The scientific method is defined as a procedure that scientist use over periods of time to assemble a precise interpretations of the world. These perceptions and interpretation of natural phenomenon’s can be influenced by a person culture and beliefs. The scientific method is made up of four steps.
These steps include * Observation and description of a phenomenon or group phenomenon * Formulation of a hypothesis or hypotheses to explain the phenomenon * Use of the hypothesis to predict the existence of the other phenomenon, or quantitatively predict the results of new observations * Performance of test of predictions by several independent experimenters. In relation to forensic science the scientific method is very involved. Forensic science is science is in public, in court, or in the justice system. The “American Academy of Forensic Science” (1996-2013).
In the criminal justice investigation process forensic science and the scientific method are used. The collecting of the evidence is a very important procedure and should be done with accuracy. When collecting evidence there are steps that should be taken. According to Richard Saferstein (2011), the procedure of collecting blood stains from a crime scene is the specialist uses a gauze pad (if liquid) and is air dried on the pad at room temperature. Blood evidence should be refrigerated or frozen as soon as possible. This evidence should not be heated or sat in direct sunlight.
If the blood is on clothing, it should be hung in room temperature with proper ventilation. Each item of evidence should be bagged and labeled separately. In some cases there may be seminal fluid that needs to be collected. Most times this evidence is found on clothing, sheets, or blankets. Most times when having to collect seminal fluid it is on a sex offense case, which the victim should be examined by a physician where a sexual assault kit is used to collect the evidence. This evidence should also be examined, bagged, and labeled separately. There are other methods of collecting evidence that the police have to do accurately.
For example, the crime scene has to be photographed exactly the way it is found. Nothing should be moved, unless there is a hurt person on the scene. If there is anything removed or added to the crime scene the photos will not be used in a trial. If at any time evidence is changed from a photo at a crime scene it should be recorded in notes from the person who removed him or her. Another way to collect evidence is, and this is a newer way is recording the crime scene by video. This is more helpful to the investigators “because the cost of the equipment is decreasing. ” Richard Safestein (2011).
In some instances this is a better way to collect evidence because a camcorder can catch every detail of the crime scene that a photographer might miss. The downside of videotaping a crime scene is that the camera can be shaky, the zoom can be off, which can cut off important evidence on the scene. As popular as videotaping is becoming, photographs are still in the lead concerning collecting evidence. Another way to collect evidence is by sketching. A sketch artist comes and draws out the crime scene. This person has to have a keen eye in so that he or she can get every detail from the photos.
A sketch artist, like other investigators has to go through extensive training on and off the field. A sketch artist has two drafts, a rough draft, and a final draft. The rough draft is basic parameters of the crime scene. The final draft adds all the little details that the rough draft had, but with better details. When taking photos of the crime scene the area inside and out should be photographed, this would include the surrounding areas in all dimensions. Once the photographs are taken they are put into order so that the investigators can determine where the crime began, where the bulk of the rime happened, and where the crime was completed. The next step in the investigation would be to form a hypothesis to explain what happened. During this time is when the investigators take all the information of the witnesses statements, the DNA collected from the forensic scientist, and the crime scene photos are assembled to figure out the who, what, where and of the crime. The “who” is the person or people that the crime. The “what” is the motive behind the crime that was committed. The “where” is the place the crime was committed, and the “how” is the how the crime was committed.
To find out the “who” of the crime the people who have witnessed or who may [have seen someone flea the crime scene are interviewed by the investigators. After the witness accounts are collected, the next step is to figure out “what” was used in as a weapon in the crime. Sometimes this is easy because the weapon is left behind and other times only parts of the weapon, such as a bullets or a knife is left behind but not easily found. When the what is discovered, the next step is examining the “where” aspect of the crime, basically the crime scene.
At this point investigators walk through crime scene determining what part of the area the climax of the crime happened. This would be the area that contained the most evidence. Photographs are taken extensively of “where” areas. The final step is figuring out the “how” of the crime. Here the investigators take the evidence collected to forensics and tests are run. The photographs taken are set up to recreate the crime scene. If weapons are collected such as bullet casing test are ran on those bullets to figure out what gun was used to fire these bullets.
Other tests ran are the blood samples collected, hair strains, and any other bodily fluids taken from the crime scene. The results are run through a data base to see if the person who committed this crime is in the system. If the information gets a hit in the data system the investigators can move forward with searching for, arresting, and questioning the suspect. Once the suspect is brought in for questioning the information that was gathered from the witnesses and the evidence from the crime scene are put into questions toward the suspect. Such questions include; how he or he knew the victim. This would determine the relationship between the victim and the suspect, if he or she knew the suspect very well, in passing, or if he or she were just an acquaintance. Asking the suspect where he or she was during the time of the crime determines an alibi. After the questioning is completed, based on the answers he or she is either let go or detained until further notice from the investigators. After the interviews of the suspects are over the investigators have to take the information that was given to them and come up with a hypotheses of the accounts in question.
Investigators have to evaluate what was said by witnesses and what said by the suspects and determine how much of the information is true with the suspects and how much of the information is true from the witnesses. Investigators have to ask witnesses and suspects question multiple times to ensure that the information that is being gathered stays the same. When the information starts to change, the hypotheses changes and the experiment; in this case the crime report starts over from scratch again by interviewing the suspects again and going over the crime scene photographs and other evidence collected.
At times the investigators have to search for new witnesses because previous witness recanted on his or her story, thus creating new hypotheses out of the information that was gathered. New witnesses often come out of hiding when he or she is in jeopardy or someone he or she is in jeopardy. After re-interviewing new witnesses and incorporating his or her stories the investigators have to line up the crime scene photographs and evidence with what he or she has told the investigators. This process is very meticulous.
The investigators have to also go the documents collected the scene, the sketches, the video, the witness statements and also physical evidence. Everything is recycled and looked over again. When this is done, new things information is discovered after many tests are ran over again. In conclusion forensic science and the scientific method are partners in the criminal justice investigations. The justice system cannot exist without the other. References American Academy of Forensic Science. (1996-2013). Retrieved from http://www. aafs. org Saferstein, R. (2011). Criminalistc. An Introduction to Forensic Science (10th ed. ). Retrieved from .