Clare MacMartin

Clare MacMartin
Department Chair, Associate Professor, FRHD
Email: 
cmacmart@uoguelph.ca
Phone number: 
519-824-4120, x52419
Office: 
Macdonald Institute, Room 245

Research Interests: Conversation analysis, discursive psychology, clinical communication (e.g., medicine, psychotherapy), health, human-animal relationships, legal discourse, sexualized violence, youth

Area: Family Relations and Human Development

Description of Research: An Applied Social Psychologist, I study naturally occurring real-world conversations to explore how personal and professional relationships are constituted in talk-in-interaction. Most recently, I have been using applied conversation analysis as an evidence-based way to investigate and support best practices in clinical communication in the professional domains of psychotherapy and veterinary medicine.

Accepting graduate students:

Fall 2018: Yes

Fall 2019: Yes   

Reserach Description

I have always had a love of language and a desire to understand humans’ relationships with each other and with animals. As an Applied Social Psychologist, I am a qualitative researcher who specializes in the study of communication in relationships. I study naturally occurring real-world conversations to explore how personal and institutional relationships are constituted in talk-in-interaction. I also use discourse analysis to analyze written language. Most recently, I have been using applied conversation analysis as an evidence-based way to investigate and support best practices in clinical communication in the professional domains of psychotherapy and veterinary medicine. For example, I have studied interactions between psychotherapy interns and their clients to consider the sorts of therapeutic questions that clients sometimes resist answering. With colleagues, I am currently investigating interactions between therapists and clients in Emotionally Focused Therapy, looking at what happens when therapists direct clients to engage in imaginary dialogues as a core part of this model of therapy. I have worked with colleagues in veterinary medicine to study veterinarians’ talk to distressed animals in the veterinary clinic. We have investigated how the wording of veterinarians’ questions to pet owners can shape the amount of information pet owners share about what they are feeding their pets, as well as how the design of veterinarians’ nutritional recommendations can affect the clarity and quality of decision-making about pets’ dietary regimens. Research interests include: conversation analysis, discursive psychology, clinical communication (e.g., medicine, psychotherapy), health, human-animal relationships, legal discourse, sexualized violence, and youth.

I received my MA in Psychology from the University of Toronto in 1989 after completing a double major in Psychology and English during which I conducted Honours thesis research in both subject areas. After my MA, I was torn between pursuing a PhD in Clinical Psychology for a future in professional practice or a PhD in Social Psychology for an academic career. I worked at Kinark Child and Family Services for six years after which I did my PhD in Applied Social Psychology at the University of Guelph, graduating in 2000.     

MacMartin, C. Wheat, H. C., Coe, J. B., & Adams, C. L. (in press). Conversation analysis of veterinarians’ proposals for long-term dietary change in companion animal practice in Ontario, Canada. Journal of Veterinary Medical Education.

MacMartin, C., Wheat, H. C., Coe, J. B., & Adams, C. L. (2015). The effect of question design on dietary information solicited during veterinarian-client interactions in companion animal practice in Ontario, Canada. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 246, 1203-1214.

Stoewen, D. L., Coe, J. B., MacMartin, C., Stone, E. A., & Dewey, C. E. (2014). Qualitative study of the communication expectations of clients accessing oncology care at a tertiary referral center for dogs with life-limiting cancer. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 245, 785-795.

MacMartin, C., Coe, J. B., & Adams, C. L. (2014). Treating distressed animals as speakers: I know responses in veterinarians’ pet-directed talk. Research on          Language and Social Interaction, 47, 151-174.

Cindy Adams, University of Calgary

Andrea Buchholz, University of Guelph

Jason B. Coe, University of Guelph

Robert Elliott, Strathclyde University

Alexa Hepburn, Rutgers University

Olga Sutherland, University of Guelph

Coe, J. B. (principal investigator), MacMartin, C. (co-investigator). MediCal/Royal Canin (Sponsor), $130,838, Analysis of Decision-Making, Diet Talk and Cost Discussions Occurring During Veterinarian-Client-Patient Interactions in Small Animal Practice. 2010-2014.

I am currently collaborating with Jason Coe of the University of Guelph and Cindy Adams at the University of Calgary using conversation analysis to study videotapes of veterinarians’ and pet owners’ discussions about pet nutrition. I am collaborating with Olga Sutherland of the University of Guelph, Amanda LeCouture of the University of Adelaide, Robert Elliott of the University of Strathclyde, and Alexa Hepburn of Rutgers University on the study of Emotionally Focused Therapy. I am working with Andrea Buchholz, Alexia Prescod, and Ann Wilson of the University of Guelph investigating the effectiveness of patient simulations in teaching clinical skills to students in Applied Human Nutrition. I am also supervising the MSc research of graduate student Sarah Ranby who is conducting a program evaluation of the Tools for Life curricula being used in classrooms by the Wellington District Catholic School Board.

New funded opportunities to collect and analyze brand new videotaped veterinary-client-patient interactions that are reflective of current issues in small animal practice are being sought.

What are the qualities of a student who would be successful in your lab?

  • Students who are curious about discourse analysis and conversation analysis and who are eager to learn new approaches to understanding relationships and how effective communication can be studied would be successful. Knowledge about language, including grammar, and strong attention to detail are definite assets.

How would you describe your mentoring style? 

  • I like to work closely with students and support them in whatever way they need. As a Psychologist, I am aware of the stresses of both undergraduate and graduate education and I work constructively with students on setting realistic goals, including timelines for completion. While I am a strong conceptual thinker, I am also very practical with lots of ideas about how to approach the research enterprise, including thesis writing, to engender student success. Different students require different levels of guidance so I take my cues from each student and situation. I am also interested in many topic areas and am committed to helping students pursue research subject matter that they are passionate about.

Is there anything else you’d like your potential students to know? 

  • Students working with me will have opportunities for paid research assistantships on new projects in the creation and analysis of collections of videotaped veterinary and/or psychotherapy interactions. I actively promote involvement of my advisees in attending and presenting at conferences and provide financial support to make this happen.