Volume 43, Issue 1 (January 1998)
A Content Analysis of Textbooks on Criminal Investigation: An Evaluative Comparison to Empirical Research Findings on the Investigative Process and the Role of Forensic Evidence
A content analysis of textbooks on criminal investigation was carried out to determine the degree to which their coverage corresponded to empirical findings on the investigative process and the role of forensic evidence. The results showed that the texts overemphasize forensic evidence relative to its actual use. They underemphasize the role of patrol officers, detective post-arrest activities and the importance of interpersonal communication in investigations. Moreover, the texts are virtually silent on a number of key points such as detective evidence collection activities and how detectives use and give meaning to physical evidence. An analysis of material in newer texts, those available after research findings became widely known, showed little change in emphasis from older volumes. The findings are discussed in relation to training needs for those in the justice system who collect, use and make practical and policy decisions about forensic evidence and investigative outcomes.