Engaging ideas, transforming minds
Engaging ideas, transforming minds

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274 pages
6 x 9 inches
August 2020
Print ISBN: 9781773381633


Written for the Canadian forensic science student and the professional practitioner, this timely and practical handbook provides an experience-based learning tool. This text offers an understanding of scientific method and evidence-based analysis and how they relate to forensic science and its casework—from the crime scene to the courtroom—within the Canadian context. The authors explore the paradigm shift in forensic science, highlight basic skills like scientific reasoning and literature review, as well as untangle the complexities of ethics and bias, research design, critical thought, and best practices for communication in various settings. Case examples and court testimonies are reviewed to underscore the importance of these concepts.

By blending such real-life examples with scientific concepts like validation, peer review, accountability, and transparency, The Scientific Method in Forensic Science is a fundamental read for students in introductory forensics, criminology, police studies, and anthropology.


  • includes questions for critical thought, suggestions for further reading, a glossary, and additional instructional popouts
  • provides an experience-based learning opportunity for understanding the scientific method
  • utilizes case studies and court transcripts to illustrate practical applications in a Canadian context

Related Titles

Table of Contents

Foreword, Hélène LeBlanc

Preface, Mike Illes

Chapter 1: Introduction: The Paradigm Shift in Forensic Science

Chapter 2: Concepts of Science and the Scientific Method

Chapter 3: Critical Thinking in Forensic Science

Chapter 4: How to Critically Review a Published Journal Article

Chapter 5: What the Literature Says: From Student to Expert

Chapter 6: The Use, Misuse, and Absence of Statistics in Forensic Science Casework

Chapter 7: Research Design for the Forensic Science Student and Practitioner

Chapter 8: The Importance of Ethics and Impartiality in Forensic Science

Chapter 9: The Key to Effective Communication in Forensic Science

Appendix: Exercise Answers


Mike Illes

Mike Illes is a Professor in the Trent University Forensic Science Undergraduate and Graduate Programs. Prior to this, he spent 24 years as a Canadian forensic science practitioner and instructed on forensic science in the United States, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Scotland, and other Canadian academic institutions.

Paul Wilson

Dr. Paul Wilson has participated in hundreds of cases and has testified in over 30 trials as an expert witness in DNA profiling and wildlife forensic science. He served as the founding Chair of the Professional Forensic Science Program at Trent University. Paul served as the Canada Research Chair in DNA Profiling, Forensics and Functional Genomics for two terms, 10 years, and is currently a Professor in the Biology Department at Trent University.


“A must-read for those onboarding into the fascinating world of forensic science research. The authors offer valuable perspectives for both the forensic science student and professional practitioner. As the Canadian forensic science landscape continues to flourish, this handbook so perfectly emphasizes the importance of applying the fundamentals of the scientific method first and foremost to everything we do.”

“As a former forensic specialist and pioneer of the Bloodstain Analysis discipline in Canada, I can attest to the incredible learning value of this textbook for the practitioner, the academic, the researcher, and the many justice system stakeholders. I have witnessed the vacuum of knowledge and understanding pertaining to scientific method, critical thinking, and true evidence-based practice. This book fills that void by creating a learning format through the case studies, theoretical analysis, personal profiles, and thought-provoking questions and readings.”

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