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NCJ Number: 210783 Find in a Library
Title: Decision Analysis in Forensic Science
Journal: Journal of Forensic Sciences  Volume:50  Issue:4  Dated:July 2005  Pages:894-905
Author(s): Franco Taroni Ph.D.; Silvia Bozza Ph.D.; Colin Aitken Ph.D.
Date Published: July 2005
Page Count: 12
Type: Guideline
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Since forensic scientists are routinely faced with making decisions under uncertain conditions (e.g., whether or not to perform a test), this paper proposes a model for forensic decisionmaking.
Abstract: Forensic decisions are typically made in the context of uncertainty, including theoretical uncertainty, because no complete theory encompasses the problem domain; cost-effectiveness, which pertains to the uncertainty about whether the resources required for a test will yield an effective result; practical uncertainty, which includes uncertainty about an individual in the domain of interest; and decisionmaking in the face of uncertainty about projected outcomes. The proposed decisionmaking model is based in the assumption that it is necessary to make rational decisions even when there is not enough information to prove that a proposed course of action will work. This point is made through the use of decision theory, which is a body of knowledge and related analytical techniques designed to help a decisionmaker choose among a set of alternatives based on their possible consequences. This involves the application of mathematical theory to decisionmaking in the face of risk and uncertainty. Graphical models are presented to guide the forensic scientist in thinking about the problem that involves uncertain information; in learning how to apply these methods to draw inferences about the arena of interest; and in learning how to act rationally under risk. Decision theory and accompanying graphical models provide new tolls for forensic scientists in approaching and interpreting complex patterns of evidence. 8 tables, 11 figures, and 36 references
Main Term(s): Police policies and procedures
Index Term(s): Decisionmaking; Discretionary decisions; Forensic science training; Forensic sciences; Mathematical modeling
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