The role of the forensic scientist may be defined as “The provision of information to help answer questions of importance to investigators and to courts of law.” The forensic scientist generates qualitative observations from tests conducted on exhibits and provides guidance in the form of expert opinion on how their observations impact on the issues under consideration. In developing an expert opinion, the forensic scientist uses inference.
Therefore, understanding the nature of inference is a necessary pre-requisite for the expert witness. The case assessment and interpretation, or CAI, model, uses Bayes’ Theorem in an approach to inductive thinking and produces balanced, logical, robust and transparent scientific opinion.
Taught by practising forensic scientists.
Entry and Admissions
Short Course / CPD
School of Forensic and Applied Sciences
No Partner College
No set date
Relevant operational experience.
This course provides an interactive workshop in which the CAI model is explored and tested in both the classroom and in syndicate groups. Using case examples, the course explains the role of Bayes’ Theorem within the CAI model and explores concepts such as the hierarchy of propositions and the distinction between investigative and evaluative modes of working. Pre-course reading on probability theory is provided, since many aspects of CAI are probabilistic in nature.
- Inference and the principles of expert opinion
- Probability theory
- Bayes’ theorem
- Working in evaluative mode
- Formulating propositions
- Determining expectations
- Likelihood ratios and strength of evidence
- The verbal scale
- The prosecutor’s fallacy
- The hierarchy of propositions
- The importance of conditioning information
- Dealing with “no comment”
- Reporting considerations - abbreviated outputs
- Working in investigative mode
- Forensic strategy setting and strategy updates
Learning Environment & Assessment:
On completion of the course delegates will have a thorough understanding of the CAI model, will be able to develop effective forensic strategies, calculate likelihood ratios and use these to formulate robust expert opinions. Delegates will be able to differentiate between investigative and evaluative modes and recognise the appropriate circumstances in which to use them.
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