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The CSI effect at university: Forensic science students’ television viewing and perceptions of ethical issues

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Although the so-called ‘CSI effect’ has received attention in the literature for the influence of forensic science television on jurors’ expectations of evidence admitted into trials, less research explores the influence of such television programs on university students enrolled in forensic science degrees. This paper describes the quantitative and qualitative results of a study of forensic science students regarding the forensic-related television programs they watch, such as CSI, Bones and Dexter. We asked students to share their impressions of the accuracy, ethics, professionalism and role models in the programs. The results show that forensic science students are almost universally disparaging about the realism of these programs and have mixed impressions of how the programs portray forensic science professionalism and ethics. Most students believed that the programs gave an unrealistic representation of the profession to the public; yet students were also able to identify positive elements for recruitment and education purposes.
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The CSI effect at university: forensic
science students’ television viewing
and perceptions of ethical issues
Roslyn Weaver
a
, Yenna Salamonson
a
, Jane Koch
a
b
& Glenn
Porter
c
a
University of Western Sydney, Family and Community Health
Research Group
b
University of Technology, School of Nursing, Midwifery and
Health, Sydney
c
University of Western Sydney, School of Science and Health
Version of record first published: 24 Jul 2012
To cite this article: Roslyn Weaver, Yenna Salamonson, Jane Koch & Glenn Porter (2012): The CSI
effect at university: forensic science students’ television viewing and perceptions of ethical issues,
Australian Journal of Forensic Sciences, DOI:10.1080/00450618.2012.691547
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The CSI effect at university: forensic science students’ television viewing
and perceptions of ethical issues
Roslyn Weaver
a
*, Yenna Salamonson
a
, Jane Koch
a,b
and Glenn Porter
c
a
University of Western Sydney, Family and Community Health Research Group;
b
University of
Technology, Sydney, School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health;
c
University of Western Sydney,
School of Science and Health
(Received 3 January 2012; final version received 3 May 2012)
Although the so-called ‘CSI effect’ has received attention in the literature for the
influence of forensic science television on jurors’ expectations of evidence
admitted into trials, less research explores the influence of such television
programs on university students enrolled in forensic science degrees. This paper
describes the quantitative and qualitative results of a study of forensic science
students regarding the forensic-related television programs they watch, such as
CSI, Bones and Dexter. We asked students to share their impressions of the
accuracy, ethics, professionalism and role models in the programs. The results
show that forensic science students are almost universally disparaging about the
realism of these programs and have mixed impressions of how the programs
portray forensic science professionalism and ethics. Most students believed that
the programs gave an unrealistic representation of the profession to the public;
yet students were also able to identify positive elements for recruitment and
education purposes.
Keywords: forensic science; CSI effect; students; television; education; Australia
Introduction
Popular media have suggested that crime science television programs such as CSI
may influence how lay jurors consider forensic evidence during criminal trials
1–8
.
This influence has been described as the CSI effect and named after the popular
television drama. It is suggested that jurors confuse the capacity of forensic evidence
with the fictional idealisation of forensic evidence as portrayed on the television
program
2
. Goodman-Delahunty an d Verbrugge
4
suggest that, despite the popular
media claims, there is little objective evidence to support the notion that crime scene
dramas such as CSI have a negative impact on jury verdicts. Wise
5
indicated that
there are two issues relating to the ‘CSI effect’ proposition, with each affecting either
the prosecution or defence position; (i) the jurors held an inflated value of the
forensic evidence producing guilty verdicts
2–5,9
, or (ii) in the absence of forensic
evidence or when the evidence failed to reach the juries’ idealised expectations the
juries would acquit
2–3,5
. Evidence of the influence of the CSI effect, as claimed in the
popular media, has been mixed
1–9
.
Although the so-called CSI effect has received attention in the literature for the
influence of CSI on jurors’ expectations of forensic evidence admitted into criminal
*Corresponding author. Email: r.weaver@uws.edu.au
Australian Journal of Forensic Sciences
2012, 1–11, iFirst article
ISSN 0045-0618 print/ISSN 1834-562X online
Ó 2012 Australian Academy of Forensic Sciences
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00450618.2012.691547
http://www.tandfonline.com
Downloaded by [University of Western Sydney Ward] at 17:32 24 July 2012
trials
1–9
, less research explores the influence of such programs on forensic science
education. Of the work that has been done, previous research has linked the
glamorised portrayal of forensic scientists in popular culture to an increase in the
number of students interested in forensic science
10–13
. Although most of the more
well-known forensic science television programs are American, the popularity of the
genre extends internati onally, and many more forensic science courses have been
established in Australia
14
and the UK
10,15
, as well as the US
14,16,17
.
Beyond the growth of the courses, other research has also raised concerns over
whether television programs may have an adverse effect on forensic science students.
Students may have unrealistic expectations of the course, if not for their career as
well
11
. The CSI series generally constructs science and evidence as infallible, and
emphasises their realism and credibility
18
. Bergslien
19
suggests that the actual teaching
of forensic science in secondary and tertiary education may inadvertently reinforce the
CSI effect; others caution that educators may need to adjust their teaching in response
to the television genre
11
. Undergraduates may be motivated to study forensic science
because of CSI-like programs, and this could provide the impetus to educators to
develop resources to enhance the understanding of the basic principles of science and
critical thinking. However, Bergslien
19
asserts that in some courses, less challenging
teaching approaches can reduce the complexity of forensic science to a standard
laboratory activity with a clear-cut solution, as in the television programs. Rather than
this, Bergslien suggests some teaching strategies that help students develop realistic
expectations about how real forensic science is carried out
19
. Some researchers suggest
that educators in crime-related disciplines can combat the inaccurate images in
popular culture by including courses on the media, to encourage students to be more
critical about how their profession is handled in news and other media
20
.
With mainstream media sources attributing the rise in popularity in forensic
studies to the heightened profile of the profession because of these shows, it is timely
to assess the ways in which forensic students engage with popular culture depictions
of their future profession. Little work has been done in this area, although an
American study on forensic anthropology students concluded that there was no
difference in how many CSI-like programs were consumed by students who wished
to pursue forensic science and those who did not
21
.
The aims of this study were to investigate the viewing habits of a sample of
Australian forensic science students regarding the forensic-related television
programs they watch, and their impressions of the accuracy, ethics, professionalism
and role models in the shows. The purpose was to enhance our understand ing of how
forensic science students engage with popular images of their profession and to
consider pedagogical implications of the findings.
Methods
Design
This study used a descriptive design to collect data on students’ perceptions of
forensic science television programs. The survey questions were based on Czarny
et al.’s survey
22
, which explored television viewing habits of medical and nursing
students for the purpose of considering teaching strategies for bioethical issues in
health. They asked students about specific contemporary television programs and
what students thought of the accuracy, bioethical issues, and role models depicted in
the shows. In our study, we adapted this instrument to the forensic science discipline
2 R. Weaver et al.
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and included shows specific to this field: namely, CSI, CSI: Miami, CSI: New York,
Bones, Dexter and NCIS. We chose these six programs based on current popular
programs at the time of the survey. Students were given the option to nominate other
forensic science television programs, and we aggregated these data as well; however,
the overall percentage of participant-nominated shows was small and thus not
generally reported here. Our survey included questi ons related to demographics,
television viewing, and impressions of how the specific forensic science programs
portrayed ethical and forensic science issues, as well as professionalism and role
models. We also added questions about the image of forensic science on television
programs. The survey concluded with a question asking if participants had any
comments they wished to include on the topic of their profession in popular culture.
Study setting and sample
The study took place at a large university in New South Wales, Australia, between
March and May of 2011 in the first semester. Forensic science students enrolled in all
years of their three-year undergraduate program participated by completing surveys.
The university’s human research ethics committee granted approval to conduct this
project. Surveys were anonymous, and students were informed that their
participation in the project was voluntary.
The study was part of a larger project exploring health sciences and forensic
science students’ impressions of how their profession is represented in popular
culture. This paper reports the results of forensic science students’ surveys.
Of the 215 students who were enrolled in the forensic science program, 135 (63%)
completed the survey. Compared with all forensic students enrolled i n the program,
there were no significant differences in: (a) age (mean: 20.8 years in population versus
20.6 in sample, P ¼ 0.889), (b) gender (68.4% females versus 68.1%, P ¼ 0.965), and
(c) country of birth (80.9% Australian-born versus 84.4%, P ¼ 0.402).
Data collection and analysis
All student s enrolled in the forensic science program were invited to participate in
the study in their tutorials or lectures. A research assistant managed the recrui tment
for the study. Students were informed about the purpose of the study and were given
an informat ion sheet providing details of the project.
A research assistant entered the survey data into IBM SPSS Statistics 19. The
data analysis process included descriptive statistics. As the continuous variable age
was not normally distributed, the Mann-Whitney U-test was used to analyse group
differences. For categorical variables, the chi-square test was used. Statistical
significance was P 5 0.05.
We performed further data analysis to examine if there were differences across
years in the course and: (a) TV viewing habits of forensic science dramas; (b)
important sources of information for participants for bioethical issues. No
statistically significant group differences were uncovered between years of enrolment
and TV viewing habits or participants’ self-report of important sources of
information for bioethical issues.
Following quantitative data analysis, the members of the research team
individually read the qualitative data and then discus sed the data with each other.
These data were drawn from responses to the final survey question : Is there anything
Australian Journal of Forensic Sciences 3
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else you want to tell us about forensic television shows or forensic science role models?
We also included any comments students wrote on their surveys to explain their
other answers further. A research assistant entered the participants’ comments into
Microsoft Word. The qualitative data analysis involved team members organising
the data by themes in a conventional content analysis approach
23
and discussing as a
group, and we have used the data in this paper to elaborate on the quantitative
results. Participants’ quotations hav e been corrected for spelling or readability where
needed, and are presented here in numerical codes with year of enrolment.
Results
Table 1 presents the demographics of the study participants. The average age was
20.6 (SD 4.4), and approximately two-thirds of the sampl e were female (68.1%).
Most students were born in Australia (84.4%) and just over half were in paid
employment (57.0%); only one nominated working in forensic- or police-related
employment.
Participants’ television viewing
The majority of the students had watched television in the past year (98.5%), ranging
from sports (58.5%) to movies (97.0%). Forensic science shows were watched by
91.1% of the sample. Of these forens ic science programs, NCIS (81.1%) and CSI
(79.8%) had been viewed by the most students at some stage. Around tw o-thirds had
seen CSI: Miami, Bones, and Dexter. However, the most frequently watched shows
(at least once a week) were NCIS, Bones and Dexter. Approximately a third reported
watching the top five most-frequently watched shows with family or friends.
Participants’ television viewing habits are summarised in Table 2.
Table 1. Characteristics of forensic student participants (n ¼ 135).
Characteristic
Age, mean (SD) years (Range: 17 to 46 years) 20.6 (4.4)
Sex, Female % 68.1
Country of birth, Australia % 84.4
Language spoken at home: English-speaking only % 82.2
Participating in part-time/paid employment during semester, Yes % 57.0
Table 2. Television viewing habits of forensic science students of forensic science dramas.
Forensic drama
Ever
watched (%)
Watched once/
week (%)
Watched with
family or friends (%)
NCIS 81.1 27.9 50.9
CSI 79.8 19.3 44.7
CSI: Miami 66.0 12.3 34.7
Bones 64.7 24.5 39.8
Dexter 61.9 24.8 33.0
CSI: New York 47.6 5.8 21.1
Criminal Minds 10.4 8.9 6.7
NCIS: LA 7.4 5.2 5.9
4 R. Weaver et al.
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Ethical issues recalled by students from TV shows
When students were provided with a list of 12 ethical issues and asked if they
remembered seeing any on the television programs, 65.2% to 80.0% of the sample
reported seeing these issue s. The most commonly recalled topics were co ntamination
of evidence, conflict of interest, confidentiality, and evidence integ rity. Students were
then asked to rate how each issue was handled overall on the shows, and could
choose from: Poor, Below Average, OK, and Best. The most common rating for
these issues was Poor. Only three topics rated as OK, namely: evidence integrity,
death and dying, and quality or value of life (Table 3).
When asked to rate the accuracy on a six-point Likert scale of how the top six
programs depicted ethic al and forensic science issues, students rated these shows
with a median of 1 to 2 (0 ¼ Not at all accurate, 5 ¼ Very accurate). The qualitative
data supported this, with students at times scathing of the shows ‘inaccurate
rubbish’ (Student 3, Year 1) or suggesting that the programs give unrealistic ideas
about the consequences for unethical behaviour. As one student stated, ‘TV show
characters aren’t exactly going to get fired for not taking responsibility or
contaminating evidence but, in reality of course you would get fired’ (Student 86,
Year 1). Others wer e critical of the inaccuracy of the forensic science aspects, with
one student saying: ‘I think the things they do on the shows are mostly correct, but
the main difference is time. As on the show they figure everything out in a few da ys,
but normally it can take weeks, months or even years to figure out the crime’
(Student 48, Year 1). Another participant added, ‘TV shows always give the
misperception that forensics/science is easy and that we do more than we legally can’
(Student 119, Year 2).
Despite the negative views that most students had about the accuracy, some
students could find value in watching the shows. Thus, even when acknowledging the
shortcomings of the shows, some participants appreciated that the programs
generate interest in their field: ‘Forensic TV shows are a good way of getting people
into the profession but lack truth in what really goes behind the scenes’ (Student 47,
Year 1). Similarly, another wrote ‘Gives an idea of different types of forensics you
can go in to but not accurate/realistic in what they actually do beyond the general
role’ (Student 6, Year 1).
Table 3. Recall of ethical issues on television forensic drama and ratings.
Ethical issue
Recall
(Yes) %
Most common
rating %
Contamination of evidence 80.0 Poor 37.0
Conflict of interest 80.0 Poor 33.3
Confidentiality 80.0 Poor & below average (tie) 33.3
Evidence integrity 80.0 OK 32.4
Professional misconduct 77.8 Poor 37.1
Death and dying 77.8 OK 32.4
Evidence continuity 77.0 Poor 37.5
Informed consent 76.3 Poor 35.0
Quality or value of life 74.1 OK 43.0
Lying under oath in court 71.9 Poor 33.0
Forensic errors 71.1 Poor 41.7
Education for healthcare professionals 65.2 Poor 44.3
Australian Journal of Forensic Sciences 5
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Another participant criticised the shows but saw an educational element: ‘I think
that it is good in the sense that they make people think, but bad in the sense that they
exploit the science and aren’t true to it, cause people spend their whole lives trying to
learn this stuff and they just throw it around like it doesn’t matter’ (Student 5,
Year 1). One student found more of value, writing, ‘watching forensic television
shows I learn more abou t techniques and critical thinking towards ethical and
practical views’ (Student 125, Year 2).
Almost half (49.6%) the students said that they had been asked for their opinion
by friends or family members on an ethical or forensic science issue they had viewed
on a television show. One participant wrote that ‘They ask if the science is true’
(Student 5, Year 1). In regard to discussing the ethical and forensic science issues on
TV programs with their friends only, less than half (40.5%) of the students reported
that they had done this.
When presented with a range of sources that might inform students about
bioethical issues, students ranked their univers ity school of sciences as the most
important (67.7%). Other important sources included family (54.3%) and friends
(40.0%). Television dramas rated as important for only 3% of the sample (Figure 1).
Professionalism
The surveys included a list of six professional ideals: responsibility; altruism/honesty/
integrity; caring and compassion; respect; accountability; and leadership. Most
students (approximately 80%) remembered viewing these on the forensic science
programs, and the majority believed that they were positively depicted.
Despite these positive ratings, the qualitative comments highlighted some
negative aspects around professionalism, with one participant noting ‘TV shows
Figure 1. Important sources of information selected by participants for bioethical issues.
6 R. Weaver et al.
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set unrealistic standards or over simplify work with a lack of professionalism’
(Student 75, Year 3).
Role models
We provided the students with a list of the major characters in each of the six
programs and asked them to choose the characters they wanted most and least to be
like in their own forensic science careers. They could also nominate other characters.
The most popular characters were Abby Sciuto from NCIS (37.8%), and
Temperance Brennan from Bones (23.7%). Dexter Morgan from Dexter was also
a popular character (19.3%), although slightly more students disli ked him as a role
model (20.7%), and we note here, of course, that Dexter obviously differs from other
characters by operating as both hero (a highly-skilled forensic scientist) and antihero
(a vigilante serial killer). The most unpopular character was Horatio Caine from
CSI: Miami (24.4%), as rated by the students (Figure 2).
The qualitative data elaborated on these results, with some students explaining
that they admired the skills of specific characters but not necessarily their other
traits. For example, although Temperance Brennan, Jack Hodgins (Bones) and Abby
Sciuto were popular choices for role models, one participant indicated that this was
‘Skillwise but not people wise’ (Student 5, Year 1). The polarised views about Dexter
Morgan as a role model are encapsulated in one participant who chose Dexter as a
Figure 2. Forensic drama characters: role models in professional career.
Australian Journal of Forensic Sciences 7
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role model but noted, rather obviously, ‘Without being a serial killer’ (Student 17,
Year 1).
Some students also indicated in the open-ended answers that they found role
models beyond those in television programs, with one student reflecting on the
importance of real-life inspirations: ‘A girl from the forensic services group came in
to my work and I would most want to be like her. Not some actress’ (Student 133,
Year 2). Another confirmed that superior role models are found outside popular
culture, writing ‘The best role models are the people working in the profession’
(Student 73, Year 2). These points reflect the fact that the participants’ comments
were usually very negative about the realism and accuracy of these shows.
The image of forensic science in television shows
The surveys asked students what they thought of how forensic science was portrayed
on television. Although most students believed the shows portrayed their profession
as exciting (98.4%) and positive (92.9%), they also thought the programs gave an
unrealistic representation of the real science (78.4%). Furthermore, just over half
(51.6%) believed that there should be less forensic science characters on crime shows,
and about the same percentage (47.6%) felt that the characters were not good role
models. In addition, the majority (80.8%) believed that TV shows give the public
wrong ideas about what forensic scientists actually do.
These views were reflected in the open-ended answers, where students were often
negative about the public perception of forensic science because of television. Even
those who enjoyed the shows often qualified this enjoyment with a warning about the
misinformation caused by the shows in the public: ‘Forensic science TV shows are
fun and interesting to watch, however they do at times give false representations
about what forensic science in real life is about’ (Student 37, Year 1). Others
confirmed this, saying ‘I think people often get the wrong idea about forensics’
(Student 110, Year 2), or: ‘Detectives and forensic investigators & many numerous
roles in TV convince the general public that it is all one job’ (Student 121, Year 2).
Some comments raised the danger of inaccurate portrayals of forensic science on
television, with one participant writing that ‘Television shows give people the wrong
idea. When evidence is put to court, the jury will want all the evidence to point to the
suspect before they will convict them as that is what happens on the shows (Student
11, Year 2).
Discussion
This study confirms previous research in other disciplines that most students watch
their profession on television, with other studies showing that most medical and
nursing students watch medical programs
22,24
. As the participants noted, one of the
positive elements of these shows is that portraying forensic science in popular
television programs can enhance recruitment and provide ideas about the spectrum
of technologies and specialties available in the career. The participants’ comments
about this topic (‘Forensic TV shows are a good way of getting people into the
profession’) confirm the research pointing to the positive aspect of these sho ws in
attracting people who may otherwise be unaware of the profession
11,14–17
.
Given almost half our sample discussed ethical or science issues from television
programs with family or friends, it is possible to see the value of exploring the shows
8 R. Weaver et al.
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in forensic science curricula. Given the importance of teaching ethics well in forensic
science
13
, this may be seen as an effective strategy of teaching ethical issues in an
engaging way. It would appear that the participants in our study were well able to
remember ethical important issues from the programs, such as contamination of
evidence, conflict of interest, confidentiality, and evidence integrity. This is not to
suggest that television is an important source of information for them; as it is, the
results show students rank television extremely low as an influence. The participants
in this project, moreover, are enrolled in a course designed to challenge them to
consider issues associated with forensic science reliability, such as methods of
expressing forensic findings, effects of contextual bias from police investigators and
defence counsel, contamination issues, evidence integrity and continuity, statistical
representation and inference, and visual communication in forensic science, which
are important issues to cover in any forensic science curricula.
However, most participants indicated that the depiction of science on television
was inaccurate and unrealistic. This finding seems to contradict previous research
that rais es concerns that students in forensic science may have unrealistic and
exaggerated ideas of what their jobs will entail because of television programs
11,20
.
Just as the CSI effect in jurors is a disputed notion and can lack evidence to support
it
25,26
, we suggest that students are more sceptical of these shows than researchers or
educators might assume. Yet although participants criticised the science, ethics and
role models provided by the programs, our results show that most students watch the
television programs and find them to be positive representations of forensic science,
and can enjoy watching them. Their critiques also indicate that television images of
forensic science can help in some ways their learning of science, and ethical issues,
and also the development of their professional identity to some extent .
The positive assessment of forensic science professionalism on television by
students (80%) is unexpected, given it is possible to see deviations from professional
ideals at many times across forensic science programs. Yet this finding perhaps
reflects the narrative construction of many forensic science characters as honourable,
and committed to seeking justice for victims of crime. The popularity of some
characters over others may explain this, with role models such as Brennan and
Hodgins (Bones) and Abby (NCIS) noteworthy for their high skills and intellect,
despite their unusual personality quirks. We suggest that the higher level of
popularity for Abby might well be explained by the fact that the charact er is young
and female, which large ly reflects the cohort we surveyed. This is not to imply that
students primarily find role models in fiction or even prefer them. It is worth
emphasising here that some participants’ comments give more credence to role
models from within the forensic science industry, and this is reflected in the finding
that almost half the sample believed television characters were poor role models in
general. Indeed, more than half the students actually felt there should be less forensic
science characters in crime shows, which perhaps suggests that they believe the
forensic science profession is over-represented in popular culture or, at the very
least, is repres ented in such narrow or inaccurate ways that it would be preferable to
avoid it entirely.
Although previous research has addressed the CSI effect at some length in the
context of jurors’ expectations of forensic evidence, there is less work that explores
this topic in university student s. One of the strengths of this study is that it provides
some answers for educators interest ed in how university students regard the popular
image of forensic science. Despite educators’ concerns, it appears that forensic
Australian Journal of Forensic Sciences 9
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science students at least in our sample are well able to distinguish fact from
fiction and indeed are rather critical of the televisual representations of forensic
science. A further stren gth is the mixed methods approach, which allows the
qualitative data to enhance and elaborate on the quantitative data in ways that are
sometimes lacking in other research.
The limitations of this study include being limited to one cohort of students in
one university and thus it cannot be representative of all forensic science students.
This research could be undertaken in other institutions elsewhere to explore any
differences and simila rities. We also acknowledge that our data deal solely with
students’ perceptions of professionali sm and that their understanding of professional
behaviour is consequently likely to be evolving. Students’ field and work experience
may also play a role in this. The qualitative data were also limited to those students
who chose to write short responses to the survey questions. Richer data could be
elicited with interviews.
Future research, therefore, could use in-depth qualitative interviews with
students to explore this area further. Future studies could explore students’ reasons
for their choice of forensic science. It would be interesting to compare the retention
of those students whose entry into their course was influenced by CSI-like pro grams
with those who were not, although such research relies on students’ awareness of this
factor, which is necessarily difficult to measure. Closer analysis of the shows
themselves and also research evaluating the effectiveness of including courses on
media representations in forensic science education would help to further build our
understanding of this important area of the images of forensic science in popular
culture.
Acknowledgements
This project received funding from the University of Western Sydney Research Grant Scheme.
Thank you to the students who participated in this project, and also to Maricris Algoso,
Charmaine Miranda, and Ashleigh-Leane Gibbs for data collection and data entry.
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... They also had greater confidence in their own judgments about the topic. Yet, a study conducted among Australian University students found that although most forensic science students watched shows, such as CSI, and enjoyed them, they felt that these shows were unrealistic, demonstrating that students may be more prudent in making choices about their fields of study than previously believed (Weaver, Salamonson, Koch, & Porter, 2012). ...
... Students reported that the crime-related shows they watched were "somewhat realistic," and even after studying criminal justice, they were still satisfied with their decision to pursue a career in this field, despite believing they would have difficulty finding a job after graduation. Our results differ from research conducted with forensic science students who felt the programs on television were primarily unrealistic; those students expressed concerns about its portrayal of both professionalism and ethics within the field (Weaver et al., 2012). Although there are many crime-related documentary-type shows on television, we found criminal justice majors most often viewed shows that featured forensics, law enforcement, and courtroom procedures in fictional dramas, specifically Criminal Minds, Law & Order: SVU, and Law & Order (the original version). ...
... Those with unrealistic expectations are more likely to be dissatisfied and, it stands to reason, less likely to be retained (Smallwood, 2002). There is a concern that crime-related shows may attract students to the major but can lead to unintended consequences, such as dissatisfaction, and subsequently a decision to leave the major if their expectations are not met (Weaver et al., 2012). However, this did not appear to be the case in the present study. ...
Article
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The media tends to influence public perceptions of the criminal justice system. The media’s impact, known as the CSI Effect, is not well documented in criminal justice majors. The present study adds to a small body of literature regarding the impact of media on criminal justice students’ decisions, and seeks to identify the factors that influence students’ choices, regarding their major/career goals. Based on the results from surveys administered at an urban university in the United States, most criminal justice students reported that they were not influenced by the media, yet the vast majority believed this to be true of their fellow majors. These students chose criminal justice because they found the subject matter interesting and relevant to the real world, and they wanted to work in a field in which they could be a problem solver. Upon graduation, these students overwhelmingly reported an interest in pursuing a career in federal law enforcement. Unfortunately, corrections, a field dedicated to working with offenders, was the lowest preferred profession among criminal justice students.
... 2. By bringing such misperceptions into their jury roles, individuals are reluctant to find an accused guilty of an alleged crime if specific forensic analyses were not conducted or if no material evidence was found in the course of the investigation (also see Georgette, 2010;Kinsey, 2012;Robbers, 2008;Smith, Stinson, & Patry, 2011;Thomas, 2006). 3 3. CSI and similar series help those perpetuating crimes since they educate them about possible traces that can be found at the crime scene (also see Smith et al., 2007Smith et al., , 2011. 4. The attractive portrayal of criminal investigation and forensic science in TV series is making more persons interested in enrolling in forensic study programmes or applying for criminal investigation and forensic-themed occupations (also see Keuneke, Graß, & Ritz-Timme, 2010;Weaver, Salamonson, Koch, & Porter, 2012). ...
... Several authors (e.g. Keuneke et al., 2010;Weaver et al., 2012) considered the option that students watch TV shows connected to their study matter and that such media content is simply consistent with the study programme selection. The dilemma as to what came first-the (study) interest or the media content influence-can perhaps only be answered if survey participants are asked if they had an interest in criminal justice Table 6. ...
Article
Research on ‘the CSI effect’ is accumulating and accounts for a substantive body of knowledge not just in the United States of America, but also elsewhere in the world. The paper investigates one aspect of the CSI effect whereby university faculties offering forensic or criminal investigative curricula are seeing an increase in the number of students enrolling. A research study was conducted on first-year students of the Faculty of Criminal Justice and Security (Slovenia) in which they were directly asked to state the extent to which TV series and films influenced their enrollment decision. The results indicate that some students were motivated by TV series and films, although more detailed statistical inquiries only provide partial and limited support for such claims. Therefore, a more in-depth research study is required to provide better insights into this dimension of the CSI effect.
... As the media portrayed the health care workers and divided them into two groups, medical doctors who have wide range authority, power and prestige, also all other health care professionals serve medical doctors and follow their orders. Due to such images, the public views nurses as feminine and caring job, but not necessarily as professional career (8). Nurses are not presented in the manner they wish to be or even portrayed as actually they are. ...
... There is slightly improvement in the public media about nurses self-image ,that in past films portrayed nurses as self-sacrificial ,doctor handmaidens, heroines and romantics person but in recent films portray nurses as positive role model and self-confident professionals (5)(6)(7)(8)(9)(10). ...
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Abstract: The public opinions are extremely powerful tool in forming social norms and values. Despite the nursing profession has significant progress, nurses still face remarkable challenges related to its’ image that effect on their power, self –esteem and public image. Aim: to Identify relationship among public nursing image, self-image, and self-esteem of nurses. Design: correlational research design was used in this study. Setting: The study was carried out at all Minia University Hospitals. Sample: The subjects of this study consisted of (320) all nurses who work in Minia University Hospitals at the time of data collection. Tools: personal characteristics of data, nursing image Likert scale, the Perceptions of Professional Nursing Tool (PPNT) and self-esteem scale. Results: both nurse's self- image and public nursing image was negative, which affect negatively on nurses’ self-esteem .Conclusion: nurses’ suffering from negative self- image, self –esteem and public image. Recommendations: Providing positive nursing image by the media to enhance public nursing image. Keywords: Public nursing image, self –esteem
... The have a meaningful impact on students and researchers 25,26 . For as much as there has been studied and published on the effect of forensic shows on various sectors of the society, we are not aware of research that would analyze its possible influence on the scientific community. ...
Article
Full-text available
This research is aimed at mapping and analyzing scientific production within the 31 area of Forensic Anthropology in Brazil. The bibliographic search was performed within the major online scientific databases (PubMed, Scopus, Scielo, Lilacs). Only publications originated in Brazil and published in scientific journals were included in the study. Collected data was introduced into an SPSS database and analyzed statistically. A total of 161 studies (1992-2017) fulfilled the inclusion criteria. A significant increase in the number of publications during the last ten years was observed. Seventy-one percent of publications originated at the Faculties of Dentistry, and the University of São Paulo was the leading research center in this area. Almost 38% of scientific production was performed within a single institution, 45% included national collaboration, and 17% was conducted with international cooperation. Fifty-eight percent of research focused on the subject of Forensic Odontology and 42% on Forensic Anthropology. The main focus of the research was human identification (39%), followed by age estimation (21%) and sex estimation (15%). Thirty-five percent of the articles presented a new approach, and 28% focused on method evaluation. The rest was equally distributed (18.5%) between case reports and field evaluations. The number of scientific productions is relatively low but is quickly growing. The potential for collaboration could be better explored. The research is centralized and lead by the Faculties of Dentistry, with a major focus on Forensic Odontology.
... Bien que la popularisation de la criminalistique puisse avoir certains effets qualifiés de bénéfiques en matière d'éducation (p. ex., Chan, 2013;Weaver, Salamonson, Koch, & Porter, 2012), l'idéalisation erronée de la discipline représente un enjeu de taille. Tant pour les milieux policiers, judiciaires et scientifiques, sa compréhension mérite d'être approfondie. ...
Chapter
Full-text available
De Sherlock Holmes à Dexter, la fiction policière moderne a maintes fois mis au cœur de ses intrigues le recours à l’investigation scientifique et à l’interprétation d’indices matériels. Propulsée encore davantage par l’arrivée des séries télévisées de type CSI, la criminalistique a vu l’intérêt que lui portait la sphère publique augmenter de manière exponentielle dans les deux dernières décennies. Toutefois, comme c’est le cas avec de nombreuses disciplines scientifiques, un fossé persiste entre les croyances populaires et les réelles pratiques (Borisova, Courvoisier et Bécue, 2016 ; Cole et Porter, 2017). Bien qu’il pourrait être tentant de croire que l’ensemble des professionnels du milieu de la sécurité et de la justice possèdent des connaissances en adéquation avec les principes scientifiques et fondamentaux de la criminalistique, il semble que plusieurs d’entre eux peinent encore à la conceptualiser au-delà des croyances populaires (Crispino, Rossy, Ribaux et Roux, 2015 ; Kruse, 2015 ; Ludwig, Fraser et Williams, 2012 ; Tilley et Ford, 1996). En ramenant cette préoccupation à l’échelle du Québec, il convient de poser la question suivante : comment les acteurs des milieux policier et judiciaire de l’environnement québécois conçoivent-ils la criminalistique ? Plus particulièrement, arrivent-ils à distancier la réelle exploitation des traces matérielles de son penchant populaire inspiré de la fiction ? Le présent chapitre entend ainsi explorer les limites inhérentes à la criminalistique et les confronter à celles perçues par divers acteurs non scientifiques du domaine judiciaire.
... Mar and Oatley (2008) also argued that interacting with narrative content -whether fictional or not -encourages empathetic growth and the transmission of (ethical) knowledge about the social world through the vicarious experience. Aside from the possibility of the diverse moral casting prompting moral deliberation and reflections during viewing as a leisure activity, previous research has also argued that MACs challenge perceptions of right and wrong in various private, professional and societal contexts (Van Ommen, Daalmans, & Weijers, 2014;Weaver, Salamonson, Koch & Porter, 2012;Weaver & Wilson, 2011). Therefore programs featuring MACs might also prove to be a useful tool in ethics education to introduce and discuss ethical dilemmas in an accessible way. ...
Chapter
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This chapter describes the development of a game-based markerless augmented reality smartphone application (CSI4FS®) that complements traditional crime scene investigation training. The intent is to make a strong case for the use of augmented reality in a forensic science training environment. It includes a brief outline of the issue followed by a history of augmented reality in education and training, simulation use in high-risk professions generally and in education specifically, and augmented reality use in crime scene investigation. Both marker-based and markerless technologies are discussed, followed by a description of the augmented reality application and some of the challenges involved in the creation of that application. Overall, the purpose of this chapter is to introduce a potential solution that will help college students learn crime scene investigation techniques more effectively than with the more traditional training methods.
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Chapter
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The "CSI effect" is a term that legal authorities and the mass media have coined to describe a supposed influence that watching the television show CSI: Crime Scene Investigation has on juror behavior. Some have claimed that jurors who see the high-quality forensic evidence presented on CSI raise their standards in real trials, in which actual evidence is typically more flawed and uncertain. As a result, these CSI-affected jurors are alleged to acquit defendants more frequently. This Review argues that, while some existing evidence on juror decisionmaking is consistent with the CSI effect, it is equally plausible that watching CSI has the opposite impact on jurors and increases their tendency to convict. The perceived rise in acquittals can also plausibly be explained without any reference either to watching CSI or to viewing crime dramas more generally. For these reasons, and because no direct research supports the existence or delineates the nature of the CSI effect, calls for changes to the legal system are premature. More generally, the issues raised by current attention to the CSI effect illustrate the problems that arise when proposed changes in the legal system are supported by plausible, but empirically untested, "factual" assertions.
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The term ‘CSI Effect’ has been used since 2002 to describe changes in juror verdict requirements. As the name suggests, the CSI Effect refers to the suggestion that jurors who watch fictional crime scene television programs, such as CSI and Law and Order, have changed their requirements for delivering a verdict according to the presence or absence of forensic evidence. In short, the term CSI Effect is used in this article to describe instances where jurors ask for additional forensic evidence, or refuse to convict where there is an absence of forensic evidence (Franzen 2002; Willing 2004). This article examines two aspects of this effect. The article examines first how criminal justice practitioners in New South Wales, Australia, have changed their practices to accommodate the changing desires of the jury. Then, the article discusses how these changing practices have impacted on available resources in the criminal justice system and the people within it, including scientists and lawyers. This article examines also how the criminal justice practitioners' belief in the CSI Effect may have changed processes involved in the criminal justice system and how these changes can have a negative impact on both victims and offenders.
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No less dangerous are the mistakes of [forensic] expert witnesses. Blind confidence of the courts in the authority of expert witnesses is responsible for many a wrongful conviction. 1 In order to preserve the integrity of the criminal justice system . . . particularly in the face of rising nationwide criticism of forensic evidence in general .
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Since it first aired in 2000, CSI has consistently been among the top-rated television programs in the United States. In this article, we analyze CSI’s debut season and also include observations about the program today as well as its two spin-offs: CSI: NY and CSI: Miami. We are interested in the cultural meanings conveyed in this very popular forensic crime drama, especially in terms of the moral authority of the police and of science. We consider how CSI uses the conventions of the crime genre to assert the police as a moral authority. We also demonstrate how CSI portrays a sense of forensic realism, and, in so doing, asserts the veracity of science. We conclude with a discussion of what these meanings suggest about the legitimacy of policing and of science.
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Many students majoring in criminal justice may be reacting to popular television and docudramas that portray criminal justice practitioners as sexy, glamorous, and adventurous. Hollywood’s construction of justice‐related careers is unrealistic and creates many challenges for criminology professors who must provide students with the social context explaining why people engage in criminal behavior. While the media has helped stimulate interest in careers such as crime scene investigations, criminal profiling, crime mapping, and DNA experts, Hollywood has come short of unmasking the causes of crime. Perhaps if Hollywood were to devote some attention to the criminologist, it could assist professors in demystifying criminology as an academic discipline.