The idea of progress in forensic authorship analysis


Using Robert Nisbet’s (1979) The Idea of Progress I examine progress in research and practice in forensic authorship analysis. I describe the existing research base and examine what makes an authorship analysis more or less reliable. Further to this I describe the recent history of forensic science and the scientific revolution brought about by the invention of DNA evidence. I chart the rise of three major changes in forensic science – the recognition of contextual bias in analysts, the need for validation studies and shift in logic of providing identification evidence. I address the idea of progress in forensic authorship analysis in terms of these three issues with regard to new knowledge about the nature of authorship and methods in stylistics and stylometry. I propose that the focus needs to shift to validation of protocols for approaching case questions, rather than on validation of systems or general approaches.



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Access Restriction: Restricted to Repository staff only until 1 January 2050.

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