Please research a subject area in the use of forensics within the criminal justice system. You can focus on either a category of evidence or a specialized area of forensics (background, evolution through technological advances, use in cases), or focus on a particular case that interests you and examine the types of forensic evidence used, with an analysis of its strengths and weaknesses.
Below are several example topics:
How a particular case was decided with forensic evidence.
A type of forensic evidence that has proven to be problematic.
An exploration of different new technologies in forensics and the questions that surround it.
How past cases may be re-examined with new discoveries and breakthroughs in forensic science, such as exonerations or cold cases.
You may also decide to select a different topic that is covered in one of the chapters in the textbook. Regardless of which topic you choose, your paper should include the following key areas:
Introduction (1-2 paragraphs). Start with a statement of the problem/issue. Give a short overview of the topic and then describe why it is an important issue in terms of this class material (use of forensic evidence within the criminal justice system).
Factual overview (1-2 paragraphs): Either a brief overview of the case, or of the field of forensics you are discussing.
Analyze the subject (bulk of paper)—why is it complicated? Describe the type of forensic analysis conducted. Are there alternative approaches to analyzing that evidence, and what are the pros/cons? What are the competing approaches to addressing this issue? If it is a case, what are the controversies or main issues; was evidence missing or misleading? How was the evidence key in making or breaking a case? Include outside positions and arguments (scholarly articles, expert reports, analysis in the newspaper article), as well as critiques about them. (This is meant for you to show the complexity of the issue, what others say about it, and why it is challenging or controversial.)
Conclusion: what approach should be used, or whether the outcome of a case was correct to you, and why.
Writing Tips:
In the essay, please be sure to cite at least two outside resources and adhere to the APA or MLA writing style format. Your sources should be reputable, so think of good primary sources to utilize (academic articles, books, reputable news sources, nonprofit organizations or trade groups, etc.)
If you’re not familiar with SMC Library and its online search capabilities, take the time to look at the resources found on the Library Home PageLinks to an external site..)
Please be sure to properly cite the sources you use in completing your assignments– you should cite facts or information you have learned at the end of the sentence in the essay, and you should also have a reference page at the end of your essay.
The essays should be 2-3 pages in length, double spaced and typed in 12 pt. Times New Roman. This means you should keep your writing very focused, so that you aren’t taking up too much time discussing facts that are not relevant to your analysis. Every sentence should be useful for the reader and include information that helps the reader understand the logic of what you’re saying.
Your essay can be saved as a Word doc, PDF, or even copy/pasted the text into Canvas. Please do NOT send me a link, since I often can’t access documents (for instance in Google Drive).
PROOFREAD your essay before turning it in! If I have trouble following the logic of your writing, or am too distracted by grammatical errors or misspellings, it does affect the quality of your work since your meaning isn’t clear. I recommend trying The Smarthinking Online Tutoring feature in the menu, where you can submit a draft of your essay for review!
Your assignment is due by 11:59 p.m. on Friday, December 3. The essay assignments will be reviewed using Turnitin, a software program that checks the originality of an assignment.