Mountaineer Undergraduate Research Review

Document Type



In recent years, the place of forensic science in the courtroom has been reevaluated. Past research has shown that bias found in forensic science disciplines makes its way into the court system and that pre-judgement expectations influence individuals attending a court trial. Despite these reults, relatively little has been done to understand public opinions on forensic bias. To begin investigating these perceptions, a survey was designed to gauge public perspective on bias in forensic science. Multiple choice, ranking, multiple answer, and free response questions sent to the public focused on evaluating a general understanding of forensic science, the existence of bias, root of bias, effect of bias, and future of bias. The results suggest that there is a knowledge barrier for the representative population when it comes to the fundamentals of forensic science and its place in the courtroom. With this apparent knowledge barrier and previous observations of bias entering the courtroom, there is a clear need for something to be done before the role of forensic science is impaired. As this study suggests, the public needs to be better informed on bias and forensic science. Further research will lend more insight into methods of securing the utility of forensic science in the courtroom and taking steps to reduce existing biases.



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