SCQF Level: 07
Module Code: FOR103
Credit Value: 20
Term: Term 1
School: School of Science, Engineering & Technology
This module introduces the concepts of scientific literacy skills and a broad overview of some of the main principles, practices and techniques used in Forensic Science and the roles of Forensic Scientists. This will include some of the basic forensic practical skills involved in the investigation, searching and examination of crime scenes.
The aim of this Module is to provide the student with an introduction to the principles of scientific writing, library skills and presentation skills, along with an overview of the history of forensic science. The students will also be introduced to a range of forensic science skills and laboratory techniques used in crime scene investigation and examination.
By the end of this module the student should be able to:
1. Apply techniques of crime scene examination recording and searching to collect effective samples of evidence
2. Select appropriate techniques for evidence recording, packaging and labelling
3. Record, analyse and interpret basic observations and data from laboratory activities
4. Describe on the general principles and concepts supporting a range of scientific techniques used in Forensic Science by means of poster presentation and Scottish Court Report (SCR) production
1 Information literacy and IT:
This will include: how to use reading lists, library catalogues, online databases; the collection and evaluation of academic sources of writing, conventional formats and presentation, referencing, avoiding plagiarism; the planning and writing forensic scientific reports, defending academic arguments. As well as how to use the University desktop, file management, standard desktop software, introduction to software tools.
2 General Principles and History of Forensic Science:
This will include an overview of the history of forensic science, including case studies and the practice of forensic science, the examination of scenes of crime as well as the nature of physical evidence, class and individual characterisation
3 Forensic Science Techniques:
This will include anthropology; fires and explosions; court procedures & legal systems; fingerprints; firearms and ballistics; forensic toxicology; forensic uses of DNA, hair, entomology and blood dynamics; poisons and drugs; questioned documents; microscopy; toolmarks and impressions.
4 Practical Forensic Skills - Laboratory Based:
Carry out a number of selected biological, chemical and forensic experiments and interpret and report the data acquired.
5 Practical Forensic Skills - Crime scene based:
Recording of crime scene – notes, sketches and photography; Evidence Preservation - avoidance of contamination, control samples, collection, packaging and labelling of evidence (choice of packaging, avoidance of loss, deterioration or tampering, sealing, labelling and transport); Methodology of Effective Sampling - Effective sampling of trace and contact evidence (handpicking, swabbing, tape lifts, sweeping, vacuuming). Representative sampling, known samples and negative controls.
Statement on Teaching, Learning and Assessment
The module introduces the history, concepts and practice of forensic science through a series of lectures delivered by forensic experts. Scientific writing, library skills and presentation skills are developed in a mixture of tutorials and computer based workshops. Practical exercises will develop skills required in later years to effectively assess evidence where they will be interpreting complex situations. Assessment is by poster presentation and a 2 hour practical exam, which includes a practical portion and a paper based portion where a Scene of crime report, Laboratory examination forms and a SCR based on the practical portion will be completed. This is to allow the students to demonstrate their understanding and engagement with all of the above within a forensic context. Key transferable skills developed in the module include: communication (written and oral), problem solving (manipulation of data and the appropriate use of tables and graphs) and research skills.
Teaching and Learning Work Loads
|Supervised Practical Activity||36|
|Unsupervised Practical Activity||0|
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.