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  • Brown_PBLPaper_resubmission_20012022

    Rights statement: This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Science and Justice. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Physics Reports, 373, 4-5, 2022 DOI:

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Proposing Problem-Based Learning for teaching future forensic speech scientists

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineReview articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>30/11/2022
<mark>Journal</mark>Science and Justice
Issue number6
Number of pages7
Pages (from-to)669-675
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date22/03/22
<mark>Original language</mark>English


In the last 10–15 years, Masters programmes and undergraduate modules have emerged in the UK that teach forensic speech science. Forensic speech science is the forensic subdiscipline concerned with analysing speech recordings, such as telephone calls of unknown speakers, when they arise as evidence. In order to answer questions surrounding the identity of the speakers in these recordings, forensic speech analysts draw on their expertise in phonetics and acoustics. Even though existing UK forensic speech science programmes do not claim to train students to a level where they are in a position to carry out real-life forensic casework, a proportion of the graduates from these programmes do go on to fill discipline-specific roles in security organisations or for private providers of forensic speech analysis. It is therefore surely in the community’s interests to review educational approaches to capitalise on the current training opportunities. This paper specifically proposes to explore the potential of a Problem-Based Learning (PBL) approach to forensic speech science teaching. PBL is a student-centred learning approach that heavily relies on the students’ independence in the solving of ill-structured problems. PBL has shown to be beneficial to programmes that directly lead on to discipline-specific professional roles, and has even become the standardised teaching approach in some of those areas (medicine being the flagship example). Given its reported success in other disciplines, the question arises as to whether PBL could bring similar benefits to prospective forensic speech practitioners and to forensic speech science as a whole.