinexapac-ethyl application rates (0, 70, 100 and 130 g a.i ha-1) and four nitrogen rates (5, 50, 100 and 150 kg ha-1), on the cultivar Stride. Grain yield, plant height, lodging score and grain quality parameters were evaluated. Grain yield was unaffected by applications of trinexapac-ethyl. Plant height was reduced by 5% to 16% with increasing rates of trinexapac-ethyl. PGR application had a significant effect on lodging at two experimental sites, where the severity of lodging was reduced 12% to 31% with high rates PGR application. The rates of nitrogen influenced grain yield, height and lodging. Using PGRs to maintain grain yield and avert lodging are necessary only under conditions where lodging represents a substantial risk.
    Subjects: Oat
  10. Birds don't give a Dam: The politics of Hydropower Development and Wildlife Conservation in Arunachal Pradesh [Download]

    Title: Birds don't give a Dam: The politics of Hydropower Development and Wildlife Conservation in Arunachal Pradesh
    Creator: Choudhury,Titash
    Description: Over the last decade, Arunachal Pradesh, or the larger region known as Northeast Himalayas, has not only become a potential energy frontier to meet India’s surging energy demands, but an opportunity for those in the state seeking political and financial independence. Dams are celebrated and endorsed as a ‘clean” and “renewable” energy sources that ensure sustainable development, and politicians and major corporations are making promises of great economic benefits and job opportunities arising from these projects. However, rapid development, lack of appropriate consultation, and the deficiencies of environmental and social impact assessment have provoked political and social debates in the region. Simultaneously, since the region is known to be biodiversity rich and geographically fragile, the impacts of the developmental activities has raised concerns among wildlife biologists, ecologists and experts regarding the potential negative impacts on ecology, economy, and society. In this discourse of energy development, deteriorating ecosystem integrity, and heightened vulnerability, Arunachal Pradesh is increasingly being represented as a place of economic opportunities for both region and nation, but also of risks and vulnerabilities. In this setting, there is also resistance and negotiation, and interactions between various forces that are shaping a new social-environmental relationship. In this paper, focusing on one community, the Monpas, who are the largest ethnic group in the region, and the case study of Nyamjang Chhu hydropower project, I discuss how different stakeholders such as developers, conservationists, and religious institutions deploy narratives of change, articulate their respective claims over resources, developmental plans and conservation ideas; the power relations within and between these different stakeholders, and explore how the Monpas respond to and negotiate with these dominant perspectives.
    Subjects: Traditonal Knwoledge, Zomia, Nyamjang Chhu Dam, Natural resource politcs, natural resource Politics, Monpa, Wildlife conservation, Himalayas