What are the 11 Branches of Forensic Science?

Forensic science is the scientific investigation of crime scenes, criminal and civil lawsuits, death scenes, disasters, and other such events. It is a branch of science that uses logic and evidence to solve crimes and help prevent them. It is also used in the legal process to determine guilt or innocence. Forensic scientists are often called upon to testify in court. This article will answer the question “what are the 11 branches of Forensic Science?”

What are the 11 Branches of Forensic Science?

The 11 branches of Forensic Science are the following:

  • Criminalistics
  • Forensic Document Examination
  • Forensic Pathology
  • Digital Forensic 
  • Forensic Toxicology
  • Trace Evidence Analysis
  • Forensic serology
  • Forensic Ballistics
  • Forensic Podiatry
  • Forensic Odontology
  • Forensic Medicine

What is Forensic Science?

Forensic science is the application of scientific knowledge in legal settings. In other words, forensic science is the field of science that deals with investigating and analyzing crimes. 

To determine the facts in criminal and civil cases, forensic science deals with crime scene investigation, DNA profiling, ballistics, toxicology, fingerprinting, fire investigation, and many other areas. 

The term “forensic” means “relating to public justice” or “relating to public law and order.” Although it is often associated with criminal investigations, forensic science is also used in civil and administrative cases. 

Forensic science has its roots in natural sciences, such as chemistry, biology, and physics. The field has been expanded over the years from its origins in ancient Rome.

In the United States, forensic science first became a formalized discipline in the 1930s, but it was not until the early 1900s that forensic science began to be used to solve crimes. 

It was in that time period that fingerprinting and other forensic techniques were first introduced. Today, forensic science is an important part of law enforcement and the criminal justice system.

When a crime is committed, forensic scientists collect evidence to help solve the crime. They investigate crimes such as arson, homicide, assault, kidnapping, and rape. 

Forensic scientists work with law enforcement agencies, attorneys, judges, and juries to establish the facts of criminal cases and to help solve them. They may also testify in court about their findings and the methods they used to gather evidence.

Branches of Forensic Science

Forensic science is the study of crime and its causes, prevention, detection, and resolution. There are many branches of forensic science. 

The purpose of these branches is to help law enforcement and legal professionals understand how evidence was collected and used during criminal investigations.

The 11 branches of Forensic Science are the following:

Criminalistics

Criminalistics is the study of crime and its causes, the detection of crime scenes, and the collection and interpretation of evidence related to criminal activity. 

It is an interdisciplinary science that borrows from many disciplines including biology, chemistry, computer science, engineering, mathematics, physics, and psychology. 

There are two types of criminalistics: forensic and investigative. Forensic criminalistics is the application of scientific principles to criminal investigations and evidence. Investigative criminalistics is the application of scientific principles to criminal investigations and evidence.

Forensic Document Examination

Forensic document examination is the examination of documents for information about their origin, authenticity, and authorship. These documents can include anything from handwritten notes to bank checks to birth certificates. 

Forensic document examiners use a variety of tools and techniques to examine documents. They will use tools such as ultraviolet light, x-rays, and microscopes to determine the age of the document and the materials used in its creation. 

They may also use a process called chemical analysis to determine the materials used in the document. The purpose of forensic document examination is to help solve crimes.

Forensic Pathology

Forensic pathology is the study of death and its effects on the body. It is an important field of medicine that helps determine the cause of death and what happened to the body. 

The forensic pathologist is responsible for examining a body after death and conducting a thorough analysis of the deceased. They collect evidence and examine the body, looking for any injuries or abnormalities that may be present. 

In addition, they will also take samples from the body to conduct further tests. Forensic pathologists also help to identify victims of homicide and assist in determining the cause of death.

Digital Forensic 

Digital forensics is the application of scientific methods and principles to digital evidence in an effort to extract information that will aid in the investigation of a crime. 

Digital forensics can be used to assist law enforcement, intelligence agencies, and military organizations. Digital forensics can be used in a wide variety of investigations, including but not limited to:

  • Determining whether a person was present at a crime scene
  • Exploring a computer’s history to find information about a person
  • Examining cell phone and/or tablet data for evidence of contact with other people
  • Examining email data for indications of contact with other people
  • Examining internet history for indications of contact with other people
  • Examining social media data for indications of contact with other people
  • Examining search engine history for indications of contact with other people

Forensic Toxicology

Forensic toxicology is the study of poisons and toxic substances in biological specimens. It’s used to help determine the cause of death in cases where death is suspected or confirmed due to a toxic substance. 

The term forensic refers to the application of science to legal proceedings, and toxicology can be used to determine the identity of any chemical present in the body of a deceased person. 

It can also help determine whether the chemical was ingested, inhaled, or absorbed through skin contact.

Trace Evidence Analysis

Trace evidence analysis is a forensic technique that involves analyzing trace evidence left at a crime scene. Trace evidence analysis is used in many different types of cases, but it is most commonly used in cases involving arson, drugs, and firearms. Trace evidence analysis is a very important tool in the investigation of criminal cases.

Forensic Serology

Forensic serology is the study of blood and bodily fluids, which are used in the scientific investigation of crime. The techniques used in forensic serology include blood typing, DNA analysis, and blood pattern analysis.

Forensic Ballistics

Forensic ballistics is the science of determining the trajectory of bullets, shell casings, or other projectiles by collecting and analyzing physical evidence found at a crime scene. 

The crime scene investigator can use this information to understand how the victim was killed, who was involved, and where they were when they were killed.

Forensic Podiatry

Forensic podiatry is a sub-specialty of forensic pathology that deals with the examination of foot injuries. The goal of forensic podiatry is to identify the perpetrator, victim, or both, through the examination of their foot injuries. Foot injuries can be broken bones, lacerations, bruises, and burns.

Forensic Odontology

Forensic odontology is the application of dental science to identify individuals by their teeth. It is used in a wide variety of criminal investigations, including homicide, sexual assault, and missing persons cases. 

Forensic odontology can be applied to both human and animal remains. The teeth are often the only remains left behind, so it is important to examine them closely. The examination can help find evidence that may be overlooked by others.

Forensic Medicine

Forensic medicine is the application of medical knowledge and techniques to aid in the legal investigation of crime. Some of the most common crimes in which forensic medicine is used are sexual assault, child abuse, elder abuse, and murder.  

Forensic medicine is also known as medico-legal medicine or medico-legal investigation.

Conclusion

Forensic science is the application of scientific principles to investigate, analyze, and provide evidence in a legal setting. The goal of forensic science is to assist in the legal process by providing information and evidence to aid in the decision-making process.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): what are the 11 branches of forensic science?

What branch of forensic science is related to chemistry?

The branch of forensic science most related to chemistry is forensic toxicology. Forensic toxicology is the study of poisons and their effects on living organisms.

What is the most common forensic science?

The most common forensic science is forensic pathology which uses the principles of biology, chemistry, and physics to investigate, analyze, and present evidence at criminal trials. 

What are the 4 types of forensic analysis?

The 4 types of forensic analysis are the following:

  • DNA analysis
  • Examples of Handwriting
  • Blood Splatter Analysis
  • Pathology
  • Ballistics 

Reference

Brettell, T. A., Butler, J. M., & Saferstein, R. (2005). Forensic science. Analytical chemistry, 77(12), 3839-3860.

De Forest, P. R., & DeForest, P. R. (1983). Forensic science: an introduction to criminalistics. New York: McGraw-Hill Humanities/Social Sciences/Languages.

Houck, M. M., & Siegel, J. A. (2009). Fundamentals of forensic science. Academic Press.

Branches of Forensic Science – Forensic. Retrieved from https://forensicfield.blog/branches-of-forensic-science/ 

The Branches of Forensic Science – An Overview of its Various . Retrieved from https://ifflab.org/branches-of-forensic-science/ 

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