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P. Karen Murphy

P. Karen Murphy
Professor of Education (Educational Psychology) at Penn State
Harry and Marion Eberly Faculty Fellow
P. Karen Murphy


P. Karen Murphy (Ph.D., University of Maryland) is Professor of Educational Psychology and Harry and Marion Eberly Royer Fellow at The Pennsylvania State University where she holds appointments in the Department of Educational Psychology Counseling, and Special Education and the Children, Youth, and Families Consortium. Her research focuses on the role of critical-analytic thinking and reasoning in the comprehension of oral and written language. Specifically, Dr. Murphy’s research involves the investigation of processes underlying students’ abilities to read and understand a text, to critically examine and evaluate the information presented, and to make reasoned judgments as a result of reading. Her ongoing projects are exploring: ways to promote high-level comprehension and content area learning through classroom discussion in elementary language arts classrooms; the use of discourse to enhance content learning, argumentative reasoning, and conceptual change in high school physics and chemistry classrooms; and the use of small group discussions in enhancing second-language acquisition and use in rural South African schools. Her research is funded by both the Institute of Education Sciences and the National Science Foundation.

Dr. Murphy frequently publishes in such prestigious journals as the Educational Psychologist, Journal of Educational Psychology, Contemporary Educational Psychology, and the Educational Researcher. She also recently co-authored a book on instructional leadership and learning for school administrators and has contributed to multiple book chapters, including two recent chapters in the Handbook of Educational Psychology. In addition, Dr. Murphy is a regular presenter at national and international conferences including the annual meetings of the American Psychological Association, American Educational Research Association, and European Association for Research in Learning and Instruction. Dr. Murphy is the incoming Editor of Review of Educational Research, which has consistently been ranked as the number one education and educational research journal in the world for the past several years. She is also the former Executive Editor of the Journal of Experimental Education and former Associate Editor of Learning and Instruction and serves on the editorial boards of numerous other journals including the Contemporary Educational Psychology, Journal of Educational Psychology, Educational Psychologist, and the South African Journal of Education. Active in several national organizations, she is the immediate past Vice President of Division C (Learning and Instruction) and served two terms on the Executive Board of the American Educational Research Association.

Among her honors, Dr. Murphy is a Fellow of both the American Educational Research Association and the American Psychological Association and was the recipient of the Richard E. Snow Early Career Achievement award by Division 15 of the American Psychological Association (APA) for her research on student learning. In addition, Dr. Murphy was awarded the 2007 Cotterill Leadership Enhancement Award by the Penn State College of Education and recently was awarded a Faculty Fellowship by the Children, Youth, and Families Consortium to integrate psychophysiological indices into her research on reading comprehension. More recently, Dr. Murphy completed a visiting professorship at the University of Pretoria in South Africa.