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A step towards increased understanding by non-scientists of expert reports: Recommendations for readability

Citation

Howes, LM, A step towards increased understanding by non-scientists of expert reports: Recommendations for readability, Australian Journal of Forensic Sciences, 47, (4) pp. 456-468. ISSN 0045-0618 (2015) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

2015 Australian Academy of Forensic Sciences

DOI: doi:10.1080/00450618.2015.1004194

Abstract

Communication about forensic science to non-scientists is a key aspect of the role of forensic scientists and one that poses significant challenges. Police, lawyers, and judges read expert reports written by forensic scientists, and jurors usually have the content of such reports explained to them in court. Readability can be defined as the ease with which something can be read as a function of the way it is written. This paper draws on past studies of the readability of Australian expert reports of DNA analysis and forensic comparison of glass, and conclusions written as part of an international proficiency test of forensic comparison of glass. The purpose of the paper is twofold: (1) to alert scientists to the most common readability issues identified in the studies; and (2) to suggest solutions to these readability issues drawn from theory and past research. The suggested solutions may be helpful to case-reporting scientists in affirming their current practices or in modifying those practices to enhance the readability of their expert reports for non-scientist report readers.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:forensic science; expert reports; expert opinion; statement writing; readability
Research Division:Studies in Human Society
Research Group:Criminology
Research Field:Police Administration, Procedures and Practice
Objective Division:Law, Politics and Community Services
Objective Group:Justice and the Law
Objective Field:Criminal Justice
Author:Howes, LM (Dr Loene Howes)
ID Code:104265
Year Published:2015
Web of Science® Times Cited:3
Deposited By:Social Sciences
Deposited On:2015-11-05
Last Modified:2016-08-02
Downloads:0

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