Date of Award

5-2010

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Criminal Justice

Abstract

In any profession where conclusions or opinions are generated by humans, there is a realization of possible error. In the profession of forensic science, errors are not taken lightly. In fact most agencies have been known to have had a no tolerance policy when it comes to errors. This means that if an analyst made a mistake in casework, he or she could be terminated. Over the past 15 years, the words "error" and "bias" have become synonymous with forensic science in the media. Major errors have surfaced in several high profile cases only to cast doubt on the forensic science system as a whole. There is speculation that the underlying cause of all these errors is bias. The recent National Academy of the Sciences (NAS) report has identified bias as an issue that needs to be dealt with. There have also been several studies on bias in forensic science that have provided empirical evidence of its existence. However, there have not been any studies to test whether or not bias can be avoided through awareness or training.

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