Core Module Information
Module title: Practical Forensic Psychology

SCQF level: 11:
SCQF credit value: 20.00
ECTS credit value: 10

Module code: PSY11100
Module leader: Faye Skelton
School School of Applied Sciences
Subject area group: Psychology


Description of module content:

This module comprises two work streams.
Work stream 1: Risk in Forensic Populations
Risk in Forensic Populations will explore the biological, social, and psychological risk factors that contribute, both individually and through interacting with one another, to risk of violence and other anti-social behaviours, which may manifest in criminal and/or family law cases. You will learn about the Structured Professional Judgement (SPJ) approach to risk assessment in both criminal and civil cases, including the application of at least one SPJ risk assessment tool to a sample forensic case. You will develop the skills to construct, orally present, and be questioned in a mock multi-disciplinary risk management setting about, a formulation of a sample forensic case. A guest lecturer, who is an expert practitioner in their field, will present a critical evaluation of how risk is assessed, treated and managed in serious offenders in the UK. You will learn how to think and speak reflectively about your practice, and you will write a reflective diary entry relating to risk assessment and to risk management strategies in the UK.

Work stream 2: Witnesses
Witnesses will explore three investigative applications that are employed to obtain information from eyewitnesses: investigative interviewing (including UK models such as PEACE and PRICE), facial composite production, and eyewitness 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 guest lectures delivered by professional forensic practitioners.

Learning Outcomes for module:

LO1: Develop a formulation of risk for a fictitious offender.
LO2: Reflect on the UK criminal justice systems' approaches to managing the risk posed by offenders.
LO3: Critically appraise a risk formulation in a multi-disciplinary setting.
LO4: Critically evaluate contemporary techniques for gathering information from witnesses, in light of the psychological literature.
LO5: Critically reflect on your personal experience of contemporary techniques and consider implications for practice.
LO6: Evaluate the contribution of cognitive psychology to the development of techniques used in current practice.

Full Details of Teaching and Assessment
2022/3, Trimester 2, FACE-TO-FACE, Edinburgh Napier University
Occurrence: 001
Primary mode of delivery: FACE-TO-FACE
Location of delivery: SIGHTHILL
Partner: Edinburgh Napier University
Member of staff responsible for delivering module: Faye Skelton
Module Organiser:

Learning, Teaching and Assessment (LTA) Approach:
Workstream 1 of the module is delivered via five student facing lectures, and one practical session. This will provide you with the opportunity to develop new practical skills, including: developing a formulation of risk for a fictitious offender; reflecting on the Scottish Criminal Justice system’s approaches to managing the risk posed by offenders; and critically appraising a risk formulation in a multi-disciplinary setting. (LOs1-3)

Workstream 2 of the module is delivered via mainly practical, task-based and group discussion based classes. A small number of student facing lectures will also be delivered to provide contextualisation for the practical tasks. This will provide you with the opportunity to develop new practical skills, including: interviewing ‘witnesses’; and constructing a facial composite. Via post-activity class discussion you will evaluate current research and practice in light of relevant psychological theories. (LOs4-6)

You will receive in-class feedback during discussions in Workstream 1 and on practical exercises in Workstream 2; particularly focusing on your practical application of theory and on the actual in-class use of the skills which you are learning during the practical sessions. The use of discussion forums on Moodle will also be employed to allow peer to peer discussion between class time.

Formative Assessment:
In Workstream 1, you will receive formative assessment of a 1200-word written risk formulation which you will submit after Week 4’s lecture. The formulation will follow current professional guidelines. You will receive your feedback before Week 6. This will relate to LO1.

Summative Assessment:
In Workstream 1, you will receive summative assessment of a 1,200 word risk formulation of a fictitious offender's case, relating to LO1. You will also receive an 800-word reflective practice diary entry which you will submit after Week 5’s lecture. This will relate to LO2. You will receive your feedback prior to Week 7. You will also receive summative assessment of an orally-delivered critical appraisal of a risk formulation, which will form the practical exercise in Week 7. You will receive your feedback prior to Week 8. This will relate to LO3.

In Workstream 2 you will complete a written assessment of 2000 words. This requires critical analysis of one of the three practical sessions from this Workstream. For this assessment you are required to evaluate the contribution of cognitive psychology to the topic/technique you have selected, reflect on your experience of the technique during the practical class, and consider the implications for professional practice. This assesses LOs 4-6.

Student Activity (Notional Equivalent Study Hours (NESH))
Mode of activityLearning & Teaching ActivityNESH (Study Hours)
Face To Face Groupwork (Scheduled) 25
Independent Learning Guided independent study 175
Total Study Hours200
Expected Total Study Hours for Module200

Type of Assessment Weighting % LOs covered Week due Length in Hours/Words
Oral Assessment 50 1,2,3 9 HOURS= 0.15, WORDS= 0
Learning Log 50 4,5,6 13 HOURS= 0, WORDS= 2000
Component 1 subtotal: 100
Component 2 subtotal: 0
Module subtotal: 100

Indicative References and Reading List - URL:
PSY11100 Practical Forensic Psychology