Forensic Chemistry & Trace Evidence

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Forensic Science: Analytical Techniques

Unit 6 Project

Student: Steve Gregory

Kaplan University

CJ385-01

Professor: Al Luckas

Forensic Chemistry and Trace Evidence Analysis
Author S. Gregory
October 31, 2011

Forensic scientists are governed by a process that is known as the scientific method. The scientific method adheres to strict guidelines which will ensure the careful and systematic collection, organization, and analysis of information (Saferstein, 2011). The scientific method gives analysts a safety net that will ensure the end result of an investigation is not altered by human emotion or compromised by belittling, distorting, or ignoring contrary evidence.

The scientific method begins by formulating a question worthy of investigation, such as who committed a particular crime. The next step would be to form a hypothesis, a reasonable explanation that tries to answer the question. The hypothesis is then tested through experimentation and must be recognized by other experts in the field as valid. If the hypothesis is validated by experimentation, it becomes useable as scientific evidence in a criminal investigation and court of law.

All organic substances contain carbon, commonly in combination with oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, phosphorus, chlorine, or other elements. Inorganic substances make up all other known chemical substances and each of these two groups has characteristic and distinctive properties. Once the material is determined to be inorganic or organic, the analytical techniques and properties to be measured are generally similar for all materials of each group.

Information gleamed from qualitative and quantitative analysis is considered when selecting an analytical technique. Qualitative analysis relates to the identity of the substance or material. Quantitative analysis deals with the percentage combination of the components that make up the material. Organic compounds may...
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