PhD (Monash); MClinPsych, BA Hons (UQ); DipTeach (Brisbane CAE), FAPS
Martine Powell is Professor of Psychology and full-time scholar in the Griffith Criminology Institute (Griffith University). Her research focuses on expanding knowledge on the ‘how to’ of obtaining accurate and detailed information from people about events to assist decision-making. Good investigative interviewing involves eliciting uninhibited, pertinent, accurate and complete information in fair and respectful ways. This skill evolves from scientific enquiry: the systematic study of human behavior, the evaluation of new improved methods against agreed outcomes, and the establishment of mechanisms to transmit new knowledge and promote change in practice.
Prof Powell has a broad educational background including degrees in clinical psychology and education. Her PhD and postdoctoral research examined human memory and suggestibility. A particular focus of her research has been eliciting evidence from vulnerable interviewee groups (e.g., children, adults with complex communication needs) and about sensitive topics such as sexual assault. She has also examined interviewing across other settings including medicine, education, and workplace investigation.
The influence of Prof Powell’s research has been recognised by several lifetime career awards including the 2019 Australian Psychological Society Distinguished Contribution to Psychological Science Award. She has produced over 320 peer-reviewed publications, supervised more than 34 doctoral/PhD students, and has been lead or chief investigator on numerous Category 1 grants (direct research income exceeds 8 million). She has collaborated with industry partners in every state and territory of Australia, and across many countries internationally. She is regularly called upon to contribute to the development of bench books and guidelines.
Despite a wealth of scientific knowledge in this field, there has been a consistent gap between recommended technique and actual practice. Most interviewer evaluation studies have revealed that professionals (irrespective of their discipline) do not interview in a way that is known to promote accurate and detailed recall. In an effort to improve this situation and spark a global revolution in the quality of interview training, Prof Powell established a not-for-profit Centre for Investigative Interviewing. The Centre is a research and training hub comprised of a committed group of academics, trainers and administrative staff. The core team is supported by collaborators across a diverse range of backgrounds, including police, government, industry, academic, education, legal, IT, and multimedia professionals. The Centre focuses on establishing evidence-based methods of teaching interviewing skills that will be sustained long-term.
Prof Powell’s work is highly innovative. She has pioneered the first ever standardised method for conducting in vivo mock interviews, a child avatar (interviewee who reports sexual assault), a learning management system (enabling people to learn remotely) and a system for tailoring interview protocols to different witness language abilities and cultural groups.
More information about the Centre is available on the website: www.investigativecentre.com
Professor, School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Griffith University
Founding Director, Centre for Investigative Interviewing, Griffith Criminology Institute
- Australian Psychological Society (member since 1992, Fellow since 2011).
- APS College of Forensic Psychologists (member since 1994).
- International Investigative Interviewing Research Group (member since 2008).
- Society for Applied Research in Memory and Cognition (member since 2016).
- Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Registered Psychologist since 1992).
- APS Distinguished Contribution to Psychological Science Award, Australian Psychological Society (2019).
- International Investigative Interviewing Research Group (iIIRG) Tom Williamson Award, in recognition of outstanding lifetime achievement in the area of investigative interviewing (2015).
- Australian Psychological Society College of Forensic Psychologists Award of Distinction (2011).
- Early Career Award, Australian Psychological Society (2001).
- Benson, M.S., & Powell, M.B. (2015). Evaluation of a comprehensive interactive training system for investigative interviewers of children. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, 21, 309-322. https://doi.org/10.1037/law0000052
- Powell, M., Westera, N., Goodman-Delahunty, J., & Pichler, A.S. (2016). An evaluation of how evidence is elicited from complainants of child sexual abuse. Sydney, Australia: Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
- Powell, M.B., Garry, M. & Brewer, N. (2019). Eyewitness testimony. In I. Freckelton & H. Selby (Eds), Expert evidence (pp. 65-1 – 65-168). Pyrmont NSW: Thomson Reuters.
- Powell, M.B., & Brubacher, S.P. (2020). The origin, experimental basis, and application of the standard interview method (SIM): An information-gathering framework. Australian Psychologist, 55, 645-659. https://doi.org/10.1111/ap.12468
- Gilligan, C., Powell, M., Lynagh, M.C., Ward, B.M., Lonsdale, C., Harvey, P., James, E.L., Rich, D., Dewi, S.P., Nepal, S., Croft, H.A., & Silverman, J. (2021). Interventions for improving medical students’ interpersonal communication in medical consultations. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. (2). https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD012418.pub2