Advanced Forensic Psychology
This module addresses three areas of advanced forensic psychology:
1) The development of neuroethics as a body of work to understand and monitor the implications of neuroscience in terms of legal and social responsibility.
2) Therapeutic Jurisprudence (TJ) including: how TJ is used at multiple points in the legal system with different types of offender; how TJ operates internationally and the benefits of internationalising this field of research and practice; and how TJ provides perspectives on psychological legal controversies (e.g. forced treatment, drug policy).
3) Biological aspects of criminal behaviour including the role of epigenetics in the development of psychopathology and offending, and how catathymic processes and crises drive an individual towards criminal action.
Advanced Research Skills
This module introduces you to advanced research skills in psychology and the social sciences. You will learn about qualitative and quantitative research methods and you will have the opportunity to explore these methods across a variety of research examples. You will also plan a major piece of research and produce a successful application for ethical approval for this project. If you have not studied research methods before, additional support sessions will provide you with research skills to the relevant level. This module will equip you to undertake masters level research using a variety of advanced techniques.
The content of this module covers three related areas:
a) Applying multivariate statistical analysis techniques using SPSS (e.g. principal components analysis, ANCOVA, cluster analysis)
b) Applying multivariate statistical analysis techniques using appropriate software
a) Designing research instruments and collecting qualitative data (e.g. interviewing, ethnography, conducting focus groups etc).
b) Documentary analysis.
c) Analysing qualitative data.
Ethics in Research
a) You will study the importance of ethics in the design and implementation of research.
b) You will produce a successful application for ethical approval for a piece of research.
Child Protection in Context
In this module, you will have the opportunity to explore children’s needs and rights, conflicting rights, as well as changing definitions and social constructions of childhood and child abuse. Also included in the module are a review of an ecological understanding of child development and attachment theory and both a theoretical and empirical understanding of the impact of abuse and neglect, which includes taking a critical approach to the concepts of resilience, adversity, and vulnerability. The importance of changing societies, international perspectives, and issues of equality and diversity will be highlighted.
You will be introduced to how we can learn from public inquiries and serious and significant case reviews, contextualising their impact upon legislation, policy, and practice, including multi-agency working, professional roles and responsibilities, and information sharing.
Working and making decisions with parents and families will be considered alongside exploring the factors which can promote and undermine positive parenting and the capacity for parenting, including in particular the role of environmental factors and the impact of poverty upon both parenting and child development. Both structural and individualist explanations of poverty are considered, as are some theories as to why abuse occurs. All of this sets the context for understanding primary, secondary and tertiary intervention and different paradigmatic approaches to child protection.
Community Safety and Mediation
This module will explore: community safety, well-being and partnership working; the prevention of crime and harm; core differences, tensions and overlaps between the main forms of conflict management, transformation and resolution; Mediation within criminal justice (Victim-Offender mediation) and community settings, focussing on historical roots, theoretical justifications and operational models in international perspective; practical mediation techniques including conflict analysis, conflict and communication, and ethics in mediation.
Criminal Justice in Practice
This module provides students with a critical introduction to the study of criminal justice institutions, practices and participants. It will examine some of the main elements of responses to crime and victimisation, focusing on theories of punishment, imprisonment, community justice, offender ‘management’ and youth justice in the UK. It will also focus on current developments and emphases in criminal justice practice with topics such as desistance, the reintegration and resettlement of offenders, victim-centred justice, restorative justice, privatisation of criminal justice, treatment of offenders and evaluation of interventions (e.g. cognitive behavioural therapy). Critical analysis and evaluation of theory, policy and practice will be embedded throughout the module.
Current Topics in Crime
Current issues, debates, challenges and subjects in applied criminology and forensic psychology could include for example: managerialism and criminal justice; victims’ rights and protection; offender profiling; privatisation of prisons; male domestic violence; globalisation, terrorism and human rights; recent developments in youth justice; recent developments in restorative justice theories and practices (victim-offender mediation); power dynamics in criminal justice; ‘crimmigration’; identity fraud; lie detection; personality and crime; biological approaches in psychology. Where relevant, topics will be underpinned by explanations of offending behaviour and victimisation. The module content will flexibly adhere to the different policy/practical developments at a national and international level.
Dissertation [40 Credits]
The dissertation is the culmination of the Masters Programme and will draw on the students’ learning over the course of the Programme. The dissertation is studied independently with the assistance of a supervisor and is a chance for the student to academically pursue an area of Applied Criminology/Forensic Psychology of particular interest. Dissertations can take a range of formats such as empirical research, an improvement project or a systematic review. The dissertation requires the student to put into practice a range of skills developed over the course of the Programme such as: searching and critically reviewing national and international literature, applying theoretical frameworks, research design and ethics, data collection (qualitative, quantitative and mixed), data analysis, research writing and dissemination.
International and Comparative Criminology
The first part of the module aims to engage students in the critical analysis of local and global responses to crime concerns and will explore: cybercrime; organised/corporate crime; terrorism; drugs and crime; human trafficking; international/global policing.
The second part of the module aims to engage students in the critical analysis of specific responses to crime within different jurisdictions, including Anglo-America, Scandinavia and low crime countries such as Saudi Arabia and Japan. Topics will include: how to conduct comparative research on crime and control; comparing criminal justice systems; comparative criminal justice policy making; comparative penal politics; comparative youth justice; comparative responses to victimisation.
On this module you will get to know tools for in-depth investigation, including up to date technology, database journalism and computer assisted research, consulting public records, social networking and freedom of information legislation. You will learn how to access contacts and evaluate tip-offs and information from human sources such as insiders, whistleblowers, axe grinders, corporate representatives or consumers. You will discuss ideal ways to uncover carefully guarded evidence for political and corporate corruption, miscarriages of justice and inaccurate scientific claims made from areas such as the pharma industry or NGOs. You will learn to follow the money of international criminal networks, unearth financial secrets buried in tax havens and to follow the trail of company and stock market records. You will find out how to get witnesses to talk, gain information through confrontation, check the authenticity of documents and of fraudsters who hoodwink journalists, as well as how to see through professional propaganda machineries.
With peers you will reflect on the role of journalism as political watchdog, discuss the post-WikiLeaks future of investigative journalism and debate the value of going under cover, taking on a false identity, fabricating set-ups, employing private investigation agencies and check-book journalism. You will compare ethical, regulatory and legal frameworks for investigative journalism around the world, including press freedom and censorship, the rise of super-injunctions, libel laws, privacy laws, anonymity, confidentiality and the protection of sources in different regions of the world. You will receive tips for building a sturdy case, formulating a strong story and managing an investigation over a sustained period of time. And you will finally also learn about the practical and legal implications of cross-border investigations.
Practical Forensic Psychology
This module comprises two work streams.
Work stream 1:
Offender Assessment will explore tools that are used to assess offenders, evaluate interventions and treatments intended to rehabilitate offenders, and you will investigate risk management planning and communication of risk in relation to violence. In each practical session you will develop a critical understanding of the practical aspects of clinical/forensic assessment and decision making, social and ethical issues concerning interventions and offender assessment, and current risk assessment practices and research. You will also critically explore the past and present of clinical/forensic assessment and decision making, the current state of risk assessment practice and research, and how this may impact on ‘real life’.
Work stream 2:
Witnesses will explore three investigative applications that are employed to obtain information from eyewitnesses: investigative interviewing, facial composite production, and eyewitness memory and identification from CCTV footage. In each practical session you will develop a critical understanding of the psychological theories that underpin prescribed interviewing and identification practice. You will expand on this knowledge to explore and evaluate current trends in forensic research. In addition to your practical classes, you will engage with forensic policy and practice via three guest lectures delivered by professional forensic practitioners.
What you will learn:
This module will consist of lectures, group discussion and practical skill development tasks. Students will engage in six two-hour sessions for Workstream 1 and three three-hour practical sessions and three one –hour lectures for Workstream 2.
Work stream 1: Offenders
These sessions will be focused on skill building. The sessions will cover:
1) The history and current practice of forensic assessments of violence risk. Students will learn about: the theoretical background of, and current practice of, violence risk assessment; key risk assessment measures; and will conduct their own ‘mock’ risk assessment using a case file adapted from real practice.
2&3) The most recent thinking on the practice of risk management. This links directly into the assessment of risk and is often viewed as the ‘second stage’ of a risk assessment. Students will have the opportunity to develop and hone practical skills in risk management, by working on a mock risk management plan.
4) This session will explore the next stage of offender assessment: strategic interventions, treatment, and rehabilitation. It will explore offender treatments and the underlying psychology behind these. Interventions aimed at two distinct populations (juvenile and sexual offenders) will be critically considered, with a focus on the validity of outcome measures and formal evaluation.
5) This session will explore a useful and important element of offender assessment: communication. The way in which offender assessment outcomes, management plans and interventions are communicated is of the utmost importance, and varies across different stakeholder groups. The psychology of communication and the most current thinking on the communication of offender assessment to different stakeholders will be discussed, with hands on, practical activities at the heart of this session.
6) This session will consolidate the learning across the previous five classes. It will discuss the more psychological aspects of human decision making, and how and where biases and common errors in decision making in judgement may occur. This will be applied to judgements and decisions made during offender assessments.
Work stream 2: Witnesses
Practical 1: Witness Interviewing – Exploration of eyewitness interviewing techniques and the underlying psychology. Indicative content includes Cognitive Interview, Holistic Cognitive Interview, Self-Administered Interview. Actual content will vary depending on current research but may focus on factors such as timeline and drawing memory retrieval; encoding specificity; verbal overshadowing v’s spatial or temporal memory reinstatement; effects of post-event and co-witness information.
Practical 2: Facial composite construction – Exploration of models of memory and communication using EvoFIT and PROfit software. Actual content will vary but may focus on topics such as holistic v’s featural encoding and interface; encoding/storage/retrieval of face memory; encoding specificity; holistic or spatial recall; cultural effects.
Practical 3: Eyewitness memory and ID from CCTV footage – This practical will explore human factors influencing identification judgements. Topics will be influenced by current themes in identification research, for example the use of biometric interfaces or cultural influences. Where possible, eye-tracking technology will be utilised to highlight individual differences in human performance on identification tasks.
Guest lectures (3 x 1 hour) will be delivered by practitioners able to provide first-hand accounts of current procedures and technologies. Attention will be paid to the complex relationship between forensic research, development of policy and forensic practice. Lectures will be delivered by professional practitioners from organisations such as Police Scotland, Forensic Services, Scottish Police Authority.
There are three ways in which you can engage with this module.
You should select one approach.
a) Edinburgh Napier University has sourced a number of work placements relevant to the MSc Applied Criminology and Forensic Psychology (ACFP) programme. These placements can be applied for through a competitive process involving the placement provider and the MSc programme staff.
b) You may already be working or volunteering in a role relevant to the MSc ACFP and you may wish to use your ongoing employment (or volunteering) to complete the assessments for this module.
c) You may want to pursue a new employment or volunteering opportunity once you have built up experience on the programme and decided where your interests lie.
You could take this approach instead of doing a) or b). The programme staff, in conjunction with employability staff at Edinburgh Napier, will offer support to you in doing this.
Through engaging in a work placement, or relevant voluntary work, related to your course you will explore the concepts, debates, policies, initiatives, and funding related to the area in which you’re working. You will also relate your work experiences to the academic content of your course where possible and reflect on the value of your prior learning. You will undertake self-assessment and write personal learning outcomes to enhance your employability and confidence. Reflective and critical thinking will be a key part of your submissions.