Communication of forensic science: review of recent research
Howes, LM, Communication of forensic science: review of recent research, International Symposium of the Australian and New Zealand Forensic Science Society, 9-13 September, Perth, Australia (2018) [Conference Extract]
This presentation reviews recent studies on the communication of forensic science. It considers the current state of debates on such communication. For example, the debate about how to report the weight of evidence in court has continued to attract research attention. In 2012, legal scholars, Ligertwood and Edmond, advocated for DNA results to be reported using expected frequencies within a given population. Currently, in Australia, DNA results are typically reported with likelihood ratios. The 2015 recommendation by the European Network of Forensic Science Institutes (ENFSI), to report findings using likelihood ratios, may have contributed to a shift in research focus from whether to implement the approach to how to do so. While some researchers remain optimistic about the capacity of diverse audiences to understand likelihood ratios, others advocate the use of verbal scales, for which consensus remains similarly elusive. Despite the focus on reporting the weight of evidence in court, forensic science is also communicated to lawyers and police via written reports, and sometimes to police for investigative purposes or as forensic intelligence. Although communication in these contexts attracts less research attention, this presentation provides an update on recent research and debates, concluding with a call for research in these contexts.