2nd Edition

The Basics of Investigating Forensic Science
A Laboratory Manual

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after July 16, 2021
ISBN 9780367251529
July 16, 2021 Forthcoming by CRC Press
192 Pages 97 Color Illustrations

USD $44.95

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Book Description

The Basics of Investigating Forensic Science: A Laboratory Manual, Second Edition presents foundational concepts in forensic science through hands-on laboratory techniques and engaging exercises. The text offers numerous lab projects on a range of subjects including fingerprinting, shoeprint analysis, firearms, pathology, anthropology, forensic biology and DNA, drugs, trace evidence analysis, and more.

This Second Edition is fully updated to include extensive full-color photos and diagrams to reflect current best-practices focussing on laboratory procedure, techniques, and interpretation of results. Each laboratory illustrates processes and concepts, and how the equipment should be set up for a given exercise. Many of the exercises can be done with minimal laboratory equipment and material while certain exercises also have additional options and advanced lab exercises—for those education institutions with access to more specialized or advance laboratory equipment. While the sequencing of laboratory exercises in the book is designed to follow The Basics textbook, the lab exercises are intentionally modular can be performed in any sequence desired by an instructor.

The Basics of Investigating Forensic Science, Second Edition is an excellent resource for introduction to forensic sciences courses, including the companion textbook it was designed to accompany, Forensic Science: The Basics, Fourth Edition (ISBN: 9780367251499). The book can be used alongside any textbook, and even serve as a stand-alone text for two- and four-year college programs, as well as course at the high school level.

Table of Contents



Unit 1: Forensic Science and Crime Scene Investigation

Lab 1. Introduction to Crime Scene Investigation: Solving the Puzzle

1.1 Introduction

1.2 Pre-Laboratory Questions

1.3 Scenario

1.4 Materials

1.5 Procedure

1.6 Follow-Up Questions

1.6.1 Venn Diagram

1.7 Worksheet – Discussion Points

Lab 2. Locard’s Exchange Principle: Transfer of Evidence

2.1 Introduction

2.2 Pre-Laboratory Questions

2.3 Scenario

2.4 Materials

2.5 Procedure

2.6 Follow-Up Questions

2.7 Locard’s Exchange Principle Worksheet

Lab 3. Physical Matches

3.1 Introduction

3.2 Pre-Laboratory Questions

3.3 Scenario

3.4 Materials

3.5 Procedure

3.6 Follow-Up Questions

3.7 Physical Matches Worksheet

Lab 4. Evidence Collection: Making an Evidence (Druggist) Fold

4.1 Introduction

4.2 Pre-Laboratory Questions

4.3 Materials

4.4 Procedure

Lab 5. The 3Ls: Locating, Lifting, and Logging Evidence

5.1 Introduction

5.2 Pre-Laboratory Questions

5.3 Scenario

5.4 Materials

5.5 Procedure

5.6 Follow-Up Questions

5.7 The 3Ls Worksheet

Lab 6. Classifying Evidence: Is This Class or Individual Evidence?

6.1 Introduction

6.2 Materials

6.3 Procedure

6.3.1 Flowchart

6.4 Follow-Up Questions

Lab 7. Basic Crime Scene Sketch

7.1 Introduction

7.2 Pre-Laboratory Questions

7.3 Scenario

7.4 Materials

7.5 Procedure

7.6 Follow-Up Questions

7.7 Basic Crime Scene Sketch Worksheet

Lab 8. Crime Scene Investigation

8.1 Introduction

8.2 Pre-Laboratory Questions

8.3 Scenario

8.4 Materials

8.5 Procedure

8.6 Follow-Up Questions

8.7 Worksheet: Chain of Custody Form

Unit 2 Patterns and Impressions

Lab 9. Fingerprints

9.1 Introduction

9.2 Pre-Laboratory Questions

9.3 Scenario

9.4 Materials

9.5 Procedure

9.6 Follow-Up Questions

9.7 Fingerprints Worksheet

Lab 10. Questioned Documents

10.1 Introduction

10.2 Pre-Laboratory Questions

10.3 Scenario

10.4 Materials

10.5 Laboratory Procedures

10.5.1 Basic Laboratory Procedure

10.5.2 Advanced Laboratory Procedure

10.6 Follow-Up Questions

10.7 Questioned Documents Worksheet

Lab 11. Firearms Identification Web Quest

11.1 Procedure

11.2 Questions to Answer

11.2.1 Introduction to Firearms ID

11.2.2 Fundamentals of Firearms ID

11.2.3 Bullet Identification

11.2.4 Cartridge Case Identification

11.3 Case File Exercise

Lab 12. Basic Firearms Identification: Examining Bullets and Cartridge Casings

12.1 Introduction

12.1.1 Bullet Identification

12.1.2 Cartridge Case Identification

12.2 Pre-Laboratory Questions

12.3 Scenario

12.4 Materials

12.5 Procedure

12.5.1 Bullet Identification

12.5.2 Cartridge Case Identification

12.6 Follow-Up Questions

12.7 Basic Firearms Identification Worksheets

Lab 13. Basic Toolmark Identification

13.1 Introduction

13.2 Pre-Laboratory Questions

13.3 Scenario

13.4 Materials

13.5 Procedure

13.6 Post-Laboratory Questions

13.7 Toolmark Worksheet

Lab 14. Shoeprints

14.1 Introduction

14.2 Pre-Laboratory Questions

14.3 Scenario

14.4 Materials

14.5 Procedure

14.6 Follow-Up Questions

14.7 Shoeprints Worksheet

Unit 3 Forensic Biology

Lab 15. Serology

15.1 Introduction

15.2 Pre-Laboratory Questions

15.3 Scenario

15.4 Materials

15.5 Laboratory Procedures

15.5.1 Basic Laboratory Procedure

15.5.2 Advanced Laboratory Procedure

15.6 Follow-Up Questions

15.6.1 Basic Follow-Up Questions

15.6.2 Advanced Follow-Up Questions

15.7 Serology Worksheet

Lab 18. Pathology: The Autopsy

18.1 Introduction

18.2 Pre-Laboratory Questions

18.3 Materials

18.4 Procedure

18.5 Follow-Up Questions

18.6 Pathology Worksheet

Lab 17. DNA Analysis

17.1 Introduction

17.2 Pre-Laboratory Questions

17.3 Scenario

17.4 Materials

17.5 Laboratory Procedures

17.5.1 Basic Laboratory Procedure

17.5.2 Advanced Laboratory Procedure

17.6 Follow-Up Questions

17.6.1 Basic Follow-Up Questions

17.6.2 Advanced Follow-Up Questions

17.7 DNA Analysis Worksheet

Lab 20. Hairs

20.1 Introduction

20.2 Pre-Laboratory Questions

20.3 Scenario

20.4 Materials

20.5 Procedure

20.6 Follow-Up Questions

20.7 Hairs Worksheet

Lab 19. Forensic Anthropology: Determination of Stature

19.1 Introduction

19.2 Pre-Laboratory Questions

19.3 Scenario

19.4 Materials

19.5 Procedure

19.6 Follow-Up Questions

19.7 Forensic Anthropology Worksheet

Lab 16. Basic Bloodstain Pattern Analysis

16.1 Background

16.2 Pre-Laboratory Questions

16.3 Scenario

16.4 Materials

16.5 Bloodstain Pattern Analysis Laboratory Exercises

16.5.1 Part One—Vertical Drip Pattern Recognition Activity A: Single Blood Drop Patterns Activity B: Multiple Blood Drop Patterns

16.5.2 Part Two—Angled Blood Drops Activity A: Making the Angled Blood Drops Activity B: Measuring and Calculating Impact Angles

16.6 Follow Up Questions

16.7 Basic Bloodstain Pattern Analysis Worksheets

Unit 4 Forensic Chemistry

Lab 22. Inks

22.1 Introduction

22.2 Pre-Laboratory Questions

22.3 Scenario

22.4 Materials

22.5 Procedure

22.6 Follow-Up Questions

22.7 Inks Worksheet

Lab 23. Illicit Drugs

23.1 Introduction

23.2 Pre-Laboratory Questions

23.3 Scenario

23.4 Materials

23.5 Laboratory Procedures

23.5.1 Basic Laboratory Procedure

23.5.2 Advanced Laboratory Procedure

23.6 Follow-Up Questions

23.6.1 Basic Follow-Up Questions

23.6.2 Advanced Follow-Up Questions

23.7 Illicit Drugs Worksheet

Lab 24. White Powder Testing

24.1 Introduction

24.2 Scenario

24.3 Materials

24.4 Procedure

24.5 Follow-Up Questions

24.6 White Powder Testing Worksheet

Lab 25. Calculating Blood Alcohol Concentration: The Widmark Formula

25.1 Introduction

25.1.1 Basic Widmark Formula Time Factor

25.1.2 Widmark Formula with Time Consideration Example Problems

25.1.3 Worksheet: Problems (Show Your Work)

Lab 26. Fibers

26.1 Introduction

26.2 Pre-Laboratory Questions

26.3 Scenario

26.4 Materials

26.5 Procedure

26.6 Follow-Up Questions

26.7 Fibers Worksheet

Lab 27. Polymers

27.1 Introduction

27.2 Pre-Laboratory Questions

27.3 Scenario

27.4 Materials

27.5 Procedure

27.6 Follow-Up Questions

27.7 Polymers Worksheet

Lab 28. Fire Debris

28.1 Introduction

28.2 Pre-Laboratory Questions

28.3 Scenario

28.4 Materials

28.5 Procedure

28.6 Follow-Up Questions

28.7 Fire Debris Worksheet

Lab 29. Explosives

29.1 Introduction

29.2 Pre-Laboratory Questions

29.3 Scenario

29.4 Materials

29.5 Procedure

29.6 Follow-Up Questions

29.7 Explosives Worksheet

Unit 5 Forensic Physics

Lab 30. Accident Investigation: Skid to Stop Mathematics

30.1 Introduction

30.2 Pre-Laboratory Questions

30.3 Procedure

30.4 Work Space for Calculations

30.5 Follow-Up Questions

30.6 Accident Investigation Worksheet

Lab 31. Glass

31.1 Introduction

31.2 Pre-Laboratory Questions

31.3 Scenario

31.4 Materials

31.5 Procedure

31.6 Follow-Up Questions

31.7 Glass Worksheet

Lab 32. Forensic Analysis of Glass: Identifying the Type of Glass

32.1 Introduction

32.2 Pre-Laboratory Questions

32.3 Scenario

32.4 Materials

32.5 Forensic Analysis of Glass Laboratory Exercises

32.5.1 Activity One: Determining the Density of a Piece of Glass

32.5.2 Activity Two: Determining the Refractive Index of Liquids

32.5.3 Activity Three: Identification of Glass Fragments Using Index of Refraction

32.6 Follow-Up Questions

32.7 Forensic Analysis of Glass Worksheets

Lab 21. Measuring the Diameter of a Human Hair

21.1 Introduction

21.2 Pre-Laboratory Questions

21.3 Scenario

21.4 Materials

21.5 Procedure

21.6 Follow-Up Questions

21.7 Measuring the Diameter of a Human Hair Worksheet













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Kathy Mirakovits is a retired high school teacher of forensic science and physics. She currently teaches forensic science and physics at Kalamazoo Valley Community College in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Kathy holds an MS in science education from Western Michigan University, a bachelor’s degree in science education from Miami University, and has completed over 15 graduate hours in forensic science. She has taught general science, physical science, chemistry, biology, earth science, and physics at the high school and two-year college level for a total of 30 years. Additionally, Kathy conducts workshops across the United States for teachers who wish to learn the application of forensic science in a school curriculum. Information on those workshops can be found at her website: www.forensicscience-ed.com. She has developed numerous forensic science educational products for a national science supplier and has led workshops at the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) in forensic science.

Kathy has served as president of the Michigan Chapter of the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) and as a curriculum writer for the Michigan Department of Education. Currently, Kathy is the membership director for the Michigan Science Teachers Association. She has received the RadioShack Science Teaching Award and has been a two-time state finalist for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching (PAEMST).

Gina Londino-Smolar received her MS in chemistry from Purdue University in Indianapolis. Gina is currently a senior lecturer in the Forensic and Investigative Sciences program at Indiana University–Purdue University, Indianapolis teaching courses in forensic science, forensic chemistry, and forensic microscopy since 2006. She has designed multiple courses in forensic science, including a variety of beginner-to-advanced laboratory exercises.