The scientific method is very important when it comes to collecting evidence? What is the scientific method?
The scientific method is very important when it comes to collecting evidence? What is the scientific method? The scientific method is “principles and procedures for the systematic pursuit of knowledge involving the recognition and formulation of a problem, the collection of data through observation and experiment, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses” (Merriam-Webster, n.d.). This is popularly used in the forensic science field, especially for forensic serology. Forensic serologists examine different types of evidence that involve bodily fluids that could potentially contain DNA (New Jersey State Police, n.d.). A type of evidence would be blood for example. The forensic serologist would apply the scientific method in examining evidence, which would include deductive or inductive reasoning would be used. What is the difference? Deductive reasoning is like rational thinking of a way a crime has been committed. For example, the criminalist would develop a hypothesis and examine all reasonable explanations before making a conclusion (Gitau, 2021). Inductive reasoning is more of a generalized thinking based on the evidence at hand. For this reasoning, the criminalist would observe, develop a pattern, and generalize a theory (Gitau, 2021).
An example of a forensic serologist using the scientific method, would be to examine blood. Depending on the situation of the evidence, would determine what reasoning would be the best to use. Generally, the examiner would observe the crime scene, collect the evidence, develop a hypothesis, and test the evidence. This will continually happen until a conclusion is made. I would say the biggest challenge would be using inductive reasoning over deductive reasoning. Deductive reasoning gives a more accurate conclusion, but inductive reasoning could be the better option in some cases that include crime scene manipulation, cross-contamination or investigating a cold case.
In forensic science, the scientific method is an investigative process that is used to ask and explain questions by utilizing tests to answer the questions proposed (Wakim & Grewal, 2021). One type of evidence examined by a forensic serologist would be the examination for the presence of semen. The scientific method in this case would be conducted by first making an observation (Wakim & Grewal, 2021). These observations may come in the form of visually seeing the semen on the evidence as indicated by a yellow stain on light-colored fabrics, as a whitish stain on dark-colored fabrics, or by observing latent stains with an alternative light source (ALS) (NFSTC, 2013). These observations would lead to the second step in forming a question (Wakim & Grewal, 2021). The question asked will be the formulation of the hypothesis. The forensic serologist’s specific hypothesis could be: If the P30 test is utilized on a yellow or white stain, then the test will indicate the presence of semen. The third step would be performing an experiment to test the prediction that the stain is semen (Wakim & Grewal, 2021). To test for the human prostate-specific P30 protein found in seminal fluid can be accomplished by utilizing a P30 test. To perform this test, the examiner would take a small sample of the stain (1 cm x 1 cm) and put it in the vial of extraction buffer from the P30 kit (NFSTC at FIU, 2013). The stain should soak in the buffer for at least five minutes and then shake it for about 15 seconds (NFSTC at FIU, 2013). After properly labeling the P30 test card, use the provided dropper to place four to six drops into the S well (small circular well on the lower part of the card) (NFSTC at FIU, 2013). A positive result will be indicated by seeing two lines appear in both the T and C zone; a negative result would be indicated by a line only in the C zone (NFSTC at FIU, 2013). These results are the fourth step in the scientific method by analyzing the results (Wakim & Grewal, 2021). If the hypothesis was correct, the fifth step of the scientific method may be utilized to report the results. If the sample that was tested did not indicate the presence of semen, then the hypothesis was incorrect and a new hypothesis must be formulated. The most challenging part of the scientific method is in deciding a hypothesis to test. There may be many answers to many different situations. The scientific process is an ongoing cycle that may take several attempts to determine the correct answer to the problem at hand. It can be difficult because often in science, theories can only be disproved and never proved completely (Justice and Security, n.d.).