Prior to entering university, Scott worked as a Special Needs Assistant in a large secondary school in Coventry. From 2006-2009, he studied Social Psychology (BSc) at Loughborough University, graduating in 2009 with first class honours. Shortly after this he began work on his PhD on a part-time basis under the supervision of Professor Elizabeth Stokoe. In 2013, Dr Alexa Hepburn took over as supervisor and is now helping Scott complete his research. Scott is also an active member of Discourse and Rhetoric Group (DARG) within the Communication and Media subject area.

Broadly, Scott's research interests are laughter, joking and humour. More specifically, he is looking at the ways in which individuals watch and respond to situation comedies (sitcoms) on TV. Using audio and video recording equipment, Scott has collected naturally occurring data of people watching sitcoms together in their own homes. His primary method of analysis is Conversation Analysis but is also drawing upon central principles of Discursive Psychology to inform his research.

Currently Scott's interest is in the interactive functions of laughter and how laughter can be transcribed accurately, but he has also examined the types of questions people ask whilst watching sitcoms and what interactional business these are performing.

Scott is involved in a range of teaching within the subject area, both as a demonstrator and tutor.


  • Practical Social Psychology - Parts A and B (2009-Present)
  • Psychological Statistics - Part A (2010-Present) and Part B (2010-2012)
  • Advanced Social Psychology - Part A (2011-Present) and Part B (2011-2012)
  • Quantitative Methods in Psychology (2010-Present)


  • Controversies in Psychology (2009-Present)
  • Social Psychology and the Moving Image (2011)
  • Individual Differences (2011-Present)
  • Cognitive Psychology (2011-Present)
  • Introduction to Social Psychology (2013)
  • Hepburn, A. & Varney, S. (2013). Beyond ((Laughter)): Some Notes on Transcription. In Glenn, P. and Holt, E. (Eds) Studies of Laughter in Interaction. Continuum Press. pp. 25-38

Conference papers

  • Varney, S. (2012). What did he say? Exploring the ways in which sitcom viewers ask their co-watchers to explain aspects of the on-screen action. Presented at Discourse-Communication-Conversation Conference, Loughborough University, March 2012.