Date of Award

Spring 5-20-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work (MSW)


Social Work

First Advisor

Youseung Kim, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Charcella Green, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Ivis King, Ph.D.


The current study examined the relationship of testifier type (expert, character witness) and race. Fifty-three participants were selected via convenience sampling to read four scenarios and answer a series of questions regarding the guilt or innocence of the defendant in each scenario. The scenarios included the absence or presence of racial identifiers and the presence of either a character witness or the testimony of an expert. It was hypothesized that the scenario with the presence of expert testimony will yield more guilty verdicts as well as the effectiveness of the testimony will cause a participant to yield a guiltier verdict. The research concluded that participants rendered more guilty verdicts in the absence of race. Additionally, expert testimony was found to be more effective than the testimony of a character witness even when both testifiers presented the same information.