Dr Merrill Turpin

Senior Lecturer in Occ Therapy

School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences
Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences
m.turpin@uq.edu.au
+61 7 336 56491

Overview

Dr Turpin’s research centres on the clinical/professional reasoning of occupational therapists across the spectrum of experience from new graduates to experts, as well as the subjective experiences of people with disabilities. She specialises in the use of qualitative research methods and uses a variety of qualitative research methods in her own research, as well advising others on these research methods. Dr Turpin has written books and book chapters on occupational therapy models of practice, evidence-based practice, and clinical reasoning, as well as publications on various aspects of people's experience. Dr Turpin has been a teaching and research academic at The University of Queensland for more than 30 years. The connection between theory and practice is central to her research and teaching. As occupational therapists attend to both thinking and experience, they need to use rigorous thinking and a deep understanding of human experience in their practice.

Research Interests

  • Qualitative Research Methodology
    My main interest is in selecting the best qualitative methodologies for addressing the research questions that have been posed. Different methodologies attend to and prioritise certain aspects of phenomena and ways of understanding them. Consequently, choosing appropriate qualitative research methodologies from the plethora of those available is essential for guiding the research in a fruitful direction, but can be difficult. Often researchers become wedded to certain methodologies because they are familiar with them. Having a deep understanding of the ontological and epistemological assumptions underlying a range of qualitative research methodologies, as well as their unique goals and focus, provides the basis for well-reasoned decisions about research methodology.
  • Disability - experience and participation
    Occupational therapists are concerned with understanding people's experiences of everyday life and promoting their participation in society by identifying and overcoming barriers and building on existing strengths. My research attends to both understanding experience and promoting participation of people with a range of disabilities. Examples include understanding the everyday lives of people experiencing Multiple Sclerosis fatigue and the experiences of and barriers encountered by travellers with vision or mobility impairments.
  • Occupational Therapy clinical and professional reasoning
    Occupational therapists need to make well-reasoned decisions about the actions they take in practice. My research into the clinical and professional reasoning of occupational therapists has spanned three decades. I have written books, book chapters and journal articles on the occupational therapy practice models that guide occupational therapists in their practice; the process they use when combining disparate information, including research evidence and knowledge of their clients' experiences and circumstances; how they learn to reason as new graduates; and how students learn and can be supported to learn clinical and professional reasoning during their professional practice placements. I also have a sustained commitment to the continued development of the Student Practice Evaluation Form (SPEF, 1997; SPEF-R, 2008, SPEF-R2, 2019), a student professional practice evaluation tool that has consistently been used throughout Australia and in some countries overseas.

Research Impacts

Dr Turpin works closely with Queensland Heath regarding supporting the clinical reasoning of occupational therapists with a range of experience. She also works with a range of organisations to use personal and occupational therapy understandings to improve the lives of people with Disabilities.

Publications

  • Turpin, Merrill J. and Copley, Jodie A. (2025). Interactive reasoning. Clinical and professional reasoning in occupational therapy. (pp. 239-252) edited by Barbara A. Boyt Schell and John W. Schell. Philadelphia, PA United States: Wolters Kluwer.

  • Turpin, Merrill J. and Hanson, Debra J. (2025). Learning professional reasoning in practice through fieldwork. Clinical and professional reasoning in occupational therapy. (pp. 583-608) edited by Barbara A. Boyt Schell and John W. Schell. Philadelphia, PA USA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

  • Turpin, Merrill, Fitzgerald, Cate, Copley, Jodie, Laracy, Sue and Lewis, Beverly (2021). Experiences of and support for the transition to practice of newly graduated occupational therapists undertaking a hospital graduate program. Australian Occupational Therapy Journal, 68 (1) 1440-1630.12693, 12-20. doi: 10.1111/1440-1630.12693

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Grants

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Supervision

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Publications

Featured Publications

Book

Book Chapter

  • Turpin, Merrill J. and Copley, Jodie A. (2025). Interactive reasoning. Clinical and professional reasoning in occupational therapy. (pp. 239-252) edited by Barbara A. Boyt Schell and John W. Schell. Philadelphia, PA United States: Wolters Kluwer.

  • Turpin, Merrill J. and Hanson, Debra J. (2025). Learning professional reasoning in practice through fieldwork. Clinical and professional reasoning in occupational therapy. (pp. 583-608) edited by Barbara A. Boyt Schell and John W. Schell. Philadelphia, PA USA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

  • Setchell, Jenny, Olson, Rebecca, Turpin, Merrill, Costa, Nathalia, Barlott, Tim, O'Halloran, Kate, Wigginton, Britta and Hodges, Paul (2024). Afflexivity in post-qualitative inquiry: prioritising affect and reflexivity in the evaluation of a health information website. Progressing Critical Posthuman Perspectives in Health Sociology. (pp. 105-120) London: Routledge. doi: 10.4324/9781003498896-8

  • Turpin, Merrill and García, Jenniffer (2021). Occupational therapy models of practice. Occupational therapy in Australia: professional and practice issues. (pp. 213-225) edited by Ted Brown, Helen M. Bourke-Taylor, Stephen Isbel, Reinie Cordier and Louise Gustafsson. Abingdon, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom: Taylor & Francis.

  • Higgs, Joy and Turpin, Merrill (2019). Learning to use evidence to support decision making. Clinical reasoning in the health professions. (pp. 465-474) edited by Joy Higgs, Gail Jensen, Stephen Loftus and Nicole Christensen. London, United Kingdom: Elsevier.

  • de Jonge, Desleigh and Turpin, Merrill (2019). Models of occupational therapy. An occupational therapists guide to home modification practice. (pp. 41-62) edited by Elizabeth Ainsworth and Desleigh de Jonge. Thorofare, NJ, United States: Slack .

  • Turpin, Merrill and Copley, Jodie (2018). Interactive reasoning. Clinical and professional reasoning in occupational therapy. (pp. 245-260) edited by Barbara A. Boyt Schell and John W. Schell. Philadelphia, PA, United States: Wolters Kluwer.

  • Turpin, Merrill and Hanson, Debra (2018). Learning professional reasoning in practice through fieldwork. Clinical and professional reasoning in occupational therapy. (pp. 439-460) edited by Barbara A. Boyt Schell and John W. Schell. Philadelphia, PA, United States: Wolters Kluwer.

  • Turpin, Merrill (2018). Models of occupational therapy. An occupational therapist’s guide to home modification practice. (pp. 41-61) edited by Elizabeth Ainsworth and Desleigh De Jonge. Thorofare, NJ, United States: Slack.

  • Copley, Jodie, Bennett, Sally and Turpin, Merrill (2017). Decision‐making for occupation‐centred practice with children. Occupation-centred practice with children: a practical guide for occupational therapists. (pp. 349-372) edited by Sylvia Rodger and Anne Kennedy-Behr. Oxford, United Kingdom: Wiley-Blackwell.

  • Turpin, Merrill (2017). Occupational therapy practice models. Occupational therapy for people experiencing illness, injury or impairment: promoting occupation and participation. (pp. 115-133) edited by Michael Curtin, Mary Egan and Jo Adams. Edinburgh, United Kingdom: Elsevier.

  • Turpin, Merrill (2017). Occupational therapy practice models and frames of reference. Occupational therapy in Australia: professional and practice issues. (pp. 185-201) edited by Ted Brow, Helen Bourke-Taylor, Stephen Isbel and Reinie Courtier. Sydney, Australia: Allen & Unwin.

  • Turpin, Merrill and Higgs, Joy (2013). Clinical reasoning and evidence-based practice. Evidence-Based Practice across the Health Professions. (pp. 300-317) edited by Tammy Hoffmann, Sally Bennet and Chris Del Mar. Sydney, NSW Australia: Elsevier.

  • Turpin, Merrill and Higgs, Joy (2010). Clinical reasoning and evidence-based practice. Evidence-based practice across the health professions. (pp. 300-317) edited by Tammy Hoffmann, Sally Bennett and Chris Del Mar. Sydney, Australia: Elsevier.

  • Copley, Jodie, Bennett, Sally and Turpin, Merrill (2010). Decision Making for Occupation-centred Practice with Children. Occupation-centred practice with children: A practical guide for occupational therapists. (pp. 320-341) edited by Sylvia Rodger. Oxford, UK: Wiley - Blackwell. doi: 10.1002/9781444319699.ch15

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Other Outputs

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

Completed Supervision