Dr. Alexandra Kent

Title: Lecturer
Phone: +44 (0)1782 733289
Email: a.kent@keele.ac.uk
Location: Dorothy Hodgkin Building 1.91
Role: Psychology MSc Programmes Director
Director of Qualitative Research Lab
Vice Chair of University Ethical Review Panel 2

Contacting me: The best way to contact me is via email. Students wishing to book an appointment with me can use their Keele login to book a meeting via http://tinyurl.com/KentAppts
Photo Sept 12

Alexandra Kent completed her BSc Social Psychology, MRes Social Research Methods and her PhD in Discursive Psychology with Conversation Analysis at Loughborough University.  She joined the School of Psychology at Keele University in Sept 2012 as a Lecturer in Psychology and established the Qualitative Research Lab.  Her research combines a theoretical reworking of the way language and psychology are understood with detailed technical analyses of empirical data using conversation analysis. Her research interests include the negotiation of power and authority in interaction, requests, shared decision-making in interaction, and persuasive communication. She is currently working with the police to improve the effectiveness of communication during 999 and 101 phone calls.

Call for PhD Studentships

Social Interaction


Dr Alexandra Kent (A.Kent@keele.ac.uk)

School of Psychology, Keele University


Are you a finalist or Masters student with interests in language, communication or social interaction? I am looking for a keen PhD candidate to get involved with ongoing research studying how urgent problems or difficulties are managed during conversations.

My research primarily uses conversation analysis and discursive psychology to study the practical accomplishment of social life. It addresses the question of how people interact with each other. How do we perform highly coordinated social actions within interaction?

I’m interested in any situation in which one person is trying to influence the behaviour of another. Instances range from mundane everyday interactions such as a parent demanding a child stops waving their knife around to a busy 999-emergency call centre. Potential sites of data collection are extremely varied and can be designed around the prospective candidate’s interests and experience. Possible examples might include (but are not limited to):

  • Parents calling a telephone helpline because they have reached the end of their tether and are scared they are going to hit their child.
  • Air traffic control conversations when planes are discovered to be on a collision course.
  • Calls to Roadside assistance services following car breakdowns or accidents
  • Parents supervising children at playgrounds or parks and responding to the child doing something potentially dangerous.

This project would be excellent for a wide range of student interests within the field of discourse and interaction studies. Specifically, it would cater for those interested in how fast-paced real-world actions are practically accomplished. If you are interested in this project, or indeed wish to discuss any ideas you have for a PhD project using conversation analysis or discursive psychology, please contact me via email. I look forward to hearing from you.

Journal Articles:

Kent, A., Berry, D., Budds, K., Skipper, Y., & Williams, H. (2017) Promoting writing amongst peers: Establishing a writing group for early career psychologists. Higher Education Research and Development,

Kent, A., & Kendrick, K (2016) Imperative Directives: Orientation to Accountability. Research on Language and Social Interaction 43(3) pp. 272-288, https://www.researchgate.net/publication/305919410_Imperative_Directives_Orientations_to_Accountability

Melia, C., Marok, P., Waterman, C., & Kent, A., (2015) “Please, I need help, please!”: Reflections on Involving Undergraduate Psychology Students in a Conversation Analytic Study of 999 and 101 Police Calls, BPS Qualitative Methods in Psychology Bulletin, Vol 20 pp18-22

Kent, A. & Skipper, Y., (2015) Making a Difference with Psychology: Reporting on a module to develop psychological literacy in final year psychology undergraduates. Psychology Teaching Review. 21(2)

Antaki, C., & Kent, A., (2015) Offering alternatives as a way of issuing directives to children: putting the worse option last, Journal of Pragmatics, 78 pp. 25-38

Antaki, C., & Kent, A., (2012) Telling people what to do (and sometimes, why): Contingency, entitlement and explanation in staff requests to adults with intellectual impairments. Journal of Pragmatics 44(2012) pp. 876-889

Kent, A., (2012), Compliance, resistance and incipient compliance when responding to directives, Discourse Studies, 14(6), pp711-730

Craven, A., and Potter, J., (2010). Directives: Entitlement and Contingency in Action. Discourse Studies, 12(4), pp. 419-442


Book chapters:

Kent, A., (2015) Conversation Analysis and Discursive Psychology: Taking up the challenge of Sacks’ Legacy in E. Stokoe & C. Tileaga (Eds) Discursive psychology: Revisiting classic studies. Taylor and Francis

Kent, A., & Potter, J. (2014) Discursive Social Psychology, in Handbook of Language and Social Psychology. (Ed) T. Holtgraves, Oxford University Press pp295-313

Kent, A., (2012) Responding to directives: What can children do when a parent tells them what to do?, in Disputes in everyday life: Social and moral orders of children and young people (Eds) M. Theobold., S. Danby., American Sociological Association’s Studies of Children and Youth and Emerald Books,  pp. 57-84

Kent, A., & McCarthy, P., (2011), Discourse Analysis and ANLP, in Applied Natural Language Processing and Content Analysis: Identification, Investigation, and Resolution, (Eds) McCarthy, P. & Boonthem, C., IGI Global, pp. 33-52.

First Year Undergraduate:

PSY-10018 & 17 Seminar Tutor


Second Year Undergraduate:

PSY20013 - Qualitative and Survey Research Methods

PSY20012 - Social and Developmental Psychology


Third Year Undergraduate:

PSY30122 - Qualitative and Survey Research Methods (for returning Study Abroad Students)

PSY30119 - Making a Difference with Psychology

PSY30061 - Final Year Project



PSY40045 - MSc Dissertation

PSY40038 - MSc Research Apprenticeship in Psychology

PSY40036 - MSc Qualitative Research Methods