Skip to main content
KBS_Icon_questionmark link-ico


Dr Olivia Knapton is a lecturer in linguistics specialising in qualitative discourse analysis within the field of health. She joined the School of Education, Communication and Society at King's College London in September 2016. Olivia currently teaches on a range of linguistics and discourse modules at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

Prior to her current role at King's, Olivia was a lecturer at the University of Birmingham (2014 - 2016). She also previously worked at King’s as a Research Assistant (2008 - 2010).


Olivia's research falls into two areas of health and discourse. Firstly, she researches the relationship between discourse structures found in health advice and public compliance to that advice, public perceptions of health threats, and public use of the media for health information. A large part of this research investigates how the discourses of disease in the media relate to the discourses used by local communities. Secondly, Olivia researches how people with mental health problems structure their experiences through various cognitive conceptualisations. For example, she has used discourse analysis to investigate the ways in which subjective experiences of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and anorexia are structured by image schematic and metaphorical patterns.  Cutting across her research are discourses of anxiety about health, illness and contamination that continually overlap with issues of gender and women’s experiences of their bodies. 

In terms of approach, Olivia explores ways in which to combine meaning from stable, cognitive conceptualisations with meaning from contextually-situated discourse production.


Olivia currently teaches on the following programmes:

  • BA English Language and Linguistics
  • MA ELT & Applied Linguistics

She is Programme Director of the BA English Language and Linguistics programme.

Postgraduate supervision

Olivia is always looking for new PhD projects to supervise. She likes to combine different methods and different forms of data (both spoken and written). She is particularly interested in the following areas:

  • Discourse analysis that includes approaches from Cognitive Linguistics
  • Discourse analysis in the field of health (e.g. illness narratives, media analysis, public health communication)
  • Critical Discourse Analysis

Further information

To view her publications, visit Olivia's research profile page


  • PhD Language, Discourse and Communication, King’s College London
  • MA Special Applications of Linguistics, University of Birmingham
  • BA English and French Studies, University of Nottingham
  • CELTA, Oxford House College