Volume 50, Issue 4 (July 2005)
Decision Analysis in Forensic Science
Forensic scientists are routinely faced with the problems of making decisions under circumstances of uncertainty (i.e., to perform or not perform a test). A decision making model in forensic science is proposed, illustrated with an example from the field of forensic genetics. The approach incorporates available evidence and associated uncertainties with the assessment of utilities (or desirability of the consequences). The paper examines a general example for which identification will be made of the decision maker, the possible actions, the uncertain states of nature, the possible source of evidence and the kind of utility assessments required. It is argued that a formal approach can help to clarify the decision process and give a coherent means of combining elements to reach a decision.