School of Psychology

Experience Excellence Studying People

Dr Mike Forrester

Reader in Psychology

Mike Forrester


Research interests

My primary research interests are in child development and language, and I also have secondary interests in psychoanalysis and psychotherapy. The conceptual framework which informs my work derives, for the most part, from pragmatics and in particular conversation analysis. However, I also have interests in discursive psychology, psychoanalysis and in the development of qualitative methods and would be happy to supervise graduate students in the following areas:

  • Children's conversational skills with particular emphasis on relevant concepts from conversation analysis (e.g., membership categorisation analysis). A recent corpus of conversation analysis data (of my pre-school aged daughter Ella, learning to talk) is now available through the Ethno/CA web site. Alternatively access to these files can be obtained at the CHILDES child language data facility. Examples of other-related repair can be found here, an example of word use here and extracts on questions here.
  • Conversation and communication processes in a variety of contexts and employing conversation analysis.  As a member of the Centre for Applied Interaction Research (CAIR) [] at University College London I have a particularly interest in the analysis of video- and audio-taped naturally occurring interactions from both domestic and institutional (especially health and educational) settings. Three typical examples can be found here.
  • Psychoanalytic developmental psychology: In this area my interests focus on the early years (e.g., infancy) and are informed by psychoanalytic theorists including Lacan, Klein, Winnicott and Freud.
  • Psychology of music and the social psychology of music. Current work includes the analysis of one child's emerging musicality - see interdisciplinary research on the development of singing (

Key publications

  • Forrester, M.A. (2010) Emerging musicality during the pre-school years: a case study of one child, Psychology of Music, 38, 131-158. doi:10.1177/0305735609339452
  • Forrester, M. A. (Ed) (2010) Doing Qualitative research in Psychology: A Practical Guide. London: Sage.
  • Gardner, H., & Forrester, M.A. (Eds) (2010). Analysing Interactions in Childhood: Insights from Conversation Analysis. London: Wiley.
  • Forrester, M.A., & Cherrington, S. (2009). The development of other-related conversational skills: A case study of conversational repair during the early years. First Language, 29, 167-192.



School of Psychology - Keynes College, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent CT2 7NP

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Last Updated: 17/09/2014