Faculty Publications

Title

Error and its meaning in forensic science.

SelectedWorks Author Profiles:

Max M. Houck

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2014

ISSN

0022-1198

Abstract

The discussion of “error” has gained momentum in forensic science in the wake of the Daubert guidelines and has intensified with the National Academy of Sciences’ Report. Error has many different meanings, and too often, forensic practitioners themselves as well as the courts misunderstand scientific error and statistical error rates, often confusing them with practitioner error (or mistakes). Here, we present an overview of these concepts as they pertain to forensic science applications, discussing the difference between practitioner error (including mistakes), instrument error, statistical error, and method error. We urge forensic practitioners to ensure that potential sources of error and method limitations are understood and clearly communicated and advocate that the legal community be informed regarding the differences between interobserver errors, uncertainty, variation, and mistakes.

Comments

Citation only. Full-text article is available through licensed access provided by the publisher. Members of the USF System may access the full-text of the article through the authenticated link provided.

Publisher

Wiley-Blackwell

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