Sara Waring

Deputy Programme Director for the MSc in Investigative and Forensic Psychology


Sara Waring is the Deputy Programme Director for the MSc in Investigative and Forensic Psychology. She received a First class BSc (Hons) in Psychology, an MSc (with distinction) in Investigative and Forensic Psychology, and a PhD at the University of Liverpool. Her PhD thesis examined the impact of accountability on police judgments and decisions in critical and major incident contexts. Sara is a lecturer in the School of Psychology, a Fellow of the Higher Education Authority and is working toward a Post Graduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching.

Sara has been involved in the debriefing of critical incidents and has delivered numerous practitioner reports to UK emergency services including police and fire and rescue. Her current research interests include identifying factors that affect the formation of advice and its use in decision making, examining the impact of risk and uncertainty on emergency service critical incident decision making, developing expertise in policing, simulation design and use of autonomous systems in critical incidents.


  • Doctoral degree, 2011, University of Liverpool
  • MSc in Investigative and Forensic Psychology, 2008, University of Liverpool
  • BSc (Hons) Psychology, 2006, University of Liverpool

Professional Activities

Professional Societies

  • Chartered Member of the British Psychological Society
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Authority

Teaching Areas

  • Policing and emergency response
  • Critical incident decision making
  • Research methods and statistics

Research Interests

  • Critical Incident Decision Making
  • Identification of Risk and Uncertainty
  • Advice Formation
  • Simulation Design
  • Use of Autonomous Systems in Critical Incidents

Selected Publications

  1. Cole, J., Egan, V., Alison, L., Waring, S., & Eldib, S. (2013). ‘Clear skins’, ‘loan wolves’, and ‘self-starters’: can you identify people vulnerable to violent extremism using a screening checklist? Journal of Interpersonal Violence.

  2. Waring, S., Alison, L., Cunningham, S., & Whitfield, K. (2013). The impact of accountability on motivational goals and the quality of advice provided in crisis negotiations. Psychology, Public Policy, & Law, 19(2), 137-150.

  3. Alison, L., Almond, L., Christiansen, P., Waring, S., Power, N., & Villejoubert, G. (2012). When do we believe experts? The power of the unorthodox view. Behavioral Sciences & the Law, 30(6), 729 – 748.

  4. Alison, L., van den Heuvel, C., Waring, S., Power, N., Long, A., et al. (2012). Using immersive simulated learning environments (ISLEs) for researching critical incidents: A knowledge synthesis of the literature and experiences of studying high risk strategic and tactical decision making. Journal of Cognitive Engineering & Decision Making, 20.

  5. Alison, L., & Waring, S. (2011). The value of simulation based training in reducing decision avoidance. Home Team Journal, 3, 102 – 112.