Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences



Committee Chair

Keith Morris

Committee Co-Chair

Suzanne Bell

Committee Member

Christopher Palenik


The goal of this research project was to examine the ability to detect gunshot residue (GSR) from a person's face and determine if there was any statistical difference in the amount of GSR persisting on the face versus the amount persisting on a shooter's hands over time since the discharge of the firearm. From an investigative viewpoint, the presence of GSR could indicate some involvement with a firearm and warrant further investigation into the person of interest. Within this research, participants fired 1 round of ammunition from a firearm and after a designated amount of time had passed, were sampled for GSR on their faces and hands. Age, gender, and type of skin (dry, neutral, or oily) were also considered for each participant. There was a significant difference found in the number of GSR particles on hands immediately after the discharge of a firearm. After the wait periods had passed, the number of particles detected was the same as or lower than the background. Samples collected from the face were not significantly different from the background samples. This research yielded an increased understanding of gunshot residue and the instrumental analysis of GSR evidence with the SEM/EDX.