Kieran O'Doherty

Applied Social Psychology
519-824-4120 x 58919
Mackinnon Extension

Accepting Graduate Students: 
Accepting New Experiential Learning Students: 

My research involves qualitative and theoretical methods applied to social issues. I focus mainly on social aspects of health, and ethical implications of science and technology. I also have a strong interest in public deliberation as a method for involving broader publics in research. I am also particularly interested in developing qualitative methods in psychology, across a range of topics.

Community engagement & public deliberation; social & ethical implications of genetics/genomics; qualitative methods; discourse analysis; risk & uncertainty; human agency.


I have research interests in several areas that tend to overlap and interact in different ways, and much of my research is interdisciplinary. In general, I conduct research that is qualitative or theoretical. Topic areas that I focus on include the social aspects of health and illness, public participation in biotechnology and science, genetic risk, the language of uncertainty, and participatory governance. I am also interested in questions of ethics, human agency, and epistemology and ontology in science and psychology. For more details on publications, collaborations, and current projects please visit my lab website.

Past and current student projects in my research group include research on topics such as: women's health; ageing; obesity; risk communication; social and psychological aspects of illness.

Selected Publications

Selected publications:

O’Doherty, K. & Einsiedel, E. (eds.). (2012). Public Engagement and Emerging Technologies. Vancouver: UBC Press.

O’Doherty, K. C., Smith, C., & McMurtry, C. M. (forthcoming). Vaccine Hesitancy: Ethical Considerations from Multiple Perspectives. In Paul Bramadat, Julie Bettinger, & Maryse Guay (eds.). Cultural and Religious Roots of Vaccine Hesitancy: Explanations and Implications for Canadian Healthcare. University of Toronto Press.

O’Doherty, K. C., Neufeld, J. D., Brinkman, F. S. L., Gardner, H., Guttman, D. S., & Beiko, R. G. (2014). Conservation and Stewardship of the Human Microbiome. PNAS, 111(40), 14312-14313.

O’Doherty, K. C. & Burgess, M. M. (2013). Public deliberation to develop ethical norms and inform policy for biobanks: Lessons learnt and challenges remaining. Research Ethics, 9(2), 55-77.

Nep, S. & O’Doherty, K. (2013). Understanding public calls for labeling of GM foods: Analysis of a public deliberation on GM salmon. Society & Natural Resources, 26(5), 506-521.

O'Doherty, K. C., Gauvin, F.-P., Grogan, C., & Friedman, W. (2012). Implementing a Public Deliberative Forum. Hastings Center Report, 42(2), 20-23.

Hawkins, A. K., & O'Doherty, K. C. (2011). "Who owns your poop?": insights regarding the intersection of human microbiome research and the ELSI aspects of biobanking and related studies. BMC Medical Genomics, 4, 72.

O'Doherty, K. C., & Davidson, H. J. (2010). Subject Positioning and Deliberative Democracy: Understanding Social Processes Underlying Deliberation. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour, 40(1), 224-245.

O’Doherty, K. (2009). Agency and Choice in Genetic Counseling: Acknowledging Patients’ Concerns. Journal of Genetic Counseling, 18(5). 464-474.

O’Doherty, K. & LeCouteur, A. (2007). ‘Asylum Seekers’, ‘Boat People’ & ‘Illegal Immigrants’: Social Categorization in the Media. Australian Journal of Psychology, 59 (1), 1-12.

O’Doherty, K. (2006). Risk Communication in Genetic Counselling: A discursive approach to probability. Theory and Psychology, 16 (2), 225-256.