Principles of Forensic Science

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Match the following forensic subtopics with their descriptions:

Crime Scene Investigation = Involves preserving evidence and mapping the scene Forensic Evidence Analysis = Critical aspect of forensic science Forensic Toxicology = Study of chemicals in the body for investigation purposes DNA Analysis = Identification through genetic material

Match the following activities with the correct stage of crime scene investigation:

Identifying and mapping the crime scene = Initial stage of investigation Accounting for the movement of individuals within the crime scene = Establishing timeline and dynamics Collecting potential evidence like bloodstains and fingerprints = Ensuring validity of evidence Piecing together events using captured details = Final reconstruction phase

Match the following types of evidence with their significance in forensic science:

Bloodstains = Help establish a timeline Fingerprints = Crucial for identification purposes Footprints = Assist in understanding dynamics of the crime scene Ballistics analysis = Examining firearms and ammunition

Match the following forensic disciplines with their respective fields of study:

Forensic Toxicology = Chemicals in the body for investigation DNA Analysis = Genetic material identification Ballistics = Firearms and ammunition examination Forensic Evidence Analysis = Critical examination in forensic science

Match the forensic science subfield with its primary focus:

Crime scene investigation = Reconstructing events and identifying criminals Forensic evidence analysis = Analyzing trace evidence, impressions, documents, and biological evidence Forensic toxicology = Detecting drugs and poisons in biological samples DNA analysis = Identifying individuals through DNA fingerprinting

Match the forensic science technique with its application:

Microscopy = Analyzing trace evidence like hair and fibers Spectroscopy = Examining firearms evidence like bullets and cartridge cases Chromatography = Determining drug presence in biological fluids DNA fingerprinting = Comparing DNA profiles for identification purposes

Match the forensic science subfield with its role in investigations:

Forensic toxicology = Determining the effects of substances on individuals DNA analysis = Resolving cases when traditional methods fail Ballistics = Revealing information about firearms type and trajectory of bullets Crime scene investigation = Reconstructing events that occurred during a crime

Match the forensic science discipline with its primary analysis focus:

Forensic evidence analysis = Analyzing various forms of evidence like paint and handwriting Forensic toxicology = Identifying drugs and poisons in biological samples DNA analysis = Comparing DNA samples from different sources for prosecution purposes Ballistics = Examining firearms residues to reconstruct crime events

Match the forensic science subfield with its contribution to criminal investigations:

Crime scene investigation = Allowing for reconstruction of events at crime scenes Forensic evidence analysis = Providing connections between individuals, objects, and crime scenes Forensic toxicology = Determining the source and effects of substance exposure Ballistics = Identifying the perpetrator through firearm examination

Match the forensic science concept with its significance in forensic investigations:

DNA fingerprinting = Providing accurate and unique identification of individuals Microscopy = Critical for analyzing minute trace evidence like hair and fibers Spectroscopy = Reveals essential information about firearms used in crimes Chromatography = Essential for detecting drugs and poisons in biological samples

What are the basic principles of forensic science?

Understanding the value of evidence and different types of evidence.

What measures should be taken with outdoor crime scenes?

Securing the scene, avoiding contamination, searching and collecting evidence, and preserving and packaging evidence.

Describe the importance of chain of custody in forensic science.

Chain of custody is crucial for maintaining the integrity and admissibility of evidence by documenting its handling from collection to presentation in court.

What are the different types of biological samples collected at a crime scene?

Blood, saliva, hair, tissue, and other bodily fluids.

How can the time of death be identified using human remains?

By examining markers of death such as livor mortis, rigor mortis, and body temperature changes.

What safety precautions should be taken at a crime scene?

Adhering to universal precautions, wearing personal protective equipment, and being aware of routes of exposure.

What is the role of the first responding officer at a crime scene?

Securing the scene, ensuring safety, and preserving evidence until forensic experts arrive.

What is the difference between presumptive and confirmatory tests in forensic analysis?

Presumptive tests indicate the possible presence of a substance, while confirmatory tests provide definitive identification.

Give an example of a presumptive test used in the field and an example of a confirmatory test conducted in the lab.

Example of presumptive test: Luminol test in the field. Example of confirmatory test: Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS) in the lab.

What is the main difference between locating a stain/searching techniques and presumptive tests in the laboratory for forensic analysts?

Locating a stain/searching techniques involve finding physical evidence, while presumptive tests involve preliminary chemical analysis.

Provide an example of a presumptive test that is typically conducted in the field and an example that is usually performed in the lab.

Field test example: Color tests for drugs. Lab test example: Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) Spectroscopy.

What are the main steps involved in the analysis of forensic evidence?

The main steps include collection, preservation, examination, analysis, and interpretation of evidence.

Differentiate between examination and analysis in the context of forensic science.

Examination involves observing and documenting evidence, while analysis refers to interpreting and drawing conclusions based on the findings.

Why is the majority of forensic analysts' work conducted in the laboratory rather than in the field?

Forensic analysis in the lab allows for controlled conditions, precise testing methods, and advanced technology not feasible in the field.

Who is credited with developing the absorption-inhibition ABO typing technique used routinely in forensic science?

Franz Josef Holzer

In which decade was the FBI crime lab established?


Who first described the Rhesus blood groups?


Which of the following scientists identified the polymorphic nature of erythrocyte acid phosphatase (EAP) and other enzymes in the 1960s?

Culliford and Wraxal

When was the American Academy of Forensic Science formed?


Which scientist was the first to identify the polymorphic nature of group specific component (GC)?


Who developed the techniques for profile analysis of DNA?

Sir Alex Jeffreys

What does the presence of the suspect in a criminal investigation help to do?

Support but not prove the hypothesis of association

Why was the DNA evidence on the brown coat inconclusive in determining who may have been wearing it?

An unknown person's DNA was found on the coat

Why was the jacket not considered as inculpatory evidence for the suspects in the murder case?

No definitive conclusion could be made from the evidence

What has steered the growth of the field of forensic science according to the text?

Specialty or sub specialized scientific disciplines

Why has the field of forensic science taken centuries to develop and refine its techniques and tests?

Construction and refinement in a development process

What role does corroborative evidence play if a suspect is not excluded from a criminal investigation?

Supporting but not proving the hypothesis of association

Why was no definitive conclusion reached about who may have been wearing the brown coat in the murder case?

'Wearer' DNA did not exclude any suspects

What is the primary purpose of maintaining continuity in the chain of custody of an item in crime scene investigation?

To track the item from collection to admission into evidence at court

What is a key aspect of maintaining continuity for an item collected at a crime scene as described in the text?

Restricted movement

Why is the crime scene investigator preferred as the only link in the chain of custody of an item?

To minimize contamination and maintain integrity

What role does detailed labeling play in the continuity of an item in a crime scene investigation?

It assists with proving continuity

What does 'continuity' refer to concerning an item collected at a crime scene?

The chain of custody from initial collection to court admission

Why should care be taken to preserve the integrity of an item if it is removed from its original packaging?

To prevent contamination and maintain evidentiary value

What type of information should be included on a label attached to a package when collecting an item at a crime scene?

Time and date collected, type of packaging used, suspect's address

What steps are necessary for maintaining continuity in the chain of custody of an item according to the text?

Accurate records, detailed labeling, restricted movement

What is the purpose of classifying forensic laboratories according to the type of testing performed?

To organize the workflow and structure of the laboratory

Why are Toolmarks examinations often associated with the Firearms section?

Because they share the same approach to comparing unique and class marks

What distinguishes inceptive evidence from associative evidence in forensic science?

Inceptive evidence addresses whether an offence has occurred, while associative evidence links people, places, or objects

What does the Locard Principle ('Every contact leaves a trace') relate to in forensic science?

Associative evidence

How does testing in forensic science relate to the falsification approach mentioned in the text?

Testing may produce evidence to exclude an association

Which type of forensic evidence refers to linking people, places, or objects?

Associative evidence

What characterizes controlled substances and alcohol testing in forensic science?

They are examples of inceptive evidence

What is the primary responsibility of an investigator at a homicide scene?

Preserving any evidence present at the scene

Why is detailed note-taking considered important in crime scene investigation?

To record crucial details like the position of the body and state of clothing

What can happen if an investigator moves the body or items covering the corpse at a homicide scene?

Result in the loss of evidence present at the scene

Which factor largely influences the reliability of a report in crime scene investigation?

Peer-review process and thorough interpretation

Why do others closely scrutinize the evidence presented by an investigator?

Especially in court by counsel for the accused

What is a key difference between preserving evidence and assuming what occurred at a crime scene?

Preservation focuses on protecting evidence integrity, while assumption focuses on personal beliefs.

How can moving items covering a corpse at a homicide scene impact forensic analysis?

It may result in contamination or loss of valuable evidence.

Why should an investigator focus on observations rather than personal beliefs in a report?

To maintain objectivity and produce reliable reports.

Explain the significance of trace evidence in forensic science.

Trace evidence can provide crucial information linking suspects, victims, and crime scenes. It includes materials like glass, hairs, fibers, and paint that can help in investigations.

What are the key components of document examination in forensic science?

Basics of document examination involve analyzing handwriting, signatures, paper, ink, printing methods, and alterations on documents.

Describe the significance of understanding Illicit Drugs in forensic science.

Understanding illicit drugs is crucial for identifying substances, dealing with contamination issues, and analyzing unknown drug samples found in criminal investigations.

Why is the examination of Firearms and Toolmarks important in forensic science?

Firearms and Toolmarks examinations help in linking weapons to crimes, analyzing ammunition, determining distances, and understanding gunshot residue (GSR).

Explain the role of Fingerprints in forensic science investigations.

Fingerprints are unique identifiers that can link individuals to crime scenes or objects. Understanding fingerprint patterns and visualization methods is crucial for forensic analysis.

What is the importance of Fires and Explosive examination in forensic science?

Fires and Explosive examination helps in determining the cause of fires, explosions, and identifying accelerants or explosive materials used in crimes.

Discuss the significance of understanding the Controlled Substances Act and illicit drugs in forensic science.

Knowledge of the Controlled Substances Act and drug schedules is essential for classifying and identifying illicit drugs encountered in forensic investigations.

What is one of the key aspects to understand regarding fingerprints in forensic science?

Knowing the patterns and sub-patterns of fingerprints

Which type of evidence involves understanding fracture patterns and measurements in forensic science?


What is a significant aspect to grasp about trace evidence in forensic science?

Understanding the significance of hairs in examination

Which concept in forensic science involves knowing definitions, terminology, and means of comparison, including GSR analysis?

Firearms and Toolmarks

In forensic science, what is crucial to comprehend about illicit drugs such as cocaine, amphetamines, and heroin?

The Controlled Substances Act schedules

What is an essential part of document examination in forensic science?

Being familiar with the basics

Why is understanding the fracture patterns and measurements of glass important in forensic science?

Because it helps determine factors like the direction of impact or force applied

Study Notes

Principles of Forensic Science

In the realm of criminal investigations, forensic science plays a pivotal role. The discipline encompasses a variety of techniques and disciplines, each contributing to the reconstruction of events and identification of criminals. In this article, we will delve into some fundamental subtopics of forensic science, shedding light on crime scene investigation, forensic evidence analysis, forensic toxicology, DNA analysis, and ballistics.

Crime Scene Investigation

The investigation of a crime scene is the foundation upon which all forensic science rests. The goal is to preserve and document evidence, ensuring its integrity and validity. A forensic investigator combines their knowledge of crime scene behavior with a meticulous approach to processing the scene.

From identifying and mapping the scene to accounting for the movement of individuals within the crime scene, each detail is captured in hopes of piecing together the events that transpired. The investigator must be vigilant for potential evidence, such as bloodstains, fingerprints, and footprints, which are all crucial to establishing a timeline and understanding the dynamics of the crime.

Forensic Evidence Analysis

The analysis of evidence is a pivotal aspect of forensic science. Evidence is organized into various types, including trace evidence (e.g., hair, fiber, paint, etc.), impressions (e.g., footwear marks, tire tracks), documents (e.g., handwriting analysis, counterfeit currency), and biological evidence (e.g., DNA, blood, semen).

Forensic scientists employ a variety of techniques to analyze these forms of evidence, such as microscopy, spectroscopy, and chromatography. The analysis is essential to establish connections between individuals, objects, and crime scenes.

Forensic Toxicology

The detection, quantification, and identification of drugs and poisons in biological samples are the purview of forensic toxicologists. They rely on chemical and biological analyses to determine the presence of substances that may have contributed to the death or impairment of an individual.

Forensic toxicologists are called upon to analyze blood, urine, and other bodily fluids for the presence of illicit drugs, prescription medications, and environmental toxins. They also evaluate the concentration of these substances and determine the source, timing, and effects of exposure.

DNA Analysis

DNA analysis plays a significant role in forensic science because it offers an accurate and unique method for identifying individuals. DNA fingerprinting, also known as DNA typing, involves comparing an individual's DNA profile with that of known suspects or crime scene samples.

Forensic DNA analysis has proven to be a reliable and powerful tool in resolving cases, particularly when traditional methods fail. The combination of DNA samples from victims, suspects, and crime scenes has led to numerous successful prosecutions and exonerations.


Ballistics is the study of projectiles, particularly firearms, and their residues. Forensic ballistics is a subdiscipline within the broader field of forensic science that focuses on the examination of bullets, cartridge cases, and other items associated with firearms.

The analysis of firearms evidence can reveal essential information about the type of firearm, the distance between the firearm and the crime scene, and the trajectory of a bullet. This information is critical for reconstructing the events that occurred during a crime and identifying the perpetrator.

In conclusion, the principles of forensic science are diverse and multifaceted. Each subtopic contributes to the holistic understanding of a crime, allowing for the reconstruction of events and the identification of criminals. Crime scene investigation, forensic evidence analysis, forensic toxicology, DNA analysis, and ballistics are all essential components of comprehensive forensic investigations.

Test your knowledge on the key principles of forensic science, including crime scene investigation, forensic evidence analysis, forensic toxicology, DNA analysis, and ballistics. Learn about the techniques and disciplines that contribute to solving criminal investigations.

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