Introduction to Forensic Science - Fall 2004

CRJU 241 Wednesday 6:30-9:30 PM Young 411

Dr. Tod Burke
Office  307 Adams Street (phone: 540-831-6657)
Fax: 540-831-6075
*Office Hours - Tue/Thr. 3:30-4:30 PM  & Wed. 4:00-6:00 PM
* subject to change/ appointments available


    Forensic Science is the application of science to law. It has been noted that a criminal will leave some physical evidence of his/her presence at the scene of a crime and will remove some physical trace of the crime scene. Modern technology plays a vital role in the detection and utilization of these bits of evidence.

    Students studying forensic science will attain basic scientific knowledge in a wide range of fields. Some of the topics for discussion will include: Forensic Psychology, Fingerprint Identification, Questioned Documents, Firearm and Tool mark Identification, Expert Witnesses, Forensic Serology, Glass, Soil, and Hair Analysis, and Forensic Pathology.


The student will be graded based upon the following criteria:

    Any material covered in lecture, readings, guest speakers, videos, field trips,
classroom discussion, etc. may be asked on quizzes. The quizzes will consist of essay, definitions, and/or hypothetical situations. 

    The student is expected to attend each class. Tardiness will not be tolerated. (The student may be denied entrance if tardy.) Each student is permitted to miss one class.  Any student missing more than one class will be deducted ten points for each class missed (2 tardies = 1 absence). A bonus of five (5) points will be added to a quiz grade for perfect attendance (Perfect attendance is defined as not missing a class, whether excused or not).

Text: Criminalistics: An Introduction to Forensic Science by Richard Saferstein, 8th edition

Tentative Outline

Introduction to Forensic Science Text Study Guide (subject to change)

Radford University is committed to the highest standards of academic honesty. Acts of academic dishonesty  include plagiarism, cheating, bribery, academic fraud, sabotage of research materials, the sale of academic papers, the purchase of academic papers, and the falsification of records. An individual who engages in these or related activities or who knowingly aids another who engages them, is acting in an academically dishonest manner and will be subject to disciplinary action in accordance with the bylaws and procedures of Radford University (See Student Handbook).

Each member of the academic community is expected to give full, fair, and formal credit to any and all sources that have contributed to the formulation of ideas, methods, interpretations, and findings. The absence of such formal credit is an affirmation that the work is fully the writer’s. The term "sources" includes, but is not limited to, published or unpublished materials, lectures, lecture notes, computer programs, mathematical and other symbolic formulations, course papers, examinations, theses, dissertations, and comments offered in class or informal discussions. The representation that such work of another is the writer’s represents plagiarism.

Care must be taken to document the source of any ideas or arguments. If the actual word of a source is used, it must appear within quotation marks. In cases that are unclear, the writer must take due care to avoid plagiarism.

The source should be cited whenever:

  1. A text is quoted verbatim
  2. Data gathered by another are presented in diagrams or tables/charts
  3. The results of a study conducted by another are used
  4. The work or intellectual effort of another is paraphrased by the writer.

Since the intent to deceive is not a necessary element (strict liability), careful note taking and record keeping is essential in order to avoid plagiarism. In other words, it is like being a little bit pregnant (you either are or you are not). One cannot have "accidental/unintentional" plagiarism!

Students should consult members of the faculty for clarification of the definition and substance of this policy on plagiarism as it applies to their particular discipline.

(Source: City University of New York – Proposal on Plagiarism).