Sydney Duder, Associate Professor

Dr. Duder has taught MSW research courses on program evaluation and quantitative methods for quite a few years, and really enjoys working with students on tutorials or research projects – she has supervised so many research papers and theses over the years that she has completely lost count! She enjoys playing with new ideas and methods; for example, she used a Delphi procedure for her MSW research, and designed a simulation game to evaluate a negative income tax for her PhD thesis. In courses and research projects, she has used Q-sorts, meta-analyses, tree diagrams and concept mapping. She has worked with colleagues on many projects, including studies of permanency planning, parent finding and the effect of agency funding formulas on adoption practice, as well as predictors of hospital length of stay, using the Person-in-Environment (PIE) system to measure the severity of psychosocial problems. She regularly attends the journal watch meetings at the CRCF, and has written many article reviews for the Research Watch archives.

Dr. Duder believes that good research and program evaluation can be very effective strategies in dealing with today’s worrisome political and social problems.


PhD (McGill University) 1987

Dip.Ad.Prac. (McGill University) 1973

MSW (McGill University) 1970

BSc (McGill University) 1942


1981-present Associate Professor

McGill University, Faculty of Arts, School of Social Work

2007-2010 Member, Research Ethics Board III

McGill University, School of Social Work

2000-2011 Board Member, Centre for Research on Children & Families

McGill University, School of Social Work

1998-2005 Coordinator of Social Work Ad Personam PhD program

McGill University, School of Social Work

1997-2011 Coordinator of Social Work Fellowships and Awards

McGill University, School of Social Work

1987/91, 1997/8, 2002/4 MSW Curriculum & Research Coordinator

McGill University, School of Social Work

1984-1987 MSW Research Coordinator

McGill University, School of Social Work

1975-1980 Assistant Professor

McGill University, School of Social Work

1972-1975 Lecturer

McGill University, School of Social Work


Areas of interest:

  • Quantitative research methods
  • Program Evaluation, with a particular interest in implications for social justice
  • Cost-benefit analysis

Description of current research:

  • A study, in collaboration with Tonino Esposito, of the relationship between poverty, community risk factors and child neglect. This involves a secondary analysis of the provincial agency data in Toni’s PhD dissertation, with additional neighborhood risk factors from census data. Findings may help to explain the overrepresentation of minority groups in substitute care, and suggest possible strategies to prevent child maltreatment.
  • An attempt to demonstrate that program evaluation can potentially improve the situation of disadvantaged groups. If impact assessment shows that a proposed program is effective, cost-benefit analysis can often prove that the cost of the program is much less than the social cost of the existing problem. This can improve the chances of getting useful programs actually funded—a strategy for increasing social justice.


Refereed Publications:

Townsend, D., Accurso-Massana, C., Lechman, C., Duder, S., & Chasen, M. (2010). Cancer nutrition rehabilitation program: The role of social work. Current Oncology 17(6), 288-289 (e-journal linked abstract)

Lechman, C., & Duder, S. (2009). Hospital length of stay: Social work services as an important factor. Social Work in Health Care, 48(5), 495-504.

Lechman, C., & Duder, S. (2006). Psychosocial severity, length of stay and the role of social work services. Social Work in Health Care, 43(4), 1-13.

Speirs, C.C., Duder, S., Sullivan, R., Kirstein, S., Propst, M., & Meade, D. (2005). Mediated reunions in adoption: Findings from an evaluation study. Child Welfare, LXXXIV(6), 843-866.

Speirs, C.C., Duder, S., Grove, J., & Sullivan, R.  (2003). Adoptable but still in limbo: The
 forgotten children in Canada. Child & Youth Care Forum, 32(2), 75-88.

Keefler, J., Duder, S., & Lechman, C. (2001). Predicting length of stay in an acute care hospital: The role of psychosocial problems. Social Work in Health Care, 33(2), 1-16.

Speirs, C.C., Duder, S., Carin, A., Lacroix, J. & Mayhew, C. (2000).  Permanency planning: Changes In agency structure can make it work better. Canadian Social Work, 2(2), 105-117.

Recent reviews of journal articles, published on the Canadian Child Welfare Research Portal,

  • Child maltreatment increased by both poverty and income inequality (December 9, 2014).
  • First Nations children: Agency substantiation of neglect (November 8, 2014)
  • Neighborhood ratings by caregivers in child welfare cases: Social order and social capital (November 4, 2014).
  • Child neglect: The importance o both family and community poverty levels (April 7, 2014).
  • Overrepresentation of First Nations children in child welfare: More supports needed to help families address socioeconomic risk factors (December 9, 2013).
  • Child welfare: Organizational culture can affect worker retention (April 2, 2013).
  • The economic burden of child maltreatment: Preventive measures could yield huge savings (January 29, 2013).
  • Child welfare: Organizational climate can affect youth outcomes (January 15, 2013).
  • Child welfare decisions: Significant differences in agency referral patterns (December 4, 2012)
  • Effective supervision improves worker outcomes: A meta-analysis. (October 14, 2010).
  • Preventing child maltreatment: Successful expansion to population level of an evidence-based intervention. (September 9, 2010).
  • Nurse home visitation program reduces reported maltreatment of children (August 26, 2010).
  • Mothers of children in out-of-home care: Drug treatment services can increase reunification rates. (August 19, 2010).  
  • Evidence-based practice: Fidelity monitoring an important factor. (March 25, 2010). 
  • Cost-effective services for youth aging out of foster care (February 18, 2010)