Below are a selection of current research projects from HERC members that you can participate in.
Citizen Forensics – Memory Experiment
The experiment is investigating memory and is conducted in two sessions. The first session will involve you watching a video and answering some questions. If you watch crime dramas on TV as a form of entertainment, you should be fine with watching the video. It should take between 15 and 25 minutes. The second session will take place a week later, and will require you to look at some images and answer a few more questions. It should only take 5-10 minutes. The experiment should require no more than 40 minutes of your time in total. To participate, or find out more, please click this link:
Green Criminology Survey
The aim of this survey is to explore individual experiences of our local environments. It takes about 20-25 minutes. If you live in the UK and would like to take part, please click this link: https://openss.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_1YXFyES8YZ5l3wx
You are invited to take part in a study investigating how well we can identify people from images of their faces. You will be shown an array of faces and will be asked to sort them by identity. We recommend that you complete this study on a computer screen or tablet (as mobile phone screens will be too small). The study should take approximately 10 minutes to complete, and can be accessed here:
Eyewitness Identification Performance – when is an eyewitness likely to be accurate?
Wrongful convictions due to eyewitness inaccuracy has received significant coverage across the news media, perhaps most notably due to the work of the Innocence Project. (https://www.innocenceproject.org). Understanding the conditions that typically result in accurate eyewitness identifications can contribute to helping Juries to understand how to evaluate eyewitness testimony in court. This study is part of a broader project that is looking at eyewitness identification performance – when is an eyewitness likely to be correct in their identification of the suspect. The study involves testing your eyewitness identification skills to see if you can identify a suspect under varying conditions. This study takes about 10-15 minutes and can only be carried out on a desktop or laptop computer. Only start the experiment when you have time to complete it and are able to focus on it with no distractions as you will only be allowed one attempt. Click on the link to begin.
COVID-19 and online behaviour
As we are living in a time of social distancing, we would like to understand how UK residents manage COVID-19 online. If you would like to take part in our short survey, please do so here:
Face matching task
Comparing the faces of people we do not know is a challenging task, much more so than recognising faces that we do know. Despite the difficulty of the task facial comparison is widely used in policing and security to determine a person’s identity, from checking a passport at the border to comparing CCTV images in the courtroom. This experiment forms part of a wider study investigating training, ability and expertise in facial comparison. You can take part by clicking the link below to find out how you score on a challenging face matching task. The task should take around 40 minutes. Please ensure you read the instructions carefully. We recommend you complete the task on a laptop or tablet as the images may be too small to reliably compare on a smart phone.
Social media and crime survey
The aim of this survey is to explore some of the issues involved in social networking, particularly around police investigations and how the police engage with the public.
Survey on attitudes to, and expectations and experiences of police investigations
The Open University is conducting an online survey designed to explore the opinions people have about the police and what expectations they have about investigations. If you have witnessed a crime, regardless of whether the crime was investigated by the police or not, there are also questions about your experience. It is part of ongoing research, so please read the description provided in the link below carefully before consenting to participate:
The aim of this research is to find out more about how the public view the police in terms of what behaviour is considered ethical. Through an online survey you will be provided with a series of 11 scenarios concerning the actions taken by a police officer and asked questions as to what your opinion is. It is part of ongoing research, so please read the description provided in the link below carefully before consenting to participate:
Forensic Science in Crime Drama
In recent years, people have increasingly been exposed to depictions of forensic science, particularly in television series about police investigations. Most of these programmes, such as CSI, show a mixture of real forensic science techniques, exaggerations of real techniques, and fictional techniques made up for dramatic purposes. We are interested in how people perceive the realism of these TV portrayals of forensic science, and what people see as ‘realistic’ in crime dramas. If you would like to take part in the survey, then please click on the link below.