Skip main navigation

New offer! Get 30% off your first 2 months of Unlimited Monthly. Start your subscription for just £29.99 £19.99. New subscribers only. T&Cs apply

Find out more

An Introduction to Forensic Science – A Concluding Message

A Concluding Message for Professor Jim Fraser.
You have now covered all the material in this course and should have a sound understanding of the principles of forensic practise and the investigation of crime. You have also been exposed to a complex and realistic homicide investigation and how evidence is gathered and contributes to solving the case. I guess the burning questions on most of your lips are, who done it and I did I get it right? You need to be conscious that this judgement will ultimately be made by a court. But those of you that consider Mr. Ward to be the perpetrator are correct. But if you really want to hone your investigative skills and discipline, ask yourself the following question.
How did I reach this conclusion– by guess work, intuition, or on the basis of evidence, of perhaps by a combination of all three of these approaches. You can test this by using the approach that we set out in the last module to establish that your conclusion is logically justifiable. Your response is critical, because the next stage of an investigation of this type is a trial. And the courts require evidence to convict someone of such a serious crime. Intuition or a strong belief is not enough. This evidence must form the basis of a credible and compelling story presented by a prosecutor that will convince the judges or jury that Mr. Ward intentionally killed his wife.
Does this mean that intuition is not an important factor in investigations? The answer to this is a firm no. Logic is a powerful means of making sense of a complex issue. But intuition allows us to make imaginative leaps to conclusions that may not be justifiable at that time. The crucial issue is that intuitive conclusions are then thoroughly tested against the evidence in a logical manner as we have illustrated. If they are not supported by the evidence, they must be rejected.
Finally, some of you may have other hypotheses about the incident that remain untested or consider that some questions remain unanswered. In relation to the former, you’re encouraged to test these hypotheses against the evidence to form a conclusion. Regarding the latter, we would ask you to consider the significance of these unanswered questions. Are they so significant as to genuinely question Ward’s involvement? You may be interested to know that the courts are pragmatic about such situations. They acknowledge that more than one of events can be inferred from any one set of facts. The issue for them is which version is the most convincing.
I want to close by thanking you for taking part in this course. You have covered a great deal of material. And I hope you’ve found it interesting and occasionally challenging but above all informative. You should now have a good sense of how forensic science operates in the real world. We also hope you enjoyed working with your fellow students and that you’re stimulated to engage in further studies in this or related areas.

Many thanks everyone who voted in the survey poll. You provided lots of well reasoned arguments for your decisions and we can now reveal the verdict.

In the case against Mr Ward, you, the jury, have found Mr Ward to be Guilty of the murder of his wife by a majority vote.

36% decided that the prosecution case was not sufficiently proven and 64% decided that Mr Ward was guilty.

In the real case ‘Mr Ward’ was found Guilty as charged.

We hope you have enjoyed learning a little about Forensic Science and thank you for getting involved in the discussions and helping each other learn in such a productive and supportive way.

Please feel free to provide any feedback to the course team.

This article is from the free online

Introduction to Forensic Science

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now