CJ210: Crime Scene Investigation
March 26th, 2013
Methods Used as a Criminal Investigator
Throughout its history, criminal investigation has been built upon a methodological foundation that has become increasingly refined and reliant on science. Moreover, a good investigator often adopts a particular mindset when approaching criminal investigations. Among the most effective approaches to investigation involves the use of the scientific method, which is simply a time-tested means of gathering reliable facts. Gathering information is the key to all good investigations, and so understanding the three sources of information is of great concern to any investigator. All of these items add up to a well-rounded and thorough investigation, and thus they will all be addressed herein.
First, an exposition on the methods of inquiry are in order. The two overarching methods of inquiry are 1) those that reconstruct and examine past events and 2) those that discover or generate new information (Osterburg & Ward, 2010). These two are actually interrelated, and there is a good deal of overlap between them. Any number of disciplines in both the hard and soft sciences can be employed in the service of an investigation, including those, which would not necessarily seem related to a police investigation, like entomology, meteorology, etc. Thus, understanding the behavior of insects that inhabit a body or the effects of weather on a body might provide crucial details about the precise date and time of a murder, for example. In fact, a wide array of disciplines is often applied to a complex investigation when used in conjunction, can provide a great deal of information about a case.
As well as utilizing the methods of inquiry, the best criminal detectives also generally approach a case with a particular mindset. In...