Professor Murphy of the Middlebury Institute holds a longstanding interest in human cognition and motivation. He initially pursued these interests within the field of history, which underscored the importance of context for understanding and interpreting how people understand, interpret, and interact with the world around them. However, he was frustrated by retrospective nature of the discipline and ultimately shifted his attention to the more proactive field of public policy.
Dr. Murphy studied public policy under Professor William Dunn at the University of Pittsburgh, and quickly realized he had a penchant for research methods that relate to the field. A good portion of his doctoral training was spent in search of the approaches to research and analysis that help to bridge the gap between numeric and descriptive research, resulting in a fondness for mixing methodologies.
This mixed-methods approach to understanding the world around us has similarly come to define the Mixed methods, Evaluation, Design, and Analysis (META) Lab, which Dr. Murphy directs. The META Lab is essentially a repository – and outlet – for anyone who is interested in applying the analytic skills that they either already have, or wish to grow. Students there are able to develop and hone their skills even beyond the curriculum available in regular courses, and frequently do so for clients and colleagues.
DPPG 8504 - Data Analysis for Public Policy
DPPG 8673 - Advanced Data Analysis
DPPG 8500 - Intro to Policy and DataAnalysis
DPPG 8565/NPTG 9565 - Intro to Network Analysis
ICCO 8580 - COVID19Cross Disciplinary Pandemic
MIIS 8500 - Middlebury Students at MIIS
Areas of Interest
The field of public policy covers two main aspects: governments’ roles in making policy; and the public’s reaction to that policy. When you keep in mind that public policy is essentially an attempt by a government to influence human behavior, the field quickly becomes interesting. Add to that the fact that people are involved in every aspect of the policy making process, and the policy field becomes all the more fascinating as the competition and interactions begin to become clearer. I’m especially interested in assessing social capital and ideological groups through the lens of social network analysis.