Stephen has conducted research studies for bodies such as the Royal Commission on Criminal Justice, UK Home Office, Metropolitan Police, The World Anti-Doping Agency, The International Olympic Committee, as well as six studies for the Australian Government. Most of this research has centred on the use of interviewing as an investigative tool. Interviewing policy and procedures in many countries have been modified as a direct result of this work. For example, Stephen was the first to coin the term ‘investigative interviewing’, which has since been widely adopted in policing research and has helped to change operational practices.
His initial work on investigative interviewing centred on the reliability of children’s eyewitness testimony. His Master’s thesis (Manchester University, UK) was the first research to show that child witnesses would alter their responses when a question was repeated. The same study also introduced the idea of offering children the option of saying “don’t know” during interviews. The two key recommendations (do not repeat questions, offer the option of saying “don’t know”) have become major areas of research investigation and are now widely accepted ‘rules’ to be followed when interviewing children.
Stephen’s next research project, a PhD at the University of Kent at Canterbury, introduced the concept of social support for child witnesses. Through a series of studies, he showed how the quality of children’s testimony could be (positively) affected by the social environment at the time of questioning. Once again, the findings would initiate a major area of research investigation and subsequently shape how children are questioned in criminal investigations.
Stephen was then asked by the Metropolitan Police (UK) to conduct a study of ‘police interrogation practices and suspect behaviour’. This was the first major study of police interrogation practices and resulted in a series of ground-breaking papers (one was reprinted in the Sage Benchmarks in Psychology series) showing why suspects confess and the advantages of inquisitorial over accusatory interviewing practices. Subsequent studies for the Home Office and The Royal Commission on Criminal Justice would show how the right to silence and the introduction of new technologies impact on criminal prosecutions, with both studies resulting in major changes to investigative practices and the laws on questioning.
He was then asked by the Metropolitan Police to integrate these findings into a ‘manual’ on interviewing. Stephen named this new approach “Investigative interviewing” and the manual would become the foundation for the PEACE model of investigative interviewing, which has now been adopted in many countries (including Australia).
Subsequent work has explored how investigative interviewing can be used in a wide range of investigations where there is often little or no physical/objective evidence. His most recent work has focused on crime and misconduct in sporting settings, where normal rules of best investigative practice are often bent (or broken) to safeguard the perceived integrity of sport. He has conducted six funded studies for the Australian Government, as well as studies for the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Stephen has also written about the investigation of sexual harassment and is currently drafting guidelines for investigators. He recently made a submission to the National Inquiry into Sexual Harassment in Australian Workplaces, showing how the Australian definition of sexual harassment is flawed and that extant survey methodologies suffer from significant flaws (e.g., they are internally and externally inconsistent), resulting in a situation where the incidence of sexual harassment is estimated to be somewhere in the range of 20-85%. Although it might be higher, or possibly lower.
Formerly a lecturer in psychology at the following universities:
At each of these universities I taught legal/forensic psychology. I have also taught a variety of other subjects, including Introduction to Psychology and Developmental Psychology.
I have also been Head of Professional Programs in Forensic Psychology.
Major contributions to the procedures for interviewing child witnesses and adult suspects (see About Me).
Moston, S. & Engelberg, T. (2017). An honest mistake? Establishing intention to dope. Second Report to the International Olympic Committee. IOC: Lausanne.
Moston, S. & Engelberg, T. (2016). Guilty until proven innocent (and then still guilty). First Report to the International Olympic Committee. IOC: Lausanne.
Coventry, G., Dawes, G., Moston, S. & Palmer, D. (2015). Sudanese refugees’ experiences with the criminal justice system in Queensland. CRG 38/08-09. Australian Institute of Criminology: Canberra.
Engelberg, T., Moston, S., & Hutchinson, B. (2014.) Review of social science anti-doping literature and recommendations for action. Final Report to the Department of Health and Ageing. Griffith University: Gold Coast.
Moston, S., Engelberg, T. & Skinner, J. (2014). Knowledge of doping: How athletes learn about doping rules and practices. Final report to the Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport. University of Canberra: Canberra.
Engelberg, T., Moston, S. & Skinner, J. (2014). Tracking the development of attitudes to doping: A longitudinal study of young elite athletes. Final report to the Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport. Griffith University: Gold Coast.
Moston, S., Engelberg, T. & Skinner, J., (2012). The relationship between moral code, participation in sport, and attitudes towards performance enhancing drugs in young people. Final report to the World Anti-Doping Agency. WADA: Montreal.
Moston, S., Skinner, J. & Engelberg, T. (2011). The final frontier of anti-doping: A study of athletes who have committed doping violations. Final Report to the Department of Health and Ageing. Griffith University: Gold Coast.
Moston, S., Skinner, J. & Engelberg, T. (2011). Athletes’ and coaches’ attitudes about drugs in sport. Final Report to the Department of Health and Ageing. Griffith University: Gold Coast.
Skinner, J., Moston, S. & Engelberg, T. (2009). Public perceptions of sports doping. Final Report to the Department of Health and Ageing. Griffith University: Gold Coast.
Guest editor (2019-2020) Sport in Society Special Issue on Crime and Misconduct in Sport.
I am currently accredited for supervision in the following:
At the level of Principal Supervisor
Psychology - Forensic Psychology
Police interviewing of suspects Children's eyewitness testimony Detecting doping by athletes Crime in sport Sexual harassment