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“The Errors are Egregious”: Assessing the CSI Effect and Undergraduate Students’ Perceptions of Forensic Science through a Pre- and Post-test Investigation

Mass Mediated Representations of Crime and Criminality

ISBN: 978-1-80043-759-3, eISBN: 978-1-80043-758-6

ISSN: 2050-2060

Publication date: 28 May 2021

Abstract

Purpose: The authors attempt to capture new forensic science students’ pre-conceptions of the field and their assessment of competencies. Methodology: The authors surveyed students at a Historically Black College and University and a Primarily White Institution on their viewership of crime and forensic TV shows and measured their competencies in a range of forensic science skills at the start and end of the semester, along with having students capture errors and evidence from an episode of CSI Las Vegas. Findings: Students who were viewers of crime series with and without prior forensics coursework over evaluated their level of preparedness at the start of the semester, often ranking themselves as moderately or well prepared in blood spatter analysis, fingerprinting, bodily fluid, and hair/fiber collection. Research limitations: The authors relied on a convenience sample of forensic science courses, and their comparison of student learning was disrupted by COVID-19. Originality: The authors examine student concerns with working at crime scenes and reflections on their abilities to succeed in the field. The authors discuss the need for incorporating media literacy, content warnings, and emotional socialization and professional development into forensic science curricula to better equip and prepare students for careers as crime scene investigators and forensic analysts.

Keywords

Citation

Hans, K. and Parrotta, K. (2021), "“The Errors are Egregious”: Assessing the CSI Effect and Undergraduate Students’ Perceptions of Forensic Science through a Pre- and Post-test Investigation", Wiest, J.B. (Ed.) Mass Mediated Representations of Crime and Criminality (Studies in Media and Communications, Vol. 21), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 149-172. https://doi.org/10.1108/S2050-206020210000021014

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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