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Technical Foundations of Forensic Speech Science - LAN00082M

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  • Department: Language and Linguistic Science
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Philip Harrison
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2019-20
    • See module specification for other years: 2020-21

Module summary

This module provides an introduction to a range of areas such as acoustics, human hearing, sound recording, signal processing and analysis that underpin the technical areas of forensic speech science. We will discover how this fundamental knowledge is applied in casework, including enhancement, authentication and automatic speaker recognition. We will develop practical auditory and technical analysis skills and examine a variety of real casework materials.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Spring Term 2019-20

Module aims

  • To give students an understanding of the fundamentals of areas such as acoustics, human hearing, sound recording, signal processing and analysis that underpin the technical areas of forensic speech science including enhancement, authentication and automatic speaker recognition
  • To give students an understanding of how this fundamental knowledge is applied in the analysis methods used in these types of forensic casework
  • To give students the skills to critically assess audio recordings and identify their salient acoustic and technical characteristics
  • To give students the skills to select and correctly apply the appropriate processing and analysis tools when examining speech and audio recordings
  • To build on the technical and forensic casework content introduced in the Term 1 module ‘Introduction to Forensic Speech Science’
  • To give students exposure to a range of real casework materials and give them the opportunity to examine it using the knowledge and skills developed in the module

Module learning outcomes

The students will know and understand the fundamentals of acoustics including:

  • Sound sources
  • How sound propagates and interacts
  • How sound is characterised and measured
  • The students will know and understand the fundamentals of human hearing including:
  • The basics of human hearing
  • Non-linear frequency and amplitude response
  • Frequency and temporal masking
  • Speech perception and intelligibility

The students will know and understand the fundamentals of sound recording including:

  • The elements of the recording chain
  • Recording and encoding formats

The students will know and understand the fundamentals of signal processing and analysis including:

  • Digitisation
  • Time domain and frequency domain representations of signals
  • Characterisation of signals
  • Simple analysis techniques involving waveforms, spectrograms and spectra
  • Filtering processes
  • Convolution and correlation
  • Advanced analysis techniques – LPC, MFCC

The students will know and understand the fundamentals of audio enhancement including:

  • Types and sources of noise and other speech intelligibility problems encountered in casework
  • The principles of a range of filters and processes used in audio enhancement
  • The appropriate uses of the filters and their limitations
  • Methods of assessing improvement

The students will know and understand the fundamentals of authentication including:

  • Editing methods
  • Detection of editing via auditory and acoustic analysis methods
  • ENF analysis

The students will understand the fundamentals of automatic speaker recognition:

  • Speaker modelling
  • Comparison of speaker models
  • System evaluation and performance

The students will be able to do the following:

  • Describe the characteristics of audio recordings based on auditory examinations
  • Use software to analyse audio recordings and determine their characteristics
  • Use software to enhance audio recordings
  • Apply a range of analysis methods used in the authentication of audio recordings

Assessment

Task Length % of module mark
Essay/coursework
1500 word Lab Report
N/A 30
Open Examination (7 day week)
Technical Foundations of Forensic Speech Science
N/A 70

Special assessment rules

None

Reassessment

Task Length % of module mark
Essay/coursework
1500 word Lab Report
N/A 30
Open Examination (7 day week)
Technical Foundations of Forensic Speech Science
N/A 70

Module feedback

Written feedback on the formative lab report will be provided within 2 weeks of submission. Written feedback on the summative lab report will be provided within 3 weeks of submission. General feedback may also be given to the group as a whole and the course convener will be available to discuss individual feedback if necessary.

Feedback will be given after the open exam marks have been released and students will be able to see their own exam papers.

Indicative reading

Suggested reading includes:

Chapters 1 to 3 in Rumsey, F and McCormick, T (2009). Sound and Recording. Oxford: Focal Press.

Koenig, B. and Lacey, D. (2009). Forensic Authentication of Digital Audio Recordings. AES: Journal of the Audio Engineering Society, 57, 662-695.

During the module other reading will be listed on the VLE.



The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): changes to courses

The 2020/21 academic year will start in September. We aim to deliver as much face-to-face teaching as we can, supported by high quality online alternatives where we must.

Find details of the measures we're planning to protect our community.

Course changes for new students