We need to talk about dialogue: accomplishing collaborative sensemaking in homicide investigations

Helen Jones, Fiona Brookman, Robin Williams, Jim Fraser

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In this paper, we explore the importance of dialogue for collaborative sensemaking during homicide investigation, focusing upon interactions between detectives, forensic scientists and other experts involved in managing and undertaking forensic work. Drawing on data from a 4-year ethnographic study of British homicide investigations, we provide insights from criminal justice actors about both the value of, and barriers to, inter-professional and cross-disciplinary dialogue. We explore how and why organisational arrangements may limit opportunities for forensic scientists and other experts to engage collaboratively with detectives and prosecutors. We conclude by considering ways to enhance collaborative sensemaking during the investigation of homicide.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)572-589
Number of pages18
JournalPolice Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 3 Dec 2020


  • homicide investigation
  • sensemaking
  • dialogue
  • collaboration
  • forensic scientists
  • experts

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