INTRODUCTION TO FORENSIC INVESTIGATION

SHE Level 1
SCQF Credit Points 20.00
ECTS Credit Points 10.00
Module Code M1F424469
Module Leader Kaitlin Ramsay
School School of Computing, Engineering and Built Environment
Subject Chemical Science
Trimesters
  • A (September start)
  • A (September start)-B (January start)

Summary of Content

The module will introduce the essential concepts of Forensic Investigation and allow the student to develop and exercise skills required in a Forensic Laboratory. Professional skills such as keeping accurate laboratory records, group interaction, oral presentation and written communication will be emphasised. Students are encouraged to reflect on both content and process of their learning which will enable them to start an effective personal development plan to be continued throughout their time at university. Students will be introduced to procedures used in investigation of a crime scence, including sampling and recording evidence. Where possible, a field study visit will be undertaken to see forensic practitioners in action e.g. police dog-handling unit, fire investigation, commercial laboratory. Laboratory exercises will cover investigative techniques such as fingerprint and footprint lifting as well as classical chemical analysis. The module takes a predominantly hands-on approach where possible, emphasising the importance of practical experience. The theoretical basis underlying the practical exercises will be underpinned by lecture and tutorial material thus providing a comprehensive introduction to physical and chemical measurements relevant to the forensic area.

Syllabus

PRACTICAL SKILLS Classical methods of analysis: acid-base titrations, accurate measurement of volumes, preparation of solutions, calculation of concentrations. Introduction to Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) Introduction to spectroscopic techniques: UV/vis., Atomic absorption spectrometry Introduction to chromatographic techniques: thin-layer chromatography. CRIME SCENE The role of a crime scene investigator: photographer, chemist, biologist, pathologist Fingerprint and footprint lifting. Sampling Sample integrity; chain of evidence; traceability Microscopy: introduction to microscopy for trace evidence analysis. PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT AND PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE Introduction to PDP The role of the expert witness Ethics and professional standards ICT SKILLS Report writing, graph plotting, Powerpoint presentation on a Forensic Investigation topic Note:- The syllabus consists of a list of topics normally covered within the module. Each topic may not be dealt with in the same detail

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the module the student should be able to:1 Demonstrate an understanding of the principles underlying a range of forensic, classical and instrumental methods of analysis;2 Apply the methods in (1) to solving a range of forensic investigation problems;3 Derive, record, interpret, manipulate and present scientific data in a logical manner;4 Demonstrate a knowledge of the principles of crime scene investigation;5 Carry out a literature search to retrieve information on a specified topic;6 Give an oral presentation on a given area of Forensic Investigation.

Teaching / Learning Strategy

The professional skills of the student are developed by the integration of practical laboratory skills with group working and individual personal development planning resulting in the students being able to express themselves clearly in writing, orally and by using computer based presentations. Specifically, this module will be taught by an integrated package of practical work reinforced by lectures and tutorials. Students will be introduced to real world forensic analysis problems and develop practical lab skills fundamental to chemical analysis. Also students' participation in practical laboratory work will encourage data acquisition and manipulation skills as well as individual and group working skills, report writing skills and communication skills in general. Through the use of the managed learning environment GCU Learn, students will become more engaged, flexible and independent in their learning as there will be a range of learning resources available on line. In addition to the core module content, links to relevant external application notes and videos from sources around the world will be made available. Students will receive individualised feedback on their performance through one-to-one contact with tutors at tutorials and through the timely return of marked coursework, which will reinforce the students' learning.

Indicative Reading

General Chemistry 10 th Edition: Authors :- Ebbing, Darrell D, Gammon, Steven D: Publisher:- Brooks/Cole Pub. Co.; Publication Date:- 2012; ISBN: 978-1285051376 Crime Scence to Court, 3rd edition 2010. Editor Peter White: RSC Publishing, ISBN 978-1847558824 Forensic Science Laboratory Manual and Workbook 3rd Edition ; Authors:- Kubic, Thomas, Petraco Nicholas; Publisher :- CRC Press, Taylor and Francis Group; Publication Date,2009. ISBN 978-1420087192 An Introduction to Scientific and Investigative Techniques; 4th edition 2014 Authors James, Stuart, H, Nordby, Jon J Bell.; Publisher :- CRC Press, Taylor and Francis Group; Publication Date, 2005. ISBN 0849327474

Transferrable Skills

The student will gain skills in practical science, communication, working with people and personal development. The laboratory skills will involve developing data acquisition, data handling and simple problem solving skills. The communication skills will have written, oral and computer based presentation dimensions. The student will identify personal goals and produce a personal development record.

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Tutorials (FT) 12.00
Assessment (FT) 20.00
Independent Learning (FT) 124.00
Practicals (FT) 24.00
Lectures (FT) 20.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
CW3 n/a 30.00 35% Group presentation (Outcomes 4,5)
CW1 n/a 40.00 35% Practical Logbook + Lab Report (outcomes 1, 2 and 3)
CW2 n/a 30.00 35% Short written review (1000 words) of a given Forensic topic (Outcomes 1)