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What does method validation look like for forensic voice comparison by a human expert?

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E-pub ahead of print
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>31/03/2023
<mark>Journal</mark>Science and Justice
Issue number2
Number of pages7
Pages (from-to)251-257
Publication StatusE-pub ahead of print
Early online date30/01/23
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Method validation has gained traction within forensic speech science. The community recognises the need to demonstrate that the analysis methods used are valid, but finding a way to do so has been more straightforward for some analysis methods than for others. This article addresses the issue of method validation for the Auditory Phonetic and Acoustic (AuPhA) approach to forensic voice comparison. Although it is possible to take inspiration from general regulatory guidance on method validation, it is clear that these cannot be transposed on to all forensic analysis methods with the same degree of success. Particularly with respect to an analysis method like AuPhA, and in a field of the size and characteristics of forensic speech science, a bespoke approach to method validation is required. In this article we address the discussions that have been taking place around method validation, and illustrate one possible solution to demonstrating the validity of voice comparison by a human expert using the AuPhA method. In doing so we consider the constraints placed on sole practitioners, which generally go unacknowledged.