Forensic criminology as a research problem: Using traditional processes in a forensic context

Wayne Petherick, Claire Ferguson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


We begin the chapter with this question: how does the work of practising criminologistsrelate to that of forensic criminologists? To answer this, we must understand first what forensic criminology is and how it – as a practical sub-branch of criminology –diverges from the more theoretical community. To understand why those studying crime and criminals need to be aware of what their forensic counterparts are doing, we also need to highlight the areas where forensic criminology is applied. This will introduce our argument for how forensic criminology uses well-known criminological research concepts and methods in a forensic capacity in order to educate and answer questions for stakeholders working in the criminal justice system. We will explain, using examples, the methods used by forensic criminologists to apply theoretical knowledge to the study of individuals, including differentiating between inductive and deductive logic. We will describe how forensic criminologists use structured professional judgement as aresearch method to make conclusions, which are of practical use to investigators, advocates and the court. Finally, we will compare and contrast how research in forensic criminology relates to more traditional endeavours, highlighting the different role that theory plays in the development of research questions across the two branches of the discipline.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLiquid criminology
Subtitle of host publicationDoing imaginative criminological research
EditorsS Walklate, M H Jacobsen
Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781317104834
ISBN (Print)9781472455239
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016


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