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Posted on April 5th, 2012, by

Scientific Method Applied to Forensic Science Paper

The main objective of the current research is to understand how scientific method applied to forensic science and also address each step of the scientific method in relationship to forensic science.

Most people are sure of existence of “scientific method”¯. At the same time many consider that a “scientific method” is a myth. One of reasons of such opinion is understanding of method as the aggregate of rules which assuredly, or without errors, must give results. But method, in general speaking, is only the method of attempts or tests, or as it also called “trial and error method”¯. The requirement of infallibility is often replaced by a requirement to receive few errors or little probability of error appearance. In such a way a scientific method is a method by means of which a man can open conformities to law in some facts or formulate hypotheses, or to offer theories.

In the wide sense of the word, the scientific method is an aggregate of basic methods of receipt of new knowledge and methods of decision of tasks within the framework of any science. A method includes in itself the methods of research of the phenomena, systematization, adjustment of new and got before knowledge. Deductions and conclusions are done by means of rules and principles of reasoning on the basis of empiric (observed and measurable) data about an object. The bases of receipt of data are supervisions and experiments. For explanation of the observed facts hypotheses are formulated and theories are built. In their turn conclusions and suppositions are suggested on the basis of hypotheses and theories. Received prognoses are checked up by an experiment or by the collection of new facts for the acknowledgement of results validity.

On the basis of the above presented information we could say that the scientific method cannot be used in forensic science in its “pure”¯ form, because this kind of method is oriented on discovering and testing of scientific truth in many situations, but it does not deal with forensic science’s standard form due its impossibility to work with past events. As Wilson (1952) stated, “past events cannot be observed, cannot be predicted or deduced from physical evidence, and cannot be tested experimentally.”¯ So, we should pay attention on existence of special scientific method that is created for its use in forensic science. In acknowledgement of these words it is necessary to use Lastrucci (1963) statement, who said that “the forensic scientific method is a modified form of the scientific method that compares anamnestic evidence obtained by investigators with observable physical findings discovered at the crime scene, in the crime laboratory, or in the autopsy suite.”¯ The same author, Lastrucci (1963) added that “the method is a powerful technique for determining the truth of past events. Unfortunately, a confused reliance on the standard scientific method for past events can lead to mistaken conclusions. The Shaken Baby Syndrome or Shaken Infant Syndrome hypothesis is one notable and regrettable example.”¯

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