eCite Digital Repository

Trends and issues in the communication of forensic science


Howes, LM, Trends and issues in the communication of forensic science, Forensic Science International: An International Journal Dedicated to The Applications of Science to The Administration of Justice, 304 Article 109967. ISSN 0379-0738 (2019) [Contribution to Refereed Journal]

Pending copyright assessment - Request a copy

Official URL:

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.forsciint.2019.109967


Reporting, as the final stage of doing forensic science, typically refers to formal expert reports and testimony, although it can include less formal communication during investigations and pre-trial phases. Forensic standards exist in Australia for each phase of the forensic science process: collection, transport and storage; analysis; interpretation; and reporting. The inclusion of reporting reflects the idea that communicating science is doing science. Without sharing the findings and interpretations, forensic science is incomplete.

However, what is reported is not necessarily understood. Unless criminal justice practitioners understand the expert opinion expressed, there is little point in having reported it. After all, forensic science is used to aid decision making. It cannot be used effectively if it is not well understood by those who rely upon it. Cases of wrongful convictions have highlighted that poorly communicated or misunderstood forensic science can lead to flawed decision making. This commentary focuses on the reporting phase of the forensic science process. It assumes that the previous phases of the forensic process have been completed with the utmost scientific rigour and integrity.

Item Details

Item Type:Contribution to Refereed Journal
Keywords:expert reports, communication, forensic science
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:135451
Year Published:2019
Web of Science® Times Cited:2
Deposited By:Office of the School of Social Sciences
Deposited On:2019-10-22
Last Modified:2020-01-16

Repository Staff Only: item control page