Contemporary issues in forensic science - worldwide survey results

Melissa Airlie, James Robertson, Matt N. Krosch, Elizabeth Brooks

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Forensic science continues to be openly challenged and criticized. The aim of this study was to gain an understanding of forensic workplaces and the perceived current and potential future issues from forensic scientists via a detailed survey. An online survey was designed and disseminated to forensic practitioners and researchers worldwide. 544 participants from more than 20 countries took part in the survey. Participants personally rated ten forensic disciplines with subjective methodologies, responded on a five-point Likert scale to 22 statements that addressed subjectivity and objectivity, validation and proficiency testing and error and bias and answered demographic questions relating to their workplace type, level of experience and qualifications. Participants also commented freely on forensic issues specifically important to them. The purpose of this paper is to provide the survey results and consensuses captured on several key issues. Overall participants believed forensic science must be valid and reliable and supported development of objective methodologies, validation and further investigation into the application statistics, use of error rates and implications of cognitive bias. Participants raised consensus concerns with the provision of expert evidence and other broader issues. This information and understanding from the forensic front line are essential for forensic science moving forward to best address current challenges and criticisms not only of forensic evidence for the court but for applications of forensic science beyond the courtroom.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110704
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalForensic Science International
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


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