Provided notes as an alternative to juror notetaking: The effects of deliberation & trial complexity
Kelly, EL (2010) Provided notes as an alternative to juror notetaking: The effects of deliberation & trial complexity. PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.
To improve jurors’ ability to understand complex trials and render appropriate
verdicts, a number of comprehension aids have been subjected to empirical examination,
including preinstruction, notetaking, transcript access and flowcharts. This research has
often failed to provide a definitive indication of the relative efficacy of these aids, and
there is no consistent approach to their implementation and use in the courtroom
(Ogloff, Clough, Goodman-Delahunty, & Young, 2006).
The current series of studies aimed to explore novel approaches by investigating
the efficacy of a collection of court-provided materials (provided notes), including some
which have been previously exposed to empirical analysis (trial transcript, written copy
of judicial instructions and verdict flowcharts) and some new materials (offence criteria
and chronology of events). Unlike previous experiments in the area, there was greater
focus on combining several jury-aids rather than testing their efficacy in isolation
(Ellsworth & Reifman, 2000). This combination of court-prepared jury-aids was
expected to provide a balanced and comprehensive presentation of both the facts and the
law, allow opportunities for multiple exposure (Bourgeois, Horowitz, & ForsterLee,
1993), and encourage systematic, central route information processing to ultimately
enhance juror comprehension of a mock criminal trial (Petty & Cacioppo, 1986).
The 4 experiments in this series employed the jury simulation research paradigm.
Participants were exposed to a mock criminal trial presented on a DVD and required to
complete a multiple choice questionnaire measuring comprehension of the facts and law
of the case while accessing different note types. The first experiment compared the
efficacy of jurors’ own notes and provided notes, and the second study was designed to
justify the inclusion of supplementary court-prepared materials by separating the
remaining components of the provided notes package from the trial transcript
component. Experiment 3 focused on the impact of group-work anticipation and the
deliberation process itself on participants utilising own or provided notes, and the final
study examined the impact of differing dimensions of trial complexity on the
comparative utility of own and provided notes.
Taken together, this series of experiments demonstrated that participants were
able to make use of a collection of court-prepared provided materials to achieve
significantly higher scores on objective measures of fact and law comprehension than
participants who utilised notes they had taken themselves. This superiority of provided
notes over own notes was firmly established, suggesting that provided notes should be
viewed as a potential alternative to jurors’ own notes in the ongoing pursuit of
improving juror comprehension.
|Item Type:||Thesis (PhD)|
|Additional Information:||Copyright © the Author|
|Keywords:||juror comprehension, jury aid, juror notetaking, trial complexity|
|Deposited By:||UTAS ePrints officer|
|Deposited On:||10 May 2011 09:04|
|Last Modified:||11 Dec 2012 13:17|
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