Upcoming Thesis Defences


All are welcome to attend.  Contact crimgrad@sfu.ca for remote details.

Rachelle Louden

December 4 | 10:00am PST | Remote Attendance

Title:  “Information Trolls vs. Democracy: An examination of fake news content delivered during the 2019 Canadian Federal election and the generation of information warfare”


This research explores the role of fake news delivered during the 2019 Canadian Federal election. The aim of this study is to understand what impact exposure to fake news may have had on voter’s political ideologies and to examine whether criminal interference was involved. This study employs a survey which was delivered through social media platforms to Canadian voters in hopes to understand whether they were exposed to fake news, if it affected their ultimate voting decision, if they were the recipient of an election-related robocall, and what the nature of the robocall was. The results of five binary logistic regressions using survey data (N = 190) are used to explain how fake news can impact voter’s decisions. Further, this study also employs a qualitative content analysis of known fake news headlines (N = 596) during the time of the election to determine the aim, scope, target, and nature of each news piece. A final qualitative content analysis is conducted to determine the nature of robocalls through survey respondents who were the recipient of an election-related robocall (N = 46). With our findings, we can examine whether Canadian voters were influenced by fake news and whether that had an impact on their voting decision.

Senior Supervisor: Richard Frank
Supervisor: Ray Corrado
External Examiner: Patrick Lalonde, Douglas College
Chair: Bryan Kinney 


Stephanie Lau

December 7 | 10:00am PST | Remote Attendance

Title:  “The ‘I’ in ICATs: A closer examination of Interagency Case Assessment Teams in British Columbia”


Integrated case assessment teams (ICATs) are a consortium of local agencies that respond to highest risk domestic violence cases using a collaborative approach. The underlying principle of ICATs is the belief that with coordinated intervention, injury or death resulting from domestic violence is predictable and preventable. This exploratory study examines the knowledge and experience of ICATs in British Columbia to better understand the role, functioning, and impact of ICATs in combating domestic violence. The results provide insight as to (i) the who and how of ICATs; (ii) the benefits and challenges to interagency collaboration; and (iii) potential qualitative indicators of success to measure the effectiveness of ICATs. The turnover and burnout of ICAT membership are briefly examined, followed by a discussion comprised of the recommendations from ICAT members on how the overall functioning of ICATs could be improved. Implications of the findings and future directions are also discussed.

Co-Supervisor: Bryan Kinney
Co-Supervisor: Sheri Fabian
External Examiner: Kate Rossiter, SFU
Chair: Gail Anderson


Sarah-May Strange

December 9 | 3:00pm PST | Remote Attendance

Title:  “Speaking in stolen voices: Impersonated propaganda and use of Queer and Muslim identities by the Internet Research Agency”


As part of Russia’s ongoing foreign interference campaign, The Internet Research Agency (IRA) appropriated marginalised identities and created impersonated propaganda, including the Facebook groups LGBT United and United Muslims. Guided by critical theory and informed by feminist, queer, and postcolonial perspectives, this study examined 500 posts from LGBT United and 500 posts from United Muslims, to explore the groups’ content, purpose, and use of marginalised identities.  Qualitative content analysis revealed several themes, including (Attempted) Identity Theft (efforts to appear legitimate), A Call to Inaction (discouragement of political engagement), “Us” Against the World (encouraging isolation and anger), and That’s the Thing I’m Sensitive About! (potentially generating antagonism towards the marginalised community). Findings discuss the possibility that these posts are multitarget (intended to influence not only the impersonated community, but groups hostile to it), explore potential danger to marginalised groups, recommend consideration of proactive strategies, and encourage community partnership.

Senior Supervisor: Richard Frank
Supervisor: Sheri Fabian
External Examiner: Jennifer Marchbank, SFU
Chair: Bryan Kinney


Vanja Zdjelar

December 16 | 10:00am PST | Remote Attendance

Title:  “Alone Together: Exploring Community on an Incel Forum”


Incels, or involuntary celibates, are men who are angry and frustrated at their inability to find sexual or intimate partners. This anger has repeatedly resulted in violence against women. Because Incels are a relatively new phenomenon, there are many gaps in our knowledge, including how, and to what extent, Incel forums function as online communities. The current study attempts to fill this lacuna by qualitatively analyzing the incels.co forum to understand how community is created through online discourse. Both inductive and deductive thematic analyses were conducted on 17 threads (3400 posts). The results confirm that the incels.co forum functions as a community. Four themes in relation to community were found: The Incel brotherhood; We can agree but you’re wrong; We are all coping here; and Will the real Incel come forward. The results also show that Incels most often exchange informational and emotional support.

Senior Supervisor: Garth Davies
Supervisor: Sheri Fabian
External Examiner: David Hofmann, University of New Brunswick
Chair: Bryan Kinney