Where to Find Answers to Your Forensic Science Questions

Do you have questions about fingerprint identification methods, applications of criminal behavior, or another forensic science-related inquiry? Head over to the International Association for Identification research library to find over 2,000 resources to uncover the answers. Compiled by the world’s oldest and largest criminal identification organization, here you will find archives, manuscripts, books periodicals and more, all related to scientific criminal investigation. Readers can even dive back into the 19th century to learn what the field of forensic science criminal investigation was like in its infancy, leading up to today’s advancements.

Find out more about IAI’s mission to educate, critique and publish methods, techniques and research in the physical forensic science disciplines on their website. Be sure to also mark your calendars for their Educational Conference on August 9-15, 2020.

Another great resource is the NIST compilation of influential and seminal papers relevant to the quantification of the weight of evidence. Find it on their website.

NIJ Final Report Explores Discrepancies in Quantifying the Weight of Evidence

Through the National Criminal Justice Reference Service, NIJ has made available a final technical report of the research project, “Foundational Research into the Quantification of the Value of Forensic Evidence for Complex Evidential Forms arising from Impression and Pattern Evidence.”

Funded by the National Institute of Justice, and led by researchers Cedric Neumann, Christopher P. Saunders, the four-year project investigated the validity, accuracy and computational complexity of methods designed to quantify the weight of complex evidence forms, such as pattern and trace evidence.

Researchers took a closer look at source identification using two formal frameworks” the “common source” and “specific source.” The goals were to uncover why scientists may have differing opinions when quantifying the weight of forensic evidence.

The Project’s Four Phases:

  1. The validity, accuracy and computational complexity of several methods for quantifying uncertainty in forensic conclusions was studied using a toy glass example, where the ground truth weight of evidence was known;
  2. Two frameworks for using similarity measures (as a means to reduce the complexity of the problem) in the quantification of the weight of evidence were developed, and their reliability and accuracy were studied;
  3. The two frameworks were applied to a variety of complex forms of evidence, such as fingerprints and FTIR analyses of fibers, and are currently being implemented for handwriting and powder residues;
  4. The reliability of the proposed frameworks, when applied to these evidence types, was

A Snapshot from the Report:

“The project relies on a mixture of analytical proofs and statistical simulations to develop and study numerical methods to assign the weight of forensic evidence. Instead of just considering the observations made on the trace and control material, we also explicitly consider the observations made on samples from the population of potential sources. This paradigm change allows for more formal development of numerical methods aimed at quantifying the weight of forensic evidence and for a more rigorous study of their convergence.”

Interested in reading the full report and its potential benefits to the criminal justice system? Learn more through the National Criminal Justice Reference Service. Discover how the National Institute of Justice continues to advance the field of forensic science on the NIJ website.

The Go-To Podcast for Everything Forensic Science

Your morning commute, lunch break or stop to the gym is a great time to check out the Just Science podcast. Designed for anyone interested at an inside look at crime laboratories, tune in to learn how taking steps to improve accuracy and efficiency solves more crimes. This effort by RIT International’s Center for Forensic Sciences covers a wide range of interesting topics, spanning every type of forensic discipline. We recommend the 2019 season “Forensic Advancement,” which dives into challenges facing leaders in the forensic community.

CSAFE tackles several issues addressed in this season. View the following episodes to hear our colleagues’ perspectives:

  1. Just Cognitive Bias Awareness
  2. Just Blind Proficiency Testing

Find more seasons on new technologies and broader challenges for science and public security on the Just Science site.