In 2005, Assoc. Prof. Georgina Heydon published the first monograph to analyse the language of police interviewing in Australia from a linguistic and discourse analytic perspective. Her foundational work on the linguistic structures of police interviews and moral frameworks in questioning provides new insights into investigative interviewing by revealing the language strategies used by police and suspects to construct evidentiary narratives. Over the last ten years, her research has attempted to contribute a new level of detail to the analysis of legal-societal issues in policing by focusing on the discursive phenomena that underlie testimonial integrity, methods of detecting deception, formality and the right to silence.
More recently, Georgina has begun to examine questioning procedures across a broader range of contexts, including tribunals, courtrooms and the media. She believes that there is much to be learned from the extensive research underlying modern police interviewing training, and that these insights can help to improve questioning practices in other contexts. She is particularly interested in improving practices for eliciting information from vulnerable members of the community (e.g. refugees) and in providing basic interviewing training for police in post-conflict and post-colonial regions. As a linguist, she hopes to expand best practice cognitive interviewing methods to operate effectively in multi-lingual and multi-ethnic communities.
Georgina is also a co-convenor of the Gendered Violence and Abuse Research Alliance.
She is currently the President-elect of the International Association of Forensic Linguists and an active member of the International Investigative Interviewing Research Group.
From 2009–2013, Georgina was a chief investigator with Dr Bronwyn Naylor, Prof Marilyn Pittard and Dr Moira Paterson (all of the Law Faculty, Monash University) on an Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage Project ‘Living Down the Past’ (LP0990348 2009–2012) that examines the impact of police record checking by employers on ex-offenders and their rehabilitation. Earlier work on the project received funding through the Law Services Board Small Grants Scheme.