Presentation on theme: "GPR VHS. Criteria of Credibility Can be used to assess the credibility of documents or individual sources. It has become standard to use the mnemonic."— Presentation transcript:
Criteria of Credibility Can be used to assess the credibility of documents or individual sources. It has become standard to use the mnemonic RAVEN to remember the top 5 criteria of credibility
R-A-V-E-N R = Reputation A= Ability to See V= Vested Interested E= Expertise N= Neutrality/Bias
In the exam questions will ask you to use the criteria of credibility to assess various documents and individuals. You MUST use these criteria throughout every piece of work you submit!
Topic I: Reputation The first criteria, reputation, is about whether the source’s history or status suggests reliability or unreliability. If we know someone has lied in the past, we should be less trusting of him/her in the future – and vice versa Sometimes we have a good idea whether or not a witness is going to be reliable simply based on his/her reputation.
Reputation: Status and Track-record STATUS: if someone is in a position of responsibility, this reflects well on them. Status can also be boosted by recognition TRACK-RECORD: people judge based on your past achievements or accomplishments.
Topic II: Ability to See This concerns whether the source is in a position to know what they are talking about. No matter how honest a source of information, if they don’t have access to the evidence then the value of their testimony is going to be limited. Consider whether this person was present to see what they are claiming first hand, or if there were any circumstances which might have obstructed their view.
Topic III: Vested Interest Refers to whether the source of information has anything personally at stake. If they might gain something by lying, then their credibility is weakened by their vested interest. If they might lose a lot by being caught lying, there credibility might be strengthened by a vested interest to tell the truth.
Someone with a good reputation or a position to protect is more likely to tell the truth. More often, though, vested interest weakens credibility.
Topic IV: Expertise There are some situations in which it is difficult for normal observers to accurately interpret evidence because they lack specialized knowledge. For example, if I were to watch a high level chess match, my comments as to who was in the best position would be worthless, due to the fact that I am not a chess expert. Therefore, my credibility is weakened.
Expertise Does the observer have the necessary background knowledge and understanding to correctly interpret the evidence before them? It is sometimes difficult to accurately interpret evidence without specialized knowledge. Possessing relevant expertise thus strengthens a witness’s credibility; lack of it weakens it.
Topic V: Neutrality/Bias Whether someone is predisposed to support a particular point of view for reasons other than vested interest. Someone who knows other people involved in a dispute, for example, may be liable to side with them or against them depending on their relationship, weakening their credibility.
Topic V Continued Neutral witnesses are those who are likely to be objective, to reach a conclusion based on the evidence without being swayed by personal prejudice. The opposite of neutrality is bias. Someone is biased if they are pre-disposed to reach a certain conclusion.
Bias The simplest way in which bias tends to arise is when people have good or bad relationships with others involved. Witnesses may distort the truth in order to stand up for friends, relatives or colleagues. They might also lie in order to get enemies in trouble.
The best witness will be a neutral witness, one without prejudice, unconnected to others involved Students often confuse vested interest and neutrality. Vested interest refers to whether the witness personally has something at stake, whether they stand to gain or lose. Witnesses may have no vested interest in an incident whatsoever, nothing personally at stake, but still suffer from bias (if they know who is involved)