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The communication of forensic science in the criminal justice system: A review of theory and proposed directions for research


Howes, LM, The communication of forensic science in the criminal justice system: A review of theory and proposed directions for research, Science and Justice, 55, (2) pp. 145-154. ISSN 1355-0306 (2015) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2014 Forensic Science Society

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.scijus.2014.11.002


Clear communication about forensic science is essential to the effectiveness and perceived trustworthiness of the criminal justice system. Communication can be seen as a meaning-making process that involves different components such as the sender of a message, the message itself, the channel in which a message is sent, and the receiver of the message. Research conducted to date on the communication between forensic scientists and non-scientists in the criminal justice systemhas focused on different components of the communication process as objects of study. The purpose of this paper is to bring together communication theory and past research on the communication of forensic science to contribute to a deeper understanding of it, and to provide a coherent view of it overall. The paper first outlines the broader context of communication theory and science communication as a backdrop to forensic science communication. Then it presents a conceptual framework as a way to organise past research and, using the framework, reviews recent examples of empirical research and commentary on the communication of forensic science. Finally the paper identifies aspects of the communication of forensic science that may be addressed by future research to enhance the effectiveness of communication between scientists and non-scientists in this multidisciplinary arena.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Forensic science; expert opinion; science communication; deficit model, communication, literature review
Research Division: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
UTAS Author:Howes, LM (Dr Loene Howes)
ID Code:104267
Year Published:2015
Web of Science® Times Cited:16
Deposited By:School of Social Sciences
Deposited On:2015-11-05
Last Modified:2016-09-05

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