Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)




Melnitchouk, Wally

Committee Member

Orginos, Konstantinos

Committee Member

Averett, Todd

Committee Member

Richards, David

Committee Member

Ji, Chueng


Despite the great effort and achievements made towards understanding proton spin structure in the past few decades, a complete picture is still elusive. Parton distribution functions (PDFs), which in quantum chromodynamics (QCD) encode the momentum and helicity distributions of quarks and gluons inside a proton, provide the means by which to quantify the proton structure information. Being inherently nonperturbative, PDFs have to be extracted from unpolarized and polarized lepton-hadron and hadron-hadron scattering data. In particular, experiments that measure unpolarized and polarized jet observables can provide insight into the momentum and helicity distributions of gluons, which have generally been more difficult to determine reliably than those of quarks.In the past, extraction of the spin-averaged and spin-dependent (or helicity) PDFs has been performed in separate analyses. In this thesis, we perform the first simultaneous extraction of both types of quantities from deep-inelastic scattering (DIS), Drell-Yan and single jet observables, within the Monte Carlo global QCD analysis framework developed by the Jefferson Lab Angular Momentum (JAM) Collaboration. The results from this work indicate that the gluon helicity distributions depend rather strongly on the theory assumptions on which the global analysis is based, which calls for the need of measurements with higher precision. As an application of the new simultaneous JAM analysis, we perform an impact study for future Electron-Ion Collider (EIC) data with parity-conserving and parity-violating polarization asymmetries on quark and gluon helicity distributions in the proton. The extrapolation of structure functions from the current data is studied for the first time in the context of the impact study. Theory assumptions, such as SU(2) and SU(3) flavor symmetries, are also studied to give a more thorough understanding of the impact of EIC pseudodata on proton spin structure.




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