Research Projects

Current Research Projects:

A Relationship Based Approach to Working Therapeutically with Adult Survivors of Childhood Trauma. Book in progress.

A Feminist Perspective on Eating Issues: What feminism can teach us about working therapeutically with eating issues. Journal article in progress.

Surviving in Social Work Practice: Top tips from the sector. Journal article in progress.

Subjectivity, Agency and Social Change: How we feel about ourselves and our ability to create change. Book in progress.

Doctoral Studies:

My doctoral research was inspired by a concern with social change and how we might better understand the relationship between individual subjectivity and agency and broader social change. It provided some of the greatest opportunities for my learning both personally and academically.  I am currently reworking the core themes of my thesis into a more accessible book for publication.

In more theoretical terms, this research explores the possibilities for agency and social change in the reconceptualisation of subjectivity both in relation to knowledge generation and the relationship between individuals and society. Theoretically the research is located in the broad field of postmodern feminism, particularly in relation to the postmodern challenge to modernist views of subjectivity and metanarratives. The practice context for this research is the field of youth work.

The aims of this research are:

  1. To explore the construction of subjectivity in relation to the influence of past experiences and dominant social discourses, and the relationship between these;
  2. To explore the nature of people’s conscious experience of their subjectivity;
  3. To explore the impact of researcher subjectivity on the research process and findings;
  4. To explore the possible relationship between subjectivity, agency and social change.

A copy of my thesis is available for download below and I welcome your feedback.


Previous Research Projects:

  • 2021 Consultant – Eating Disorders Queensland, Development of Clinical Guidelines for Therapeutic Interventions in Eating Disorders.
  • 2019 Consultant – Domestic Violence Action Centre, Service Delivery Review and Restructure.
  • 2015-2018 Consultant – United Synergies, Organisational Evaluation of the Connect2Families Program.
  • 2015 Consultant – inPlace (previously Lions Emergency Accommodation Centre), Evaluation of KEIHS. Evaluation of the Keys to Early Intervention Service, part of the Homestay initiative.
  • 2014 Consultant – Caboolture Regional Domestic Violence Service, Organisational Evaluaiton. Evaluation of service delivery across all areas of the organisation.
  • 2012 Consultant – Youth Bail Accommodation Support Service, Organisational Evaluation. Evaluation of organisation and approach to service delivery including contextual issues.
  • 2004 Consultant – Youth Bail Accommodation Support Service, Organisational Evaluation. Evaluation of organisation and approach to service delivery; exploration of the broader context of youth justice sector, legislation, policies and procedures.
  • 2003 Consultant – Carina Youth Agency, Organisational Evaluation.Evaluation of organisation including multiple levels of service delivery and organisational infrastructure; explored related issues of youth homelessness.
  • 2002 Consultant – Brisbane Youth Service, Employment Program Evaluation. Evaluation of project in broader organisational context; addressed issues of education, training and employment for marginalised young people.
  • 1993 Consultant – Brisbane Youth Service, Opportunistic Prostitution Research Project. Design of research methodology involving the use of peer researchers; supervision of all aspects of the research process and compilation of final report. (Ferguson, Susan “Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Young People and Opportunistic Prostitution in Fortitude Valley and Brisbane City, Brisbane Youth Service, 1993.)
  • 1993 Consultant – Southern Suburbs Youth Project. Action research designed to simultaneously establish a data base, agency relationships and the capacity of the whole community to respond to youth and family issues. Gilmore, Jenny Peile, Colin with Ferguson, Susan. 1993 “That Happened To Me …” An Exploration of the Issues Facing Young People in the Outer Southern Suburbs of Brisbane, Report for the Commonwealth Department of Health, Housing, Local Government and Community Services, June 1993