Module code: SOC1042

Module provider


Module Leader

MCCARTHY D Dr (Sociology)

Number of Credits


ECT Credits



FHEQ Level 4

JACs code


Module cap (Maximum number of students)


Module Availability

Semester 1

Overall student workload

Workshop Hours: 6

Independent Study Hours: 122

Lecture Hours: 10

Laboratory Hours: 6

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Examination EXAM 60
Practical based assessment CSI FIELD DAY 40

Alternative Assessment

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module overview

This module is intended to introduce students to some basic principles of forensic investigation

Module aims

To introduce organisational and legal aspects of forensic science.

To engage with applied forensic methods associated with searching and recovery of items of evidence.

To introduce policies, procedures and protocols associated with accreditation of laboratories and expert witnesses

To consider the practical limitations of forensic evidence

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
Demonstrate knowledge of organisational and legal aspects of forensic evidence;
Give an account of procedures followed at the scene of a crime and of the types of physical evidence;
 Demonstrate knowledge of crime scene management;
Demonstrate recording of a crime scene;
Give an account of procedures followed at the scene of a crime and of the types of physical evidence;
Demonstrate critical understanding of the potential utility and problems of forensic evidence.

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Module content

What is forensic science? Locard’s Principle. The nature of forensic evidence. Forensic science categories. The history of forensic science and its place in modern society. When is forensic science needed?
Discussion of providers of forensic science, SSU, LGC, DSTL, independent practitioners. Accreditation and registration. Reliability and trustworthiness
Crime scene investigation. The nature of a crime scene. Zoning and crime scene management. Collection, protection and documenting of evidence
Trace and contact evidence. Direct and circumstantial evidence. Physical and biological evidence. Class and individual characteristics. Fingerprint evidence. Blood as evidence.
General examination methods (fibres, blood, biological fluids, firearms, explosives).
Legal backgrounds. Criminal court system (England and Wales, Scotland). Types of offences. CPS, types of courts. Preparation of statements and presentation of forensic evidence.
Forensic science on trial: the Preece case, the Guildford 4, the Birmingham 6, the Macguire 7, Judith Ward case, the May enquiry, judicial reform.

Methods of Teaching / Learning

 Lectures, tutorials, and demonstration workshops


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to assess whether students meet the learning outcomes of the module.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

Examination – 1.5 hours
CSI field day write up – approximately 2,000 words

Formative assessment

Multiple choice test questions during exam tutorial


Discussion sessions; practise exam questions

Reading list


Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Criminology BSc (Hons) 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2017/8 academic year.