WYRED is motivated by calls for improvement in the quality of forensic evidence.
The purpose of the WYRED project is to build a database of British English speech which will be made publically available for wider use by researchers and any other interested parties.
In recent years, it has been argued that all areas of forensic science need to be more transparent, that forensic examinations should be based on validated methodologies, and that the results should be replicable (National Research Council 2009, House of Commons’ Northern Ireland Affairs Committee 2009, Law Commission of England & Wales 2011).
In the field of forensic speech science, transparency, validity, and replicability can be demonstrated through the consultation of population data, as it aids in identifying the level of typicality for a particular speech parameter in a given population.
Unfortunately, there are two main obstacles impeding the ease with which forensic experts can consult population data:
- Delimiting the relevant population (Gold and Hughes, 2014)
- A lack of population data
The first factor can be attributed to the time, money, and effort involved in collecting population data. The second factor is caused by the fact that practitioners do not have a platform on which to exchange knowledge.
Experts argue that the biggest problem facing the field is the availability of population data (Rose and Morrison, 2009, French et al., 2010).