Forensic Investigation


You will learn how crimes are investigated from the moment of reporting through to the presentation of the evidence in court. A hypothetical case study will be used to provide an over−arching framework in which the critical aspects of forensic investigations can be explored. Forensic investigation involves a wide range of disciplines and this module will give an introduction to some of these. A typical investigation involves not only physical and electronic evidence, but also statements from witnesses, suspects and victims. This requires cross discipline collaboration of professionals.


The aim of this Module is to introduce students to the wide range of transferrable skills employed in investigating criminal cases and to show the need for a holistic approach drawing from various disciplines

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this module the student should be able to:

1.  To understand the complexity of forensic investigations and the wide range of skills that may be required.

2.  To appreciate the complimentary nature of different disciplines and aspects of forensic investigation.

3.  To logically follow a sequence of evidence and draw appropriate conclusions.

Indicative Content

1 Crime Scene Investigation

How a crime scene is examined in the context of incomplete contextual information and to avoid loss or contamination of evidence and the maximising of the value of evidential material

2 Media Involvement

Positive and negative effects of the media/public interest in the crime

3 Forensic Biology

Examination and evidential value of body fluids, DNA, hairs and fibres

4 Forensic Chemistry

Analysis for drugs, toxicological analysis, firearms, explosives, and trace evidence

5 Digital Sources

Evidence from CCT, mobile phones, computer hardware, on−line behaviour

6 Forensic Reasoning and Practice

An introduction to forensic problem solving, thinking styles, case assessment and interpretation

7 Psychology of Witnesses and Suspects

False confessions, offender profiling, effects and avoidance of cognitive bias in forensic science through process design

Statement on Teaching, Learning and Assessment

This module will introduce the student to the cross−discipline nature of forensic investigations, drawing on Abertay’s research expertise in computing, psychology, and forensic science together with practitioners from crime scene investigation. A series of lectures will be supplemented by a practical crime scene study and on−line resources. Assessment will be by an on−line exam towards the end of the module.

Teaching and Learning Work Loads

Total 200
Lecture 22
Tutorial/Seminar 0
Supervised Practical Activity 1
Unsupervised Practical Activity 0
Assessment 60
Independent 117

Guidance notes

Credit Value – The total value of SCQF credits for the module. 20 credits are the equivalent of 10 ECTS credits. A full-time student should normally register for 60 SCQF credits per semester.


We make every effort to ensure that the information on our website is accurate but it is possible that some changes may occur prior to the academic year of entry. The modules listed in this catalogue are offered subject to availability during academic year 2019/10 , and may be subject to change for future years.