Forensic Science: An Introduction to Scientific and Investigative Techniques, Fourth Edition

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9781439853832: Forensic Science: An Introduction to Scientific and Investigative Techniques, Fourth Edition
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Covering a range of fundamental topics essential to modern forensic investigation, the fourth edition of the landmark text Forensic Science: An Introduction to Scientific and Investigative Techniques presents contributions from experts in the field who discuss case studies from their own personal files. This edition has been thoroughly updated to reflect the cutting edge of forensic science across many different areas.

Designed for a single-term course at the lower undergraduate level, the book begins by discussing the intersection of law and forensic science, how things become evidence, and how courts decide if an item or testimony should be admissible. It takes the evidence from crime scene investigation into laboratory analysis and even onto the autopsy table for the fullest breadth of subject matter of any forensic text available. Topics include

  • Forensic anthropology and the role of entomology in a death investigation
  • Death investigation, including identifying the cause, manner, mechanism, and time of death
  • Bloodstain pattern analysis, the identification of blood and body fluids, the work of forensic toxicologists, and seized drug analysis
  • The history and development of DNA typing and the many ways it can be used
  • Fingerprint, firearm and ballistic, tool mark, tread impression, and trace evidence
  • The forensic analysis of questioned documents and computers
  • Arson, fire, explosives, and the work of forensic engineers in vehicular accidents and structural collapses
  • Forensic psychology and psychiatry, including criminal profiling
  • The future of forensic science

Going beyond theory to application, this text incorporates the wisdom of forensic practitioners who discuss the real cases they have investigated. Color-coded sidebars in each chapter provide historical notes, case studies, and current events as well as advice for career advancement. Each section and each chapter begins with an overview and ends with a summary, and key terms, review questions, and up-to-date references are provided. Appropriate for any sensibility, more than 300 photos from real cases give students a true-to-life learning experience.

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Images from Forensic Science: An Introduction to Scientific and Investigative Techniques, Fourth Edition


Vehicle tire tread analysis.

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Investigators at a forest crime scene.

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About the Author:

Stuart H. James of James & Associates Forensic Consultants, Inc., is a graduate of Hobart College, where he earned a bachelor of arts degree in biology and chemistry in 1962. He received his MT(ASCP) in medical technology from St. Mary’s Hospital in Tucson, Arizona, in 1963. Graduate courses completed at Elmira College include homicide investigation, bloodstain pattern analysis, and forensic microscopy. He has completed more than 400 hours of continuing education and training in death investigation and bloodstain pattern analysis. A former crime laboratory supervisor in Binghamton, New York, he has been a private consultant since 1981.

Jon J. Nordby, PhD, D-ABMDI, earned his advanced degrees from the University of Massachusetts–Amherst. He works as a forensic science consultant for Final Analysis Forensics, an independent consulting practice in medical-legal death investigation, forensic science, and forensic medicine. He specializes in scene reconstruction, and evidence recognition, collection, and analysis, including bloodstain pattern analysis, ballistics, firearm and gunshot residue testing and the investigation of police shootings. He serves the National Disaster Medical System as a medical investigator and forensic specialist with the Region X DMORT team.

Suzanne Bell, PhD, earned a B.S. degree in 1981 from Northern Arizona University with a dual major in chemistry and police science (criminal justice). She obtained her master’s degree in forensic science from the University of New Haven in Connecticut and her Ph.D. in chemistry from New Mexico State University. She joined the faculty of West Virginia University in 2003 in the C. Eugene Bennett Department of Chemistry. Her research interests include forensic toxicology, ion mobility spectrometry, and gunshot residue. She works with students at all levels (undergraduate to doctoral) in chemistry and forensic science and is active in international forensic science outreach.

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