of uncertainty in reported results and associated estimated probabilities where possible.


Recommendation 2:

The National Institute of Forensic Science (NIFS), after reviewing established standards such as ISO 17025, and in consultation with its advisory board, should establish standard terminology to be used in reporting on and testifying about the results of forensic science investigations. Similarly, it should establish model laboratory reports for different forensic science disciplines and specify the minimum information that should be included. As part of the accreditation and certification processes, laboratories and forensic scientists should be required to utilize model laboratory reports when summarizing the results of their analyses.

More and Better Research

As noted above, some forensic science disciplines are supported by little rigorous systematic research to validate the discipline’s basic premises and techniques. There is no evident reason why such research cannot be conducted. Much more federal funding is needed to support research in the forensic science disciplines and forensic pathology in universities and private laboratories committed to such work.

The forensic science and medical examiner communities will be improved by opportunities to collaborate with the broader science and engineering communities. In particular, there is an urgent need for collaborative efforts to (1) develop new technical methods or provide in-depth grounding for advances developed in the forensic science disciplines; (2) provide an interface between the forensic science and medical examiner communities and basic sciences; and (3) create fertile ground for discourse among the communities. NIFS should recommend, implement, and guide strategies for supporting such initiatives.


Recommendation 3:

Research is needed to address issues of accuracy, reliability, and validity in the forensic science disciplines. The National Institute of Forensic Science (NIFS) should competitively fund peer-reviewed research in the following areas:

  1. Studies establishing the scientific bases demonstrating the validity of forensic methods.



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