Forensic Sciences

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Overview of Forensic Sciences

Forensic sciences play a vital role in the criminal justice system by providing investigators with scientifically based information through the analysis of physical evidence.

During an investigation, forensic evidence is collected at a crime scene, analyzed in a laboratory and often presented in court. Each crime scene is unique, and each case presents its own challenges. Complex cases may require the collection, examination and analysis of a large amount of evidence. These cases may involve multiple forensic experts with backgrounds in biology, chemistry, physics, computer science and other disciplines. These forensic scientists work separately to analyze the evidence in a particular case. For example, one forensic examiner might analyze a latent print, another may compare carpet fibers using a microscope, and a third may identify a white powder that was collected at the scene. The investigators will then combine all of the examiners' objective results to build a case.

Forensic Science Pages

Forensic Science topics on the NIJ website are divided into main categories and subtopics within each category. Use our topics tree to drill down into each topic and subtopic. See also our law enforcement investigation pages‚Äč for related topics.

Date Modified: November 18, 2014