Suzanne McMurphy, Research Fellow

Dr. Suzanne McMurphy

Suzanne McMurphy has been at the University of Windsor since 2009 and is currently an Associate Professor in Social Work. Prior to coming to the University of Windsor, she was a member of the research faculty in the Department of Criminology and Senior Research Investigator in the School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Her doctoral research was funded by a Fulbright Scholarship to Sweden where she studied the integration of law and social work in child welfare and criminal justice systems across Europe and North America. She is currently the Vice Chair of the Research Ethics Board at the University of Windsor, having previously served four years as a committee member of the Social and Behavioral Institutional Review Board at the University of Pennsylvania. She has an undergraduate degree in Religious Studies, a Master’s degree in Social Service, Master’s degree in Law and Social Policy and a Ph.D. in Social Policy.

Areas of interest

Suzanne’s primary areas of interest focus on the dynamics of trust, distrust and trustworthiness in the relationship between individuals and organizations in health care, social and child welfare, juvenile and criminal justice, and government. Her research on the intersection of law and social welfare focuses on the social justice implications of the use of trust as a mechanism for promoting disclosure, adherence to laws and regulatory compliance. She also studies the ethics review process and the implications of trust in scientific information and participant consent.

Current research projects

Suzanne is currently a co-investigator on a CIHR-funded study on the use of child safety measures and reduction of vehicle-related injury in First Nation communities. Her involvement in this project focuses on the role of trust in scientific information and knowledge acquisition, institutional trust and utilization of safety measures and health-care related trust in seeking treatment after injury. She is also funded through Auto21 to work with First Nation communities to implement local strategies to respond to child safety and injury. Her current projects also include an exploration of youth definition of trust, distrust and trustworthiness, implications of trust on youth health and well-being, and an international collaboration project on the role of trust and disclosure on health care outcomes and disparities. She has recently initiated a four-year study on the role of public trust and government, which will include an exploration of how governments and legal systems define and utilize public trust, how trust is deployed in policy arguments as well as the implications of public trust for engaging in local governance and system change.

Teaching interests

Suzanne teaches courses in research methods, including mixed methods, quantitative analysis and program evaluation. She has previously taught courses in policy and program development, policy analysis, non-profit leadership, professional ethics and law and social work.

Selected conference presentations and publications (2010-2015)

2015.  “The role of trust in improving child safety in First Nation communities”, presentation at the Society for Social Work Research conference, New Orleans, USA (with Brent Angell.)

2014. “Trust, trustworthiness, and distrust in educational development”, Conference of the International Consortium for Educational Development, Stockholm, Sweden (with Erika Kustra).

2014. “Facilitating research in student field settings: Identifying the borders necessitating research ethics review without creating boundaries to student learning”, Congress of Humanities and Social Sciences, Brock University.

2013. “Substance Use, trust and disclosure among post-secondary students”, Michigan Sociological Association, Saginaw Michigan (with Jacqueline Lewis).

2013. “Trust, distrust and trustworthiness in argumentation:  Virtues and fallacies”, Proceedings of OSSA 13 Virtues of Argumentation, (D. Mohammed; M. Lewinski, eds.)

2013. “Analyzing the impact of bonding and bridging social capital on economic well-being:  Results from Canada’s General Social Survey”. Sociological Spectrum, 33, 566-583. (with Robert Weaver, Nazim Habibov).

2013. “Cultivating social capital through summer employment programs:  Perspectives from youth participants” Journal of Critical Social Work, 14, 33-46. (with Robert Weaver, Nazim Habibov).

2013. “Extending the olive branch:  Enhancing communication and trust between research ethics committees and qualitative researchers”, Journal of Empirical Research in Human Research Ethics, 8, 28-36 (with Jacqueline Lewis and Pierre Boulos).

2012. “Trust and trustworthiness from a youth perspective”, International Health and Wellness Conference, Chicago, Ill. (with Carol Scott).

2012.  “Preparing professionals to work in an uncertain world:  Integrating law and social work education with a social justice focus”, Canadian Law and Society Association Annual Meeting, Waterloo, Ontario.

2012. ”Research Ethics:  Collaborative engagement and the evidence” SoTL Academy, Grand Rapids, Michigan (with Pierre Boulos).

2010. “Trust, altruism and coercion:  Factors that social work practitioners and researchers should consider when recruiting clients for treatment-related clinical trials”, Congress of Humanities and Social Sciences, Montreal, Quebec.