Investigative Forensic Psychology

Module summary

Module code: PSYH1035
Level: 6
Credits: 15
School: Education, Health and Human Sci
Department: Human Sciences
Module Coordinator(s): Jeremy Davis



TThe course will focus on studies and theories assessing the investigative process in the context of criminal law and will draw on contemporary research predominantly, but not exclusively from a cognitive and a socio-forensic perspective.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student will be able to:
1 Critically evaluate research methodologies examining the investigative processes used by the criminal justice system.
2 Critically evaluate recent theoretical arguments and controversies as to the reliability of different types of evidence.
3 Critically demonstrate an awareness of the historical and conceptual impact of psychological research on the criminal justice system.
4 Critically evaluate an understanding of some of the approaches adopted by psychologists and other forensic science professionals working within the context of the criminal justice system.

Indicative content

The content may include:

• Miscarriages of justice
• Eyewitness testimony
• Forensic identification
o Identification of suspects by eyewitnesses
o Identification using alternative forensic methods
• Interviewing suspects
o Detecting deception
• Interviewing witnesses
o False allegations
• Offender profiling

Teaching and learning activity

• Interactive lectures
o Multimedia content
o Discussion and dialogue
• Seminar Workshops
• Critical evaluation of important papers
• Case studies


Take-home test: 50% weighting, 40% pass mark. Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4. Outline Details: Students will answer one essay-type question from a list covering course topics.

Presentation Materials: 50% weighting, 40% pass mark. Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4. Word Length: 300 words. Outline Details: Students will prepare a 300- word abstract and a 2-page handout for a presentation of either a course-relevant case study, or a course-relevant journal article.

Formative Assessment: The coursework is directly linked to employability as the students select a title, submit an abstract and produce a handout in advance of a formative presentation as though submitting an abstract for conference review. By e-mail, as a formative exercise, they are required to request a preferred presentation date, and to provide the presentation title, together with a brief explanation as to why they chose that title. They receive feedback on their communication skills. Students receive anonymised formative feedback on the handouts from peers, and on their presentation from tutors – tutor feedback feeds forward to the exam.