Alexa Hepburn


Research Professor of Communication


191 College Avenue, Room 201

Alexa Hepburn is a conversation analyst and discursive psychologist who is interested in how people do things in talk. She has published widely on how to understand everyday interaction, and interaction in child protection and school bullying situations, as well as on developments in discursive and critical psychology.


Glasgow Caledonian University
Ph.D., Psychology and Philosophy

University of Dundee
M.A. (Hons), Psychology and Philosophy


Alexa Hepburn's research is focused around the use and development of conversation analytic methods, including the notation and analysis of emotional expression within social interaction; the interactional role of interrogatives such as tag questions; parents' strategies for managing their children's behaviour; and the empirical grounding of these interests in everyday interaction.

A major focus is to highlight limitations in more traditional perspectives on emotion and influence, and support applied work in professional client encounters, such as medical consultations and helpline interactions. She is currently working closely with video materials of family mealtimes and medical and clinical encounters, as well as various types of telephone interaction, and finalizing (with Galina Bolden) a book on transcription for interactional researchers. She also continues to develop and deliver training workshops to various practitioners.

Centers, Labs, Working Groups, and Clusters

Selected Publications

Hepburn, A. (2004). Crying: Notes on description, transcription, and interaction. Research on Language and Social Interaction, 37(3), 251-290.

Hepburn, A., & Wiggins, S. (2007). Discursive research in practice: New approaches to psychology and interaction. Cambridge University Press.

Hepburn, A., & Potter, J. (2011). Designing the recipient managing advice resistance in institutional settings. Social Psychology Quarterly, 74(2), 216-241.

Hepburn, A., & Potter, J. (2011). Threats: Power, family mealtimes, and social influence. British Journal of Social Psychology, 50(1), 99-120.

Awards & Recognitions

George Henderson Prize for top philosophy student, University of Dundee, 1989

NSPCC Helpline research, part of a submission that won the Queen’s Anniversary Prize in the UK for internationally outstanding work on problems faced by children and young people, 2005

Elected to UK’s Economic and Social Research Council Peer Review College, 2012-2019

Appointed Honorary Professor, Loughborough University, 2016

Research Keywords