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Forensic Science: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) [Kindle Edition]

Jim Fraser
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Forensic science is a subject of wide fascination. What happens at a crime scene? How does DNA profiling work? How can it help solve crimes that happened 20 years ago?

In forensic science, a criminal case can often hinge on a piece of evidence such as a hair, a blood trace, half a footprint, or a tyre mark. High profile cases such as the Stephen Lawrence enquiry and the Madeleine McCann case have attracted enormous media attention and enhanced this interest in recent years. However, the public understanding of forensic science is poor, and largely based on TV shows such as CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, which exploit high-tech imagery for dramatic
effect.

Forensic science is a complex activity at the interface of science and law. However, it also deals with real life issues and its results are interpreted within unique situations. Complex scientific findings must be considered carefully, dispassionately, and communicated with clarity, simplicity, and precision.

In this Very Short Introduction, Jim Fraser introduces the concept of forensic science and explains how it is used in the investigation of crime. He begins at the crime scene itself, explaining the principles and processes of crime scene management. He explores how forensic scientists work; from the reconstruction of events to laboratory examinations. He considers the techniques they use, such as fingerprinting, and goes on to highlight the immense impact DNA profiling has had.
Providing examples from forensic science cases in the UK, US, and other countries, he considers the techniques and challenges faced around the world.

ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

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Review

This no-nosense guide is an admirable alternative to the CSI science fiction juggernaught. Jim Fraser discusses expert evidence, DNA, fingerprints and confirmation bias, mentioning the Birmingham 6 and Sir Roy Meadow, though not Shirley McKie's shameful persecution on the basis of supposedly infallible fingerprint evidence. Fascinating. (William Darragh, Fortean Times juggernaut...Fascinating.)

About the Author

Jim Fraser is Professor of Forensic Science and Director of the University of Strathclyde's Centre for Forensic Science. He was wide experience of both the practice and teaching of forensic science, and was the Head of Forensic Investigation for Kent police and Head of Forensic Biology for the Edinburgh police force.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2029 KB
  • Print Length: 161 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0199558051
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford; 1st edition (25 Feb. 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006MAWJIS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #256,734 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very Helpful Introduction. 21 Dec. 2011
Format:Paperback
I am currently in my last year studying forensic science at university and I have found this book to be a great help throughout. The book covers pretty much all of the topics taught on my course and will no doubt be a handy reference on the subject for many years to come as I begin to work in the field. It is clearly written with helpful diagrams and it really is beyond me how some of the past reviews of this book score it so low. I can only guess that they are not the intended audience because I have found no other forensic science book that has managed to explain the same concepts so clearly and easily.

If you are new to forensic science I thoroughly recommend this book above any other I'v read - and believe me I've read a lot! If your studying the subject at degree level then I promise reading this book early on will make your life a whole lot easier as you will almost certainly need to know most of what is covered. The book also benefits for being written by someone who has worked in the field as it gives a good idea of what it is actually like to work as a forensic scientist.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Murder by the Loch : Strathclyde University MOOC 28 Jan. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Strathclyde University are participating in the Future Learn programme of MOOCs (Massive Open On-Line Courses) which are free and usually last 6-8 weeks @ 3 hours-per-week average. Murder by the loch is an introduction to forensic science. The recommended supplementary reading is Professor Jim Fraser's book "Forensic Science: A Short .......... " Jim is the senior tutor/lecturer/professor running the course. The book is written in clear, plain English, but from a Scots Law perspective. Jim does however point out where and when changes need to be made for other jurisdictions, particularly England & USA, and, if appropriate, spells them out. The course is a lot of fun, and follows a real case in Scotland, but without divulging the victim's identity or the true location. Many on the course enjoy this type of fiction on TV and find that the course & this book adds to their enjoyment. Any senior school pupil contemplating a carreer in forensics will find this book enthralling. Danny
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars good into his many limitations 17 April 2012
Format:Paperback
This short book is good, but really it doesn't deal with Forensic Medicine in full, because themes related with the corpse, decomposition, etc, which are main subjects of real forensic practice you will not find here, so this small book, yes, do deal with biological facets as DNA classification must of all, fingertips and little more, but most facts are laboratory work as fiber, textile and painting examinations and others. The book so, is deliberately and forceful incomplete but no doubt that was the purpose of the author.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars giving good insight into the processes involved 1 Jan. 2015
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Despite being 'very short,' is clear and concise. giving good insight into the processes involved, and reasons why they matter. I recommend this as a good read for anyone without previous experience of the subject.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Introduction to Forensics 19 Jan. 2015
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is an excellent book for anyone interested in a good introduction to this area of science. It is very readable and accessible although I found the chapter on DNA a little difficult. As the title says, it is a very short introduction, but well worth reading if you are interested in this area of science. It is also a useful intro if you are about to start a college course in this subject as you can familiarise yourself with the language.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Very boring for the general reader 5 Feb. 2011
Format:Paperback
This book is written extremely dryly, replete as it is with many lists, tables (one 4 pages long), bullet points and drawn-out descriptions of forensic work. There is little context that all this data is placed in; there are NO case examples of the many forensic techniques described. This is one of the most boring VSI I have read, and indeed the only one that I would not recommend.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Nothing special 3 Aug. 2010
Format:Paperback
Forensic Science is probably one of those subjects with which most people have some awareness, even if only form watching television shows. Needless to say, there is usually some license taken for the sake of the script but it is possible to get a general overview of how complicated and exacting a science it is.

Jim Fraser is an acknowledged Forensic Science expert who has advised and worked on many high-profile cases and now lectures at the University of Strathclyde.

It would be difficult to write a book which describes so much human activity needing to be done with so much precision. It is clear that cases can potentially be thrown out if investigators are even the slightest bit careless in picking up, examining or even storing evidence. Fraser goes to great lengths to emphasise how much effort needs to go into keeping a crime scene as intact as possible. After a short while it starts to read like a rule book.

However, despite good and very comprehensive explanations of the methods used in DNA matching and other new technologies, this is really a book about the state of the art in the 1990s. He describes how computers are now used to help solve crimes. A computer system, Jim? Really? That's pretty high tech. Databases have, of course, come a long way and Boolean searches are now common so the ability to match and identify identifying evidence.

However, these days it is possible, through the use of total stations, to completely reconstruct a 3D model of the scene, including missing line measurement and velocity calculations. This means that data can be interpreted more quickly, more accurately and more thoroughly than ever before. It's not new either. It has been used at road crash scenes in Australia for around 10 years.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great Deal.
Good book, easy to undersand the basic concept of forensic science
Published 3 months ago by Pau Vergés
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A very useful and informative book which compliments the course I'm on.
Published 7 months ago by D. J. Jopson
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent compact work, packed with useful stuff
Very good little book, covering a nice spread of topics.

I was going to give four stars, but you couldn't get more in a volume this size, so five is vey fair
Published 7 months ago by harpoon guns to 'safe', please
5.0 out of 5 stars A useful and concise summary of current practice
A useful and concise summary of current practice. A surprising number of (black and white) illustrations given the size and price of the book.
Published 7 months ago by Marion Robeson
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent
Published 7 months ago by Akash Midya
2.0 out of 5 stars Got the Kindle version, but almost impossible to read ...
Got the Kindle version, but almost impossible to read the tables and figures. Some of the facts seem dated and some of the info is probably known to a lot of people.
Published 8 months ago by helena
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting book
Very interesting. Purchased as I am about to start a Future Learn course on the subject and it is recommended initial reading. Read more
Published 8 months ago by angela
2.0 out of 5 stars buy the print book
Frustrating. I bought this as preparation for a course I will be doing and find that the many tables and graphs are impossible to read in the kindle version. Read more
Published 8 months ago by M. Whitlock
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant
Amazing book I'm considering studying forensics in uni and it gave me a great insight
Published 10 months ago by Tiffany Africa
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Interesting & enjoyable
Published 11 months ago by Little social butterfly
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