Each student in the Knowledge Integration Senior Research Project (two-term course, INTEG 420/421) works on a short research project under the dual direction of a member of the Department of Knowledge Integration and an advisor from a discipline related to the topic. The results of this project will be presented in thesis form, and will be critically examined by members of this and, where pertinent, other departments.
The students presented poster displays of their projects on Friday, April 1.
Also, check out: 2015 projects | 2014 projects | 2013 projects | 2012 projects
Understanding University of Waterloo Students' Attitudes and Perceptions of Affirmative Sexual Consent and their expectations of sexual consent policy
Supervisor: Rashmee Singh, Sociology and Legal Studies
Statistics show that 1 in 5 women will experience rape or attempted rape within in her lifetime, and that a woman has a heightened risk of experiencing rape while in college (Jozkowski, 2015). Sexual assault on Ontario’s university campuses is a prevalent issue that is being addressed due to increasing pressure from the provincial government. The Government of Ontario is insisting that universities form better policies and initiatives to monitor and remedy sexual assault issues on campus (Wynne, 2015). One of the ways that universities can prevent sexual assault is by educating students about sexual consent. The University of Waterloo (UW) is actively working on policy to promote affirmative-consent behaviour in order to reduce sexual violence on campus. However, there is limited research of students’ understanding and implementation of affirmative sexual consent in a Canadian student population. This study seeks to investigate students’ understandings and attitudes towards affirmative sexual consent and interpret students’ perceptions, opinions, and expectations of sexual consent policy at the University of Waterloo. This research is significant because it is likely that the attitudes and perceptions of the student body about affirmative sexual consent are not being brought to the attention of the committee modifying Waterloo’s sexual consent policies. This data will help to inform sexual consent policy decisions at the University of Waterloo so that they are beneficial, relevant, and suited to its students.
University Undergraduate Students Environmental Attitudes and Behavioural Intent to Purchase Food
Supervisor: Goretty Dias, School of Environment, Enterprise and Development
Experts predict that the production of meat will need to double by 2050 in order to meet global demands (De Bakker and Dagevos, 2012). This is worrisome when the environmental impact of livestock must be halved just to prevent the current level of ecological damage from being exceeded (De Bakker and Dagevos, 2012). However, efforts to encourage consumers to change their purchasing behaviour to be more cognizant of the environment have not been effective to date (Vermeir & Verbeke, 2006) and thus a more comprehensive understanding of the consumer is required. The purpose of this study is to explore whether environmental attitudes of undergraduate students in the Faculty of Environment and undergraduate students in the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Waterloo are related to intended purchasing behaviour regarding environmentally friendly food. An online questionnaire was conducted that measured the respondent’s environmental attitude and their intent to purchase four hamburgers, each with different sources of beef (regular, grass fed, organic, beefaux/vegetarian). Analysis of the online questionnaire results will help build a more comprehensive understanding of the undergraduate university student consumer by determining if their environmental attitude affected their purchasing intent of four different hamburgers.
The Potential for Mindfulness Practices to Reduce Fatal and Non-Fatal Events Caused by Coronary Heart Disease
Supervisors: Mary Elliott, Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto and Katie Plaisance, Department of Knowledge Integration
Coronary heart disease is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. Although behavioral and lifestyle choices are key causes, there has been a significant amount of research on the correlation between psychological stress and the health issues associated with coronary heart disease. Psychological stress has been known to increase the risk factors for developing type II diabetes, dyslipidemia and hypertension, all of which are part of ‘metabolic syndrome’ and can increase the risk of coronary heart disease. Mindfulness practices have been known reduce levels of stress through traditional meditation, conscious awareness and breathing techniques. The objective behind this research paper is to explore the potential use of mindfulness practices to reduce a significant amount of psychological stress, thus reducing the risk of coronary heart disease. Through the review of current literature on psychological stress, its relationship to metabolic syndrome, and the ability of mindfulness practices to significantly reduce stress, we can better understand the potential for mindfulness practices to be implemented as a potential alternative to reduce the fatal and non-fatal events caused by coronary heart disease. The outcome of the results showed that mindfulness practices can potentially be used as integrative medicine to complement the current therapies. While, the results also imply promising potential for mindfulness practices to be an alternative medicine with further research and testing.
Message Me Maybe? Men with depression and their experiences in using online dating
Supervisor: Steven Spencer, Psychology
People with depression often have low self-esteem which can impede the formation of romantic relationships. Based on prior research, I argue that heterosexual men with low self-esteem and/or depression face internal and societal barriers to initiating romantic relationships (Cameron, Stinson, & Wood, 2013). Specifically, I examine research in the following areas: gender and depression, how low self-esteem and gender affect romantic relationship initiation, and low self-esteem and depression in relation to online dating. I also examine what methods are being used by men with depression when they attempt online dating, and evaluate the effectiveness of these methods. Finally, I use this research to find effective ways for depressed men or men with low self-esteem to approach online dating in order to make their experience easier and more successful. I provide recommendations for both online dating companies and depressed men.
Communication of Campus Mental Wellness Services: Assessing Students’ Perspectives and Reviewing Best Practices
Supervisor: Wade Wilson, Recreation and Leisure Studies
Student mental well-being is a major concern for universities (Hunt & Eisenberg, 2010), and communication barriers prevent undergraduate students from accessing the necessary guidance when facing emotional challenges (Eisenberg, Golberstein, & Gollust, 2007). This study intends to explore what these barriers are from the perspective of undergraduate students at the University of Waterloo and combine this insight with research in health communication theories to develop recommendations for decreasing these barriers. Participants were 307 female (66.1%), male (23.8%), and non-binary (1.3%) undergraduate University of Waterloo students, with the majority of students from the Environment (33.9%), Applied Health Sciences (28.0%), and Science faculties (20.5%). Preliminary findings indicate that nearly two-thirds of participants were unaware of individual counselling at Counselling Services (60.6%) and how to book an appointment for this service (60.9%). As well, participants perceived that information about services related to mental wellness is more effectively communicated than information about strategies for mental wellness (t(303)=5.12, p<.001 students="" are="" also="" in="" agreement="" of="" more="" regular="" communication="" for="" information="" about="" both="" services="" and="" strategies="" regarding="" mental="" wellness.="">
Sustaining Ability: Barriers and Opportunities for University-City Collaboration in the Waterloo Region
Supervisors: Vanessa Schweizer, Knowledge Integration and Anna-Marie Cipriani, Sustainability Coordinator, City of Waterloo
The City of Waterloo and the University of Waterloo operate with different strategies in mind for future development. On one end of the spectrum, the City of Waterloo has identified Environmental leadership, specifically sustainability, as a core priority for the future (City of Waterloo Strategic Plan). As a result, the City of Waterloo's Sustainability Office is oversaturated with potential projects ranging from economic development initiatives to environmental sustainability problems to urban infrastructure management. As it stands, the City of Waterloo unfortunately does not have enough "manpower" to carry out all of these projects. On the other end, part of University of Waterloo's strategic plan is to enhance experiential education for all students. Currently, this largely takes the form of an undergraduate curriculum that integrates co-operative education (or co-op) streams, where students gain employment experience through work terms. However, not all programs offer co-op. Because of this, part of University of Waterloo's strategic plan is to encourage instructors to incorporate other experiential opportunities into non-co-op programs (University of Waterloo Strategic Plan). If the City of Waterloo and the University of Waterloo can foster a symbiotic partnership and have students work on city projects, these projects can move forward and students can gain invaluable learning experiences. This project intends to leverage this mutually beneficial relationship by mapping out suitable appropriate points of contact for the city to access. By making these barriers more apparent, I will look for opportunities to integrate these city projects into established project-based courses or suggest new courses that include such curricula, therefore fulfilling each party's strategic plan. The results of this project may serve as a case study in the university-community partnerships literature, as well, may catalyze the development of further university-community partnerships.
Improving the Credit Recovery Program for Ontario High School Students
Supervisor: Dennis Gingrich, Peace & Conflict Studies, University of Waterloo and Waterloo Catholic District School Board
In the last decade, the Ontario Ministry of Education has placed an increasing amount of emphasis on student success and graduation. An important part of their student success strategy is the Credit Recovery program, which gives students who have received a failing grade in a course another chance to successfully complete failed course components. A 2008 evaluation conducted by the Canadian Council on Learning revealed that although Credit Recovery does help students achieve their credits and improve graduation rates, it does not adequately address other aspects of student success such as preparation for future courses and maintaining students? interest in their schooling. This project explores possible improvements to the credit recovery program so that it may grow to promote a more holistic and future-oriented understanding of student success.
Organizing the social media clutter in a confused digital world through strategic marketing planning
Supervisor: Kathleen Rodenburg, Economics
Social media has become a very immersive aspect in people’s everyday lives. To reach 50 million users, the radio took 38 years, the television 13 years and the Internet four years. However, Facebook was able to reach 100 million users, double the amount of users than the other technologies in less than 9 months. A new era in the marketing industry has begun to form, the social media marketing era. Unlike traditional marketing, this new method of marketing has changed the balance of power away from the organizations and more toward the consumer. That is, the benefits from marketing efforts are decreasing for the companies engaged in marketing and are now accruing to the consumers. As the marketing industry attempts to adapt to this new era many businesses are uncertain how to leverage social media in a way that has the benefits accruing back to the organization. This project aims at helping a real world client leverage the social media platforms to have a positive impact on their company and increase overall sales. This goal will be accomplished through five stages: conducting a situational analysis, determining the company’s objectives, gathering insight into the target audience, selecting the social media zones and vehicles and creating an experience strategy from the research gathered. Through the creation of the marketing plan the consumer purchase decision process was discovered which consists of the following five stages: problem recognition, information search, alternative evaluation, purchase decision and post-purchase behaviour. The examination of the consumer’s behaviour in each stage has given a clear understanding of which social media channels would add value in each stage of the process. The consumer purchase decision process is an important framework, which has guided all of the recommendations provided to the client.
Religious Heads: A Historical Study of Religious Women’s Head-Coverings
Supervisor: Greta Kroeker, History
Recently in Canada, there has been much interest in Muslim women’s head-coverings. Are they oppressive? Are they a feminist statement? Should their use be limited? Missing from many of these analyses is a historical and global context. Muslim women are far from the only women who cover their heads for religious purposes, both historically and in the present day. The reasoning behind the usage and the instances in which a head-covering is necessary vary widely by religion and culture. This project will attempt to add historical context to the wearing of religious head coverings by women and then to place those historicized coverings into the context of modern-day Ontario. This type of project is of interest to those within academia as well as the general public and so the deliverables will address both audiences. There will be an academic paper that focuses on the broader research themes that scholars may be interested in and a public facing website and physical head coverings that the general public can interact with. Overall, the goal is to historicize female religious head coverings in order to better understand how they are used today.
“Everyone fends for themselves”: Socio-economic status variation in children’s participation in extra curricular activities
Supervisor: Janice Aurini, Sociology and Legal Studies
In recent decades, there has been a significant interest in children’s use of non-school time, especially children’s participation in extra curricular activities. While participation varies by age, approximately 80-90% of children under the age of 17 have engaged in some kind of extra curricular activity (Guèvremont et al. 2008). Children’s participation in extra curricular activities has been linked to a variety of trends including more intensive forms of parenting and interest in children’s cognitive and social development (Quirke 2006; Snellman et al. 2015; Lareau 2011). While research has shown children’s participation in extra curricular activities has increased, not all children participate equally in these activities. In particular, parents’ socio-economic status (SES) predicts children’s level of participation in extra curricular activities. Almost all children from the ages of 6 to 9 years old from the highest SES families had engaged in extra curricular activities during the previous year (94%), yet only 6% of children from the lowest SES families had participated (Guèvremont et al. 2008). What explains SES variation in children’s participation in extra curricular activities? Drawing on interviews with higher and lower SES parents, I use a qualitative comparative analysis to investigate the motivations behind children’s participation in extra curricular activities, how parents frame these activities, and the barriers that hinder children’s participation in extra curricular activities (e.g., financial, geographical, accessibility barriers). In the conclusion I discuss the broader implications of parents’ orientation to their children’s participation in extra curricular activities including post-secondary attendance.
Modern Technology and Social Change: A Cognitive Science Perspective
Supervisor: Paul Thagard, Philosophy
All the products and processes you have interacted with today have been designed to achieve particular goals in areas such as education, communication, transportation, health, or more. Over time, our interaction with these products or processes—these technologies—has affected our social patterns, our behaviour, and our cognition. Technology such as mobile phones may give rise to new norms and expectations around response time in communication, or technology may even be designed with intended social consequences, such as certain contraceptive or military technologies.Technological change in a society can influence social change—complex shifts in culture and social structure which can span changes in behaviour, norms, values, and emotions. Past sociological research on social change fails to account for these shifts at the level of individuals. As such, this project uses a cognitive science approach using two case studies, the Internet and Facebook, to investigate the social and psychological shifts related to technology.
Analysis of the Auricular Surface of the Sacrum as a Possible Method for Determining Age-at-Death
Supervisor: Maria Liston, Anthropology
A new method for determining the age at death of an adult skeleton using the auricular surface of the sacrum is presented here. Different characteristics present on the alae joint surface were examined to find a correlation between the changes they undergo and the ageing process. From those examinations an ageing method was derived by creating six phases comprised of different age ranges with descriptions indicating what traits should be present. The method was developed and tested using the skeletal collection at the University of Waterloo. The results hold value for forensic and archaeological contexts because it presents another age indicator which allows for more opportunities to determine the age of an individual and improve accuracy.
Navigating the Nexus of Negotiations: A Comprehensive, Holistic Approach to Negotiation Theories and Conflict Management for the Development of a Set of Negotiation Best Practices
B. Shane Morganstein
Supervisors: Wendi Adair, Psychology and Keith Regehr, Peace & Conflict Studies
The wide applications of negotiation theory and conflict resolution have resulted in a great deal of research on the subject of negotiations and negotiation theory, spanning across many different disciplines – whether using the recommendations of philosophers of war, utilizing the results of psychological studies, researching the decisions and outcomes of significant historical negotiations, or even using anecdotes from negotiations in a court of law, there currently exists a significant body of research that helps to inform the ways in which professionals and laypersons alike can negotiate. This large body of research can be generally divided into advocating for one of two approaches to negotiations. The first, called positional bargaining, represents the typical adversarial, zero-sum approach to negotiations, often characterized by entrenched positions and a general resistance to compromise or serious concessions. This approach is often employed by military generals and others engaged in high-stakes negotiations, due to the approach's refusal to concede on serious positions and its potential to earn a substantial victory for the negotiator, often at the costs of other negotiators involved. Positional bargaining has been taught in one form or another by many great military minds, most notably Sun Tzu in his The Art of War and Carl von Clausewitz's On War. The other approach, developed more recently by the mediators and negotiation scholars William Ury and Roger Fischer in their book Getting to Yes, focuses on interests over positions, in the hopes of leveraging the interests of each negotiator to develop mutually beneficial, win-win resolutions. This interest-based approach, which is particularly critical of positional bargaining in its very formulation, has gained a great deal of popularity recently, both in the media and among mediators and legal professionals. This paper will address two key aspects of these two approaches to negotiation. First, this paper will identify a number of key similarities and differences between the two approaches, in order to highlight core, foundational principles which, independent of context, could be of use to negotiators in general. Second, this paper will address a number of shortcomings in the new interest-based approach, and will show how strategies from the positional bargaining approach can be used to resolve these significant problems, in the hopes of expanding the scope in which the interest-based approach may be successfully applied.
Community Development and Transitions: How The Place You Live Can Impact Your First Year at University
Supervisor: Whitney Arthurs, Recreation and Leisure Studies
Where a student lives in their first year at University can change the amount of success they have in finding the type of community they desire. Through primary data in the form of surveys, first year students, beginning in Fall 2015 at the University of Waterloo, have shown that their choice in residence, whether on campus in University Residences, in a University College Residence, or Off Campus, has an effect on their success. These students, in majority, hoped to find both academic and social communities when entering into University. Though the majority of students had success in finding the community they hoped for regardless of their living situation, there seems to be recognition of the relationship their residence and their community has. Each student used different methods to discover and foster the community they hoped for and they agree that there are many ways the University can improve in order to facilitate further and more positive community development for all residence subsets. Through improvements to the way in which the University of Waterloo and its students create experiences and foster interactions, a higher success of community can be achieved for future first year students.
Knowledge-sharing and it’s influence on patient trust in their physician for Canadians living with multiple sclerosis
Supervisor: Samantha Meyer, School of Public Health and Health Systems
Trust has been described as the “glue that holds our society together”, because we require it for so many of our social processes. Traditional models of interpersonal trust in particular describe trust as a “leap of faith” that is made across a knowledge gap existing between two actors — the actor investing trust (trustor), and the actor in whom trust is being invested (trustee) (Giddens, 1991; Luhmann, 1979). Giddens and Luhmann’s traditional models are relevant to and have been applied in the healthcare setting in the instance of studying trust in doctor-patient relationships, because of the knowledge gap that exists between the two actors (Gilson, 2003; Legido-Quigley, McKee & Green, 2014; Meyer & Ward, 2008; Meyer, Ward, Coveney & Rogers, 2003). The problem with these traditional models is that they assume that the knowledge gap in these models contains knowledge only held by the physician, and that this knowledge gap between the two actors is irreducible. Recent paradigm shifts in healthcare present a new image of the trustor and the trustee — one where the trustor (the patient) contributes important knowledge about their experience; and where the trustee (the physician) has the capacity to communicate at least some of their expert knowledge in a way that the trustor understands (Beaulieu, 2013). From this new perspective, the knowledge gap between patient and provider becomes reducible from both sides, because expert knowledge comes from both sides. This research aims to better understand how this updated perspective on knowledge-sharing between physicians and patients affects patient trust in their physicians. Specifically, Canadians living with multiple sclerosis have been surveyed to measure their satisfaction with knowledge-sharing between themselves and their physicians, as well as their levels of trust in their physicians. Willing participants were also interviewed to better understand their perspectives. At its core, this project aims to explore the question of how knowledgesharing influences patients’ levels of trust in their physician.
Learn2Gather: Development of an app to help form study groups on campus
Supervisors: Igor Ivkovic, Systems Design Engineering, University of Waterloo and Thorsten Sommer, Zentrum für Lern- und Wissensmanagement ZLW, RWTH Aachen University
In the Rhine-Westphalia Institute of Technology (RWTH) Aachen University and the University of Waterloo, a need has been identified among university students to form or find study groups with peers on campus. Study groups are offered as a way to build social skills among peers and encourage co-learning within the context of the classroom. Despite its benefits, study group formation is often inhibited from inconvenience, lack of productivity, and social inhibitions within the group. To help solve these problems, an application has been proposed to address these concerns. The Learn2Gather application allows students to create and/or join existing study groups online, outlining details such as time, location, course of study, and the topics to be covered at the group meeting. These study groups can be customized to encourage productivity by specifying important topics prior, and reduce inconvenience amongst group members. By being able to sign up online, the Learn2Gather application also assists socially inhibited students to find peers with similar academic goals. This application will make it easier for students to find and benefit from the use of study groups.
The Cost of Perfection: The roles of Symbolic Harm, Procreative Beneficence, and Procreative Autonomy in the changing landscape of Prenatal Genetic Testing (PGT)
Supervisor: Nicholas Ray, Philosophy
Prenatal genetic screening (PGS) and prenatal genetic testing (PGT) have both seemingly given parents much more choice when it comes to the future of their children. Traits, from various diseases and disabilities, to gender, have been isolated and can now be tested for while the child is still in the womb. If the results of the test signify an anomaly or potential problems with the fetus at or after birth, then parents may be faced with difficult decisions. This paper looks at three values: procreative autonomy, procreative beneficence, and symbolic harm and their relation to the ever growing field of PGS. An attempt to provide a method of balancing all 3 values will be provided with emphasis on recognizing the contextual nature of PGS situation, and weighing values accordingly.
Borders and Beginnings: Examining Refugees’ Pre and Post Migration Perceptions of Canada
Supervisor: Marlene Epp, History and Peace & Conflict Studies
With Canada having resettled thousands of Syrian refugees in the last few months, it is timely and important to study refugees in a Canadian context. This project seeks to examine refugees’ pre and post migration perceptions of Canada, their experiences in Canada, and Canadian immigration and refugee policy more broadly. Through interviews, this project listens to the stories of people who have come to Canada as refugees and the ups and downs of beginning a new life in a new country. Using these stories as a focal point, I examine important questions that pertain to identity, belonging, and how Canadian immigration policy and trends influence the experiences of people coming to Canada as refugees. There is hope that by sharing and writing about these stories, people will find ways to connect with the topic of refugees in Canada and learn how Canadian immigration policy shapes the experience of refugee flows in Canada.
Science for Science Sake Only? An analysis of public benefits within citizen science
Supervisor: Ashley Rose Kelly, English Language and Literature
Citizen science is a form of crowd sourcing research that engages non-expert, citizen volunteers in collecting data for large scale studies. The recent phenomenon of citizen science has a number of unique benefits that have opened many doors in the scientific community, particularly in ecological studies where traditional research methods alone are not enough to accurately gauge large scale, environmental questions. Despite the list of scientific benefits citizen science provides, the benefits for the individuals or communities involved are most often limited to “public education and access to scientific knowledge." The scale of these projects alone provide great potential for social and cultural improvement, including policy changes and post-research programs that engage communal involvement; however, the importance and implementation of these impacts are hidden beneath the projects’ scientific developments. Through an in-depth literature review of current citizen science practices and projects, this research will analyze the lack of public benefits within citizen science, the lack of articulation of the benefits that do occur, and identify potential solutions to improve benefits to the public and the communication process beyond the simplistic goal of public knowledge, all in the hopes of continuing the collaboration between experts and non-experts to evoke positive, societal change.
Women, War, and Establishing a New Norm
Supervisor: Anna Drake, Political Science
The culture of the military is one that is defined by masculinities: aggression, dominance, strength, and protecting others. A greater number of females have more recently been included in the military, but for the most part do not participate in a combat capacity. Combat units are considered elite, and are the stereotypical understanding of what a role in the military looks like. This is considered the most masculine role in that it is seen as requiring the most aggression, strength, and dominance. The standards of combat soldiering are considered the ideal, while qualities perceived to be feminine such as compassion and understanding are not included when considering the strength of a combat unit. Inequality in an institution such as the military is built through standards set by the men, as the dominant group, and when a person does not meet these standards of maleness and masculinity they are considered lesser and less valuable. Through a lack of female inclusion in such a stereotypical role, women in the military are considered women soldiers rather than just soldiers. Although there has been some inclusion of women in combat positions through formal policy, this is not necessarily significant enough representation for women to be considered valuable without proving that they break the mold of femininity, and embody the ideal military masculinities. Using the standards that currently exist, women who qualify are exceptional, but this designation is not given to men in the same way. Through this research I will explore the inequality of representation of women with regards to combat positions in the military, which leads to women adopting masculine traits and demeanours in order to be respected, valued, and considered part of the in-group of the masculine military culture. I will explore these issues through looking at the militaries of Canada, the United States of America, Israel, and Finland as case studies.