Miss Francesca Ainsworth

Supervised by

  • Amina Memon First/primary/lead supervisor


Educational background

I achieved a First Class M.A. (Hons) Psychology degree from the University of St Andrews in 2009. I continued my studies in St Andrews, graduating with a M.Res Psychology degree in November 2010.

I completed my PhD looking at refreshed testimony and eyewitness memory under the supervision of Professor Amina Memon at Royal Holloway, University of London.

Personal profile

My thesis was focussed on eyewitness memory.  It considered factors which affect the accuracy of eyewitnesses when they give evidence in court and are cross-examined on that evidence.  My research studies investigated whether refreshed testimony, the process of allowing a witness to review their evidence (a written statement, video-recorded police interview or transcript of a police interview) prior to giving evidnece in court, is an effective means of improving eyewitness accuracy in both recall and cross-examination performance. I also conducted a survey of serving police officers in England to determine what experience these officers have of providing refreshed testimony to witnesses, the first survey of its kind.  

I completed my PhD in 2015 and am currently employed as a Strategic Analyst and Researcher for the Aberdeenshire Community Planning Partnership.  I support the Community Planning Partnership through the production of strategic assessments and ad-hoc research projects in order to identify the areas of the greatest need.  This allows public sector partners to work together, allocating resources appropriately, to have the greatest positive impact on the quality of life for Aberdeenshire residents. I am currently involved with the jointly funded ESRC and Scottish Government project, What Works Scotland. Aberdeenshire Community Planning Partnership is a Case Study Partner and I provide stragetic and analytical support to this programme of work. 

Research interests

My research interests include factors affecting eyewitness memory, particularly interview and memory techniques. The accuracy and consistency of a witness within investigative interviews, compared to cross-examination interviews, is also of interest.

In my current role at Aberdeenshire Council, I have also become interested and involved in evidence to action research, focussing on ways to improve policy design and implementation based on robust research and evidence

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